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Town Square

School Board Prez Buries OCR Report, Cancels Discussion of PAUSD Bullying Policy

Original post made by Curious on May 6, 2013

In a hastily scheduled Tuesday morning "study session," the PAUSD school board will hear the first public report on the district's compliance with settlement agreements with the US Department of Education's Office for Civil Right for violating the civil rights of disabled students. School board president Dana Tom and VP Barb Mitchell chose to schedule the report for the just-announced 10:00 am session on a "Safe and Welcoming Schools Action Plan" rather than for the regular Board of Eduction meeting scheduled for Tuesday evening.

The action follows an apparent abortive attempt to discuss the OCR investigation in a closed session on April 23. Tom and Mitchell were forced to cancel that discussion "on advice of counsel" because it would have been illegal under the state's open meetings law, the Brown Act. The Tuesday morning report will be immediately followed by a closed session to discuss the Superintendent's performance, last discussed in a closed session in late January.

Notice that OCR compliance will be discussed Tuesday morning does not appear on the agenda on the PAUSD web site (see Web Link), but instead in the downloadable "board packet" (see Web Link).

The session also includes a "Lessons Learned" report from Dr. Charles Young, the Associate Superintendent. Young is the designated Compliance Officer who was charged with assuring that the District followed applicable state and federal law on protecting student civil rights. It was those laws that OCR found were systemically violated.

In related action, Tom cancelled the planned discussion of the new PAUSD bullying policy that had been scheduled for Tuesday evening's board meeting. As noted in an earlier post, the district has so far failed to secure OCR approval for the new policy. The sticking point is likely PAUSD's unwillingness to conform its "site-based control" method of handling harassment and discrimination complaints to the requirements of state law and its settlement agreements with the federal government.

Also on the school board agenda for Tuesday evening is a request by staff to commit $140,000 for legal services from the law firm of Laurie Reynolds, who gave a public presentation to the Board of Education on the OCR investigation that the Weekly described as so inaccurate and misleading as to amount to "pure obfuscation" (see Web Link).

The school board will also discuss adopting new PAUSD strategic plan, which reaffirms the board's commitment to full public transparency.

Comments

Posted by IB Brockovich, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 6, 2013 at 9:36 am

Curious: Keep being curious as there will be many more things to investigate in the near future. The truth could set the district free if they would just quite stonewalling. Thanks for your continued postings in here. I am so glad that those parent groups have decided to sponsor a meeting with the Office For Civil Rights. They are all doing our district a service.

Where is that guy Ken Dauber now? He was advocating for all of this stuff before the election and look what we wound up with. It is truly pathetic!

I will continue to walk my walk in pursuit of the truth as well Curious! Curiosity killed the cat.......now the cat is really out of the bag!


Posted by Deep Throat, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 6, 2013 at 11:09 am

There are other OCR complaints and resolution agreements from last year. The board knows about them but has not released info to the public. Under Skelly PAUSD has had a pattern or practice of discrimination against students with mental disabilities. Skelly has forced parents to complain to OCR and then has stonewalled the federal government believing that OCR is a paper tiger. The board knows and supports this policy. The truth will come out.


Posted by Lanferelle, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 6, 2013 at 11:11 am

The school board prez obviously has some ulterior motive in protecting Kevin Skelly ( self-preservation, perhaps?). Hence the secret meetings, cancelled meetings, lies and coverups.

The longer the board allows Skelly to stay, the worse the board looks, and the more we regret Ken Dauber's loss on election day.


Posted by you said it!, a resident of College Terrace
on May 6, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Oh Lanferelle, you sure did say it. If only Ken Dauber had won! But then the fact that he was running is a big reason why the community did not know about these OCR investigations since that is why Skelly and the Board didn't tell the public about them, and I guess now there are even more that have yet to come out. Wheels within wheels...If Dauber had won we would have a new sheriff in this town. And that is what we need so badly.


Posted by Reality check, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on May 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm

I think we can guess how well the compliance is going from the story about how OCR sent Skelly a nasty note about PAUSD's behavior in the Duveneck case. Another reason why this got scheduled in the morning: Skelly and Tom knew that this story was coming out, and didn't want to deal with more unhappy constituents.