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Feds: 'No civil rights violations'
Original post made
on Jan 16, 2014
Federal investigators have found that the Palo Alto school district did not violate the civil rights of two disabled student in the way it handled their complaints of bullying.
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Thursday, January 16, 2014, 11:51 AM
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Posted by Edmund Burke
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 16, 2014 at 9:52 pm
Thank you "one of the settlements" for posting about your experience. It is important to know as well that "closing" a case does not mean that it resolved on terms favorable to the district. It can mean that the parties agreed to mediation to resolve the complaint. That happened in one case involving disability discrimination in 2012.
For those who would like a scorecard here is one:
1. Sex discrimination, 2012, closed, no information on what the terms of the resolution were.
2. Disability discrimination 2012, early resolution, mediation, family told the Weekly that the district retaliated against them and they regretted settling.
3. Disability discrimination, 2012, lack of 504 procedures. Resolution Agreement. Described by claimant above. Claimant says that it was a good resolution but district still has work to do, see 9 below.
4. Disability harassment, 2012, Letter of Finding, Resolution Agreement, Terman.
5. Disability harassment, 2012-13, Duveneck School, insufficient evidence of discrimination.
6. Disability harassment, 2012-13, Jordan School, insufficient evidence of discrimination.
7. Sexual harassment, 2012-13, Paly, compliance review under Title IX., still pending.
8. Racial discrimiantion, 2012, Jordan, insufficient evidence of discrimination.
9. Disability discrimination, Section 504, failure to follow procedures. Still open.
I think the district deserves credit for lessons learned to the extent that it made reforms based on the Terman and JLS Resolution Agreements. I don't think that is the whole story due to the time-frames involved. Part of the story is that what we are seeing in the uneven results is to some extent the result of site-based control, and a lack of standardized procedures. Some students, in some schools receive better outcomes and better process than others, depending on the principal, the staff, and the local practices in place.
The problem is that there was never any public investigation or discussion of what happened in the first two cases, why things got off track, and how to fix them. We therefore have no idea whether the original issues are resolved, or whether these two schools are just better run than Terman in the first place.
Without a full, public, impartial investigation into what went wrong it is just not possible to know how to interpret the conflicting signals we have from these various cases. In an environment of decentralization and site-based control, these cases may literally have nothing to do with each other. The only way to understand this situation is with real transparency. So far, all information has had to be pried from the district by the press, including forcing the board to open its BPRC meetings in accordance with the Brown Act. The public should not have to fight for scraps of information about something so important.
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