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Parents demand probe of 'egg war' investigation

Original post made on Nov 19, 2009

Angry Palo Alto High School parents are calling for a probe by the school board and district superintendent into how Paly officials conducted a two-week investigation of the Oct. 27 "egg wars" fight behind Gunn High School.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, November 19, 2009, 3:43 PM

Comments (140)

Posted by parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Jackie Mc has dug herself into the exact position she hoped to avoid...a potential lawsuit concerning due process, constitutional rights, equal protection....Remember, the issue is about how the situation was handled, not that it needed to be handled or that accountability for the damage and clean up needed to be taken.


Posted by senior, a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:12 pm

this is ridiculous, mcevoy's just doing her job. what those kids did was wrong and honestly most of them didn't even accept responsibility. they need to grow up and their over protective parents need to let them. i know that if i had participated in an activity like this, my parents would make me accept responsibility. its a matter of principle


Posted by whiners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:13 pm

The parents are just whiners. Next time, teach your kids not to vandalize school buildings.


Posted by Paly Parent #2, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:17 pm

"I'm not saying, Don't punish my child if you feel it is necessary,"

From my vantage point as a mother of a 16 year old at Paly, that's exactly what these parents are saying. They are upset their child got caught for vandalizing Gunn and do not want a consequence for their son's or daughter's behavior. Sour grapes.


Posted by Paly Class of 2012, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Just because I go to paly don't add me to the list of paly students who did this mess. Most of us at paly are upset with the juniors and seniors for doing this and some of them are my friends. I do not always like what our teachers and Mcevoy do and say but they got this one right.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:39 pm

The Egg War was stupid and wrong - that is not the issue.

Dr. McEvoy's overreaction to this event was not a one time thing. Over the years, she has consistently jumped to conclusions, picked the harshest punishment possible, and presumed guilt instead of innocence.

While some of the parents certainly over reacted, this call for an investigation is years in the making.


Posted by Sympathetic, a resident of another community
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Put yourself in the parents' position. Having this kind of thing on their student's record means forget about Harvard, and all their efforts to buy a house in Palo Alto and to stage manage their children have been wasted.


Posted by Paly Junior, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm

This is ridiculous and needs to stop. The discussion, the emails, the letters, everything. Our community clearly has much more serious issues to worry about. What happened on Oct. 28 and the following days is over. The Paly community needs to realize that we have different administrators than we had in 2005. Maybe they are more stringent, If you vandalize property you are going to be punished - with more than just community service. And get some perspective - a suspension is not going to ruin your life.


Posted by Former Paly Parent, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Dr. McEvoy is an unpopular principal but these Paly parents should be ashamed of themselves. These egg tossers, drunk dancers, Freshmen Friday hazers, and vandals need to suck it up and take responsibility for their actions. But no, their parents are coming in with guns blazing, threatening legal action when the Paly administration is trying to do their job. I have two kids who graduated from Paly and did not need to hang out with the vandals in order to have a good school experience. Both kids stopped going to dances because of all the drunks. Maybe Dr. McEvoy could work with a team of STUDENTS to come up with a peer to peer way of letting them know there will be consequences for naughty behavior. I think the parents should take a giant step backward.


Posted by Sue the parents of vandals., a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Maybe we should get a list of parent that are (a) involved in this and (b) had kids involved in vandalizing Gunn, then sue them for damages to Gunn.

Small claims court would be appropriate for this.

Some please post the names of parents involved please.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm

Sorry, don't like vandalism, but McEvoy needs a less combative management style. Her whole approach has been counterproductive.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:05 pm

McEvoy's actions have been over the top since she arrived. Funny she says that communication is the key. I have seen very little of her communication skills before she changed things that had been happening for years. I might mention historical reenactments in this context which resulted in losing a great teacher and other teachers who have found it difficult working without communication before announcing changes.

I don't think this really is anything to do with eggwars being right or wrong, much more with an administration that can't administer communication before acting - just acts and refuses to listen to reason. If only an announcement to students and an email or phone call was sent out to parents before then the problem probably would never have happened. That is what is called communication and administration.


Posted by h.grail, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:22 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:25 pm

Seeing lawyer-parents getting involved, trying to throw their weight around - that makes me sad for the prospects for those kids and how they will learn to deal with problems. This phenomenon is not unique to Palo Alto unfortunately (I once saw an after-school program sued by a lawyer-parent whose kid didn't get in through a lottery! The much loved executive director just quit rather than deal with it), but it is nonetheless sad and bad for our community.

Sorry you guys don't like the principal. But I hope though that Skelly and the Board back their selected person against these parents. And I hope the majority of good and supportive parents at Paly take no part in this.

BTW - anyone who thinks this creates a mark on the "permanent record" and will effect getting into college - that is just wrong. You think Harvard cares about an egg war suspension??

Glad my kids go to Gunn ;-)


Posted by whiners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:28 pm

The only kids that got a "mark on their record" are the proven vandals, right? They should be thankful they do not have a criminal conviction on their record. If they keep pushing this issue, the school should turn the matter over to the police.


Posted by Paly Student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:51 pm

'Whiners', stop overreacting.
The students who participated should definitely not have a 'criminal conviction' on their record. That is outrageous. This is a Paly Tradition. Yes, they made a mistake doing it at Gunn. No, they should not have been suspended.

'If they keep pushing this issue, the school should turn the matter over to the police.'
You really need to get more informed on the issue. The suspensions are over, why would the police get involved? They haven't been issuing out any more suspensions anyways. Why would you turn it over to the police? It wouldn't make any sense at this point.


Posted by Midtown mom, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:52 pm

Ever since McEvoy came on board, I have heard from Paly parents how heavy handed and unfair she is with both students and staff. How she handled the egg wars, from beginning to end, was shameful. The whole situation could have been avoided if she had not decided to set up a trap for the students.

I applaud the parents who are taking action against her.

When kids' parents are tyrants and when school principals are tyrants, what are the consequences for the kids and the community? Please think about it... it's a timely topic.


Posted by Another parent, a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:01 pm

"The "egg wars" this year occurred at Bol Park and on the Gunn campus after students encountered police at the originally planned location, a eucalyptus grove at Stanford University."
The egg wars may have begun at Bol Park but they spread through much of the campus, including the new sports facilities, which they polluted and defaced permanently. This is poor 'journalism' and since the minimization of what was done at Gunn has been part of the argument, I feel it must be pointed out. I'm with the folks who don't want young people to avoid the consequences of their actions, however it does seem that the Paly administration could use some additional training. If they aren't willing to see the flaws in their approach this problem will grow. When you have poor disciplinary tactics it creates a rich environment for overzealous parents and their entitled children to run amok as they appear to be doing here.


Posted by whiners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:03 pm

Hey Paly Student - the parents could let this issue quietly die, but they are demanding more investigations. The title of the newspaper article even uses the word DEMAND. If they want an investigation, let an independent outside body investigate it. Who else but the police should be investigating criminal activity? Let them get to the bottom of it and hand out any punishment that they see fit.

Or the parents could just shut up.

And if vandalism is a Paly Tradition, it needs to stop now. They are lucky the damage could be repaired and no one was seriously hurt.


Posted by Paly Student, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm

@Whiners:
Vandalism is not a Paly tradition. Egg Wars is (just like at many other high schools). It was moved to Gunn after the Police showed up at Stanford. Telling the parents to shut up? Very positive. The parents should be able to express their frustration with how the situation was handled.

@Another Parent:
Nothing was defaced permanently. It was all cleaned up and damages were paid for by Paly. Check your facts.


Posted by whiners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Like I said, if the parents demand a full investigation, let the police do it. A full investigation should consider all sides of the incident, starting with the crime itself.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Actually Paly Student-- you should check your facts. There is permanent damage to the GUNN track. Egg is a very hard substance to remove. You can research the removal process and the permanent damage that egg can cause on the internet--

However, if you would just answer this one question-- why do the choices of the location of egg wars come down to the Stanford Campus or the Gunn community? No other parks in the entire town?


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:36 pm

Well so much for just moving on.....though this is one way to move on.....

What I hope Paly parents realize is that this type of over the top "discipline" occurs willy nilly at many other schools. Imagine how charter and privatized "public" schools can wander.


Posted by Paly Parent, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:45 pm

I can imagine a kid getting traumatized after being questioned by two Assistant Principals. My kid was not involved in the Egg War, but she had a situation a while back where she had to talk to Assistant Principal Diorio, and the talk was worst than the situation itself. She was crying for days because of the talk.


Posted by ES, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Does anyone remember the cool, level-headed interim principal at Paly, Sandra Pearson, who stepped in at the last minute to take over for a principal who left several weeks before school was slated to start for the year?

She was experienced, cool and level headed and very wise. She related well to the adminstration, teachers, parents, and students alike. She garnered respect and attention for her management style. She was called upon to manage during very difficult times - the suicides of two popular and well-liked students, and did it in a caring, feeling manner. During her brief assignment, she showed true leadership. Paly had a "captain" at the helm, steering the school through tumultuous waters. I can't say the school has been managed at all well since Sandra Pearson's all too brief stay.


Posted by Bruce Li., a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:04 pm

whiners,

Are you kidding! If the cops get involved now then some of these kids would probably be cited for vandalism and then become part of the juvenile justice system. We don't want our juveniles to really be held accountable for the damage they caused then the parents would need to hire attorneys to whine to the courts that the PAPD are being overzealous and abusing the law. Give me a break parents, your kids messed up, let them learn from this and suffer the consequences. PAUSD is doing their best to educate these kids about responsibility for actions and consequences; more so it seems than some parents. Think of the positive side, maybe they'll learn something from this and grow up to be good defense lawyers some day!!!


Posted by Parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:17 pm

How was the clean-up paid for? Did the students who participated foot the bill? I hope no one who was not involved was held financially responsible.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:43 pm

Again - this in not about one incident. There are several years worth of heavy handed, over the top discipline that need to be dealt with.

BTW - The police knew about this as it was happening, they didn't arrest anyone, did they.

And Sandra Pearson is terrific. She also acted as interim principal at Jordan when a similarly heavy-handed, guilty until proven innocent principal left in the middle of the school year. Wish she were back at Paly.


Posted by high school parent, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:47 pm

I would love to see the energy of these parents redirected in a more constructive way. Maybe the school admin didn't handle this the way you'd like, but really, is this how you want to spend your time? We need more volunteers to watch the tracks. Any interest? I'm sure the food banks need help. How about modeling community service for your kids instead of defending them against an already overworked high school admin team. Better yet, have them volunteer along side you. Believe me, when they get to college or the real world, the consequences for this type of behavior can be much worse.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 19, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Unfortunately, yes, people need to spend their time to protect their kids from a bully.

This could have been a fabulous teaching moment - kids learn from the consequences of their actions. Dr. McEvoy was aware the egg war was going to happen and did not say ANYTHING to the kids about it.

If your kids had an egg fight in your neighbors backyard, would you have them arrested for vandalism? Would you verbally abuse them? Or would you have them clean-up their mess and pay for any damage and apologize? (Okay, I'd probably yell quite a bit too...) If you knew your kids were planning this, would you act before it happened?

Several years ago a young man turned his own car over on Paly grounds as a senior prank. If I recall, he damaged a little wood on a deck. The Principal called the police and wanted him arrested on Felony charges.


Posted by whiners, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:03 pm

If the neighborhood kids had an egg fight in my yard and got egg all over my house, then yes I would want the police to arrest them.


Posted by another parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:13 pm

First some kids acted badly and caused some real damage. Then, the administration acted really badly and by comparison, almost made the kids' recklessness look okay by comparison. Now a small group of parents is acting really, really badly and, frankly, making the administration look pretty good.
Please stop, everybody.


Posted by Nora Charles, a resident of Stanford
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:16 pm

In a letter to the paper a parent categorized the fight as "egg tossing." I wonder how she would feel if her child had been hit in the eye? No doubt the school would be facing a lawsuit.

These parents really need to get a clue.


Posted by mike davis, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:16 pm

last year, in an investigation about freshman friday, i was told, through a friend, that I could turn myself in for a lesser punishment. When I did not turn myself in, I was never punished at all. I think there should have been some punishment for last years events and this years, but the way they go about it is definitely unlawful, and everyone should know that.


Posted by Joanne, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 19, 2009 at 8:50 pm

One of our jobs as parents is to protect our kids. It is a shame that we have to do it at Paly. The style of McEvoy is unaccepted. It always feels that she is trying to create a drama instead of solving a problem. If she wanted to avoid the egg war she could have done it in many ways, but I didn't hear anything about it. I haven't hear that she tried to talk to the ASB or that she sent an email to the parents to let everyone know that she is planning to make a change this year in a the tradition that has been going for decades at Paly. Instead she called the police.
I believe with all the incidents at Paly many parents are getting tired of dealing with dramas that the principle is creating. Therefore, in order to bring back the good atmosphere that was at Paly, we have to act.


Posted by Unbelievable, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:33 pm

I can not believe that the parents are getting upset at the school administration. This is exactly why a growing amount of the youth today are screwed up. Stop making excuses for bad behavior. And to the school administrators...a job well done! We stand behind you. Here is a little blurb about the constitutionality of a search (cell phones in this case) that was allegedly perpetrated by the school officials.

"The Supreme Court considered the Fourth Amendment rights of students in New Jersey v. T.L.O. The Court dropped the requirement of probable cause and a search warrant in favor of a "reasonable suspicion" standard, because the privacy interests of school
children are outweighed by the substantial need of teachers and administrators to maintain order in the schools. Students at school have some Fourth Amendment rights, but not many."

The rest of the article can be found at www.acslaw.org.


Posted by Paly class of 2011, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:52 pm

"If they keep pushing this issue, the school should turn the matter over to the police." --commenter from above

People need to understand our city's police department.

Personally, I would prefer the police over the Paly Administration.

Part of the reason for this is that I know students who were stopped by cops on the night of egg wars. The cops clearly stated that it was okay to throw eggs at each other as long as no eggs were thrown at structures or vehicles.

Unlike the Paly Administration, the PA police department is much more understanding when it comes to teenage behavior, especially for big traditions. The police is reasonable and sees that it is pointless to make a big deal of a tradition that occurs every year.

And for the people criticizing the parents and students of Paly, if you do not have direct and full information of what has really been going on over the years, please shut up.

This effort against McEvoy is NOT solely from her handling of this year's egg wars. Rather, what happened recently was the 'last straw' among many other poorly handled situations.


Posted by Paly Grad, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Not commenting on egg wars itself, but I do believe it's possible that McEvoy is lying in her denial of the treatment of the students in question.

A few years I attended a Paly dance, sober, but I had shown up with a couple of drunk friends. Midway through, the assistant principal came up to me and threatened to get me in trouble if I refused to give him my cell phone. He then scrolled through my recent calls and texts, asking me who each person was, and then called one of my friends who was indeed drunk somewhere on the dance floor (and who thought it was me calling). My friend had no other option but to turn himself in and he got a two or three day suspension.

Again, I'm not defending egg wars or my friends' actions, but I thought this might shed some light as to how the Paly admin deal with students.


Posted by eggsactly, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm

"Part of the reason for this is that I know students who were stopped by cops on the night of egg wars. The cops clearly stated that it was okay to throw eggs at each other as long as no eggs were thrown at structures or vehicles."

Police were at Stanford so the kids realized they couldn't have egg wars there.
Police were at the second place so the kids decided they couldn't have egg wars there.
"Police clearly stated that it was ok as long as no eggs were thrown at structures" so the kids didn't listen and threw hundreds of eggs on structures.
And I am a bit confused; you seem to be blaming the administration because there was no warning. How many warnings do they need?


Posted by Ed, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:23 am

Why don't you take the time and walk around Gunn's track, it will never come out, the Gym, the campus. Then let's go to your house and do the same and see how you like it. Many kids who did this play sports at Paly and did not get the punishment. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by andrea, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 20, 2009 at 7:06 am

Constitutional rights? Throwing frozen eggs, capable of killing and maiming others, certainly violate their constitutional rights. This was an act of mindless violence and vandalism clumsily disguised by the infamous euphemism of "tradition. These students got off easy. The high-school I attended would've expelled those students permanently. Spoiled, self-indulgent parents create spoiled self-indulgent kids.


Posted by Lee, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 20, 2009 at 9:07 am

Wow, I can't believe that people in this forum will stoop so low as to write names or ask for names to be printed. My son did not participate in this egg war and I choose to read this in order to know more about the situation. This forum is getting nasty. Stick within the rules of this column people.
I do not condone vandalism caused by eggs but I don't think that all of the students involved should be blamed for the damage. I do believe that the administration could have handled the interrogations and the punishment entirely differently. If McEvoy had announced that the mess had to be cleaned up, half of the student body would have shown up. The intent of the majority of the kids who participated in the egg wars was most likely to have fun, not to vandalize school property. The intent of this administration was to unlawfully break down the participants and unequally and arbitrarily punish 11 out of 200+ kids. This administration has a track record of "covering up" truths, twisting facts and condoning the poor and/or improper behavior of it's staff. Seriously, there isn't a single thing that I know of that this administration has handled correctly. Can you? It is embarassing and a change is necessary in order to restore the peace and order at Paly.


Posted by Bigger than eggs, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 9:09 am

For the non-Paly community,
Nobody is condoning the damage done to Gunn High School. It was a bad decision all around. This issue with McEvoy is significantly greater than the Egg Wars. Since her arrival there have been a series of missteps, inappropriate behaviors, heavy handed rulings and overly aggressive tactics. Her leadership and communication style are seriously lacking. While I have to believe her intentions are good, she would be much better suited in a community that has truly serious safety and educational issues. She has approached each and every situation with our children with the assumption that they are guilty. Sadly there is little to no trust between the students and the administration. Off the record, even the teachers are concerned. Simply put, she's the wrong person for Palo Alto High School and the silent majority is finally speaking up. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by robit noops, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:00 am

It was an egg fight, big deal. Students should have just been asked to fess up and help clean the damages, paying $3000 sounds irrational. The Stanford Band has a history of destroying property, but we love em. Making this into some incident that will tarnish kids lives and futures is just stupid. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Me Too, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:19 am

Here's a question. Dr. Skelly of course knew about McEvoy's style before hiring her - I believe she was known as a "turnaround" type principal (which may mean her tenure will soon be over anyway, since turnaround execs usually don't stick around). But she was definitely known as "tough." Why did he feel getting a tough principal was necessary at Paly? What was going on there that required taking the inevitable heat that would come? I can only imagine what his inbox has looked like given the posts we see here.

My assumption is that Skelly assessed the situation at Paly and thought real change was needed. Maybe he thought McEvoy would be a little smoother than she has been - but he clearly thought the risk of blowback was worth it.

Have things changed at Paly? Is it safer, more orderly, compliant with regs and standards? What has actually been achieved there?


Posted by Walter, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:34 am

> McEvoy noted the final cleanup bill for egg damage at
> Gunn High School, which was partly used for the egg fight,
> was $3,200.

Shouldn't the students who were involved in this vandalism (and/or their parents) be held financially accountable for this damage? The Weekly doesn't seem to ask this question, but the Taxpayers should not be expected to pay for the cleanup by these scofflaws.

What do they teach at the PAUSD about personal responsibility? Anything?


Posted by Jim, a resident of University South
on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:44 am

I find it very interesting that there are over 25 comments about the egg war. If you look at the headline below this story it tells of a 20 year old East Palo Alto young man being killed. There are no comments below that story. What is more important? Some kids got hit with eggs and one kid was killed. I think our priorities are a bit skewed.


Posted by eggsactly, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:59 am

I find it so interesting that parents are demanding an investigation into the handling of the egg wars yet parents are insisting that we shouldn't look at the damages done by those egg wars.

We get that they were not originally supposed to be at Gunn but they were.
There was not supposed to be damage to taxpayers facilities but there was.
There were warnings by police that were ignored.

But some how we taxpayers are all supposed to ignore all of that and agree that the wrong person in this is the administration at Paly. I don't believe that you will ever be that convincing.


Posted by Gunn gard, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:02 am

This all started with the students behaving badly, so they need to take the consequences. It wasn't an "egg toss." The place was a mess, and there were even some frozen eggs thrown which could have caused severe injury. The kids should take their puhishment and get on with their lives. The smart parent would let the kids learn the lesson now, which will save them later trouble later in life, rather than blame the school administrators.

Sandra Pearson should be brought in by the school district as a mentor principal and resource to help newer school leaders effectively do a very difficult job.


Posted by Lynda, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:05 am

When a child is called to the office and it deals with a possible suspension, (considering they are minors) a parent should be a part of the conversation.

If you have adults pressing a teen/kid on an issue, who know's what might be said.

Now..... personally before my kids came to Paly I did not like McEvoy's style. I think her style of "my way high way" is ok for her kids at home but not the kids of a high school.

An administrator can be firm, but nuturing.


Posted by Enough, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:06 am

Be careful how much fuss you raise in this school district. They have a very expensive Administrative law firm on retainer and will squash you, and your kid, like a bug.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:15 am

This whole discussion is PATHETIC. It says tons about what is important to the parents in this town. I found one parent's posting very interesting.......the part about her children not going to dances at the school because of all the drunks. There are far more important issues that the parents could concern themselves with obviously. Honesty and accountablilty could be high up on the list for starters. I agree that there are a pile of whiners out there who could make a huge difference if they would concentrate some of their negative energy on doing something positive to make Palo Alto a better place for our young people rather than getting all bound up in "Egg Wars."


Posted by Paly grad, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:25 am

I was at paly during Sandra Pearson and Scott Laurence, and have warm memories of Pearson

So glad I got out before McEvoy.


Posted by former Paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:28 am

In my fairly recent experience as a parent there, Principal McEvoy was active and engaged with a wide array of school activities. She came across as very intelligent and I believe she manages school affairs very professionally.

What disturbs me is shrill parents who throw their weight around and threaten lawsuits when their kids clearly misbehave and who would receive some concrete consequences when they damage district property (here or anywhere else). Aside from damages, the students' behavior is hardly laudatory, as an aside. I mean, you can hardly condone their behavior, it's not very nice to have acted this way over at Gunn.

As for teaching moments as proposed by someone above, that is funny when most parents here believe their teens to be very sophisticated and grown up. Do they know right from wrong? They are bound for the Ivies, they drive BMWs, they do community service. They can read, correct? (how about the student handbook). BUT, they need to be advised in advance by the principal to avoid throwing eggs, or whatever else could come up?! Is the principal a babysitter?

The childish nonsense of the egg wars has been elevated in importance. It IS silly and laughably stupid, not worthy of much attention. Still, some are actually proud to be associated with nonsense like this? That in itself is mildly worrisome.

But then there was documented damage over at Gunn that required professional cleanup services. Some consequences are needed for damaging behavior/activities by these students that is entirely unnecessary to have had happen.


Posted by One Gunn Mom, a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:30 am

I think the kids got off easy. There is permanent damage to the Gunn artificial track (though you have to look for it). If this had been handled by the police, these kids would be facing a felony charge (based on the amount of the damage). And $3200 is not outrageous--it took a professional cleaning crew 2 days to steam clean structures (most of which were brand new) and some of which (the basball scoreboard) were paid for solely by Gunn parents. Cleanup even the next day was too late to prevent permanent damage. So if Paly wants to continue this behavior, they should keep it on their own campus and not subject any other school (Gunn or Stanford)to their acts of vandalism.


Posted by Jim, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:33 am

My daughter is a sophomore at Paly. She does not even know what Dr. McEvoy looks like. My understanding is there has never been a school assembly to bring the students together for leaders at the school, principal included, to set out their vision for the school and celebrate success. There has been no school-wide pep rally for anything. School dances are subpar because those in charge assume everyone is a drinker and breathalizes everyone. It's probably not the best policy to assume all are guilty. The same thinking seemed to be employed by canceling one day of Spirit Week due to the egg wars. I've heard Spirit Week is the most fun week of school, so it makes sense to cancel it. There appears to be a real leadership vacuum at Paly.


Posted by Not Entitled, a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:34 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by gunn mom, a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:40 am

I dont think what Paly kids did was right.
However,
If this has been a tradition for years, where school officials looked the other way, then, frankly, I don't think the kids should be suspended for doing it this year.

There should have a been a warning from Paly officials where they warned kids NOT to do it this year or they will get suspended.

It is sending the kids a mixed message. My son is a senior at Gunn and thought suspension is also too heavy-handed...although he said he wouldnt do something as dumb as egg throwing.
Give the kids community service and dont ruin their reputations for college applications..


Posted by Enough, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:42 am

Every kid that attends a dance SHOULD be breathalized. Key word: KID. Not 21 year old adult. There is a huge drinking problem in our high schools, and God Help the parent that tries to DO anything about it. Try telling some of the parents in this district that their children are anything less than perfect. You, and your kid, will become social outcasts at any event which brings the school and community into one place.


Posted by Susan, a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:43 am

You should all be thankful the kids weren't throwing gernades instead of eggs! or using guns, like in East Palo Alto and Oakland. Drop it! They were having fun, it needs to be cleaned up, THE END.


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:55 am

We wonder why our schools don't work when parents have to criticize and second quess the administration over something their kids should not have been doing anyway.

The foolish statements like the last one that we should be thankful guns and grenades were not being used like in Oakland. Tell me where students in Oakland use guns and grenades?

If suspension is too heavy, then it is not too heavy by much and within the reason of the person who is appointed to administrate such things. Stop your whining, explain and punish your kids, and get on with your lives.

Give your kid good role models of when they are parents they will be doing the same hopeless complaining and foolish rebellion when they have kids and the cycle of meaningless rebellion will continue ad nauseum.

They probably got suspensions for being disrespectful and rude on top of what they did showing the principal that more punishment had to be administered.

This is not Russia, China, or North Korea, this pusishment is not political or repressive. The kids cannot learn when they are distracted by parents who are still fighting their own childhood battles.


Posted by R, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:05 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by sasha, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:11 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Onlnie staff]. If your kid was involved then teach her that she is responsible for her actions. If she wasn't involved, then stay out of it. You and other parents are teaching kids that it is okay to not respect authority whether they agree or not. The principal handled the situation the best was she could. What you are doing is the same as what lawyers for drug dealers, murderers, child molestors and other criminals do....which is, if there is a technicality or they weren't treated like prince and princesses, then they should NOT be responsible for their actions. You are yet another reason why those of us in the legal field get such a bad reputation. Remember not too many years ago when 6 boys killed the father of twins who just moved to PAlto. Some of them weren't involved in the physical part of the murder, so does that mean they should of NOT been interogated or punished for their part in the crime. C'mon get real....let the kids learn a valuable lesson here, and move on to more important things!


Posted by rem, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:24 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff].


Posted by another view, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:35 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
Your 'primed for high end life and colleges' kids should have to live with the consequences of their actions. Stop saving them.
And then there is question as to why the local adolescents have problems dealing with 'life'?


Posted by larry, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 20, 2009 at 12:49 pm

If the kids hadn't thrown the eggs and damaged property, there would have been no need for the administration to act in ANY manner.
Let those who committed the transgressions accept responsibility for their actions, and let these parents who are complaining, also look to themselves & their children.
"Personal responsibility is a thing of the past. Always place blame for your shortcomings on others"...........The new societal motto!!!!


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 20, 2009 at 1:02 pm

"If the kids hadn't thrown the eggs and damaged property, there would have been no need for the administration to act in ANY manner."

But if the administration had acted in anything resembling a responsible or sane response as regards a standing tradition.....eggs would not have landed on Gunn buildings.

Further the logic of the above quote could almost be spun to excuse any response or actions of the administration....

And then there is Sasha....

Well, well...comparing the Egg War participants to "drug dealers, murderers, child molestors and other criminals"...oh no, not the kids just the parents as if they are the lawyers for such.

You are in the legal profession and yet seem to have a problem with defense attorneys using the law to defend their clients before they are found guilty?

I remember seeing the victim killed on Gilbert many years back by the 6 young men. He came into Cybersmith cafe when I had my kids there. Easy to remember the twin blonde girls. As for the ones not directly involved.....the police of course can pick them up for questioning, they can refuse to talk, insist on a lawyer, etc. Just like those physically involved. I don't understand what your point here is, nor the relevance to the Egg War participants....except as another weird way to attempt tethering Egg War particpants to various nefarious and heinous crimes. Why not bring up the trials at Nuremberg and ask if the defendants might have claimed they were following traditional anti-Semitic traditions (Wagner, Martin Luther, etc.). Geeez now someone will take the bait and agree!

And in that spirit I hope that indeed there is an impartial and full look into the PA HS administration's actions in this regard. Seems like that is going to happen. I doubt the Paly administrators will have their cell phones confiscated, their FB pages opened by a court order, etc.

So the ball is now in another "court". Meanwhile people here can bray and rant all they want in opposition to it.


Posted by Jeeeez, a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2009 at 1:11 pm

This is so stupid and yet so Palo Alto at the same time. I really think that parents in PA should worry more about the kids throwing themselves in front of trains, etc. Focus on more important issues that are going on in your community and in surrounding communities. This really is why people call it "Shallow Alto." I'm laughing right now because this whole egg war thing is humorous, but I'm also embarrassed as a PA native that this situation has caused such an uproar. People struggle w/ serious problems everyday. And you guys are sitting here talking about egg wars.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 20, 2009 at 1:21 pm

So glad to hear about this investigation, and hope it broadens far beyond the egg wars to look at how this administration has affected Paly since coming on board. It's sad, really, the climate that has been created. If you looked around at the recent graduation, you saw hordes of police; the kids knew why they were there--to prevent the possibility of streaking; it wasn't for "crowd control". And it certainly made the kids that much more eager to get their diplomas and go, rather than wax nostalgic about Paly.

Before this administration, I was able to tell my children that if anything happened at school, or in life, they should step forward, tell the truth, and everything will be OK. But last year, after watching what happens to kids who make mistakes or get caught up in other people's mistakes at Paly, I sat my kids down and said that if something bad happens around you, whether or not you're involved in it, don't step forward, don't volunteer anything, and don't trust anyone in the administration; if you're questioned, don't say a word, insist that they call us immediately and refuse to talk until we arrive. And erase everything in your cell phone. My kids haven't been in any trouble, I don't really expect them to be in any trouble; they try to work within the system, but the system has so many catch-22s these days it's getting harder and harder to do so. And I've felt that given the way things operate at Paly these days, these were instructions I needed to give them. Doing so made me very sad; it's not the kind of high-school world I should have to prepare them for. I want them to be in an environment where the folks in power assume the best intentions unless proven otherwise, that childish mistakes are seen as learning opportunities (and slam-bang suspensions teach nothing), and kids are encouraged to grow and explore and stretch their wings a little even if they make the occasional mistake, not be paranoid and afraid and distrustful.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 20, 2009 at 1:41 pm

"If you looked around at the recent graduation, you saw hordes of police; the kids knew why they were there--to prevent the possibility of streaking"

Yes the police presence there was a bit over the top. I was there and wondered if some important dignitary was about to do a surprise talk.

Perhaps more importantly to punish to the full extent of the law any such streakers.

More evidence of the core problem here. (theme notes from Law & Order chimes in)

"In the Paly High system, the law is represented by one important group-- the administration, who investigate crime, and the administration, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories."

Law and Order High School Hijinks


Posted by another paly parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 20, 2009 at 1:49 pm

As the father of a senior, I have seen and heard how much distrust has been created by Dr. McEvoy. The previous comments about telling your child to avoid giving any information to the authorities - totally correct for this situation, and pitiful at the same time. We are teaching our children to distrust authority because this one woman abuses her authority and has no concept of what being an educator means, as opposed to being a warden! I'm just sorry my duaghter will not get a chance to attend Paly with a supportive administration. She is being taught a life lesson, and it's not a good one.

Oh, and on the egg wars - she was there, left when she saw it getting out of hand, and did observe police there who were OK with things as long as it was just a silly prank. I agree with the earlier poster who said that our Palo Alto police appear to understand teenagers a lot better than their principal.


Posted by Ex Paly parent, a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm

First, let's please remember that all of the kids who went to egg wars went there of their own volition. Everyone was there as a willing participant. Unlike Freshman Friday of a couple of years ago -- where kids were also threatened by administrators -- no one was an innocent bystander.

So, the issue is damage to facilities. The question is not whether kids should be punished or not. Of course you get punished if you cause damage. The question is how and what is appropriate for the situation. How do you punish kids, get them to understand that there are consequences, but also don't send them to juvenile hall for every off the wall thing they do while they are children?

Dr. McAvoy is well intentioned, but basically I don't think she likes teenagers. She views every one of them -- not just those who get into trouble -- as guilty of something. She tells students they need to act like responsible adults, but she treats them with little dignity or respect. An adult 'criminal' would have been afforded more rights than the students at Paly. She does not work with the student leaders, but instead makes unilateral decisions on everything. I like her as a person, but she is not the right person to be a high school principal in Palo Alto. I am so glad that my child graduated after only a short time under Dr. McAvoy's tenure.

The students at Paly definitely do not think that the administration is on their side on any topic you can name. Any request they make -- from asking for a simple change of schedule to wanting to be enrolled in advanced placement exams, to wanting to have certain dance themes -- is greeted with suspicion. The tone is set at the top, and it goes all the way through the school from the principals to the counselors. I've watched the atmosphere at Paly deteriorate for the last two years at Paly from incidents like this and more. Is there any wonder why that kids don't go to anyone at school when they are upset or depressed?


Posted by Embarassed, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 20, 2009 at 2:10 pm

"Kids all start out perfect. It's just a matter of how much we mess them up as they grow up."

This is showing all of us the worst type of "helicopter parents" -- hovering over their kids and shielding them from the consequences of their actions and decisions. Learning how to deal with a heavy-handed authority figure is part of growing up, too. Harsh interrogations? No one got waterboarded. Learning how to respond to questioning during a tense situation is also a valuable life skill. Putting some tension in the system at Paly immediately following a group wrongdoing event is healthy. It'll give kids that weren't involved, but might be next time, a better understanding of the consequences next time they make a cost-benefit decision on whether or not to participate.

I support the principal, not the perpetrators or the parents that are stepping in to divert attention from the real issue -- their own parenting. Superintendent, don't blink.


Posted by paly parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 20, 2009 at 2:13 pm

"no one got waterboarded" Wow, if this is the standard by which we judge the school administration no wonder the situation has gotten so dismal.


Posted by Paly Parent #2, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 20, 2009 at 2:23 pm

Does anyone know if some of the students who got suspended were innocent? Because if not, then how did mcevoy err. I have walked past the offices and seen kids in them in what looks to be a bit of trouble. one time, i saw the kid exit the office, shake the hand of the adult, and say that it wouldnt happen again and that he was sorry that the administrator (dont know who, was earlier this year) had to suspend him and sorry he let the adult down. this doesnt sound like anything resembling a harsh interrogation. sure, the kid was upset he was going home but he seemed to learn from his mistake, whatever it was. Do you think the kids involved in this egg battle have learned the err of their way when their parents act like this? I doubt it.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 20, 2009 at 2:39 pm

"Does anyone know if some of the students who got suspended were innocent? Because if not, then how did mcevoy err" (I assume this is a question)?

How did she err? Let me count the ways.

First how a host of other things have been handled, or manufactured into issues. I won't go into them here in detail, but trust me they are in abundance. A bit of the last straw for many.

First no possibility was even entertained that just maybe the Egg War Tradition could be something to keep and protect. No discussion with students or parents at all. It was basically a de facto established thing and any problems should have been presented.

Second, even if one has a default concept that any and all conceived Egg War would be by default vandalism, no matter where and how conducted, still some recognition that a de facto established tradition deserved some public notification. Even if it was only "this can't go on and I demand it stop or there will be consequences". That apparently was the stance and attitude, but undertaken in a way designed more to ambush and punish than address. The phrase Punishment Junkie comes to mind.

Third, the apparently rabid way this "crime" and others have been "investigated" seems to have taken a page out of Alberto Gonzalez's crib notes to investigators. I suspect more details on this will be coming out.

Throughout my years of having kids in Palo Alto schools I have never joined in any "get that teacher" or "get that administrator" campaign. Even when my kids had some fairly undesirable teachers at Jordan I tried to tell them "well you run into all kinds in life, try to learn from this personality". I also know that it's a big tough job to be a teacher or administrator in this district dealing with the parents. That is why I understand that someone not in the know would assume this is just another example of Palo Alto parents throwing their economic and professional weight around for "their little darlings".

But even for me, this is all too much.

It needs to end.


Posted by Lee, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 20, 2009 at 2:50 pm

"It needs to end."

Absolutely. Out of context, I'm sure the parental fussing over the egg war crackdown seems completely inappropriate. But the handling of the egg wars is a reminder that we're going into year three of what appears to be a transition of Paly from a nurturing and creative school environment into a police state, and it's time for folks who care about our schools to demand a change.


Posted by anonymus, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 20, 2009 at 2:58 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by E, a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 3:21 pm

If you want change, let Skelly, and the board know that PA parents won't rubber stamp the renewal of the upcoming parcel tax. Money talks.


Posted by JerryL, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 20, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Since when is wasting food, throwing frozen objects at other people and defacing public property "a valuable tradition that ought to be maintained?"


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm

I also am amazed at how big of a thing the egg war has become. From my perspective, the issue was never the egg war per se, but the damage that was done to Gunn property. If these kids had only thown eggs and created a mess on lawns or dirt, someone may have been bothered a bit (maybe), but suspensions would have been unlikely. Yes, it appears some parents believe that administrators at Paly are heavy-handed, but that isn't a good enough reason to argue about 1-2 day suspensions and/or community service for destroying property. You don't help kids' moral development by looking for ways to excuse bad behavior, even if someone was "mean" or unreasonable during questioning. Help them "own up", make things right, then move on. They will be healthier human beings. If something was unfair in the process, then help them work to make that right as well, but without using that as a way to justify their own mistakes.

In terms of threatening legal challenges of administrative approaches, is that really the best way to model conflict resolution skills for our children? Isn't that just another form of bullying? Asking for a meeting with the principal, administrators, superintendent is reasonable IF all parties are willing to truly listen to one another and be respectful, IF the intent is to look for positive solutions vs. be vindictive and angry, IF there is as much focus on student's development than on what does or does not look good on their record (appearances vs. character seem to be ongoing struggles).

Let's all keep in mind the needs of our children first and foremost. Let's be honest about whether our approach models what we really want for them: emotional health, moral character, maturity, and respect for others, even those with whom we do not agree.


Posted by Franky, a resident of Atherton
on Nov 20, 2009 at 4:15 pm

Does Dick Cheney run this school?!?

Sheeesh - I guess the students are lucky he didn't shoot them by mistake!

Start a tradition of having the entire student body cleaning up the Egg-War after its over.

Let them have their fun, and be responsible about it.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 4:43 pm

I am a native Palo Altan and also find this whole culture of the new Palo Alto parents embarrassing. Maybe the parents posting on this thread should think about the consequences of shielding their kids in such a way that they cannot grow up to be healthy, happy and responsible adults. I can't help but think about how much good these parents could do if they could redirect their energies into trying to change real things to the better. Come on folks, enough is enough. Kids want and need boundaries. The entitled parents of Palo Alto have spoken halitosis they are emitting is stinky! Get a life!


Posted by EcoMama, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

You know what amazes me? Last year, a middle schooler was cyberbullied by high schoolers, targeted by Facebook hate groups. Do you know what happened to those high schoolers? NOTHING. They were not even asked (let alone forced) to apologize to the kid. I guess that when a few thousand bucks in property is damaged, action must be taken -- because this is Palo Alto! We must keep up appearances! But when one kid is bullied, it doesn't matter much -- no one sees that, and no one sees how it's handled, so it's swept under the rug and ignored. Shame on the entire PAUSD for the poor handling of BOTH of these unfortunate situations.


Posted by Sympathetic, a resident of another community
on Nov 20, 2009 at 5:18 pm

"Last year, a middle schooler was cyberbullied by high schoolers, targeted by Facebook hate groups. Do you know what happened to those high schoolers? NOTHING. ... Shame on the entire PAUSD for the poor handling of BOTH of these unfortunate situations."

Why is PAUSD at fault? Facebook is outside of school. Don't these parents bear an onus for having improperly raised their children?

I think your attitude teaches those kids a valuable and very useful life lesson: it is very easy to dodge responsibility.


Posted by Concerned Parent, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Well said EcoMama! What about the really important human relations issues that crop up every day in this community's schools that aren't even looked at. I attended a PTA meeting years ago where 5th and 6th grade elementary school girls sat there and shamelessly said, "there are only 3 acceptable brands of clothing to wear at this school, otherwise you will be subject to ridicule." They said it as if they didn't see anything wrong with this picture. It was just the way it was at that school. My children wore clothing from Costco and other "not high end" stores even though we could have afforded those "high end" brands if we had wanted to buy in to the "shallow alto" paradigm. Basically, we are talking about values here. Did not these children's parents grow up with any values? It is pathetic that so many people derive their (dubious) self esteem through their BMWs and Rolexes in this town.


Posted by Happy not to be a PAltan, a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Nov 20, 2009 at 5:29 pm

Wow. Gotta love Palo Alto and its lawyers. Have fun with your posts but get some perspective while you are at it.

If parents know their kids participated, make a contribution toward the damages! THAT would be a contribution of more than money since it might just show your kids something about taking responsibility.

Suing the school/principal or bad-mouthing either is a form of denial ...or a complete loss of perspective. The Palo Alto way, gotta love it!


Posted by Gunn parent, a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 20, 2009 at 8:12 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by stargal, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 20, 2009 at 10:50 pm

1) Throwing frozen eggs, destroying property, injuring others is WRONG.
2) That being said, I'd rather see kids pulling teenage pranks to blow off steam, instead of throwing themselves in front of a train
3) Maybe we need more options for letting kids actually act like the kids they are instead of priming them to work on their college applications when they enter Kindergarten.


Posted by Ed, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:15 pm

You should of brought eggs to tonights game...


Posted by Paly parent, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 21, 2009 at 12:05 am

I just wanted to let the Gunn community know that the vast majority of Paly families do not condone what happened, and hope that the families of the students who did participate will take responsibility for reimbursing the school district for the cost of the clean-up.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 21, 2009 at 4:31 am

No one "condones" the egging of the Gunn campus. It was a mistake and reimbursement for fixing any real damage should be forthcoming. As the whole "find the exact perps" campaign is fairly futile and pointless I'd suggest the money come out of a combined student and Admin fund (share blame where it belongs for this occurring as it did).

But figuring out what to do as regards the damage at Gunn seems pretty straightforward..........other issues loom now.


Posted by OMMY, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 21, 2009 at 5:30 am

if we can bring peace we can make the biggest ommlete ever...dont worry ill bring meat....but ill make sure to bring the hollindaise sauce w/crabor shrimp///mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm


Posted by Chicken ..., a resident of Community Center
on Nov 21, 2009 at 5:35 am

Stop throwing my "could have been" babies.
-hen


Posted by EcoMama, a resident of Community Center
on Nov 21, 2009 at 8:53 am

@ Sympathetic: The cyberbullying incident is the school district's problem, as they did not have ANY policy on cyberbullying at the time of these incidents. The state law gave them wide latitude in at least calling the kids' parents -- but all the district did was stand over the page's founders and watch them delete their hate group. Since teachers are using Facebook too, sometimes with students (the recent Paly play had its own page advertising a school activity, for example), Facebook might even be a "school activity" -- imagine that. In any event, my prior comment isn't so much about these details, it's about how there's a lot of district response to this egging because of $$$, yet there was little when a student was being tormented. That affected his quality of life at school. Extrapolating, the teen suicides didn't happen on school grounds, either, but, of course, there was school response (as there should have been). How about our school district making a big deal out of students being harmed in general, even if it is off-campus bullying -- as much of a big deal as when a building bears a scar? It just seems that priorities are not child-focused, and that saddens me. I don't much care about egging or the new landscaping plans or much else when we have a much bigger issue at hand of student mental health.


Posted by noname, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 21, 2009 at 4:22 pm

I have heard from my daughter and a number of her friends that they were intimidated when brought in for questioning [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] This is what I have heard:
* He claimed to have obtained surveillance video from Safeway showing which students were buying eggs that day, apparently untrue
* He told students that if they admitted to participating, they would be punished less harshly [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]
* He offered a cash reward for turning in their friends
* He accessed their Facebook accounts
Out of the 150 or so who participated, the only ones who were punished were the ones who were frightened or intimidated into admitting they participated. That's a pretty poor lesson for students to learn.

I do think the participants should be required to contribute to a fund to help pay for cleanup and repairs in addition to doing some community service, but who is going to admit participating and risk being slapped with a suspension?

The problem is, the Paly administration has not only repeatedly conducted itself in an unethical [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff] manner, but also forced popular and effective teachers and staff to go on leave, resign or transfer to another school. It's time to clean house and restore a level of integrity to the school that hasn't been there for years.

I sincerely believe that most students are really good kids who will learn to do the right thing when they respect and trust the administrative staff.


Posted by Paly parent, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 21, 2009 at 5:35 pm

It is embarressing to see Paly parents acting this way and broadcasting their own demons on our educators. Shame on these parents and their lawyers because their kid caused thousands of dollars of damage to a school. Stop redirecting the blame and look in the mirror.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 21, 2009 at 5:46 pm

Maybe we need to start a new thread that reads
"Parents demand probe of Paly Administrations ongoing behavior"

THIS IS NOT JUST ABOUT THE EGG WARS!
THIS IS ABOUT YEARS OF HEAVY-HANDED, GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT TREATMENT OF STUDENTS!

This is about an administration way too eager to punish instead of educate.


Posted by Paly Parent #2, a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 21, 2009 at 6:37 pm

are you saying that some kids were suspended who are innocent because everything i have read says that the boys and girls did throw eggs and damage gunns facilities and then were caught and suspended. you brought up the last principal and the flipped car on a deck. maybe if both principals treat damage to school property the same way it is not the principals with the wrong idea but instead the parents unwilling to have their kids accept the responsibility for the bad choices they make.


Posted by formerhighschooler, a resident of Menlo Park
on Nov 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm

It sounds to me as though some communication is needed all around. This principal sounds as though she has a reputation as a changer -- her behavior and way of dealing with things were either a deliberate choice or a mistake. I agree with the poster asking what needs to change.

The only thing that I have heard about Paly is that it has the highest percentage of children cutting themselves on the Peninsula. But that doesn't call for harsh disciplinary measures. Quite the opposite.

One of the things that seems obvious to an outsider reading this is the extent of the class resentments and wars that go on in Palo Alto. Teenagers do stupid pranks all over the country -- not just in this wealthy area. And parents who urge that the kids should have had to go out, get filthy, clean up the mess, and deal with what they did are not class monsters. They are wise parents.

If the administration would have done that, coupled with, say, a month of community service, a much better point would have been made.

Palo Alto is an outrageously expensive area. Many of the lawyers and engineers that I know who live in this area live in small houses, where both of the parents work. I personally don't see a whole lot of helicopter parenting. I suggest that people drop the money resentments for a while and just wonder why all of the parents are complaining about a pattern of behavior. It sure sounds real to me.

By the way, a big police presence at a graduation, lest someone should streak, sounds like the administration could use some normalization.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 22, 2009 at 1:23 am

"maybe if both principals treat damage to school property the same way it is not the principals with the wrong idea but instead the parents unwilling to have their kids accept the responsibility for the bad choices they make."

Oh please. A kid was charged with a felony for flipping a car in the past. Now this Egg War investigation gone bonkers. And it seems this is just the tip of an iceberg of what has gone on.

The administrators need to accept the responsiblity for the bad choices THEY have made.....

Where there is smoke there is fire.

I am sure that Gunn High School will be "made whole".... as regards the Egg War damage.

Why are some Gunn parents channeling their continued (and somewhat bizarre) fixation on the damage as being the defining aspect of the issues at Paly? Why do some people by reflex dismiss the avalanche of valid concern as regards the problems as Paly?

Perhaps some people need to practice listening to voices.....not dismissing out of hand becasue it doesn't fit their pre-conceived scheme or agenda. I would say never too late to start, but.......


Posted by Jo, a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 22, 2009 at 1:31 am

Let's all move on now. It happen and what more can we say about each other. We are Palo Alto, the best place in the world to live. It's the holiday's, forgive and forget!


Posted by Bob, a resident of Woodside
on Nov 22, 2009 at 12:11 pm

Looks like things haven't changed at Paly. Anyone remember that experiment at Cubberley, where students were picked out for not being part of a group. Sort of a mini Germany of the late 30's type lesson.

I wish Paly would knock off the BS and educate ALL kids in HIGH SCHOOL SUBJECTS. I'm will always be a little ticked off as a Paly alumni that my foreign educated wife knows way more HS level political science, math and science than me. I look at the GMAT exam math and say WTF? No one at PALY taught me that! I constantly embarrass myself in the workplace having to look up simple algebra on google as well. Paly education sucks/ed.


Posted by Ticked, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2009 at 12:54 pm

It's interesting how in post after post we see that these "egg wars" were goings-on that have occurred for years without anybody making a major gripe. Then we have McEvoy entering stage right and making a mountain out of a mole hill. To justify her actions, she intimates criminality by calling the students vandals (although the police who she called saw no criminal activity and there were never any charges for "vandalism").

So parents who side with McEvoy and praise her as a "leader" don't realize that it was her actions that caused the brouhaha in the first place. And then in an effort to get tough and impose her idea of order, she even nails the wrong students.

Finally, in what strikes me as the most outrageous thing of all, she would like to "move on."

What she really deserves is the "Chutzpah of the Year Award." Shees!


Posted by Ticked, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2009 at 1:40 pm

Paly Parent #2:

In answer to your question re some kids being suspended who were innocent. A gigantic big red letter "YES" is the answer to that. And, too, there were the active planners and perpetrators who got off. NOBODY WAS EVER CAUGHT! There were those who admitted to BEING PRESENT (I hear there were 150-200 of those) because they were intimidated by the administration's scare tactics. Those people got the harshest penalties. And what about those scare tactics? Are they OK with you McEvoy dfenders? Is that the way we find out information? Really?

And the ones who saw that through this administration and saw that they were bluffing and had nothing on them whatsoever boldly lied like crazy and they got off. NOBODY WAS EVER CAUGHT AND NO REAL INVESTIGATION WAS EVER DONE. There was only the McEvoy rush to judgement! And on their way to the rush to judgement, McEvoy, et al (and really, let's not forget "et al") BROKE EVERY SINGLE RULE IN THE BOOK.

There was no vandalism and no real crime was ever committed (at least that's what the police seem to feel!), so suspension should never have been used.

Sure, it would be very appropriate to ask the perpetrators to rectify the damage by cleaning it up, paying for the damage, and doing some community service. That way they would certainly learn to consider their choices better. But best to find out who the perpetrators really were by conducting a fair and legal investigation. No such thing was even attempted and this point has been sadly missed by the McEvoy supporters out there who are posting.

There is no reason to not pursue this. We have to, especially since there is a pattern here in which an administration has gone out of control and has accused whoever it wanted. There was no due process. None.

Then when they are called to the carpet, they plead with us to "move on"!

No. This has to be stopped. There are those who want McEvoy and her 2 lieutenants fired. And you know, that may actually be appropriate. Maybe they went after the kids wrongly? Maybe they nailed the wrong kids? Maybe the kids who really know are scared to talk now because of what an out-of-control group of administrators who fear for their jobs and are looking over their shoulders might do. How would we ever even know? An investigation of what happened here would reveal the truth. Whatever that truth is. I may be wrong, but how would we ever know? Isn't it true that sometimes where there is smoke, there is fire?

It seems to me that to not investigate what happened here runs the very serious risk of covering up what happened. If you cover it up, you only allow the worst possible behavior to continue and, one day, something even worse could happen.


Posted by Squirter, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2009 at 3:29 pm

FYI Paly students shouldn't be in the PALY network on FACEBOOK unless they want their profiles to be read by the administration, because the administration owns the the network...


Posted by Innocent?, a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 22, 2009 at 3:47 pm

Ticked:: I am an oustide observer but those kids are darn lucky to escape with a few days of suspension because they should be paying for the cleanup and more from the police. you seem to want to blame other people but maybe us parents need to think twice if it is ok for our teenagers to harm others and damage property. and schools cannot get students into trouble if they are innocent and not involved so whenyou say the things you say it only gives the idea you were involved and now angry at the consequence and well maybe the parents need a consequence too because as a taxpayer I am not paying for the cleanup. Shame on them


Posted by Ticked, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 22, 2009 at 6:37 pm

Innocent:

In this particular case in which McEvoy used kangaroo court justice and, once again, NO INVESTIGATION, the school DID get students in trouble without bothering to find out if they were guilty. Yes, that did happen!

What makes you so sure and so trusting of this administration? Do you just assume that those who have power use it wisely? Well then, think again.


Posted by BF, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 22, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Paly student said: "If you vandalize property you are going to be punished - with more than just community service. And get some perspective - a suspension is not going to ruin your life."

This young adult has more sense in this forum and elsewhere, than any parent who has a problem with the way this was handled. Throw the book at *anyone* who despoils property; it's a *criminal* offense.

Don't any of these parents realize that this "tradition" is itself a really dumb idea? Throwing *food* as a game? And *frozen* eggs? Pathetic.

Any parent who doesn't like these disciplinary measures should pull their kids from PAUSD and send them to a private school, and then see how long their unruly kids last *there* when they act out like irresponsible, spoiled brats. Expulsion, anyone?


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 22, 2009 at 10:06 pm

In response to BF....

"Throw the book at *anyone* who despoils property; it's a *criminal* offense."

So you think the PA Police should have gone in swinging on this?

"Don't any of these clueless parents realize that this "tradition" is itself a really dumb idea? Throwing *food* as a game? And *frozen* eggs? Pathetic."

Well you are entitled to your opinion of any and all traditions...be it Bull Fighting in Mexico, Bar Mitzahs, funeral practices of various cultures, etc. Paint balls are made of gelatin and so in a way are also "food". I suppose one could also play the "raw eggs and Salmonella!!!" fear card. I can attest that, when this tradition is carried out by willing participants on rural ground it was/is a great way for the kids to blow off a bit of steam. The only thing pathetic is that some people can't seem to understand this. And instead by rote issue forth with arrogant condemnation. The whole thing got driven to Gunn and that was a big mistake for the kids to toss eggs on the structures.

Better broken eggs on the ground than broken lives on the tracks. Not that the former is a specific deterrent to the latter. But maybe the attitude which seeks to criminalize the former is a part of the big overall problem.

"Any parent who doesn't like these disciplinary measures should pull their kids from PAUSD and send them to a private school, and then see how long their unruly kids last *there* when they act out like irresponsible, spoiled brats. Expulsion, anyone?"

Are you seriously saying that the parents of children in public schools should have no input as regards an apparently chronically over the top administration? Do you really think such things would be anymore tolerated in a private school where the parental payments more directly fund the school? Do you think that parents who enroll their kids in private schools don't push their weight around? Do you really think that "expulsion" is an appropriate punishment for this "crime"?

The parents are right to address the clueless behavior of the Paly administration.

True a suspension will not ruin a life. But then neither will a few eggs ruin a school.

But the manner in which said suspension is arrived at is an issue. And this Egg War handling seems to be the tipping point for a host of simmering concerns parents and students have had as regards the ongoing slant and actions of the PA HS administration.

Do you think all these people are just making all this up?


Posted by reality, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 22, 2009 at 10:26 pm

Every former graduate I've spoken to has never heard of this "tradition". It happened last year but can anyone prove when it has happened before. To the person who said kids can't make appropriate decisions and they need to be able to blow off steam without repercussions, try applying that to the kids that gang raped a sixteen year old. Since they were teenagers I guess they were unable to make a good decision. They also made a "bad" decision to use drugs that night. Should we let them go with a hand slap? Where do you draw the line?
To the person who said we should not vote in the parcel tax: do you think that hurts the administration? It actually hurts our kids. Teachers will be laid off. Class sizes will increase.


Posted by BF, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 22, 2009 at 11:38 pm

a noun a mus wrote: "Are you seriously saying that the parents of children in public schools should have no input as regards an apparently chronically over the top administration? Do you really think such things would be anymore tolerated in a private school where the parental payments more directly fund the school? Do you think that parents who enroll their kids in private schools don't push their weight around? Do you really think that "expulsion" is an appropriate punishment for this "crime"?"

Yes, I do. Let's get down to brass tacks. I have been closely associated with PAUSD for many years, and watched some parents in this community make life a living hell for teachers and administrators - and other students and parents - alike, by indulgence of their children in situations like this, generally causing an uproar, and then yelling "off with their heads" when it comes to the administration, teachers, etc.

Salmonella? That's right. s-a-l-m-o-n-e-l-l-a. Isn't it just a little more than a tad bit misguided to be throwing raw eggs around - never mind frozen eggs that can damage fleash and property - to "blow off steam. It's the continuing, mindless encouragement of a minority (a vocal minority) of parents in this district to condone something as ridiculous as this as "innocent". Well, it's not innocent - it's an ognorant act that has no place here, or anywhere else. Property was damaged, just like a parking lot (or playfield, I forget which) was damaged some years ago by another Paly group just "blowing off steam". When you find yourself in a community with a large minority of children who are coddled into believing that they are golden, stuff like this happens. What kind of behavior are these parents modeling, when they come down on administrators who are determined to find out who caused property damage?

The kids who did this should be found out, and *publicly* outed. Their names should be put in the newspaper. Why not. They damaged property. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

And lest you think a private school would tolerate this kind of ignorance, go ask a few private school administrators. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Bottom line: property damage was caused; lots of kids saw who did it; some of those kids were trying to protect the *criminal* perpetrators who *destroyed* property. That's harboring evidence necessary to find a perpetrator, and it's poison to the peace and queit of the *rest* of the school community that isn't so clueless to get into stupid stunts like this.

Expell them? Why not? If not, then give them serious consequences that will keep them from thinking they can get away withg stuff like this. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

As for the police acting, you can't be serious. Every time the police try to do their job in this city, the radicals come out and scream "police abuse!". This was *illegal vandalism*; it shuold have been pursued by the police, and I'm darned glad that the administrators have put their respective feet down.

Finally, lest you think I'm alone in my sentiments, you are not in touch with PAUSD insiders and many, many, many, many parents and students who are sick and tired of these stunts. Two words for thos kids who participated "GROW UP!". And some of their parents could use that advice, too.


Posted by BF, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Nov 22, 2009 at 11:47 pm

"ticked off" said: "There was no due process. None."

What? Please! *Vandalism* occurred on a rather large scale. Due process? You mean the kind of due process that causes a brouhaha every time a small gaggle of overinvolved parents get an itch to demonstrate "who's boss"?

I'm only sorry that the administrators didn't go further, and suspend *anyone* who was there and refused to give up the names of perpetrators. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 23, 2009 at 2:54 am

"Realtiy" compares the recent damage from the Egg War to the gang raping of a 16 year old, as if "stopping it there so we don't have to stop it here" is the modern day version of the domino theory...

BF thinks expulsion is appropriate for this "crime", took the absurd salmonella bait, apparently condones forced testimony of eyewitness who would otherwise be "harboring evidence necessary to find a perpetrator" ("harboring evidence"! a new legal term), thinks this "crime" is serious enough for the newspapers to forgo the usual practice of not printing names and instead "publicly out" them. Then thinks all these over the top concepts are a shared viewpoint...

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I agree that often in this district the parents are a big part of the problem as described by BF as..

"and watched some parents in this community make life a living hell for teachers and administrators - and other students and parents - alike, by indulgence of their children in situations like this, generally causing an uproar, and then yelling "off with their heads" when it comes to the administration, teachers, etc."

Certainly I have seen that in action. But this is different. This time when "wolf" is being cried there is actually more of a werewolf. For another horror movie analogy....Do you remember that movie Tremors? Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, and those big worms eating people in the desert. There was this survivalist guy who I thought was a total moron and buffoon (NRA gun nut type married to Reba McIntyre) Just like I do agree with BF's characterization often of the parents in PA a bit. But remember the scene where he is shouting "you broke into the wrong damn Rec Room!"........

it's kind of like that now.






Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 23, 2009 at 3:15 am

Another thought....the over-the-top calls for escalating investigation and punishment above make sense in a way.

If some people are in the know as to what an upcoming investigation of recent events will reveal....and those same people strive to support the current status....

Then it makes sense to try and build support for even more rabid actions.

The superintendent has stated that he is taking the allegations seriously. If all the claims are just spurious nonsense then nothing to fear heh?


Posted by not amused, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 23, 2009 at 9:06 am



Can someone please explain the concept of egg wars as a source of fun and tradition?

I recall one of the angry parents writing a letter saying

"Our family has staged several water-balloon fights between our children and their friends in public parks."

these guys must also be into paint wars, and all the other stuff in this category - has it ever crossed your mind that this kind of "fun" is slightly insane?

Just what kind of kids are Palo ALto kids that they need to "let of steam" with egg wars?

these "angry parents" will never be satisfied, they seem like they need to see blood

this is crazy stuff









Posted by not amused, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2009 at 9:14 am



by the way, it should be expected that we get to know exactly who the parents are that are going after the Principal.

they need to put their name on a list and make these allegations formal and public,


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 23, 2009 at 10:06 am

Not amused - why should you expect the names of the parents to be made public? So the Paly admin can further bully their kids?


Posted by JM, a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 23, 2009 at 10:24 am

It's amazing, but perfectly normal in this country and this city, that the clear black and white issues been dragged into mud. Be aware, those tearing kids are smart and witty. They are our kids and learnt from us.

It's OK. I guess honesty is not of that much a value any more.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 23, 2009 at 11:52 am

"Can someone please explain the concept of egg wars as a source of fun and tradition?"

As I explained in another thread on this issue---in a former year one of my kids attended the Egg War as a routine part of Spirit Week. It's the kids working on the floats, etc., who even "cared" enough to continue the tradition. I'm sure many kids have graduated over the years and will never remember working on floats, egg wars, pep rallies, football games, etc. When I was in high school I was the editor of the underground newspaper. At the time the state Superintendent of Public Instruction (Max Rafferty) would be ranting on the radio about cleaning up that HS because of the underground newwspaper, anti-war protests by HS students (we raised the NLF flag etc.) I never would have been caught dead at the rallies, ever known or remembered Egg Wars type stuff, etc.

I can't precisely explain the "tradition" as regards specific inception and duration. But it's been going on for many years, some have said "decades".

If "Not Amused" has never participated in a snowball fight, a water balloon fight, never played capture the flag, or done Paintball with their kids.....then indeed you may not understand how an Egg War could be fun. If you have participated in any of the above and enjoyed the activity then no "fun" explanation for an Egg War should be necessary.

Then "Not Amused" (indeed) posted..

"by the way, it should be expected that we get to know exactly who the parents are that are going after the Principal.

they need to put their name on a list and make these allegations formal and public, "

Well it seems that if you read the initial portion of this story indeed some parents are formalizing the complaints over how this issue and other past ones are handled. We've already had BF say to the effect that "if the parents complain punish them by going after their kids", wants the local paper to make an exemption to the policy of not naming charged or convicted juveniles publicly for this "crime", etc.. I know a refugee from the Argentinian military torture and murder campaign and remember her telling how her kids were tortured in front of her in order to elicit her cooperation. It seems to me to be the same mindset, though obviously less heinous. (since people are bringing in the Gunn suicides and the raping of the 16 year old girl in Richmond why can't I also thrown in the kitchen sink?).

If it annoys you that people are using this forum anonymously to voice their frustrations and concerns.....

remember that the recent re-hashing was initiated publicly by an article quoting the principal and urging people to "move on" (as now the defenders urge revving up the attacks on the kids to a most bizarre level).

remember that at any time PA Online could have just closed this topic to registered users only. But have chosen not to.

remember that throughout this issue being discussed on PA Online many posters have been calling the kids who participated in this and former egg wars as "vandals", "criminals", "animals", etc., and calling for very draconian punishment and sanctions.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

I had already moved on, but then all this nonsense is thrown up again.

It is all just too much.


Posted by parent, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Dr. McEvoy and her Asst. Principals' nethods of investigating unacceptable student behaviors are at issue here. The same draconian methods using bullying, threats, and coercion were used in 2008 and parents objected. This year parents are finally demanding an official investigation, which is long overdue. The Paly administration breeds a culture of fear and disrespect by the way they handle problems.


Posted by rem, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 23, 2009 at 12:49 pm

*****Parents demand probe of 'egg war' investigation*****

Mr Thorwaldson (Editor),

It is hoped that one of these days you all will print the guidelines as to why you all arbitrarily and capriciously remove Posting.

There are no guidelines on the web site. It seems that you just remove Postings for no special reason

I think Wally Needle say (and ASKED) it very plainly in the article (Kevin Skelly taking egg-wars probe 'seriously) "What's with all the censoring of comments on this story and the removing of posts. Blocking vulgarity etc is one thing, but why censor comments."

Mr Thorwaldson, I noticed you and Chris Kenrick were the authors/writers of the article "Parents demand probe of 'egg war' investigation". Could it be that you and Mr Kenrick did not like the "tone" of our comments…


Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Too bad there aren't more Sandra Pearson's in the world!!!!

The McEvoy administration handles things in such a punitive fashion that many students are either fearful or more rebellious than necessary. McEvoy likes confrontation and she is getting exactly what she wants, publicity! This whole thing is not about the egg wars itself. It's about the manner in which events occur and how they are handled. I'm sure teachers aren't saying much because they need to keep their jobs but I'm sure there are some who are unhappy with the current situation as there are also some heavy-handed supporters of her. Since she has arrived, she has managed to delicately push out some of the most popular teachers and I don't think she is done yet.

In many ways, the egg war situation is much like the confrontation with Mr. McGovern and the black box. If you recall, this was her first big step into the Paly community. She managed to interfere in something she wanted eliminated in a very public fashion and she succeeded in her endeavors. I hope that the community can rally to NOT let her succeed again. Rules and the safety of the children are important but our children should not be worrying about how much trouble they will get in if they do something wrong. Aren't schools about teaching? What happened to that? We all make mistakes and I think most parents do what they can to make their children understand a particular situation and help them get through it. McEvoy mentions in one of her articles that we need to just "move on" but that's not a solution or a teaching moment. What have our students learned from the egg wars and how can we help them understand the pros and cons of the event and how to make better choices in the future? Yes parents are responsible for helping their children with a question like this but since all the controversy has stemmed from the actions of McEvoy, I think it's important to look at the root of the problem.

Sandra Pearson is sorely missed!!


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm

One has to wonder at the approach taken by the current PA HS administration towards the traditional Egg War during Spirit Week at Paly.

It seems that rather than try and engage the community/parents/students as to this yearly tradition a decision was made to 1) not do anything of the kind 2) basically treat it as a criminal activity (I know the rabid ones will post "but it is!") 3) make such a stance a fait acoompli as regards any discussion.

In a way the inadvertent Egg War migration (and resultant damage) COULD have fit in perfectly with this. If only the administration had taken a bulk PA HS campus responsibility towards rectification....it was a mistake how the issue was handled so "fix it" funds from both student and admin. funds. Volunteer Day for any Paly parents and students who wanted to come and help clean up. Not launch the "get the criminals" over the top investigation.

That would have then positioned the Egg War as being inherently a problem and at least given the illusion of taking the high ground.

But instead they seemed in reactive Kojak mode. By not controlling their Punishment Fervor this then was added to the many previous "campaigns". It's as if the new administration has a perverted image of how Guilliani cleaned up New York...only now putting a foot down on all perceived and real parental heavy input by a kind of slash and burn campaign.

Whether one agrees with such a campaign or not, there is a smart and a stupid way to go about it. It seems the latter is in full swing.

And now that they are in a corner, the calls go out to punish the parents---both directly and via more punishment for their kids, to engage in a campaign which borders on the outright unlawful.

You'd think they'd learn.


Posted by Michele, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 23, 2009 at 2:27 pm

Most of our experiences with Palo Alto teachers and staff has been very positive. Everyone is going to get a teacher they just don't like. In that case, our job is to teach our kids to work it out - you aren't always going to get along with everyone in life. Our junior high school principal when I was growing up was psychotic. He gave detention for no provocation and paddled the boys with his large paddle collection. We were all terrified of him but did our time and ended up ahead of the pack in dealing with the mentally ill. He did actually end up being treated for mental illness later in life. Not saying that the Paly staff is psychotic - just if you can't get along with them, try to have your kids use the situation to learn from it. It might help them deal with that difficult boss.

As to the egg wars, next time Paly kids should just have it on their own campus. End of problem.


Posted by Norm, a resident of Midtown
on Nov 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm

Norm is a registered user.

If the outcome of this investigation are unsatisfactory, will it be investigated??

Everyone involved who is forthcoming on the event admits that an activity that some might characterize and planned violence, others admit it was just a sloppy mess that was planned. Some folks might say it's blatant vandalism. NO ONE SAYS IT WAS NOT PLANNED - just something they didn't want to take across the street to their school so they might avoid the aftermath.
Guess what kids, your actions and accountability have collided. Teens today say they are "mature" and should be treated like adults. Well, here comes reality - your actions biting you on the butt.
School property was willfully turned into an uncooked omelet. The chef sometimes gets burned.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm

"If the outcome of this investigation are unsatisfactory, will it be investigated??"

From which side of the aisle?

Guess what Paly HS Admin...your actions and accountability have collided. Here comes reality, etc.


Posted by former Paly parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 23, 2009 at 4:57 pm

I don't know all the specific details of the repercussions of the egg vandalism, but it appears the consequences were minor to the students. In the end, a few were suspended, and only briefly, and the jr and sr classes at Paly were reprimanded in some fashion. I think there was a class-wide penalty (during the recent spirit week - some sort of penalty to both the jr and sr classes at Paly?!) and I disagree with this.

If there's one thing I am concered about it's this: I don't agree with penalizing an entire group of students when a few or a group are responsible for doing something wrong. (The idea is that next time, the well-behaved ones will somehow influence the others to make better choices of their behavior...which is a dubious idea)

Make each student responsible for his or her behavior.

Don't make everyone pay out of their class activity funds. Some students demonstrated good judgement by NOT participating in this egg nonsense, though some poster (perhaps on another thread) assured us that since "all the right people - student leadership (so called) and sports students and so on were the ones involved, so THAT should legitimize the activity and should make the egg vandalism all right. Really, it is disheartening to the level of such students if that is the case...


Posted by Felicia Snow, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 23, 2009 at 10:14 pm

The way McEvoy handles these situations is the problem. The same thing happened last year. She needs to go and she needs to take her henchmen with her.


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 24, 2009 at 2:26 am

former Paly parent said...

"Don't make everyone pay out of their class activity funds. Some students demonstrated good judgement by NOT participating in this egg nonsense, though some poster (perhaps on another thread) assured us that since "all the right people - student leadership (so called) and sports students and so on were the ones involved, so THAT should legitimize the activity and should make the egg vandalism all right. Really, it is disheartening to the level of such students if that is the case..."

The reason I suggested that, IMO, a better way to have addressed this would have been to acknowledge that the genesis of it all hinges on an established tradition colliding with a very determined set of new administrators whom seriously mis-handled how it was approached. Instead of launching an apparently over the top and abusive investigation they just made bulk amends. Then things would have moved on. You disagree but I wonder what level of investigation and interrogation you would support in the quest to narrow the focus. If about 200 people particpated in this yearly tradition would you advocate lining them all (if all 200 could be identified) and conducting an over the top interrogation buttressed with threats and using lies to frighten?

As regards my characterization of the students participating.....that was not to justify the tradition based on the "right people" participating. It was done to illustrate the true nature of the yearly Egg War tradition at Paly. If the same students were capturing people's pets and sacrificing them in a Satanic Ritual I would probably not support such a tradition (but let me think about it, limit to cats?)....:)

Actually I think it's kind of cool that these students get a taste of this abuse of authority. But part of the education and making it a "teachable moment" is revealing a path to put an end to the current campaign by the PA HS adminsitration.

It's interesting to step back and look at how it all has come down. Had the Paly ADMIN not launched the over the top investigation, which was apparently the last straw, they could have used the egging at Gunn to put an end to the Egg War tradition---without necessarily the spotlight now on them.

But had not the students from Paly egged the Gunn structures then a stimulus for the rabid "investigation" would not have been served. Driving them over the brink in a froth of rabid single-mindedness, eventually leading to exposure many hope.

With all the chips falling as they are.....


Posted by not amused, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 24, 2009 at 8:28 am



A Noun Ea Mus,

If "Not Amused" has never participated in a snowball fight, a water balloon fight, never played capture the flag, or done Paintball with their kids.....then indeed you may not understand how an Egg War could be fun. If you have participated in any of the above and enjoyed the activity then no "fun" explanation for an Egg War should be necessary.

egg wars on public property and snowball fights are totally different

egg wars on public property and capture the flag and are totally different

egg wars on public property and water balloon fight are totally different

Egg wars seem to take a huge amount of administrator time, money, and now the Superintendent's time has to go into this,

and part of the "fun" has to involve destroying public property?

where was the teachable moment that it's not a good idea to do this?

from your own rabid comments sounds like some of these kids have their parents "egging" them on.

will this remain a planned/unplanned "tradition' at Paly?

any chance you could do a capture the flag, or water ballon fight?







Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 24, 2009 at 8:40 am

Not Amused -

Egg wars were stupid and wrong.

The teachable moment could have come if the Paly administration responded appropriately, having the kids take responsibility for their actions (paying for clean-up, doing community service for Gunn, many possibilities come to mind.)

Instead Dr. McEvoy's initial reaction was to suspend kids for FIVE days and threaten to cancel Spirit Week unless students confessed or turned each other in.

The other teachable moment passed when the Administration knew the Egg Wars were going to occur and instead of reminding the kids that it was against school rules, the chose to contact the Stanford police instead.

This is only one of many over reactions by the Paly administration.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 24, 2009 at 9:46 am

We do not currently have kids at Paly or Gunn, but we have two kids in college who attended Palo Alto schools. In our experience, the attitude of some school administrators against kids and parents is a legitimate cause for concern, that is separate from the need to discipline students in this specific case or others. In many instances, we felt a prevailing attitude that treated us as adversaries rather than partners and I believe that the result is negative and counter-productive for the kids and the community.


Posted by not amused, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 24, 2009 at 12:18 pm




I wonder what would have happened if McEvoy had asked for egg wars to be cancelled?

schools have enough challenges, and spending money and admin time on cleaning up eggs is outrageous

too bad this has gone beyond an egg war, to war on the school Principal which I find incredibly wrong.






Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 24, 2009 at 4:42 pm

If instead a regular Paly Junior/Senior Paintball "war" had for years been held in a rural(ish) area with no bad effect, then through the same Cat/Mouse gotcha game been migrated to Gunn........

Ditto with a water balloon fight, etc. I suspect that the egg damage at Gunn was not just inadvertent "mano e mano" egg war missed tosses. Once there the Paly/Gunn rivalry probably stimulated a few participants to after hours target Gunn. Those people definitely did a wrong thing. Water balloons might have been tossed to cause some water damage, snowballs also.

For many years the Egg Wars did utterly no damage.

There were so many missed opportunities for the Paly Admin to address this in a different way from the beginning. And once the the "get 'em" train left the station it continued to pile mistake on mistake.

The kids have been punished apparently. Now time for another form of accountability.

Look at all the posts here by MANY PA HS parents. Do you think everyone is just making all this up?


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 25, 2009 at 3:49 am

A Noun Ea Mus::
>>> First no possibility was even entertained that just maybe the Egg War Tradition could be something to keep and protect. <<<

i cannot believe the energy and bandiwdth you have taken up over this issue ... and that line says it all. Apparently you just do not get that egg wars are really not a constructive thing that children or anyone else should be engaged in, and starting from the erroneous premise you have spent days and hundreds of lines on multiple boards trying to defend it.

I have to say, I find it incomprehensible, that this would mean so much to anyone, and that anyone would go on so wrong about this. What? Explain it to me will ya?


Posted by former Paly parent, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 25, 2009 at 9:10 am

palo alto mom, I understood that the five day suspensions were promptly reduced to one day suspensions. Not sure whether parental pressure did that or just a better perspective.
Most everyone agrees egg wars are nonsense - my point as a former parent there is that I didn't want to see entire classes punished (or their class funds taken to remedy the damages) for the nonsense of a few...


Posted by not amused, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 25, 2009 at 9:49 am



Anon,

I wonder if A Noun Ea Mus is a parent or a student?


Posted by A Noun Ea Mus, a resident of Professorville
on Nov 25, 2009 at 10:13 pm

"Anon,

I wonder if A Noun Ea Mus is a parent or a student?"

I am a parent of children who have gone through PAUSD and some also still in. My daughter participated in last year's Egg War tradition on Stanford property. None of my kids participated in the events of this year. But there but for the grace of her birth date and the grace of the PA HS Admin could she have gone. She has friends still in PA HS.

Then Anon asks

"A Noun Ea Mus::

>>> First no possibility was even entertained that just maybe the Egg War Tradition could be something to keep and protect. <<<

i cannot believe the energy and bandiwdth you have taken up over this issue ... and that line says it all. Apparently you just do not get that egg wars are really not a constructive thing that children or anyone else should be engaged in, and starting from the erroneous premise you have spent days and hundreds of lines on multiple boards trying to defend it.

I have to say, I find it incomprehensible, that this would mean so much to anyone, and that anyone would go on so wrong about this. What? Explain it to me will ya?"

I am rubber and you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.

Seriously you weighing in about my bandwith is truly the pot calling the kettle black.

You really want me to explain why I "care" so much?

I don't care if the Egg War tradition continues or not. I suppose there might be a way to retrofit another Spirit Week activity to mimic it.

It angers me to see the way a bunch of educated people exhibit social ignorance by just weighing in with their little pathetic individual axes and arrogant posturing.

I see the posts calling the kids "animals", "criminals", "vandals" and yeah that could be my daughter you're referring to. Someone you don't even know. I then consider how this Egg War was handled.

I could go on and on and on, but I've said it all before and this thread is winding down........suspensions lifted and now parents are indignantly braying.

Gotta love it though....


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