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Women tell of high school partners who harassed, assaulted them

Original post made on May 23, 2014

Two former Gunn High School students are speaking out about the abusive relationships they were involved in and the difficulties they encountered in trying to get help from school staff.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 23, 2014, 8:20 AM

Comments (11)

Posted by parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 23, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Reading about the school's failure to help these young ladies makes me really ill. They could have helped. They could have had a person talking to them every single day!!!

I'm sorry, I'm sorry on behalf of everyone who just watched. We either do not have enough adults in school or the ones who are there really don't get it.





Posted by George Orwell, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 24, 2014 at 12:04 am

George Orwell is a registered user.

Bravo! Restrict the thread, silence the discussion!

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations." G. Orwell


Posted by frustrated mom, a resident of Palo Verde
on May 26, 2014 at 11:15 pm

frustrated mom is a registered user.

These are so sad stories, I can't believe that these girls could not find help at school when everyone knew what was going on. It breaks my heart to read this story. My hearth goes out to these two girls. I am sorry no one was there for you. Thanks Palo Alto Weekly for these amazing reports. Again, you are the only one there for the victims. PAUSD is only there to receive the donations. So glad Skelly is leaving, hopefully when our new Super comes he will be what the community needs and we will start a new day. I am wonder how many more victims of PAUSD are out there.


Posted by Left of Boom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 11:22 am

Left of Boom is a registered user.

Maybe Gunn HS should be included in the Rape Culture OCR investigation.


Posted by peppered, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 11:28 am

peppered is a registered user.

I believe Noreen Likins was the principal at that time. Not sure but could have been our dear Phil Winston who was the administrator referred to.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 27, 2014 at 11:55 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


Posted by Edmund Burke, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 27, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Edmund Burke is a registered user.

@Left wrote "Maybe Gunn HS should be included in the Rape Culture OCR investigation."

OCR is indeed investigating Gunn at this time as well as Paly. Both school struggle with Title IX compliance. That should not be a surprise since both schools have the same Title IX Compliance Officer, Charles Young. The public should ask whether it is time for Young to be replaced with someone who will better enforce Title IX, and also whether all staff needs to be better trained by a new compliance officer.

No school is perfect. In PAUSD's case, no lessons appear to be learned following mistakes. It is time to stop turning a blind eye to repeated mistakes of the same variety. This district should put a period at the end of this long-standing compliance issue, stop being a scofflaw, and turn over a new, more legally surefooted, leaf.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

[Post removed to protect confidentiality of victims.]


Posted by PA mom, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 27, 2014 at 5:49 pm

PA mom is a registered user.

I've learned first hand and through reading and listening to others' stories that blaming the victim, or refusing to take them seriously are far too common in those or similar situations. Some people identity with the aggressor because they see them as the strong powerful one and the victim as being too weak. They rally behind the perpetrator(s), defending their right to an education, to come and go as they please and when the victim doesn't like it they have to switch classes, schools or even neighborhoods. Sometimes in the end the truth comes out and people cry, "how could this have happened, how could we not have seen what was really going on?"

The reasons are because bullies and abusers are often good at subterfuge, at lying to students and adults so convincingly that it's actually the victims that are at fault, not them. They find followers who rally behind them in targeting their victim whom no one believes or takes seriously. Parents of bullies sometimes try to protect their kids from the consequences of their actions and refuse to hold them accountable or take responsibility for their kids. That's why sometimes trying to resolve it with the parents only makes things worse. It's a hard decision for parents of victims to make, and if the perpetrators parents seem difficult, it's better to go through the school or police than the parents.

In most times it's important that schools believe the one who reports abuse and issue consequences, making the abuser switch classes/schools rather than the victim. When a student has a pattern, though of being reported and them counter-blaming is when they are probably blaming the victim. Unfortunately PAUSD fears law suits from parents of bullies, and has a proven tract record of dismissing bullying complaints. This has been my recent experience, that of other parents I know and also written about in the local papers.

Back when my son was at Jordan in the early 2000's, the staff their were excellent at swiftly responding to bullying and setting immediate limits (quick investigation by talking with witnesses, suspension, loss of privileges, contacting parents and meetings with their counselor) so that it was stopped; just how it's supposed to be. Thing have gone down hill since then. Oh, how I miss those days!


Posted by Bru, a resident of Crescent Park
on May 30, 2014 at 2:12 am

Bru is a registered user.

Hey George, brilliant quote ...

"Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations." George Orwell


Posted by George Orwell, a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 31, 2014 at 7:53 am

George Orwell is a registered user.

Dear Bru,
Thanks. I wrote somewhere that looking back I would have articulated a bit more and mentioned also timing. along these lines:
Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed, when someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.


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