District moves to correct civil-rights violations
Original post made
on Feb 22, 2013
A Palo Alto special-education student whose complaints of bullying and harassment led to a federal civil-rights investigation and a scathing reprimand of the school district received approval last week from the district for placement in a residential facility.
==B Related story:==
District submits responses in bullying case]
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posted Friday, February 22, 2013, 8:41 AM
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Posted by Educator
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm
You have to remember that Skelly was hired to calm down the principals and administrators after they had risen up and successfully ousted Mary Frances Callan, the former superintendent, which actually has resulted in almost a complete turnover of principals due to firing, reassignment, retirement, or resignation. After a few years, Skelly became bolder and bolder after successfully apologizing a number of times to make problems he created go away, such as the anti-Latino comment he made, the lack of effectiveness in his response to the suicides, and then the Brown Act alleged violations. In his boldness, he successfully kept the teacher's union, PAEA, off his back and even got them to accept a paltry 1% one-time bump retroactively for the 11-12 school year. But let's get back to his apologies. The Brown Act alleged violations happened in April and May and he apologized, but without admitting responsibility. At the same time, he was undergoing an attack from PAEA and a few members of the Board to get rid of a few principals, and apparently, thanks to the Weekly, he was under pressure from the Office of the Civil Rights. To top it off, he was up for a contract extension in late May or June, which he got. Worse yet, an important election was taking place in the fall, and he and Charles Young failed to disclose virtually any of the OCR cases. He had a multi-year head start in the OCR case, but because he had successful diverted or deflected or dismissed that family for four years, why would he change that winning strategy. His own "apology" even claimed ignorance of how to handle such a case in his six years (though he was actually in his fifth year last spring and in the middle of his sixth year). This second case he knew about the family for at least three years and the middle school principal had months of warning to make things right, but this time Young was the one who got involved as the compliance officer and frankly didn't really know what to do. Either way, Skelly's apology to the board, reported here in the Weekly, is a non-apology. He said he is sorry that some on the board may have been surprised by the latest revelation, not that he was sorry for causing the situation. He has never apologized by taking responsibility. The old-fashioned "buck-stops-here" is not in his repertoire. His leadership skills rely on you, the community, being impressed with his Harvard undergraduate degree and his ability to deflect any blame, responsibility, or accountability, despite the healthy salary he receives, which is the very reason why he is paid so much (just talk to a custodian about the verbal abuse he or she may receive from an insensitive teacher or parent or principal, while making almost a tenth of what Skelly is paid).
The bottom line: [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] Skelly needs no more sympathy. The board needs to do its job. They need to release Skelly, Young needs to go, he never belonged here, he just does not possess the requisite skills if he cannot handle compliance issues, which are basically by the book, and it would say a lot about how we put kids first, or at least how we should put kids first, if Holly Wade was demoted or let go. Camille, Melissa, Dana, and Barbara, you four need to somehow demonstrate that you are not as culpable (you are responsible for it, but Skelly's latest apology implies that you should have known and you should not have been surprised) as Skelly and Young. Our community has violated the civil rights of a child in 2012 and apparently that is not the norm, but a rarity. This comes two years after the feds cited our district for disproportionately putting Latino and African American boys in special education after failing to address their needs in the regular education classroom. Heidi, you claim to be an advocate for special needs children, but can you actually do what you were elected to do and make the hard decision? Or will you sit there Tuesday night and say a few sentences of outrage and then move on?
This thread is over 100 entries. Each of the previous ones two weeks ago were over a 100. That is an extraordinary number because this latest fiasco is extraordinary. Though there are a variety of opinions expressed, one cannot deny that many of us are not out for blood, but we do want the governance system to work and the superintendent and the associate superintendent need to be out of their offices at 25 Churchill by June.