http://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2006/11/07/who-knew-pausd-coverup-of-sex-offender


Town Square

Who knew? PAUSD coverup of sex offender

Original post made by Concerned parent, Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Nov 7, 2006

I am shocked that PAUSD teachers and principals knew about Giordano's felonious affair with his Middle school student and didn't report it! Teachers are required to report child abuse by CA law (Penal Code Section 11165.7).

I suggest that all PAUSD staff take the training on mandatory reporting of child abuse (online clases at: Web Link)

What actions will PAUSD take to assuage our outrage?

Comments

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Posted by SkepticAl
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 7, 2006 at 7:28 pm

"Concern" is certainly appropriate, parent. But then, why are folks around here always shocked, amazed, outraged, seething...? Palo Alto is a bit full of itself, judging by some of the voices around here (on this and other issues). This kind of thing happens all too often, in all too many places. I'm not suggesting that we should be complacent about it, but all the shrill drama... please. As if we should somehow be insulated and separate from the rest of the world where bad people do bad things and normal people have lapses of judgment. That said, the crime certainly deserves punishment, and the potential failure to report deserves scrutiny and possibly punishment once the truth is known. And I'm sure the training you're asking for already happens. Training won't guarantee that people do what they're supposed to.


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Posted by Another concerned parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 8, 2006 at 9:19 am

According to today's weekly, Rick Ehrhorn, a teacher at Ohlone Elementary School, knew about Giordano's relationship with an underage minor. Yet Ehrhorn said and did nothing.
And this man is still teaching in our school system!!!!


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 10, 2006 at 1:33 am

Ehrhorn is one teacher, and I don't know his story. I have heard what a great teacher he is. He's not an abuser-- isn't your wanting to have him fired a little harsh?

Believe it or not, Bill G. was a great teacher, too, for the vast majority of his students over his long career. As a colleague of his, I can attest to what a nice guy he was, a friend you could count on, someone with a wonderful sense of humor, and much liked by students and adults alike.

His crime was terrible, unforgivable, horrendous. But he sure didn't walk around drooling, or dropping hints, or openly doing anything. He was a normal, upright kind of guy, and his colleagues were deeply shocked by the revelation of his secret life.

So don't say "teachers and principals" knew-- you're painting us all with one brush, when you don't know the whole picture...


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2006 at 1:46 pm

As a high school teacher in another district and parent of a 9th grade girl at Paly, I was shocked to hear that a couple of school
employees knew something inappropriate was going on and did nothing to pass the information on. It's very disconcerting. Just as surprising was the fact that some people knew that the middle school student was leaving with Bill Giordano at lunch time. This would be enough reason for people, including administration, to find out what was going on between the two.
The fact that Mr. Giordano was also a good teacher and coach does
not change anything. In fact, it only makes the average person less trustful of innocent, hardworking teachers, coaches and others who work closely with their children who would never even consider such behavior.


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Posted by JLS parent
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Nov 10, 2006 at 2:36 pm

Its reasons like this that makes the school put new ridiculous policies on our coaches. My 8th grader was doing school sports and had an away game. The coach was not allowed by the district to transport a group of students to the away game in his car, it had to be done by parents alone. This meant his car went both ways with only himself in it and parents had to do all the driving, sometimes taking ambivilent younger siblings along also. Personally speaking, the coach was someone who had been coaching at the school for many years and had children himself. I think I would personally have trusted him with my child's welfare rather than one of the other parents who I knew nothing about and had just been introduced to at the parents meeting. I know that we want to protect our kids, but sometimes we can take caution to ridiculous lengths. I am sure that there are as many parents out there who are sexual predators as there are school teachers/coaches who are sexual predators. In other words, just a tiny fraction. I know the district has to watch its back, but what would happen in a case like this if a parent driving had (purely hypothetically) done the same thing? Would that exonerate the district and put the onus back on the parent of the victim? It's just legal hogwash. We have to start to trust people sometime or else we will all end up neurotic.


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Posted by Another concerned parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Nov 10, 2006 at 3:56 pm

I cannot believe the post by Anonymous, a member of the Jordan Middle School community, singing the praises of a sick twisted pervert like Bill G.
Let me explain this to you in simple terms--Bill G molested children in his care, Ernhorn knew, according to court documents, that Bill G was molesting children and yet did nothing about it. But since you believe that both were "great teacher", they should be let off the hook. Clearly Ernhorn may also be unfit to be a teacher and if you are one also, one has to question your qualifications to teach young children.
Hopefully Bill G will get the treatment in prison usually afforded to child molesters.


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Posted by MEMBER OF JORDAN COMMUNITY
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 10, 2006 at 4:16 pm

TO ANONYMOUS, JORDAN SCHOOL COMMUNITY,
WHAT IS THE WHOLE BRUSH, I WRITE IN ALL CAPITALS BECAUSE I TOO AM PART OF THE SCHOOL COMMUNTIY AT JORDAN AND YOU TO ME ARE AN EMBARRASMENT, "G" WAS VERY CLOSE TO ME AND HE LIVED A SICK LIE, HE IS A MONSTER WHO WAS VERY RELIABLE BUT TOOK THE INNOCENCE OF A LITTLE GIRL FOR EVER ALONG WITH ANOTHER GIRL WE KNOW OF BUT THE STATUE OF LIMITATIONS WENT OUT.

###ARE YOU KIDDING ME, ASK YOURSELF, IF THESE WERE YOUR DAUGHTERS YOU WOULD BE OKAY WITH THIS???? WOW NOTHING PERSONAL, JUST MY OPINIONS. HE DID IT ONCE BEFORE THIS GIRL IN 91, AGAIN IN 91, THEN WENT TO HONG KONG IN 95 TO GET OFF WITH YOUNG GIRLS, AND IN 93 AT SCHOOL TOUCHED A GIRL IN WRONG MANNER AND YOU ARE JUST OAKY WITH ALL THIS? MEMBER OF JORDAN COMMUNITY


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Posted by Former Jordan student
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2006 at 4:41 pm

Speaking as a former student of this teacher's,(Jordan sex ed class which took place sporadically during regular Sciencein 7th grade) I can honestly say the news that he abused a student and another one (and the news in the PA Weekly article) was initially overwhelming and I don't want to think that he should be publicly absolved simply because he was a good teacher and a favorite. People with inflated egos often have a lot of charm and I remember Mr. G not being like any other teacher I had encountered before with his casual approach and his "youngness" at the time I can see how students may have thought he was their friend. Middle School is such a sensitive, important part of any child's growing up. Kids are starting to see themselves differently, try new things and interact with teachers in a way that hopefully increases their responsibility and self-confidence. I saw Mr. G. as someone I did not want to pal around with even though it seemed evident that some of my peers thought he was cool. I initially experienced some shock but also it made some sense to, because of the way this teacher encouraged a certain type of familiarity and favortism with certain students. The school district should be reactive to this in a dilligent effort for the sake of protecting all students. I can't speak as a parent but just as a former Jordan student in the 80's. Most important, parents, ask your kids about their teachers, all of them, even if it's for a sex ed class once a week for a month. Kids shouldn't have to grow up faster than they already are and teachers like this one crossed the line and played in dangerous territory.


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Posted by Ehrhorn's student's parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2006 at 9:32 pm

I am deeply saddened to hear about Ehrhorn's supposed involvement in the coverup for Mr. G.

Ehrhorn was a great teacher for our child and it really is unfathomable that he would chose to protect a fellow teacher over a student/victim. I hope the press got it wrong.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 11, 2006 at 12:26 am

How predictable that you would totally misread my post to blast me for saying that what BG did was okay, when that isn't at all what I said...

Quote from my post: "His crime was terrible, unforgivable, horrendous."

I wasn't singing his praises. My point was that his despicable behavior was by no means obvious to those who worked with him. He "presented" in his life as a totally normal guy to those around him. He appeared to be a great teacher for years and years. My own daughter had him as a coach for track and field, and thought he was cool. Yes, I am horrified, and appalled, and shaken-- perhaps even more so than people who did not know him personally. How would YOU feel if someone you thought of as a friend turned out to be perpetrating a heinous abuse?

That doesn't mean that we should trust no one, as Midtown Anonymous said, but that diligence must be taken to prevent such abuse wherever it might rear its ugly head. And certainly such abuse is not the exclusive province of Education-- ummm, Catholic church? Boy Scouts? Families?...

Read posts a little more carefully before you blast someone--


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Posted by Member of PAUSD community
a resident of Ventura
on Nov 14, 2006 at 11:08 am

I want to express my deepest sympathy for the victims of Giordano's abuse.

Did Ehrhorn and Prehn know what was going on with the one young woman? I don't know. What about the staff and faculty at Jordan who saw Giordano and the female student leave school grounds at the same time, week after week? How many of them put two and two together? How many of them stepped forward to stop what was going on? I don't know. What about other students? Did any of them suspect what was going on? If they did, would they have felt that they could speak up?

Even the very best people make errors of judgment and lack courage in the face of very difficult situations.

Now we have to ask ourselves as a community how we can work together so that the next time a student is being abused (and let's not kid ourselves, there will be a next time), any person, adult or child, who suspects the abuse will have the courage to speak up—and will feel like his or her concerns will be taken seriously and in confidence.

What about a special hotline number posted at schools? What about some straight-talking, mandatory awareness training for kids, taught by outsiders, not teachers? I'm sure there are many good ideas. I hope the district is looking forward as well as backward right now.


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Posted by anonymous
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 14, 2006 at 4:34 pm

hotline is an EXCELLENT idea - this should be set up ASAP. I do wonder about the line between "abuse" and suspected questionable/inappropriate behavior by a teacher. Be aware that reporting by concerned parents (doesn't have to be of suspected abuse -- but rather of inappropriate behavior seen on the part of a teacher) -- could easily result in retaliation against that parent's child (i am talking about a situation where bystanders observe something involving a teacher and someone else's child). Teachers are heavily protected. This is one good reason why bystanders are forced to stay silent when they do see/hear about questionable behavior.


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Posted by Anonymous 2
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 18, 2006 at 2:16 am

I thought I was not going to say any more in this forum, but the last comment compels me because I have to object to the sentence "Teachers are heavily protected." Whoa!!! Maybe somewhere else, but not here in Palo Alto, where every single thing that a teacher does is scrutinized and critiqued. Palo Alto parents are notorious all over the Bay Area for their in-your-face approach to their child's education. The stories are legion, and astounding-- for one humorous example, on a recent parent visitation day, one dad interrupted a teacher and started teaching the class! Teachers have even left the profession because they couldn't take the harassment from PA parents. You have NO idea...

The suggestion that bystanders would remain silent under any circumstances is ludicrous. In Palo Alto, no one ever remains silent, about anything. Also, teachers undergo extensive education about harassment, abuse, and the law on these things, including the legal requirement to report suspected violations. This is all fairly recent, however-- such training wasn't conducted even 10 years ago, and the laws have been given more teeth. Now, I can't imagine any teacher who would "cover" for a colleague when abuse is suspected-- for that matter, I can't imagine teachers covering 10 years ago-- but there's no lock on errors in judgement-- or, not seeing something because you simply don't suspect it...

PLEASE be careful about innuendo-- I know that G. Prehn was truly taken aback and shocked that BG named him as someone who "knew"-- I believe him that he didn't know, because I know him. I feel bad for him because so many people who don't know him will believe the newspaper-- to me, that's bad journalism-- now, Prehn is judged guilty without having a chance to defend himself. And you think teachers are protected?!!!


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Posted by anna
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2006 at 1:40 pm

Anonymous 2, how is it "bad jounalism" for the newspaper to report that Giordano claims he told two people about his affair. If the name was someone other than your friend G. Prehn I wonder if you'd have a problem with it. Reporting what Giordano claims does not make Prehn "guilty" in anyone's mind. It only raises a question, one that needs an answer. IF someone knew, then it is appropriate to investigate and appropriate to report it in the press.

Also, it is silly to think that it's utterly impossible that bystanders would remain silent. Just look at the Catholic church's priest-molester problem and all the silent bystanders involved. Just because educators are involved doesn't mean that everything is always above board.


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Posted by Student from Jordan.
a resident of Midtown
on May 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I agree with MEMBER OF JORDAN, I was in PE with this guy Mr. G. When this story broke I heard plenty of girls say first hand that he DID in fact make TONS of hints and flirtation to them and other girls. I barely talked to him but I saw that he was always talking to the popular girls during PE. I think it's great that James Franco made Mr.G a character (Mr.B) in the film "Palo Alto". This is truly a shocking story in our picturesque community.


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Posted by Warning
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on May 29, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Mr G is out of prison and has been spotted at Piazza's, grocery shopping.

The fact that he has been released back into this neighborhood is shocking and upsetting.

Aren't felons supposed to be released somewhere other than where they committed their crimes?????