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Trying to stop bullying

Original post made on Nov 9, 2008

Duveneck Elementary School in Palo Alto has a freshly repainted playground for games the kids play during recess. It's a pattern from a company called Peaceful Playgrounds.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 7, 2008, 12:00 AM

Comments (122)

Posted by Adrienne Van Gorden, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 9, 2008 at 5:43 pm

I have been a public school teacher for 13 years, the last five of which I have taught in Los Altos, and I agree that bullying is pervasive and a worthy issue for PAUSD to put resources and thought into. I have also increasingly been a victim of bullying myself, though not by my elementary age students. Parents, and in particular many of the parents of our affluent neighborhoods, regularly bully their children's teachers. It is increasingly becoming a topic of conversation in the staff room. The parents regularly demand particular treatment, circumstances, and grades for their children, and by so doing demonstrate a selfishness, lack of empathy, and lack of respect for the professionals they are speaking to. Their behavior is beyond everyday rudeness, and my fellow teachers and I feel increasingly helpless and beat down. I think this aspect of bullying needs to be addressed as well if we are to see a significant improvement in the culture of our schools and behavior of our children.


Posted by Joan, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 9, 2008 at 5:55 pm

Every school year around this time under employed MFCCs in Palo Alto try to push this issue as a way to feed their little cottage industry of " counseling" which is not evidence based and often does more harm than good.

Of course the main focus is always on boys because so many of these MFCCs are radical feminist activists. Denying the fact that girls are much more vicious in middle and high school.

We know, we have 3 girls and 3 boys who went through the PAUSD, a great education if only the PC meddlers would stay out of it, the teachers know how to and do deal effectively with any of these issues.
If you need counseling see someone with an MD after their name, or go to Kaiser( they do not have a conflict of interest)


Posted by sari, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 6:26 pm



I feel a greater priority is to end Tinsley, it discriminates against Asians and Indians who cannot get our kids into schools close to home because EPA students take 1000s of slots, that is grossly unfair.

End Tinsley Now


Posted by Wait a minute, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Wait a minute

Tinsley takes spots from Palo Altans. They do not take spots from Asians and Indians. Asians and Indians make up the mix, but they are not the only ones that live here. I know it is beginning to appear to look that way, but there are plenty of others living in Palo Alto who are not from India or Asia.


Posted by natasha, a resident of JLS Middle School
on Nov 9, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Joan and sari, I disagree with you. My kids were in PAUSD and I saw bullying from administrators and parents as well as children. It was ugly. It does not have to be that way -- somehow, the Connections gng manages to attract non-bullying, lovel parents, really collaborative and thoughtful kids, and an amazing faculty. AVG, I think it is the responsibility of your administration to back up the faculty so that you are not left twisting in the wind with the many entitled parents in our area. Unfotunately, special favors and rule-bending are all too commen because of parent bullying, and when that happens it means the families who play by the rules get lesser education/attention/etc.

It is really sad to see the attitudes that are allowed to fester and spread, and of course to imagine what the world will be like for this generation of kids who have to deal with their peers who are spoiled, entitled kids of parent bullies.

I suppose the best one can do as a parent is to appreciate the teachers who have to deal with this, give them wholehearted support, teach our kids common decency and personal responsibility and try not to be part of the problem.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 9, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Principal Meagher has a good point. Kids change game rules and that is a way of bullying.


Posted by resident, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 9, 2008 at 9:42 pm

Sorry Sari - I am a resident who recently bought a home here and patiently waited for an entire year to get my child into our local school.

We have ONE child. My parents worked hard to fund and build the schools and programs that you are using. Be grateful that you are even allowed to live here.

We have limited space in the schools and limited resources.
It's funny how you think East Indians and Asians should have some kind of preferential treatment over long time residents and African Americans.





Posted by sari, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 9:53 pm

resident

I feel your pain, have you tried adopting?

Sounds like a very sad situation you are stuck with

anyway the Tinsley program must end," whether you like it or not" as the mayor of SF says


Posted by resident, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Sorry Sari -

We wanted one. We worked giving aid to refugee children for 5 years.
In a sense we have adopted over 7,000 children.

We saw what over population did to many of these developing countries and decided to have one child.


Posted by sari, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:08 pm



Good for you and for us

The Anglo population is aborting itself out of existence in Europe and the USA

Guess who takes over?

Live in peace and quite


Posted by Parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:16 pm

Games rules on the elementary school playground are the least of the problem. It's an issue of teaching children to use common decency in their interactions with others. Yes, this requires consistent adult oversight and reinforcement. I have to say the middle school years were by far the worst.


Posted by Huh?, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:24 pm

Resident, not sure what you mean saying "be grateful you are allowed to live here." Who should Sari be grateful too? Now, did your family come on the Mayflower, or were they Native Americans? Because if not, it seems you are pretty much the same as Sari - arrived via immigration by the goodwill of those already here.


Posted by We are all Palo Altans, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Huh and all,

The point Resident was making is that Tinsley students in Palo Alto take spots away from ALL Palo Altans in local elementary school, be they White, Black, Yellow, or Brown.

Sari mentioned that Tinsley kids take spots away from East Indians and other Asians. What was that all about? Does this town now belong only to Asians????


Posted by sari, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:41 pm

I believe that PA will soon be like Cupertino, 98% Asian and Indian in 5 yrs, a good thing, a bad thing? I do not know, but that is reality ,
Look around


Posted by We are all Palo Altans, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 9, 2008 at 10:52 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Wait a minute, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Wait a minute

I don't like the tone of the comments here. Sometimes it appears that those of other ethnicities can get away with making comments that if caucasians made would cause big problems.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 8:21 am

Back to bullying: Coming from a school with little to no bullying, I can say unequivocally that the tone against and the consequences for bullying were set by the principal, incorporated into each and every classroom, and supported by the PTA which gave every other year Abilities training, including anti-bullying training, in the classroom.

Every person contributes to a safe atmosphere. All it takes is for people to look away to start the downward slide.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Verde School
on Nov 10, 2008 at 9:13 am

Perspective

I am not sure which school you are referring to as not having a problem with bullying, but I know that our school there are problems with bullying, but at different grades. Some grades are really great with only mildest forms of problems, but other grades are full of problems. Some grades have problems with boys and others have problems with boys, while other grades have problems with both groups against each other. From my experience, if your particular grade or peer group appears to have no problems, it is only because the staff are doing a good job of keeping the situation from exploding, but ask your child, or watch the playground at lunch time or recess, or even as school comes out, and you will see subtle signs of the monster below. Some grades, I agree seem to have a lot less problems, but that does not mean the school has none.

I wish it was different, but even with the measures which you are praising, occasional problems do surface which at times cannot be seen, even by the staff.


Posted by paly mom, a resident of Ohlone School
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:07 am



This issue comes up every year at this time.

It is a manufactured issue.

A combination of helicopter parents, under employed MFCC trolling for business and a few tenacious aged ant- boy harpies.

It is a non starter.


Posted by Asian Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:18 am

These forums always digress. I am Asian and moved to Palo Alto for more diversity. If I wanted the majority to be Asian and E. Indian, I would have moved to Cupertino or Fremont. I have Asian and E. Indian friends who are immigrants and they say exactly the same thing! They want a more well-rounded upbringing for their children and believe in social skills and outside activities for their children. Unfortunately, with the high PAUSD test scores, it's going to bring in the "studying and nothing else" immigrants too.

Per the original posting, E. Indians and Asians are usually well-behaved children who do not bully.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:38 am

I have heard that getting into physical fights can result in a notation on the child's transcript. Is this after consistent fighting or after one fight? Does it transfer to the high school transcript? How is it noted?

Also, the victim has no rights because if he/she fights back, he/she also gets detention and possible notation on the transcript. How is this fair? The victim is supposed to take the hits and not fight back?


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2008 at 10:39 am

To add to that-
British-American children are usually well-behaved children who do not bully.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 10, 2008 at 11:09 am

Some of our biggest bullies in PAUSD are teachers, particularly at the middle and high school. Unless you actually enjoy kids, you have no business teaching them.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 10, 2008 at 11:12 am

That's right... keep kidding yourself. All your children are perfect! I think many of you would be surprised to see how your kids behave when you aren't around.


Posted by Perspective, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Parent, I wasn't saying there are no problems. To aim for "no bullying, ever" is completely against all human nature. There always have been and always will be the urge to bully in pretty much all aspects of society. How we react to it to keep a lid on it is what matters.

I am saying that with the right support of the principal, the teachers, and the PTA, any bullying that DOES happen can be nipped in the bud.

And it is...at Juana Briones.


Posted by SAHM, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 10, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Resident,

Your children must be victims of bullying for you to react in such a manner. No one said anything about our children being perfect.

And the clued-in parents hear from other parents about their children's behavior when they are not around. Frankly, my children behave better when I am NOT around. They are more comfortable to give me the B.S.

It all comes down to parenting. A bully does not come from a completely loving household. Oftentimes the parents are overly strict with them so they lash out at others because they have no say at home.

Sometimes a sibling is not treating them well so they lash out at others.

A male bully usually has a dad with extra high expectations or someone who is never around or doesn't treat him well.

A female bully? Just look at the mom. Not a completely nurturing woman and possibly with a bad temper or doesn't enjoy children. Usually a female bully has a parent who works full or part-time. This is what I have witnessed with children bullies. Just look at the parent of the same gender for an answer on why.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Duveneck School
on Nov 10, 2008 at 1:06 pm

I agree with the "look at the mom" theory. The girls who are mean have moms who work at least part-time and the mom has all sorts of outside activities and part-time nannies. It's like they had a child as a side dish. To those moms: don't expect your daughter to care about you when they grow up since you are not caring about them. You get back what you put in.

Yet I know moms who work part or full-time but are completely nurturing so their daughters are wonderful.


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:02 pm

I have experienced atrocious bullies who were Asian kids -- their parents thought they could do no wrong. I have experienced others who were Indian and were complately out of control. And I have experienced British kids who were really quite the queen bees. On the other hand, I have experienced kids in all of those groups who were lovely children. Look at the parents. Are they pretty great about giving their kids guidance, not excusing inappropriate behavior or demanding more for their little darlings than everyone else gets? Do they parent with humor, insight and appreciation for kids in general as well as their own? If so, you are likely to find a kid who is great with other kids and fun to have around. If not, you are likely to find a kid who has been taught to bully and deny, whine and demand. And as far as the moms who w0ork a little or not at all but dump their kids with nannies while they go off to take care of their hair, bodies, nails, wardrobe and social network, (and the dads who expect their kids to be no trouble and high achievers)it REALLY shows.


Posted by Race? Nah., a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Asian Mom,

"Per the original posting, E. Indians and Asians are usually well-behaved children who do not bully."

True, but white children are usually well-behaved and do not bully. And black children definitely not. Hispanics? Out of the question.

So who is doing the bullying? Must be someone else. Extra-terrestrials, maybe.

Get real. Bullying has nothing to do with race. Your generalizations are racist. The biggest problem one year for one of my kids' classes was four Asian kids whose behavior was "off the charts," as the principal told me. Based on your way of thinking, I ought to conclude that Asians are bullies, but their race had nothing to do with it.


Posted by Asian Mom, a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2008 at 2:59 pm

OK, white flag. Come to think of it, my son was the recipient one time of 4 Asian bullies at school but the teacher scolded them and they never bothered him again. I guess when I was growing up, the Asians were always the quiet, well-behaved ones but things have obviously changed.

I am guessing the Asian bully thing is coming from the fact that many Asian immigrants are too strict and expect their children to study all the time and have no fun. I have asked numerous Asian children of immigrants if they want to join us at Great America or some other fun activities and we are always turned down due to: practicing music, Chinese school, or "that's a waste of money--they don't need it" attitudes. It is difficult for their kids when they see everyone else having fun and getting cool things when they can't have them because studying is all that matters to their parents.



Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Asian Mom,


It is so sad that some families are like that. My white son (who is an honor student) was really good friends with a Chinese boy in elementary school. It was so sweet to see them interact. Then one day, out of the blue, the parents of the Chinese boy apparently told their son to no longer play with mine. At least, that's what his Chinese friend said to my son. Since then, my son has seen his former friend socialize only with other Asians at school.

I really think it is sad when things come to this.


Posted by tyrone jones, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 10, 2008 at 9:56 pm

a lot of people like to coddle children, bullying is barely an issue, and kids need to learn to stand up for themselves, i certainly dont want my kids growing up to be pussies.

remember, snitches get stitches


Posted by Peer Abuse, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 11, 2008 at 9:42 am

I am glad to see anyone make efforts to try and get this problem under control. The lifelong effects can be disasterous. Thank you Palo Alto for all you are doing.

Take Care,
Elizabeth Bennett
Web Link


Posted by Anti-bullying, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 10:03 am


Actually, from the research on bullying that was started by a Dan Olweus in Scandinavia in the 1990's bullying is a serious problem. It is serious for the bullies, the victims and the bystanders. Olweus first started his research after 4 teen suicides that were the result of bullying.
It has nothing to do with coddling children. The kids who become victims do not know how to stand up for themselves, or they would do it. They do not learn how to stand up for themselves by more bullying. It is cruel to expect them to handle the bullying on their own. They need help with various skills that they can then use.


Posted by tyrone jones, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:53 am

my brother goes to duveneck and he doesnt think theres any "bullying" at all
its just overprotective parents, administrators, and teachers making a problem where there isnt one


Posted by Working Mom, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 1:14 pm

Oh, yeah. Now I remember why I stopped reading this forum.

As a WORKING MOTHER of 3 non-bully boys, I find this discussion offensive. Bullies exist, they are destructive. Use common sense; Bigger people should never hurt smaller, weaker people. It does exist and should not be tolerated. The racial and other discussions are offensive flak thrown up to obscure a very human problem.

Personally, I address bullying wherever I see it, by pointing it out to the appropriate authorities, following up to ensure action, and protecting the targets.


Posted by working in the home mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 1:20 pm

What ugly, thoughtless comments. A report on an effort to protect against bullying has devolved into a series of comments displaying race-based hate and stereotyping, and even stereotyping of women who work outside of the home. Our community will deteriorate because of your judgemental and unenlightened attitudes before bullying, stressed-out kids, or even under/overpriviledged kids will impact it.


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 11, 2008 at 1:38 pm

If you took my comments to be an attack on working moms, I just want to clarify that I myself am a mom who works both in and out of the home. And I was trying to convey that parents who don't take the time to teach their kids common decency, whether because they are too busy "playing" or working or because they don't have those skills themselves, are largely to blame for bullying. A lot of parents are bullies and you can see it in the way their kids behave, not taking responsibility for their actions and expecting everyone to cater to them. I know plenty of full-time working parents who have great kids, I know plenty of non-employed parents who choose to spend time with their kids and it shows. I also know a lot of women who stay at home but also have people to do their "traditional" home work including taking care of the kids, and a lot of men who basrely spend any time with their kids except to tell them to go away because Dad is tired after a long day of work and doesn't want to have to deal with others' needs, and those people's kids tend to be a problem. Those people themselves are often a problem as well.

Bottom line: respect other people, teach your children to treat others with respect and consideration, and call them on their behavior when it is not appropriate (and tell them how to behave appropriately). If more people took this approach, bullying would not be so rampant.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 3:05 pm

sari says:"Good for you and for us

The Anglo population is aborting itself out of existence in Europe and the USA

Guess who takes over?

Live in peace and quite "

I think you mean quiet, right?
now let us see who takes over. Where I lived for many a year in the UK Asians were taking over. And what you mean by anglo? If you think that Europe is populated only by people of anglo-saxonic origin I have news for you. Please attend to your ignorance. It needs a bit of attention. And try just try to stick to the theme which is bullying, nothing else.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:26 pm

Hey "but seriously," didn't you realize I was parodying "Asian Mom's preposterous comments of Nov. 10: "E. Indians and Asians are usually well behaved children who do not bully"

I assure you no particular ethnic group has a lock on intelligence, good behavior, top grades, etc. though there are certain members of our community who shamelessly promote themselves as superior.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Let me add that it is not correct behavior to demoralize others in your school communities. It is demoralizing to others here in Palo Alto to constantly brag about your ethnic group. It is in poor taste - just crass behavior. Some students grades and "achievements" in PAUSD are often not attributable to individual talent/intelligence/initiative but rather costly parent-paid continuous tutoring and professional essay writing. It is shocking, unethical, and the schools are looking the other way.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:51 pm

Tyrone,

There is bullying at every school, including Duveneck. Just because your brother isn't aware of it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We have been at three PAUSD schools so far due to moving and kids growing up, and there has been bullying at each of these, not directed at my children, but I knew of/know of the bullies and oftentimes the other parents know also.

Bullying these days isn't usually the obvious "Give me your lunch or I'll beat you up" type. Bullying in Palo Alto is verbal. Kids changing the rules of games, laughing at other children for what they are wearing or eating, staring to intimidate, twistiness(telling someone something is all right at one time then not all right another time), saying generally rude things ("we don't care what you have to say," "your haircut is ugly", "you eat weird things," etc.).

Oftentimes the parents of bullies are aware of their child's behavior but do nothing to change it. Probably because they already are not nurturing parents so they really don't care about their children in the first place--or they wouldn't be bullies.

As psychology dictates, children are blank slates when they are born. The parenting is what determines the outcome.


Posted by Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 4:59 pm

All the bullies I've known in Palo Alto have working moms--either part-time or full-time. Doesn't mean working moms have bullies as children because there are many great children with working moms. But the fact that a mom wants to work rather than staying at home and raising the children and seeing them grow up, says that the mom doesn't enjoy children enough. Again, some working moms really enjoy their children and spend lots of time with their children and the children are great. But others go to work to avoid being around their children all the time.


Posted by Joan, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm



This is the way to stop bullying Web Link

practical advice, evidence based approach.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:08 pm

Dad, well said.

I would go further and say that bullies also need their Dad's in their lives. I know most Dads work and are not stay at home Dads, but the Dads still need to find time to be in their kids' lives. It is not just up to the Moms, whether they work or not, it is up to the Dads to be a part of their kid's lives and work, divorce, or any other excuse is not good enough. Children need both parents of both sexes in their lives. They need to know the role of each parent and the nurturing and example of both.


Posted by Mom too, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:16 pm

Dad,


The worst bully I have known had a full-time stay-at-home mom who was very involved with the school PTA. Her precious little son could do no wrong in her eyes. He would go crying to her for the slightest little thing and SHE would go bully the other kid's mom. When she was not around he would imitate her and bully his classmates.

So, I am not sure that generalizations about working vs. stay-at-home moms are very useful when addressing the issue of bullying.


Posted by anony-mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:19 pm

Here's a mildly funny twist to the usual bullying. My elem. school daughter is being bothered by a classmate who keeps taunting her that she's in love with him. It's driving her nuts, to the point where she comes home very stressed over it. She's in the awkward position of having to insist and prove somehow that it's not true, even though she thinks he's nice enough except for this one annoyance. Because of the affect it has on her, I would categorize it as bullying.

The odd thing in this case is that they're occasionally good friends, and the two families - us and the boy's - get along well and respect each other. I would never think to blame the parents on his behavior.

I share this to point out that bullying is as varied as the bullies and victims, and the blame doesn't always fall neatly on the parents as some people are suggesting. Sometimes it's simply a part of growing up that, with a bit of guidance from parents & teachers, can be nipped in the bud.


Posted by Another Dad, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:28 pm

"But the fact that a mom wants to work rather than staying at home and raising the children and seeing them grow up, says that the mom doesn't enjoy children enough. "

That is one of the dumber generalizations I have seen in quite a while. It is either tautological (the definition of "enough" is that you stay home) or just really dumb.

Does that apply to dads too I wonder? I apologize for my gender.


Posted by SAHM, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Mom too,

Your quote, "The worst bully I have known had a full-time stay-at-home mom who was very involved with the school PTA," says it all. Sometimes there are SAHMs who really SHOULD go to work! She was overly involved with volunteering to replace the fact that she was not employed.

SAHM roles are not for everyone--it's not an easy job--constant interruptions, lack of intellectual stimulation, never feeling any sense of accomplishment, menial labor, occasional lack of control of situations. But a mom who does not have to work for the money but chooses to work anyway should reconsider why she wanted children in the first place if she wants to be with them as little as possible. Or at least have only one child.

I agree with Parent Too that Dads work but need to be a part of the childrens lives too. A dad who ignores his daughter will have a promiscuous daughter; a dad who ignores his son will have a son who isn't at peace with himself either.

Bottom line: children always want the love of their parents or there won't be peace in their hearts. Even though they may say they don't care, they do care, deep down inside of them.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2008 at 5:56 pm



This community has so many know-it-all types, but I would think we all want to improve. Hats off to anyone that is not cynical, and can be open to continually making improvements, whether it's to tackle bullying, or helping out with a garden. Blaming each other is comfortable, but there are real things we can do, and we should be finding out how to be constructive.

Every child is worth it.


Posted by MD, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:10 pm



The dialog is fine as long as you keep the under employed MFCCs out of it, once they get in the tent it will be " recovered memory syndrome" all over again


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Let's see, slams on white people, slams on Tinsley (poor minority) kids, slams on working moms, slams on social workers. Sweeping, unsupported.

And your kids hear this from you. They learn to criticize and judge other people--from you.

And blame, blame, blame.

Of course there's bullying.

Seriously, I'm glad the schools don't ignore the problem and try to work on it.


Posted by MSW, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm



Social worker, did someone ask for a social worker?


Posted by Julie, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:33 pm

Wait, I thought that's the beauty of this Town Forum: state our true feelings behind the wall of a computer since we have to be politically correct the rest of the day.

True, we shouldn't teach our children to blame, but remember that not all parents speak around their children the way they type on these forums!

To the subject, bullies can be curbed, but they have family problems which the school cannot correct. They can't tell the parents they are doing a lousy job of parenting.

At least the children know that everyone isn't nice. Otherwise, they have to learn that in the workplace when they are adults. My husband grew up in a too harmonious situation at home and school and when he had to deal with conflict in the workplace, it was extremely stressful for him. He was always well-liked and it was difficult to learn about people stabbing him in the back and smiling to his face. But he learned. Now, he stabs them right back and smiles in their faces.


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 11, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Ditto on the PTA Queen Bee syndrome.

Completely disagree that moms who work don't love their kids. If I didn't work we'd be on the street. Must be nice to have an optional income in your household, dad.

Really tired of parents who think their kids can do no wrong, also tired of parents who think it is ok to verbally abuse other parents, in public or otherwise. Amazing number of parents behave this way. Others are more subtle. It's still anti-social.

I don't really agree that the boy is necessarily bullying the girl (I'm not there, but based on similar situations). He probably has a crush on her and is trying to get her attention. Can you work with the other parents to help him learn this is not appropriate?

Great book for kids to learn to deal with all types: "Sticks and Stones." They teach kids to say, sometimes, "You may be right." to throw other kids off guard who are verbally aggressing them. It takes the sting out. If the girl turned and said "I know you wish I did." with her most radiant smile and then turned away, the thing might subside. Or if she paid him attention in a nice, calm way when he first started seeking it, that too might work. Not that it's all on the girl, but helpful for her to take back some of that power he has gained over her.

Anyway, I'm grateful for the schools that are trying to deal with bullying. There are schools that claim to and don't, and others where bullying really thrives. What a shame.


Posted by Dad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Dad Too and but seriously,

Moms usually have a maternal instinct and want to stay at home with their children. I said "But the fact that a mom wants to work rather than staying at home and raising the children and seeing them grow up, says that the mom doesn't enjoy children enough," referring to those moms who don't NEED the extra money to survive.

In the worst case scenario, I know someone whose child is like a wild animal. Both parents work full-time, the dad usually working weekends and long hours. From the earliest age, the daughter was sent to daycare for at least 8-9 hours a day. The mom is not nurturing (and never seems to enjoy being with the child) although the father seems more caring. Even on days when the mom is off early in the afternoon, she doesn't pick up the child until 6:00. No wonder the child is a complete mess.


Posted by Quality, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 11, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Oh, please. Working parents, non-working parents, it doesn't matter. What matters is when the parent is around the child, he/she gives the child a lot of positive attention. And I mean POSITIVE quality, not "Hi, how's school? Good, glad to hear it. We have to go to Home Depot now."


Posted by tyrone jones, a resident of Greater Miranda
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:19 pm

theres too much coddling of children in general
kids should learn to fight their own battles instead of running to mommy
they wont be scarred and they might actually learn something instead of growing up to be huge pussies
parents should only interfere if kids are getting physically harmed kids can deal with the other bullshit on their own


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2008 at 11:37 pm

Julie,

Yes, people can express their views openly in the Forum. Just don't be surprised at how these views play out on the playing fields.

Dad,

So you know an out-of-control kid and this means that working women make bad mothers. That's a hell of a leap. It's funny, you say the dad is gone all the time, but seems "more caring". How do you know if he's never with the kid? If the mom seems overwhelmed maybe it's because she's pretty much taking on the full burden for the kid and is burned out. She could also be clinically depressed.

Or maybe she's just evil. Fact is, I bet you don't really know and it's a hell of leap to assume that the mother's working is the cause of the situation.

Lots of people aren't great parents, but the ones I meet tend to be well-intentioned for the most part. I guess, even on the Forum, I'd rather see more support than blame.


Posted by jb, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Does anyone remember an adage used in the '90's but unheard today? It takes a village to raise a child.

If you see behavior that is inappropriate, there is a humane way to step in and short-circuit it. Better yet, take some time to get to know children your children play with, children who live in your neighborhood , and even children who hang out in places you frequent. Make yourself known as an observant and friendly person.

It can be an honor and a delight to have a child regard you as a friend. Because children (like everyone else, even grownups) gravitate to people they feel comfortable with, you have a little influence that a parent may not be able to exercise in areas where the parent may be a little weak. Perhaps you are the one who can make a point about how others feel. Perhaps you know a way to speak up to abusive kids that won't make a conflict worse. A meek child might welcome the belief in his/her abilities that you show when you talk to them about hard situations and suggest approaches to handling them. And then there is teaching them. I remember I suddenly had 200 (exaggeration) 3rd grade friends after I taught embroidery during conference academy. Every one of them wanted to learn more.

Kids who are bullies can mellow out being listened to and perhaps being offered a chance to help out in some enterprise. They also can respond to very firm limits that recognize them as persons. Too often bullies are subjected to firmness that is just ejection. "I don't stand for that and you get out of here and don't come back."

There, you feel better; you have protected your domain and yourself, i.e. your children who are little images of yourself. But you have not made room for a future with this child existing in your child's class, team, neighborhood.

None of us come into the world as model parents. It is wise and grown up to keep our eyes open to see people doing things better than (and differently from) the way we do them. Make friends with good role models for yourself as well as your children. Invite children who need good role models into your life.

Of course, you are ultimately responsible for your children, but whether you know it or not, you need all the help you can get.

After all, it takes a village to raise a child— and to raise a parent.


Posted by Carole, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 13, 2008 at 11:56 am

Moms want to work! Have you so little awareness or misogyny that you don't understand many moms have to work?
Bullying is a very serious problem that can be lifelong for the victims. Most of the bullies learn bullying at home by the way their families treat others. I feel sorry for the teachers in well-educated districts because of the parental bullying. Their brutal bullying is so obvious in schools, gymnastics, soccer & other group activities.
I wish we could go back to the days when the teachers were "always" right. It taught kids that life is often unfair & the best ways in which to cope which, in the long run, created good coping skills & better relationships throughout life.
The current parental protection of kids (another subject) is crippling them emotionally.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2008 at 12:41 pm

Carole,

The in phrase you are looking for at present is called "helicopter parents".


Posted by Look in mirror, a resident of Escondido School
on Nov 13, 2008 at 8:26 pm

The kids are all right. Leave them alone. Redirect the funds and anti-bullying education to all the posters in this forum. Don't worry, I'll attend, too.


Posted by Don Kazak, Palo Alto Weekly columnist
on Nov 13, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Don Kazak is a registered user.

I've received enough direct response to the "Trying to stop bullying" column that I'm planning on a follow-up column. Readers should feel free to share any stories they have with me at dkazak@paweekly.com.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2008 at 12:46 am

Well, Don, our our experience in a blue collar city in Minnesota wouldn't work here because it isn't PC here. The school dismissed hitting and our complaints so we finally told our children to just hit back! Hey! Just like the old days, it worked! In third grade, a boy kept calling my son a chicken so my son slammed him into a locker and the boy apologized for a week! My kind, kind daughter had to hit a boy also.

Yes, and you all are wondering how my kids have turned out. They are fine with no scars because they were good kids to begin with but did what they had to do for the situation. They know it is not the solution here.

I think it is unfair that a victim here cannot hit back as self-defense. The offender can get a good punch in.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 14, 2008 at 12:56 am

There is enough pressure on our students for academic success here. They should be able to feel safe in school.

The schools should do a two-strikes-you're-out rule and publicize it often and to parents and have the parents sign a form of acknowledgement. Parents aren't going to want to drive their children to a school out of their area.

But how are the "strikes" defined? Sure, easy if physical. But what about verbal abuse? Wait for complaints from parents?


Posted by Disappointed parent, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 14, 2008 at 1:21 am

I went to a Christian school and never heard of bullying.
This was a while back of course.
My husband went to a public school back east and was bullied.
I really think that it has had a lifelong effect on him.
One of our children endured bullying here as early as second grade and it has been 4 years of hell.
The parents are the problem. The worst bullies have the meanest parents, or a much older sibling (teenager).
I'm afraid of some of the parents too. The only child who was really nice, left for a Catholic school last year. We feel stuck with Jordan for our kids and we are very worried.
The dominant kids torment the other weaker kids to pressure them to dress like they do, and I am worried that our kids will not be strong enough to say no to drugs and other things because they have been bullied to fit in. We have tried so hard to tell them to do the right thing, but I was told by a long time teacher with 4 children that our kids will either be bullied or become a bully to survive.
Tell me this isn't so!
If we could afford a Christian school or Catholic school we would transfer our children immediately.


Posted by Fight the Good Fight, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 14, 2008 at 9:17 am

Disappointed,

"The parents are the problem." Yes, indulgent, inept parents. I have seen these parents watch their kids' bullying and say nothing. (Boy do they fume when I call their kids on bullying--oh, they hate that word--but they can't really say much.)

I have also seen these parents engage in extensive excuses and defense when the school calls them about their kids' bullying. They get furious at the school and are incapable of teaching their children right from wrong. (They do eventually get payback, since many of these kids turn in-your-face disrespect on adults--including their parents--by early teens or else they become masterful sneaks. Either way, the parents pay.)

Unfortunately, teachers and administrators don't always walk the walk. They may be unskilled, inexperienced or cowed by the parents of the bullies.

I suggest that you follow the school's own policy of zero tolerance. Let an incident or two slide, but as soon as a pattern emerges, get straight to the right teacher about the problem child. If that doesn't stop it, follow the chain up to the principal. Give the administrators unemotional descriptions of the behavior (keep a log) and ask for a concrete response. They run the school, and it is their duty to provide an appropriate, safe environment.

It is time-consuming, but don't back down. If the situation fails to improve, make increasing demands on administrators' time, and escalate the pressure in your meetings. Uncover the identities of the parents, and email them unemotional statements about their children's bullying--use a temporary email address but identify yourself. (They will go ballistic, but you don't care.)

If you don't apply pressure, the parents and administrators are not going to change the kid.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Be extremely careful before you start harrassing another parent about what your child says their child has done. A while back, I started getting emailed about something another child had told the parents that my child had done. I spoke with my child who admitted it but that it was self defence. I gave this information back to the parents who told me that their child was loving and respectful, didn't lie and that it was my child who was the problem. I then contacted the principal who acknowledged that he knew exactly what was going on and that my child had only retaliated once when my child was being pestered and taunted continually by the other child.
My child had been spending most of the lunch and recess times sitting outside the classroom, near the teachers or yard duties, because of the taunting of this other child. The principal told me that although he had spoken with the other parents, they continually defended their child and would not believe that their child was anything other than wonderful and saintly. My child does have faults, but I know will only retaliate under great pressure from others. Make sure your child is not taunting, teasing or provoking before you accuse anyone of anything.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 14, 2008 at 8:55 pm

A lot of this commentary is about elementary school. Perhaps at that age you can contact someone's mom.

I think the problem here is with the middle school. It is impractical to try to contact other parents or even make a complaint or raise a concern in middle school if your child is being harrassed. There are so many kids the bullies can continue unchecked and SOMETIMES unobserved.
At Jordan some years ago, I, a parent, was once rudely shoved aside by a group of bully types as I walked down a hallway near the cooking classroom. I was astonished and immediately told a teacher, who watching the retreating group, said oh, they are just like that and do that. The teacher appeared familiar with the group and shrugged it off. It was an identifiable group since they all traveled on the same bus. If they did things like that to me without fear of reprimand imagine what they could do to a polite kid who is just minding his own business.

Verbal harrassment in PE at high school can be very bad, too.


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 15, 2008 at 7:43 am

Parent, this is EXACTLY the scenario I was talking about. I've seen that happen so many times. I even know a parent who pulled a kid and was harassed by parents of one of the bullies for leaving the school! I know of another instance where the parents of the bully sued the parent of the victim. Schools need to take a strong stance on these bullies because when the parents won't do anything, everyone suffers. The schools should be disciplining the kid in escalating seriousness, leading up to suspension (with a very good documented paper trail of teh incidents leading up to it, the warnings, etc. And the parents should be told about it). When their kid is suspended, the parents will squawk and protest that their kid is being unfairly singled out, blah blah blah, but they will have to deal with it. And the suspension should stay on the kid's record. We should not be relying on these clearly unreliable and out of touch, entitled parents to take care of the discipline. The problem in middle school is exacerbated by the fact that a lot of these bullies get away with it all during elementary school. And it is really demoralizing for ALL kids to see another kid get away wit it. They give up and become bystanders or victims because they know the adults won't help them. The adults only intervene when the victim acts in self-defense, and punish the victim.

It is kind of interesting that the adults have told kids to play nicely and talk it out but then they don't back it up. First of all, you don't talk it out with bllies. Period. Nowadays, kids are paralyzed because they can't duke it out on the playground old-style, but aren't being protected. Respect starts at the top, by example, and should be taught that way, not by expecting the kids to behave beautifully on their own in a chaotic and anarchistic environment.


Posted by No On Tinsley, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 15, 2008 at 8:57 am

Would getting rid of the Tinsley Act help solve any problems? I know that there are white, spoiled kids who are bullies also, but we can't kick them out if they actually live within the attendance boundaries. The Tinsley Act only allows "minorities" for the program, which means that any poor, white kid from EPA does not qualify for the Tinsley Act. I guess who wants to be the "racist" who fights for an overturn of the Tinsley Act, is the problem.

There is a boy named [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] who is from EPA and he disrupts class all the time. A music teacher got so upset that he kicked him out of class one day.

Re the incident named above about the "bus" kids pushing a parent and the teacher letting it slide, maybe the teachers are afraid of these kids. Teachers should not be afraid to teach. Seriously, it's well-known that busing does not work and if anything, it builds stereotypes in the minds of middle school students.


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 15, 2008 at 9:03 am

In my own experience, parents of Tinsley kids have to be pretty motivated to get through the system and put them in PAUSD. Some of the Tinsley kids may be problems, but a lot are really good kids who try hard and whose parents are looking for better opportunities. On the other hand, in the two instances I mentioned the parents were white, fairly affluent and super-entitled, love to throw their weight around and are white bullies. So would getting rid of Tinsley solve that particular problem? I don't think so. But cracking down on these kids, making records and applying concrete consequences for their behavior would either get their parents to transfer them to whatever private school would take them, or to move out of the district. People only behave in ways that get them some sort of reward. If parents bullying the school is a non-starter, they will either stop bullying or their attempts will not matter.


Posted by No On Tinsley, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 15, 2008 at 9:11 am

Getting rid of Tinsley would solve some of the bullying problems but not all. Tinsley bullies live in a town with drug dealers and criminals. They are exposed to a different lifestyle. You think teachers want to discipline them when the kids live amongst violence? They would rather discipline the spoiled, white kids.

Sure, overturning Tinsley would hurt some of the ideal Tinsley Act children, and there are many, but the disturbance of the others isn't helpful for the schools.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 15, 2008 at 9:55 am

My oldest child attended school when there was no Tinsley. There was a lot of bullying but
the victims were blamed or people paid no attention. Of course, that was also before too much construction took place and the schools became crowded with the new Palo Alto residents. Tinsley has nothing to do with bullying other than adding more children to the system. Awareness of the effects of bullying is more recent too so we pay more attention to the problem now. The Tinsley agreement was in place before Palo Alto neighborhoods saw a very sharp increase in McMansions and school age children.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2008 at 10:18 am

Having had kids in PAUSD from k tru high school, I can attest that it is not the Tinsley kids who are to blame in the elementary schools, but that some of them, I emphasise some of them, who seem to become troublemakers as they get into middle and high schools. These kids are nice kids in elementary but something happens to them.

Also, some of the EPA families who do not get into Tinsley decide that they still want PA educations for their kids and move here to one of the cheapest apartment complexes they can find just to get their kids into school. This is often a much smaller place for them to live, but they feel that they are doing the best for their kids.

Thirdly, some of the biggest bullies I have seen at elementary school are still causing the same sort of trouble in high school. I have seen one particular kid who has been moved by the District from one middle school to another because of problems, but then gets put into the same high school as he would have gone to and is back with the same kids causing problems again and is once again moved by the district into the other high school.

Bullies sometimes start out as bullies in elementary schools. Sometimes bullies evolve as they get older.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 15, 2008 at 10:21 am

No on Tinsley, has it all wrong when she mentions "the Tinsley Act". There is no Tinlsey Act, no governmental or court mandate associated with the voluntary school transfer. NONE.

There have been so many posts explaining what what the Tinsley agreement is. I suggest you look it up. You would understand then why PA and the other parties are bound by it . They proposed it.

While you are looking up on Tinsley I also suggest you look up "The conscience of a community" . The ugliness I see in these pages directed at the East Palo alto parents and their children is not without a raw amount of undeserved blame. A form of verbal bullying I would say.


Posted by teacher mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 15, 2008 at 11:06 am

As teacher in another district and a parent in PAUSD I have seen bulling and kids playing the victim for years. One observation I've made is I feel the cause may be the child's temperament combined with the lack of social skills. If a parent is constantly solving their child's problems, they will NEVER learn to defend themselves or develop any resiliency against problems that arise in the "real world." Bullies on the other hand I feel are insecure and feel better by picking on an "easy target." Most of the kids who fall in the middle and generally have some skills at resolving conflicts, therefore don't usually recognize that there is any bulling happening because they're too busy playing and working through conflicts. I have had several students over the years that play victim to the parents, when they're the one being the bully. Kids only see what they want to see (as well as parents). Maybe you should invite the bully/victim over for a short supervised play date to approach the situation from a different angle. Playing the blame game is really non-productive. Honestly, any negative interactions your kids have with other kids helps them in the long run to negotiate through life's relationships. If a child only has positive experiences how are they going to have any relationship skills in college, the work force or marriage? What Duveneck is doing with the playground time is harming rather than helping the kids. The world isn't a play where everyone follows the rules and gets along .... I feel we should teach our kids life skills.


Posted by paly student, a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 15, 2008 at 1:54 pm

it's gunn that has link crew... not paly


Posted by Resident To Narnia, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 15, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Narnia-
I was bullied off this forum by poster "Sari" way up on the thread.
Very hurtful. I can hardly believe that a person of Indian ancestry would say such mean things. For all readers of this forum please read what Sari has said about Indians, Asians, and the "Anglo" population. The unkindness regarding the voluntary transfer program. Are VTP students bullies?
I can see now see where the wickness of the children comes from - it is learned from the parents.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Duveneck School
on Nov 15, 2008 at 7:33 pm

While I agree Sari has a flippant, dismissive, and rude attitude, what she is saying is the Tinsley is taking away spaces from Palo Altans and it IS unfair. We pay our high mortages, we should be able to send our children to our neighborhood schools. Tinsley, as mentioned above, discriminates against Caucasians, Asians, E. Indians. It only allows African-Americans and Hispanics who live in EPA to attend PAUSD.


Posted by Sari, it's time to give back, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2008 at 8:37 pm


With Sari's logic, her immigrant success has taken away from a "real" American's success. Blaming bus kids for everything because they are not "real" Palo Altans is hardly a start to find ways to prevent bullying in schools, or really improve life for kids.

If the bullying problem was so simple, and Tinsley was to blame, it would probably not even be news.

Bullying from bus kids is only more noticeable because some people, like Sari and blackout, are only looking for it there.

Besides, the complaint that bus kids shoved some lady (according to her), and that they "scare" teachers is ridiculous. Bus kids usually hang out together, so if they are bullying, they're doing it to each other, and I bet no lawsuits are filed there. And according to the first post on this thread, from Ms.Van Gorden, teacher viewpoint, there are scarier things to teachers coming from the right zip code, probably color, and education.















Posted by Stand up, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 15, 2008 at 8:56 pm

Teacher mom,

You need to distinguish between bullying and one-off problems. Bullying is when a kid or group of kids target a particular child for repeated aggression. The schools should not tolerate it, but too often they do.

It would be nice if the parents of these kids stepped up to the plate, but too often they don't. An in many cases, especially with girls, the bullies are sly at lying and play the victim. I say get your facts straight from your kid, get confirmation from other kids or teachers, and then push the school hard for consequences.



Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 15, 2008 at 11:23 pm

Resident to Narnia,
I thought my posts were clear and I don't know why you are addressing your post to me.
It would be good if the stupidity and ignorance surrounding Tinsley matters subsides a bit. I have repeated in many a forum the history of the VTP . I am not going to repeat it again.A ny time schools are mentioned inevitably someone comes with a diatribe against the VTP and TInsley even if the subject doesn't have anything to do with it. It is an unhealthy obsession. It is even more so because there isn't anything anybody can do about the VTP whether you agree or not. Just how many times does it take to post that the VTP is an AGREEMENT akin to a contract, it's not a court mandated or a government program . The agreement was proposed by Palo Alto, Menlo Park, etc, and goes north up to San Carlos and like any contractual obligation cannot unilaterallly be dismissed.
It is downright ineffective to be always harping on something that will not change for the foreseeable future. But mostly it just shows how ignorance, prejudice and lack of thinking skills feeds some of these posts . Such ignorant and coarse posts have the "gift" of always derailing some worthwhile discussions to subjects that are tangential to it at best. In the particular case of the VTP kids I have to say to Sari and others: learn and then talk. And when you talk do you mind sticking to the subject and participating or is your goal just to show your ugly thoughts and your lack of understanding of the basic tenets of the VTP in an obsessive manner?
From now on I will simply ignore any posts that do not deal with the forum subject and I urge you all to do the same. Only then can these foruns (we can say fora but let's be 'Merican) result in a worthy discussion and not a venom spewing in all directions.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 15, 2008 at 11:40 pm

Since I am an older person (my youngest is in college) let me just say that I saw a lot of bulling in the PA schools before and after the VTP. VTP had no effect on it. Fortunately, now we are more aware of the harm caused by bullying and that's why we don't sweep it under the rug. I agree that the problems seemed to me coming from the parents by and large. See a bully, the fruit doesn't fall very far from the tree. Some teachers had "pets" who bullied with impunity and lack of school response also was responsible. Sometimes children were provoked beyond what they could endure. My heart when out for the bullied children and their families. It was a real problem before the VTP and before Sari came to theses shores.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 16, 2008 at 1:04 am

Narnia,

Was anyone taking Sari seriously? I just took her as a variation on one of our right-wing trolls (same views, same blind spots, same ethnicity). I did notice that she was dead wrong about abortion rates. Abortion rates are higher in Asia, Africa and Latin America than they are in the U.S. or western Europe.

Other factors, not abortion, are behind Europe's sagging birth rates. (which are lower in eastern and southern Europe than northern Europe--those I think Sari has conflated together as "anglos")

Just because someone has non-European ancestry doesn't mean they're not a bigot.

But, anyway, back to bullying. You really do see a pecking order emerge in the middle of grade school, I think. And as an adult it's not hard to see which kids are the most likely to be bullied. I've also seen the kick-the-dog syndrome--the kid who feels excluded and picked on will turn on another vulnerable child.

I think the latter makes it hard to deal with the parents--because it's quite possible on some level their kid is a victim of someone somehow. I mean let's face it, a happy, secure kid is unlikely to be a bully.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2008 at 7:57 am

OhlonePar,

you are right.


Posted by Sharon, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2008 at 8:08 am



Is there a disproportionate amount of bullying and violence done by VTP students?
If do not have the statistics we need then.
If they reveal a trend the VTP students may need special monitoring and intervention.
In relations to contracts and VTP, contracts change all the time, particularly when circumstances change, the demographics of EPA have changed dramatically in then 20 yearslast.
The VTP program is way passed time for an aggressive review.

EPA should certainly have its own high school.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 16, 2008 at 1:40 pm

Sharon,

Enough. No, there's no such study. There won't be either.

I have issues with Tinsley myself. I think there's a problem with an agreement that pushes neighborhood kids out of their own schools and that can't be adjusted when the schools are overcrowded.

However, scapegoating kids just because they come from the wrong side of the freeway is ugly. Parents who put their kids into Tinsley are motivated parents who want what's best for their kids. There's no reason to believe that these parents are less adequate than parents who reside in Palo Alto. In many ways, they're more committed.

I'd like to see some flexibility in the Tinsley numbers so that we're not bumping kids across town.

However, I don't blame Tinsley parents or their kids for trying to get a decent education here. Narnia's right in that you seem to know nothing about the nature of the agreement. (It's not up for review.)

What I'd like to see is decent schools in EPA--I'd like to see Tinsley made unnecessary. I'd like to see, at least, the equivalent of Redwood City's Northstar Academy.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 16, 2008 at 8:28 pm

So when is the Tinsley contract up for review so we can all shut up and blame ourselves for the problems?


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 16, 2008 at 9:51 pm

Mom, use a bit of your brain power and read at least one of the many articles on Tinsley lawsuit.

The Tinsley program is a voluntary program that settled the case of M. Tinsley at al versus the named school districts. It cannot be reviewed or revised unilaterally because it's the result of a settlement (proposed by the defendants Palo Alto et al).
The defendants had lost their court case and decided that rather than appealing they would settled the case. The reasoned that if they were to lose again their last possible appeal as it was almost certain they would, they would be be subject to whatever remedies the court could impose and that was not in the school districts/defendants interest. So they got together and settled with the plaintiffs. The settlement is what we call now the VTP. When Margaret Tinsley's children were already too old to benefit from the settlement the case ended.

The VTP will end ONLY when the certain conditions are achieved. Redwood City S D which was originally part of the civil lawsuit has already dropped out of the program because it fulfilled the specified conditions. Palo Alto and the other defendants will not in the foreseeable future.

So, instead of hitting your head against a brick wall repeatedly, absurdly and foolishly demanding the end of the VTP , as if it could happen just because you repeat that
demand, why don't you do something constructive, like working with the PAUSD to decrease the bullying? You would notice then that the bullies are people who repeat certain actions in the vain hope that it will give them power.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2008 at 12:26 am

It is worth noting, however, that the basis of the Tinsley lawsuit was later invalidated.

So, basically, undoing Tinsley means suing the district on some sort of grounds or other. Even then, I don't know that anything would happen.

It was a short-sighted settlement made when there was dropping enrollment. But it's not up for review in any normal way.

Which is why I say if you want to see an end to Tinsley, then EPA needs at least one decent school. I think EPA residents would love a chance for their kids to get a good education without shlepping over 101 every day.


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2008 at 8:48 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2008 at 10:13 am

Tinsey (VTP) has nothing to do with building good public schools in EPA ( of course if Ravenswood was a good school district there would be less incentive for the EPA children to come to PAUSD, though they still could).

Redwood City got out of the Tinsley settlement because they met the conditions set in the document as far as disadvantaged minority enrollment. Palo Alto won't in the near future.
As long as the DEFENDANTS in the lawsuit do not meet the conditions, the settlement is binding. It provided for 60 children per year per defendant school district to be able to move into each of those districts, if I remember correctly (about 6.5% of the PAUSD school population now).
Sure, the settlement was signed at a time in which PA was selling schools to be torn down for housing, there were very few McMansions and Palo Alto wasn't touted as a "family place", therefore assuring a lack of population equilibrium. I'm afraid the Tinsley settlement came BEFORE that and court decisions in favor of plaintiffs well before that too.
The other point I want to make is that there are no provisions in the settlement for the change in school population in the defendants' school districts (this is PAUSD's fault). Learn to live with Tinsley (and blame yourself a bit-you moved here after it) . Learn to live with the fact that an obligation doesn't evaporate because your conditions change. It took over 10 years for the Tinsley suit to get to settlement and another 10 before that to lay the fundaments that made it possible. The underlying causes that gave rise to it are historical and we can't change the past and because we can't change the past it impacts on our future. Have you ever wondered why we have a palo alto "UNIFIED" school district? How was the district "built"? By rights EPA SD (ravenswood ) should not have existed. They should have been a part of the PAUSD. PA was lucky that the Tinsley plantiffs "spread" the lawsuit to include other school districts otherwise PA would have become the sole school provider for the EPA students. People who are being so venomous about Tinsley (and the EPA children) should understand that it is indeed in their best interest that VTP is not revisited. It will probably become a moot point in the future and agitating arguments now would unleash a can of worms that better be closed least we have to pay for its conclusions and embroil ourselves in another fight for 20 years and another settlement.
It pains me to think that the objections to Tinsley seem to be of a racial nature mostly. Los Altos students also attend PAUSD school by rights and those rights should have been also conferred upon EPA students. The Tinsley court decisions and the final settlement only highlighted that fact.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2008 at 10:44 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by stereotype buster, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2008 at 12:55 pm

I disagree, Parent. Stereotypes usually consist of what people want to believe, not what others "make them" believe. Blaming a racial group or city boundary on bullying is unfair without numbers and facts. For example, which racial group do you think has had the lowest high school drop-out rate in PAUSD for the last couple years? (Hint: it's not white or Asian). Another hint: the racial group is more predominant in EPA than Palo Alto.
My sense is that the people who are strongly opposed to VTP are also the quickest to blame EPA residents for crime. There's a connection here, folks. Poor schools are more likely to lead to crime than exceptional schools. We don't want "those" kids in our schools, yet we're shocked when they grow up in their struggling schools and head to gangs and crime. Wake up, Palo Alto. Tinsley actually helps reduce crime.
If you're looking for a scapegoat for the shortage of seats, why not blame the last administration & board who didn't respond fast enough to OUR growth, Tinsley being a non-secret fixed 60-student-per-year agreement.
Narnia, it must get tiresome to have to re-explain VTP where it vitriolically pops up on so many threads. Thanks for your well-articulated persistence – it's much-needed in this crowd.


Posted by let's get back to the main topic bullying?, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 17, 2008 at 1:38 pm


Is this the same community that elected the candidate that would like to spread the wealth?

The posters with vitriol towards Tinsley students are more about spread the blame and spread the racism, and spread the ignorance. With this hate, in a few years EPA just might have better schools than Palo Alto because the best teachers will be flocking to work there, and not here. The best teachers are those that besides skill have idealism, and they care about students regardless of zip code.

Keep up this face of the community, and we'll lose the best teachers.

Now when is this thread ever going to go back to the main topic, bullying?

I like that someone reminded us of the definition of bullying, maybe we're making too much out of one-time events? Keeping track of incidents sounds good, but I'd love to hear what kind of infractions are being recorded.








Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2008 at 1:39 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by PhD, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2008 at 1:49 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Narnia,

I disagree with your assertion that PAUSD would have been responsible for EPA. No it wouldn't, for the very simple reason that EPA's in another county.

And part of the settlement was supposed to involve *San Mateo* County providing the support to create better schools in Ravenswood.

From what I can see, Palo Alto takes in the bulk of VTP students but because we're in a different county we actually have no say in what happens to the schools in EPA.

If you think about it, it's a sweet, sweet deal for San Mateo County. The EPA parents who might insist on better schools send their kids over the border to Palo Alto and San Mateo continues to neglect Ravenswood and doesn't even have to take in the bulk of the VTP transfers.

Let's get back,

No, the best teachers aren't going to flock to East Palo Alto. We're Basic Aid and that means we can pay our teachers better--and do--and teachers aren't buying supplies out of their own pocketbooks.

As far as bullying--gee, small group of kids who are relatively disadvantaged--seems to me they'd be more likely to be the *victims* of bullying more than anything.


Posted by stereotype buster, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2008 at 2:21 pm

According to CA Dept of Education, PAUSD's drop-out numbers are 12 White, 3 Asian, 2 Hispanic or Latino, and 0 African American for 2006-2007. How does this relate to the bullying discussion? It dispels a few myths so the discussion can get back to actual bullying, not hypothetical blaming.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Philosophy doctor (PhD) something very elementary to be learned at higher levels is that deficiencies in judgement have a way of ending up as foolish commentaries as in " there will never be a black mayor, a black governor, a black president, etc". or "We'll never live to see that".


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2008 at 3:17 pm

OhlonePar,

My basis for my reasoning is the historical nature of the counties and *unincorporated areas and of the Ravenswood and PAUSD school districts. But most specially it's the legal opinions on the subject.
EPA is the town, but the settlement is with the school districts not the towns or counties. It was entered in freely. PA shouldn't have proposed the settlement if they didn't want it. PA is stuck with it. It's binding. I don't know of any challenge to the suit that invalidated its premisses. We can't change history.
But we can change the amount and ferocity of bullying a little just by being aware of it. I remember well that there was no bullying in Miss. Milligan's class at Palo Verde but the next year the very same children with a different teacher had found themselves with a bully or two in its midst .. Miss Milligan made the kids feel like they were all part of the same team. The other teacher used to scream in the children's faces until she was blue and out of breath and naturally her example was well taken by some of the students. But at Ohlone I saw very little bullying and when it happened was addressed immediately.
Teacher's class conduct has a lot to do with what goes outside the classroom but it's not all. There should also be enough support for teachers and their charges within social and psychological school services.




.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 17, 2008 at 4:14 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Mom, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 17, 2008 at 4:16 pm

Tyler,

Please close this thread--it's gotten out of control, way past the initial subject. Anything more is just babble of stubborn minds.


Posted by narnia, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 17, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Mom,

I think it's a good idea to close the thread. It would have been a better idea not to mention Tinsley in the same breath as bullying because the topics are not related. Posters who made remarks about Tinlsey revealed their complete ignorance about it and bad will towards those Tinsley students. No wonder the children pick such an attitude from their parents. Whether you agree or not you have to know what you are talking about otherwise it's only fair to be corrected on the facts.
As for bullying I didn't see any bullying at Jordan when I volunteered to assist Joan Tag and her team at the newly minted computer center. I am sure that some things have changed but not as much as the parents attitudes.
Next time a topic comes up for discussion stick to it and other people will too..


Posted by Julie, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 17, 2008 at 7:15 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 17, 2008 at 8:31 pm

Every child we have had the pleasure of knowing from the VTP program has polite, pleasant and kind - not just in front of adults, but in front of their peers (and yes, I have kids who will tell me, loudly, who the bullies are).

EVERY bully my kids have encountered have parents who think their child can do no wrong and in some cases, actually encouraged the bullying as a sign of future strength and leadership. One mom thought her bully daughter was disliked by a teacher because she was "popular". She also thinks her behavior means she will be a leader when she is an adult - even thoug her behavior is often anti-semitic and prejudiced. Another thought it was charming that her daughter was "dating" in the 5th grade. Another parent thought that it was fine that his son was physically injuring kids at school and that the principal was making a big deal out of nothing, the boys will be boys thing.

Deterrent to bullying #1 - the presence of adults during free time such as lunch (Jordan has gotten significantly better about that in the past year or two)

Deterrent #2 - a willingness of students to stand-up for each other. A boy in my daughter's class got in trouble (though not a lot) for standing up to the class bully after he picked on another kid one too many times. The bully got a lot better for months. Sometimes all it takes if for a child to stand next to another, no word needed.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 17, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Narnia,

I doubt any "legal opinions" on the subject are definitive. Basically, PAUSD settled because they wanted something manageable. And Tinsley, until the overcrowding problem, was manageable.

I don't see a need to shut down the thread--it doesn't seem to have degenerated into a bunch of personal flames. I will say, though, that overcrowding and lack of supervision are a great way to create situations where bullying occurs.

Just from reading this, though, I get the sense that the bullying situation is more of an issue at the middle schools. Or, perhaps, it's more controlled in the elementary schools.

(And, no, I haven't seen it as an issue at Ohlone, though social interaction stuff gets discussed all the time. But bullying can be subtle and fairly quiet.)


Posted by but seriously, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 18, 2008 at 6:20 am

OP, depends on the elementary school.


Posted by anonymom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2008 at 10:08 am



paly parent,

I agree with your deterrent #1, having more parents during free time works.

Every bully I have ever encountered knows exactly what they're doing, and when an adult is within a reasonable distance, they manage themselves differently. It's the "power" that fuels bullies, so anything that messes with their power is a deterrent.

Speaking of power, I'm especially concerned about power regarding the boy/girl relationships. I just saw a headline about an anonymous Teen survey Tyra banks ran, which includes on average girls are losing their virginity at 15 years of age (consistent with moms that think dating in 5th grade is "charming), but what caught my eye is a quote from a teen on her show, Web Link

"A lot of the guys, if I didn't have unprotected sex with them, they would get mad at me and I still wanted that closeness with them," one girl says during the show. "I was afraid if I didn't do what they wanted, they wouldn't be my friend."


Peer pressure is, in a way, bullying. Maybe the kid is not getting a black eye, or his lunch taken, but consequences in the higher grades get so much higher. So, I think your deterrent #2 is the one that deserves a lot of attention.










Posted by embarassed, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 18, 2008 at 6:27 pm

We moved here 7 years ago from a mostly white/christian neighborhood (out of state). We moved here specifically to be in an environment that was diverse in race, religion, ethnicity, etc. We also wanted to live among people who were "above" the sort of nonsense that is being displayed here. I am ashamed to read the comments of people talking about race and acting like cyber bullys themselves.

I hope we can all step back for a moment and remember we all want what is best for our children, whether we work or not(I'm home full time), or whether we have one child or 6 (I have 3), and regardless of our ethnicity (I'm white). The lack of respect and snarkiness being displayed here just make me plain sad. We don't want our children to bully or be bullied, but what are we as parents doing? Let's start setting the example we want them to follow.

Be the change you want to see in the world!




Posted by embarassed, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 18, 2008 at 6:28 pm

We moved here 7 years ago from a mostly white/christian neighborhood (out of state). We moved here specifically to be in an environment that was diverse in race, religion, ethnicity, etc. We also wanted to live among people who were "above" the sort of nonsense that is being displayed here. I am ashamed to read the comments of people talking about race and acting like cyber bullys themselves.

I hope we can all step back for a moment and remember we all want what is best for our children, whether we work or not(I'm home full time), or whether we have one child or 6 (I have 3), and regardless of our ethnicity (I'm white). The lack of respect and snarkiness being displayed here just make me plain sad. We don't want our children to bully or be bullied, but what are we as parents doing? Let's start setting the example we want them to follow.

Be the change you want to see in the world!




Posted by never say never, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Ohlone Par,

"No, the best teachers aren't going to flock to East Palo Alto. We're Basic Aid and that means we can pay our teachers better--and do--and teachers aren't buying supplies out of their own pocketbooks."

The teachers that work at the Stanford schools in EPA don't look like they're hurting, and could probably get money for supplies from generous donations, with more justification than getting donations for this side of town. As Narnia says, never say never.

Also, lest we forget, we have some of the best and idealistic teachers here already, and I wonder if they would like to teach only white kids, or just rich kids, or just smart kids.








Posted by John, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Nov 27, 2008 at 11:00 am

To teacher mom,

When you say, " . . . I've seen bulling and kids playing the victim . . . " (assuming the word you're looking for is 'bullying'), you sound like you don't believe a child can be victimized by another child, that such a child is "playing" at it, as if they're crying wolf. I feel sorry for the kids in your classroom, and for your own kids, if they cannot go to you for help if a more powerful child, or group, is picking on them on a regular basis. I also wonder if you address the behavior of any bullies in your classroom so that they, too, can be helped. Even if the child who claims they've been bullied isn't perfect and at one time or another did something wrong, does that mean that they don't deserve protection, just as an adult on the street does who is assaulted by a stranger? Sure, sometimes kids do swap roles, where one plays bully one day and victim the next. Which ever role they play, the child playing bully still needs to learn respect just as much as the child playing victim needs to learn to be assertive.

Do you care what your children do to others, and take responsibility for they're behavior? Or do you tell a parent that if they have a problem with the way your child treats theirs, that it's their problem? If your answer to the latter is yes, that's negligence.

If a parent accuses your child of bullying, do you shift the blame by thinking of anything you can to blame them or their child for instead? If yes, that is negligent and irresponsible.

Do you have any empathy, any compassion at all for how the victim or her/his parents feel? Or do you feel like you have to show that parent that they can't tell you anything? If yes, that is narcissistic.

Have you ever told your children to apologize or make amends to anyone outside your family whom your child has hurt? Have you ever apologized for that behavior yourself? If no, that is narcissistic.

If a child comes to you asking for help with a bully, do you set boundaries with the bully? Do you tell them that their behavior is wrong and hurtful so that the victim sees how you do it and so can do it themselves? Or do you tell the victim not to bother you with it, saying that they have to go figure it out on their own? If yes, that is negligence.

When you say, "If a parent is constantly solving their child's problems, they will NEVER learn to defend themselves or develop any resiliency against problems that arise in the 'real world'.", it sounds like an overgeneralization, a claim that things are either all one way or all another. When a child is bullied, any attempts that child makes to get the bully to stop fail, and the victim goes to an adult for help, they are standing up for themselves and showing resiliency. Bullies are only after power, and the adult has more power than the bully and therefore has the responsibility to set boundaries with them in the only way a bully can understand.

You also sound like you're blaiming the victim by putting all the responsibility for getting the bully/bullies to stop on them. That is too much responsibility for a child to handle alone, and the trauma of enduring chronic bullying has life long consequences.

The way you put the word 'never' in all caps gives me the feeling that your opinion is a philosophy that you embrace with religious fervor, and it is that kind of rigid, self-righteous, closed-minded thinking that leads adults to being bullies themselves.

Bullies can't learn to treat others with respect without having adults set boundaries and consequences so that they can learn respect, and right from wrong. Victims can't learn to stand up for themselves in the real world without having these skills role-modeled for them by adults in a compassionate way. If a child's attempts to stop a bully don't work, they deserve adult protection, just as an adult does who calls the police for protection.

An adult authority who denies a victimized child protection is negligent.


Posted by John, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Nov 27, 2008 at 11:00 am

To teacher mom,

When you say, " . . . I've seen bulling and kids playing the victim . . . " (assuming the word you're looking for is 'bullying'), you sound like you don't believe a child can be victimized by another child, that such a child is "playing" at it, as if they're crying wolf. I feel sorry for the kids in your classroom, and for your own kids, if they cannot go to you for help if a more powerful child, or group, is picking on them on a regular basis. I also wonder if you address the behavior of any bullies in your classroom so that they, too, can be helped. Even if the child who claims they've been bullied isn't perfect and at one time or another did something wrong, does that mean that they don't deserve protection, just as an adult on the street does who is assaulted by a stranger? Sure, sometimes kids do swap roles, where one plays bully one day and victim the next. Which ever role they play, the child playing bully still needs to learn respect just as much as the child playing victim needs to learn to be assertive.

Do you care what your children do to others, and take responsibility for they're behavior? Or do you tell a parent that if they have a problem with the way your child treats theirs, that it's their problem? If your answer to the latter is yes, that's negligence.

If a parent accuses your child of bullying, do you shift the blame by thinking of anything you can to blame them or their child for instead? If yes, that is negligent and irresponsible.

Do you have any empathy, any compassion at all for how the victim or her/his parents feel? Or do you feel like you have to show that parent that they can't tell you anything? If yes, that is narcissistic.

Have you ever told your children to apologize or make amends to anyone outside your family whom your child has hurt? Have you ever apologized for that behavior yourself? If no, that is narcissistic.

If a child comes to you asking for help with a bully, do you set boundaries with the bully? Do you tell them that their behavior is wrong and hurtful so that the victim sees how you do it and so can do it themselves? Or do you tell the victim not to bother you with it, saying that they have to go figure it out on their own? If yes, that is negligence.

When you say, "If a parent is constantly solving their child's problems, they will NEVER learn to defend themselves or develop any resiliency against problems that arise in the 'real world'.", it sounds like an overgeneralization, a claim that things are either all one way or all another. When a child is bullied, any attempts that child makes to get the bully to stop fail, and the victim goes to an adult for help, they are standing up for themselves and showing resiliency. Bullies are only after power, and the adult has more power than the bully and therefore has the responsibility to set boundaries with them in the only way a bully can understand.

You also sound like you're blaiming the victim by putting all the responsibility for getting the bully/bullies to stop on them. That is too much responsibility for a child to handle alone, and the trauma of enduring chronic bullying has life long consequences.

The way you put the word 'never' in all caps gives me the feeling that your opinion is a philosophy that you embrace with religious fervor, and it is that kind of rigid, self-righteous, closed-minded thinking that leads adults to being bullies themselves.

Bullies can't learn to treat others with respect without having adults set boundaries and consequences so that they can learn respect, and right from wrong. Victims can't learn to stand up for themselves in the real world without having these skills role-modeled for them by adults in a compassionate way. If a child's attempts to stop a bully don't work, they deserve adult protection, just as an adult does who calls the police for protection.

An adult authority who denies a victimized child protection is negligent.


Posted by John, a resident of Walter Hays School
on Nov 27, 2008 at 11:00 am

To teacher mom,

When you say, " . . . I've seen bulling and kids playing the victim . . . " (assuming the word you're looking for is 'bullying'), you sound like you don't believe a child can be victimized by another child, that such a child is "playing" at it, as if they're crying wolf. I feel sorry for the kids in your classroom, and for your own kids, if they cannot go to you for help if a more powerful child, or group, is picking on them on a regular basis. I also wonder if you address the behavior of any bullies in your classroom so that they, too, can be helped. Even if the child who claims they've been bullied isn't perfect and at one time or another did something wrong, does that mean that they don't deserve protection, just as an adult on the street does who is assaulted by a stranger? Sure, sometimes kids do swap roles, where one plays bully one day and victim the next. Which ever role they play, the child playing bully still needs to learn respect just as much as the child playing victim needs to learn to be assertive.

Do you care what your children do to others, and take responsibility for they're behavior? Or do you tell a parent that if they have a problem with the way your child treats theirs, that it's their problem? If your answer to the latter is yes, that's negligence.

If a parent accuses your child of bullying, do you shift the blame by thinking of anything you can to blame them or their child for instead? If yes, that is negligent and irresponsible.

Do you have any empathy, any compassion at all for how the victim or her/his parents feel? Or do you feel like you have to show that parent that they can't tell you anything? If yes, that is narcissistic.

Have you ever told your children to apologize or make amends to anyone outside your family whom your child has hurt? Have you ever apologized for that behavior yourself? If no, that is narcissistic.

If a child comes to you asking for help with a bully, do you set boundaries with the bully? Do you tell them that their behavior is wrong and hurtful so that the victim sees how you do it and so can do it themselves? Or do you tell the victim not to bother you with it, saying that they have to go figure it out on their own? If yes, that is negligence.

When you say, "If a parent is constantly solving their child's problems, they will NEVER learn to defend themselves or develop any resiliency against problems that arise in the 'real world'.", it sounds like an overgeneralization, a claim that things are either all one way or all another. When a child is bullied, any attempts that child makes to get the bully to stop fail, and the victim goes to an adult for help, they are standing up for themselves and showing resiliency. Bullies are only after power, and the adult has more power than the bully and therefore has the responsibility to set boundaries with them in the only way a bully can understand.

You also sound like you're blaiming the victim by putting all the responsibility for getting the bully/bullies to stop on them. That is too much responsibility for a child to handle alone, and the trauma of enduring chronic bullying has life long consequences.

The way you put the word 'never' in all caps gives me the feeling that your opinion is a philosophy that you embrace with religious fervor, and it is that kind of rigid, self-righteous, closed-minded thinking that leads adults to being bullies themselves.

Bullies can't learn to treat others with respect without having adults set boundaries and consequences so that they can learn respect, and right from wrong. Victims can't learn to stand up for themselves in the real world without having these skills role-modeled for them by adults in a compassionate way. If a child's attempts to stop a bully don't work, they deserve adult protection, just as an adult does who calls the police for protection.

An adult authority who denies a victimized child protection is negligent.


Posted by EX-Victim with a Spine, Non-Violent Communication in Some Circumstances Does not Make you A Pussy,, a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 1, 2008 at 2:45 am

While I live in Mountain View, I feel compelled to make a statement. I'm going to attempt a non-violent communication in this post, thus being the change I wish to see in the world. I will also state that my cultural background is Latina or of European extraction as well, 1st generation American.

I have seen much communication going on in this board that may bode well on what I fear the future of the human race will become, which it is my duty to think about as a writer, and philosopher. Bullying has been around since humans were living in hunter-gatherer societies. Having been a survivor of Catholic school (1st-12th), despite how I learned great academic skills, and some people did wind up growing up at the bitter end, I respectfully disagree with people who seem to feel that bullying has to teach people to cope with life being unfair. Well duh, we all will experience life being unfair, even with the canned success of the self-esteem generation itself.

While a charmed life is sometimes an option for the overprotected (lucky them), there is such thing as not allowing someone to struggle or at least take risks in unordinary reality that will cut the apron strings (my present situation). Too much harshness leads to the many health problems I've been coping with, that your kids whom you people think bullying is healthy for, to deal with later on. That is immoral, I'm talking about the principal of letting kids face extremes of suffering, not the person who said this. People here have spent the last month attacking individuals, their character, their ideas, or the targets of bullying themselves, not looking in the mirror to address their own inner darkness here. Is that the kind of society we want? Do you want your kids to learn that from you?

Too often in our harsh and intolerant society (the Bay Area is no exception despite our perception that we live in a bubble), we find ourselves lacking in compassion to people who talk about their pain by telling them to 'get over it' or 'move on into the future'. Trauma is not resolved that way, not by a long shot. I'm 27 but I have had some dark times. My own family is not that functional but I'll leave it at that because I don't want to reveal myself even as you may get hints of who I am through this. You could start by not yelling names out at me if you're with your friends to look cool or intimidate me. Newsflash: I don't scare easy.

I have gone on in my career without stopping for much relaxation, to earn a BA in Creative Writing, after finishing two AA degrees, one in anthropology and one in creative writing to highlight my educational background even if I'm unemployed at the moment.

Labeling kids the way the schools do is an annoyance because kids see themselves as 'whatever', as if I didn't deal with enough growing up with Type 1 diabetes, a subject of much harassment, and another that was diagnosed in college, hypothyroidism, which is currently giving me drama. I'll leave it at that, seeing as I am going to state that I was a target of bullying for those reasons in school by cruel jerks who didn't know any better since people are quite content to tell others who suffer from chronic illness or disability "why feel sorry for yourself?" Translates to: You will make other people feel sorry for you so have to be on edge with your guilt. Disability of any kind, be it collections of traits, or disorders, mental or physical, do not make someone have bad character. Your family didn't 'do something wrong in the past' to deserve the 'punishment' of having a child with a disability. I cannot begin to describe my disgust with that sentiment, whose cultural roots I'm not going to name.

Bottom line: is that we're in for a wild ride in the US of A. Cruel humans who have been bullies to me, have at times threatened my life. This was in a former living situation. Telling someone to not be angry at the illness or limitation, is simply distasteful to me. People are human, we have feelings, and YES, we are Angry.

I had to put on a fake, bubbly positiveness all the time growing up. I didn't realize that the more positive a person is, the more they are suffering on the inside. People wonder why people blow their brains out or hang themselves like various actors have done... its because they get sick of being a positive attitude robot. Can we just tell our kids not to feel bad? Guilt is a natural response for some, unless you're a 'functional sociopath'.


A 5th grade teacher once said "Don't worry, it will get better in college." Ridiculous statement because certainly, it didn't get better. As a somewhat retired at present, martial arts student who earned the rank of Blue Belt in a school in Palo Alto, I have to say that there are times when physical violence is the only way to 'teach' someone. Among subjects like studying a masters of science in psychology that I can't afford, I'm interested in esoteric subjects as well as a law degree farther in the future.

I resent being treated by the general public from the entire North Bay down to the South Bay and beyond, as though people who are 4'10 are somehow deficient in their brains because of their height. You know that's not right, so don't do it. Knock it off, its not helpful to me or my stress levels. I know some may be my imagination. Its lame to do this if it is even being done. I will call you on it from now on, and put those who need to be, in their places.

Dwarves are 4'5, midget applies to 4'7 and Shawn Johnson is 4'9 but that's still not a midget. Lay off the desire to shout slurs like 'retarded' much less 'midget' at short individuals. I resent th term vertically challenged. People are in fact, jealous of my true abilities, my intelligence, the way my energy is somehow felt by others. There is my interest in the esoteric, and in general, my personality that makes me a formidable woman to begin with. Granted, some will be intimidated, but I refuse to dumb myself down, let alone change myself for anybody. Whether I'm a rebel without a cause, or rebel with a cause, I believe in ethics till the day I drop dead. Not protecting kids from too much bullying is in effect, a highlight of the unethical parenting that the parent who holds this perspective is doing. This reflects badly on her.

I am a radical feminist also, who knows that women are vicious bullies as well. I'm looking for some progressive Latinas (not necessarily into what I'm into). at the moment who are into zero politics friendships.

Women friends like that in general are nice. My friends for the most part are male because of my past issues with women that make me wary. There is some exceptions though, and we have worked through our Mean Girl days that are done. Girls of any ethnic group are people I'm interested in cultivating friendships with. Judgmental behavior of any kind is not cool though. I'm also annoyed with people who seem to feel they can assign sexuality to anybody. Excuse me if I'm into ultra rough and tumble sports or at least when I fix my thyroid, will get back into working part-time and martial arts, and adding some interesting, oh so "Unfeminine" sporting endeavors. Machismo doesn't run my life.

Pacifism in some situations may not work. I will not stand for being accused of hypocrisy as some might dare try, but see how I can at least I can maintain two ideas in a balanced manner far better than many people can stand in their own heads when coping with an idea that's diametrically opposing theirs. I can't relate everything I've been through in one post but I've had roommates continually harass me when I lived at on campus housing until I found a better situation. I've found that some bullies could be what I call 'functional sociopath's. These people are able to charm the pants off people but then when called out for being perceived as who they really are, okay, they'll get scared.

I appreciate the parent on this board, someone with sense, who told her kids that were being physically harassed to fight back. Hitting is not 'discipline' by a long shot when done by a teacher or a parent. Don't get the wrong idea. For the sake of editing, I will be polite even if one person gets away with using the term "pussies". A pussy to me, is the bully, not the snitch. If you're a snitch, that's different. Being brave about facing real pain is dealing with it head on. Too many spent time drowning in alcoholism, and other garbage that desensitizes them or so they hope. I'm also sickened by the tendency around here

Let's just say this, as a repeated target of bullying even through college (Dorm life was not my cup of tea), I have forgiven all but 2 of my 8th grade classmates, who are still bullies that have not outgrown their need to be jealous losers who thrive on putting me down. I'd say you guys know who I am from sight, from seeing me 'around'. Perhaps you're one of the few, the proud, those who yell slurs based on height or perceived intelligence/its lacking thereof because of height and the acne I struggle with that implies I have quite a few chronic illnesses that also made me a target of bullying in a school that told my parents "She can take care of herself", from at least 2nd grade.


There are a great many generalizations being made along with accusations. Some of you are not realizing one thing: you're feeding into the hysteria that makes up American society, fear of the Other, resentment of immigration when excuse me, even the Native Americans had to cross the Bering Strait so we're not all holier than thou for coming here.

To tell someone that they're lucky to be able to live here at all is just plain racist. We all have to look in the mirror. Anybody can be a bully. I've found some on this board right here.

Although my marbles are in there better than some of you long term Bay Area people who may know me care to admit, I can freely say I have been both the bully and the bullied.

We all have the right to be who we are or who we decide. Nobody can assign us identities let alone change how we perceive the world because hey, its our soul.

Telling someone who is not your religion that you are going to hell is like making hell on earth while speaking to them with such a hurtful, harassing comment. That's not acceptance! You want your kids not to bully? Then quit being one!

Set an example. If I've presented some radical ideas that don't sit well with you, I'm not afraid of anything you got, I stand by my integrity. The belief in being free to be who we are is radical..granted, that's why some people choose religion, sexuality, gender, and how they choose to perceive their disabilities or diseases. I don't hate men at all as a radical feminist but I hate misogyny and I hate HATE of all kinds. Be the change you wish to see in the world and don't look down on a man unless you're helping him up. We still have much to work on I see. I apologize also for all the times I have ever been a bigot, whether at school or any where else.


Posted by EX Victim, Non Violent Communication in Some Situations Doesn't Make You a Pussy, a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 1, 2008 at 2:47 am

While I live in Mountain View, I feel compelled to make a statement. I'm going to attempt a non-violent communication in this post, thus being the change I wish to see in the world. I will also state that my cultural background is Latina or of European extraction as well, 1st generation American.

I have seen much communication going on in this board that may bode well on what I fear the future of the human race will become, which it is my duty to think about as a writer, and philosopher. Bullying has been around since humans were living in hunter-gatherer societies. Having been a survivor of Catholic school (1st-12th), despite how I learned great academic skills, and some people did wind up growing up at the bitter end, I respectfully disagree with people who seem to feel that bullying has to teach people to cope with life being unfair. Well duh, we all will experience life being unfair, even with the canned success of the self-esteem generation itself.

While a charmed life is sometimes an option for the overprotected (lucky them), there is such thing as not allowing someone to struggle or at least take risks in unordinary reality that will cut the apron strings (my present situation). Too much harshness leads to the many health problems I've been coping with, that your kids whom you people think bullying is healthy for, to deal with later on. That is immoral, I'm talking about the principal of letting kids face extremes of suffering, not the person who said this. People here have spent the last month attacking individuals, their character, their ideas, or the targets of bullying themselves, not looking in the mirror to address their own inner darkness here. Is that the kind of society we want? Do you want your kids to learn that from you?

Too often in our harsh and intolerant society (the Bay Area is no exception despite our perception that we live in a bubble), we find ourselves lacking in compassion to people who talk about their pain by telling them to 'get over it' or 'move on into the future'. Trauma is not resolved that way, not by a long shot. I'm 27 but I have had some dark times. My own family is not that functional but I'll leave it at that because I don't want to reveal myself even as you may get hints of who I am through this. You could start by not yelling names out at me if you're with your friends to look cool or intimidate me. Newsflash: I don't scare easy.

I have gone on in my career without stopping for much relaxation, to earn a BA in Creative Writing, after finishing two AA degrees, one in anthropology and one in creative writing to highlight my educational background even if I'm unemployed at the moment.

Labeling kids the way the schools do is an annoyance because kids see themselves as 'whatever', as if I didn't deal with enough growing up with Type 1 diabetes, a subject of much harassment, and another that was diagnosed in college, hypothyroidism, which is currently giving me drama. I'll leave it at that, seeing as I am going to state that I was a target of bullying for those reasons in school by cruel jerks who didn't know any better since people are quite content to tell others who suffer from chronic illness or disability "why feel sorry for yourself?" Translates to: You will make other people feel sorry for you so have to be on edge with your guilt. Disability of any kind, be it collections of traits, or disorders, mental or physical, do not make someone have bad character. Your family didn't 'do something wrong in the past' to deserve the 'punishment' of having a child with a disability. I cannot begin to describe my disgust with that sentiment, whose cultural roots I'm not going to name.

Bottom line: is that we're in for a wild ride in the US of A. Cruel humans who have been bullies to me, have at times threatened my life. This was in a former living situation. Telling someone to not be angry at the illness or limitation, is simply distasteful to me. People are human, we have feelings, and YES, we are Angry.

I had to put on a fake, bubbly positiveness all the time growing up. I didn't realize that the more positive a person is, the more they are suffering on the inside. People wonder why people blow their brains out or hang themselves like various actors have done... its because they get sick of being a positive attitude robot. Can we just tell our kids not to feel bad? Guilt is a natural response for some, unless you're a 'functional sociopath'.


A 5th grade teacher once said "Don't worry, it will get better in college." Ridiculous statement because certainly, it didn't get better. As a somewhat retired at present, martial arts student who earned the rank of Blue Belt in a school in Palo Alto, I have to say that there are times when physical violence is the only way to 'teach' someone. Among subjects like studying a masters of science in psychology that I can't afford, I'm interested in esoteric subjects as well as a law degree farther in the future.

I resent being treated by the general public from the entire North Bay down to the South Bay and beyond, as though people who are 4'10 are somehow deficient in their brains because of their height. You know that's not right, so don't do it. Knock it off, its not helpful to me or my stress levels. I know some may be my imagination. Its lame to do this if it is even being done. I will call you on it from now on, and put those who need to be, in their places.

Dwarves are 4'5, midget applies to 4'7 and Shawn Johnson is 4'9 but that's still not a midget. Lay off the desire to shout slurs like 'retarded' much less 'midget' at short individuals. I resent th term vertically challenged. People are in fact, jealous of my true abilities, my intelligence, the way my energy is somehow felt by others. There is my interest in the esoteric, and in general, my personality that makes me a formidable woman to begin with. Granted, some will be intimidated, but I refuse to dumb myself down, let alone change myself for anybody. Whether I'm a rebel without a cause, or rebel with a cause, I believe in ethics till the day I drop dead. Not protecting kids from too much bullying is in effect, a highlight of the unethical parenting that the parent who holds this perspective is doing. This reflects badly on her.

I am a radical feminist also, who knows that women are vicious bullies as well. I'm looking for some progressive Latinas (not necessarily into what I'm into). at the moment who are into zero politics friendships.

Women friends like that in general are nice. My friends for the most part are male because of my past issues with women that make me wary. There is some exceptions though, and we have worked through our Mean Girl days that are done. Girls of any ethnic group are people I'm interested in cultivating friendships with. Judgmental behavior of any kind is not cool though. I'm also annoyed with people who seem to feel they can assign sexuality to anybody. Excuse me if I'm into ultra rough and tumble sports or at least when I fix my thyroid, will get back into working part-time and martial arts, and adding some interesting, oh so "Unfeminine" sporting endeavors. Machismo doesn't run my life.

Pacifism in some situations may not work. I will not stand for being accused of hypocrisy as some might dare try, but see how I can at least I can maintain two ideas in a balanced manner far better than many people can stand in their own heads when coping with an idea that's diametrically opposing theirs. I can't relate everything I've been through in one post but I've had roommates continually harass me when I lived at on campus housing until I found a better situation. I've found that some bullies could be what I call 'functional sociopath's. These people are able to charm the pants off people but then when called out for being perceived as who they really are, okay, they'll get scared.

I appreciate the parent on this board, someone with sense, who told her kids that were being physically harassed to fight back. Hitting is not 'discipline' by a long shot when done by a teacher or a parent. Don't get the wrong idea. For the sake of editing, I will be polite even if one person gets away with using the term "pussies". A pussy to me, is the bully, not the snitch. If you're a snitch, that's different. Being brave about facing real pain is dealing with it head on. Too many spent time drowning in alcoholism, and other garbage that desensitizes them or so they hope. I'm also sickened by the tendency around here

Let's just say this, as a repeated target of bullying even through college (Dorm life was not my cup of tea), I have forgiven all but 2 of my 8th grade classmates, who are still bullies that have not outgrown their need to be jealous losers who thrive on putting me down. I'd say you guys know who I am from sight, from seeing me 'around'. Perhaps you're one of the few, the proud, those who yell slurs based on height or perceived intelligence/its lacking thereof because of height and the acne I struggle with that implies I have quite a few chronic illnesses that also made me a target of bullying in a school that told my parents "She can take care of herself", from at least 2nd grade.


There are a great many generalizations being made along with accusations. Some of you are not realizing one thing: you're feeding into the hysteria that makes up American society, fear of the Other, resentment of immigration when excuse me, even the Native Americans had to cross the Bering Strait so we're not all holier than thou for coming here.

To tell someone that they're lucky to be able to live here at all is just plain racist. We all have to look in the mirror. Anybody can be a bully. I've found some on this board right here.

Although my marbles are in there better than some of you long term Bay Area people who may know me care to admit, I can freely say I have been both the bully and the bullied.

We all have the right to be who we are or who we decide. Nobody can assign us identities let alone change how we perceive the world because hey, its our soul.

Telling someone who is not your religion that you are going to hell is like making hell on earth while speaking to them with such a hurtful, harassing comment. That's not acceptance! You want your kids not to bully? Then quit being one!

Set an example. If I've presented some radical ideas that don't sit well with you, I'm not afraid of anything you got, I stand by my integrity. The belief in being free to be who we are is radical..granted, that's why some people choose religion, sexuality, gender, and how they choose to perceive their disabilities or diseases. I don't hate men at all as a radical feminist but I hate misogyny and I hate HATE of all kinds. Be the change you wish to see in the world and don't look down on a man unless you're helping him up. We still have much to work on I see. I apologize also for all the times I have ever been a bigot, whether at school or any where else.


Posted by BCS parent, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Dec 12, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Regarding the teacher bullied by parents:
why does the principal not have a no-tolerance
policy for this? This principal is not taking
care of her staff. School policy needs to be
made clear to the community.


Posted by EX Victim, Non Violent Communication in Some Situations Doesn't Make You a Pussy, a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 19, 2008 at 3:48 pm

To BCS Parent,

I have observed, participated in, and rejected at times, the mechanisms of bullying.

I'm not a parent, nor do I choose to become one but I have seen parents be bullied by teachers, as well as the other way around.

Remembering is hard sometimes. You don't want to see your own family caught in this stress as a child.

Non-violent communication is something I believe in, and would like to take courses in given I get out of being very financially challenged at the moment for many reasons including my health.

All too often, justice is not even considered in many areas. Evil persists when good men do nothing. We let injustice happen when we choose not to do anything. I'm a conscientious objector in many areas. I'm not about injustice in any sense of the word, but I do go after many an injustice.


Posted by paly reporter, a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jan 14, 2009 at 3:41 pm

Paly's Site Council just passed funds to start Link Crew, a freshman transition program at the school. Read the article at:

Web Link


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