News

FPPC: Dauber has no financial conflict of interest with Office for Civil Rights

Palo Alto school board member hopes to quell concerns about involvement with federal agency

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has ruled that Palo Alto Unified School District board member Ken Dauber has no financial conflict of interest related to matters involving the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights, for which he previously worked as a paid consultant.

Dauber received a letter from the FPPC Tuesday in response to a ruling he sought last month to put to rest years of questions about his relationship with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the agency's involvement in the Palo Alto school district.

The FPPC ruled that because the Office for Civil Rights has not been a source of income for Dauber since 2011 and he has no other financial interests related to OCR decisions that could come before the school board, the Political Reform Act does not restrict his participation in these decisions.

Income from a local, state or federal agency also does not fall under the Political Reform Act's definition of income, so could not create a conflict of interest for an elected official in California, FPPC General Counsel Hyla Wagner wrote in her letter to Dauber.

From 2009 to 2011, before his election in 2014 to the Board of Education, Dauber worked as a paid data consultant for the Department of Education, earning a total of $26,426, according to Dauber. His paid consulting work for the agency ended in 2011 and, he has told the Weekly, his district-related communications with the federal office ceased before he was elected last fall.

"Your facts describe income you have received in the past, but none within the 12 months prior to the (upcoming) decision" the school board may make regarding two pending OCR investigations into the school district, Wagner wrote. "None of the other requests for information or interactions with OCR that you described constitute a financial interest under the (Political Reform) Act that may create a conflict of interest.

"As such, the Act does not prohibit your participating in the Palo Alto Unified School District Board decisions described involving OCR."

Dauber said Tuesday that he hopes the FPPC ruling will allow him to move past concerns about his involvement with the agency. Over the past several years, anonymous posters on Palo Alto Online's Town Square forum have accused Dauber of assisting district parents in preparing complaints to the Office for Civil Rights and of using his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district, allegations that Dauber has strongly denied. Dauber wrote in a post on his website Wednesday that other members of the board have also raised this question "repeatedly."

Dauber also addressed, one by one, what he says are "errors of fact" in several stories and an editorial local newspaper the Daily Post has run in the last week accusing him of unethical behavior.

In its editorial, the Post accused Dauber of helping a family who needed special-education services to file an OCR complaint against the district. However, Dauber said his involvement with the family took place after the family filed its complaint.

Dauber and his wife, Stanford University School of Law professor Michele Dauber, helped the family obtain special-education services that were promised by the district in a resolution agreement following their complaint "but which the family alleged were never provided."

"The effort to obtain needed services occurred after the Resolution Agreement was entered into, and was unrelated to the filing of the complaint," Dauber wrote.

Dauber also addressed Daily Post allegations of his "tipping off" the Office for Civil Rights to sexual harassment at Palo Alto High School, which supposedly prompted the agency's current investigation.

The Post pointed to a May 29, 2013, email that Dauber sent to OCR – one he released last month in his FPPC request – suggesting that the agency offer "technical assistance" to the district in the wake of a series of stories about a "rape culture" at Paly published in student magazine Verde.

"I asked OCR to consider providing technical assistance to PAUSD in order to help the district understand its own obligation under Title IX to conduct an internal investigation," Dauber wrote on his blog Wednesday.

He wrote that this internal investigation was legally required to begin promptly and conclude within 60 days, but a month after the Verde stories came out, the district said it had still not opened an internal investigation and didn't see a reason to.

"The Post is blurring the distinction between what I requested, which is an internal Title IX investigation conducted by (then) Title IX Coordinator Charles Young, and an OCR investigation," Dauber wrote. "My letter is clear that I was talking about the former: 'It appears likely that school officials may have known or should have known of these facts, if not prior to the publication of the article, then certainly after it was published and widely disseminated. I think these facts should have triggered a Title IX investigation. However none was conducted and when the superintendent was asked about this, he stated that he did not see what the 'nexus' was between the unfortunate events reported in the student paper and the school.'"

The Post also wrote last Thursday that school district officials said they didn't know what prompted the OCR investigation at Paly. Dauber noted in his blog post that there was extensive local and national media attention around the "rape culture" stories and that the Office for Civil Rights directly informed the district that it opened the investigation as a result of the media coverage.

Dauber also pointed to an April 2014 Paly Campanile article in which then-Superintendent Kevin Skelly said the district itself had asked OCR for advice on how to proceed.

Dauber's wife also attended a school board meeting in mid-May and "directly informed the board and superintendent of the need to open a Title IX investigation," Dauber wrote. She also requested technical assistance at the same time as her husband, according to Dauber.

"However, regardless of how OCR found out or was 'tipped off' to the Verde story, the fact remains that whether to open an investigation was in the discretion of OCR as a law enforcement agency," Dauber wrote in his blog post. "Regardless of how the situation came to OCR's attention, if OCR determined that the situation merited an investigation then that is a decision made by the agency in carrying out its congressionally mandated duty to enforce the law."

Dauber's Aug. 13 letter to the FPPC requesting for formal written advice was prompted in part because OCR-related issues are likely to come before the board this fall. Specifically, Superintendent Max McGee asked during the last school year for board direction on potentially reaching resolutions with the Office for Civil Rights on its two open investigations in the district.

Dauber included with the letter several email exchanges he had in 2013 with OCR officials in Washington and San Francisco, written after Palo Alto Unified entered into a resolution agreement with the federal agency following the district's violation of the civil rights of a disabled middle school student through its mishandling of bullying complaints. He also detailed the history of his advocacy in the district, which has involved much outspoken criticism about the district's relationship with the Office for Civil Rights and handling of the agency's investigations.

Dauber also disclosed to the FPPC that several people who had made complaints about the district to OCR also gave money to his school board campaign in 2014 and helped with the distribution of campaign literature and fundraising.

Wagner wrote that campaign contributions "generally do not give rise to a conflict of interest" under the Political Reform Act, "except in narrow situations where an official is a member of an appointed board or commission and is also running for office and receiving campaign contributions."

Dauber also posted his letter to the FPPC and all communications with OCR on his website.

"What I think is really valuable about this," he said Tuesday, "is that I was completely transparent with the FPPC and really fully described my relationship with OCR and they addressed each and every one of those issues that was relevant and found that there were no conflicts."

"I'm happy that I can now move past this issue and be able to participate fully in these discussions on the school board because in order to be able to help the district move in the direction I think we need to move on cooperation and being proactive on civil rights, I need to be able to fully participate," Dauber said.

Dauber said he will continue to push for "positive change" around civil rights issues, including pursuing a district policy "of cooperation with OCR rather than resistance to federal civil rights law."

Comments

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto

on Sep 16, 2015 at 10:43 am


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48 people like this
Posted by Ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:01 am

I have seen Dauber at school board meetings - I am continually impressed by his contribution to discussions which is informed, presented concisely, and on point. He stands out on the Board (along with Godfrey much of the time) as a champion of badly needed reform.

The Office of Civil Rights is there for all of us - it stemmed from gains made in the civil rights struggle in this country and we should remember that and cooperate with it.

And we should ignore the yellow journalism, stop the misinformation and let our children benefit from the intelligence and knowledge Dauber brings to the table.


44 people like this
Posted by Ellie
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:15 am

Thank you PA Online for this article. It was badly needed and should put to rest the effort by some yellow journalists to weaken or even unseat Dauber - the motivation is unknowable given the facts.

When I go to school board meetings, I see Dauber in action and continue to be impressed by his knowledge and ability to communicate that knowledge in a cogent, intelligent manner - a breath of fresh air on a board where sometimes too much time is filled with platitudes and circular redundant pronouncements. My kids are lucky to have this man on the board and will reap the rewards of his leadership by having a better chance of a good education while feeling good about themselves.

The Office of Civil Rights is there to protect all of us. It exists as the result of the hard fought civil rights movement in the country. We should work with it rather than fear and oppose it. Dauber clearly recognizes this to his credit.

He has done nothing wrong - now let's just get on with it and ignore the yellow journalism and gossip.


45 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:21 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Thank you Mr. Dauber for your transparency, honesty and public service.

Let's move on with change in PAUSD.


40 people like this
Posted by Red
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm

Red is a registered user.

KEN dauber has been an effective school board member--glad he is on the board advocating for our school children and families.!

HE WOULD BE EVEN MORE EFFECTIVE IF THE 'DAILY Post'WOULD RECOGNIZE HIS CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR COMMUNITY.


41 people like this
Posted by Ignored for too long
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 16, 2015 at 2:01 pm

just finished reading Dauber's blog post and this article. First, I want to commend him for taking the time to make a thorough, honest, and transparent response. He is not like any politician I have ever seen before. He is thoughtful, caring, generous with his time (it must have taken a long time to write such a thorough response) and such a breath of fresh air on that school board. It is hard to imagine any local so-called leader being so transparent. And such a clear thinker and writer. I was left wondering how we got so lucky as to have him on the School Board.

Second, I particularly liked this part of his blog: "I support OCR in carrying out its mission of protecting the civil rights of all students. I reject the premise of the Post that this investigation is illegitimate. I especially reject the notion, promoted by the Post, that merely because other schools such as Saratoga High School also had publicized incidents of sexual violence, OCR should be investigating those schools rather than Paly. The situation in other schools is irrelevant to issues that may exist here. The OCR investigation should be viewed as an opportunity to improve our schools for all students. Indeed, according to Principal Kim Diorio, improvements have already been made as a result of the investigation. The board and district administration took what is in my view the wrong tack when it attempted to resist that investigation by blocking OCR's efforts to interview students and passing a Resolution criticizing OCR and lobbying to curtail the agency's authority. These efforts to block the agency were wrongheaded and did not benefit our students."

And also this part: "However, I reject the premise that filing a complaint with OCR, or assisting any family in doing so, is somehow illegitimate or grounds for criticism. If the Post or other community members are seeking an explanation for the OCR investigations in Palo Alto, they need to look no further than the legally non-compliant complaint procedures utilized by the district prior to the Terman complaint. Where parents feel that their complaints have no transparent and legitimate path to resolution, they are more likely to seek a forum outside the district itself for their complaints, including OCR, the California Department of Education, and the courts. Looking over the history of the OCR complaints, one feature that all have in common is that the parents complained repeatedly to district officials but received little or no response. While we have made progress due to the two 2012 OCR Resolution Agreements, at the last board meeting the Superintendent acknowledged that the district still is not in compliance with legal requirements of the Uniform Complaint Procedure regarding reports of sexual harassment. The best route to avoiding complaints is to ensure that we have appropriate, legally compliant complaint resolution procedures that parents can actually use.

Moreover, Federal law provides that any student or parent who feels that their civil rights have been violated in public school have the absolute right to bring that situation to OCR and ask for help. Those laws were designed to protect our children from harassment and discrimination based on race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability and any other protected classification. Without OCR, our schools would still be segregated. OCR is an important agency, its mission should be our mission, and I support anyone who files a complaint in good faith. Parents, students, and community members who file complaints should be supported, not criticized, and the district should work diligently to understand and if necessary correct any issues they raise."

HERE HERE! HUZZAH! HUZZAH! Without apology, I agree. Go Ken! Keep FIGHTING and don't apologize for standing up for our students. Thank you thank you. You have helped many many of us and people will never know all the good things you do for students every day.


24 people like this
Posted by Not a fan of the Daily Post
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

The general tone of the Daily Post, and of Dave Price in particular, is a puzzler. The Daily Post -- or the Daily Rag, if we want to be more accurate -- has continued to put out sloppy journalism in its pages for some reason (pressure from financial backers?).

Good for Ken Dauber, and hopefully, he'll continue to fight the good fight.


40 people like this
Posted by Ditto
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 16, 2015 at 2:20 pm

I appreciate and admire the fact that Mr Dauber always makes sure he is doing the right thing. He is quite sincere in his efforts, and as an experienced father, always has the interests of this community's children and young adults at the top of his list.

What a wonderful world it would be if there were millions of educators, politicians, and parents like Ken Dauber!

But, sadly, I think they broke the mold when they made him.


51 people like this
Posted by Parents of Student ine Terman's OCR th
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 2:55 pm


We are the parents of the student in the Terman case. We filed the OCR complaint against the district because our child was bullied based on disability. We are very glad to hear that the FPPC has cleared up any confusion of the other board members about whether Mr. Dauber has a conflict. Hopefully now the other board members will accept him completely and will stop bullying him. I really admire Mr. Dauber for doing the right thing by looking for an answer at a higher institution like the FPPC. Also we want everyone know that neither Mr. Dauber or his wife suggested, guided, or told us to file an OCR complaint. Neither of them even knew of our complaint at all. Period.

Mr. Dauber did reach out to us when he heard us asking for help at the board meetings and attended one couple of meetings with us at the district when we were trying to take our daughter out of Terman because she could not stand the bullied anymore and was staying home. He knew nothing of any OCR complaint at all. His wife Ms. Dauber got involved after the OCR findings became public when she knew that the student was still home and was getting no services. She worked miracles and was able to get us a lawyer from Stanford Law Clinic and he like an angel was able to find her a placement the very same day of the meeting. Really the Daubers should be considered heroes in this case if it was not because of them our child would be dead by now. She needed so much emotional support and we kept asking and looking for it, but kept knocking on doors but could not get a someone to and for the victim until God put them on our way. The city of Palo Alto should be very proud and consider themselves very lucky to have Ken at the board because we know that he will do the right thing when one of our student's safety, social and emotional needs are at risk. We wish he would had been at the board when our student was a sixth grader at Terman. We know for sure that he would had done something about it, and shorten the suffering that our girl had to go through when she was bullied. He would had not turn a deaf ear to our pleas for help! I am very glad he is a board member now!


73 people like this
Posted by epiphany
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2015 at 3:59 pm

" I especially reject the notion, promoted by the Post, that merely because other schools such as Saratoga High School also had publicized incidents of sexual violence, OCR should be investigating those schools rather than Paly."

You see, this is where Ken went wrong and why his lack of transparency has caused these issues for him.

If OCR is not investigating schools based on priority or seriousness of problems then they are investigating them based on other criteria. That's fine, as long as everyone knows that is the case.

If the OCR is investigating schools based on the willingness of parents of the district to get involved or on connections with the OCR, then that is also OK, as long as everyone knows that is the case.

The real problem here is that, rather than knowing that to be the case, and having OCR support due to having the right parents with the right connections n the district and so leveraging complaints as a leaning opportunity, the media and certain residents in the district use those complaints to bash the district. Not only that, they claim Palo Alto is the only district this is happening to.

All this could have been avoided if Ken had actually been transparent from the beginning. The Post's efforts should be commended because it has clarified how the complaints should be viewed. Hopefully we can now move forward in the spirit of engagement with he OCR.


27 people like this
Posted by Nice Tryhard
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2015 at 4:11 pm

[Portion removed.]

"All this could have been avoided" if district staff and board members had done their jobs.


1 person likes this
Posted by epiphany
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2015 at 4:23 pm

[Post removed.]


35 people like this
Posted by The wall crumbles
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 4:29 pm

Thank god the school board is no longer presenting a blank face of denial to the community. For years, all 5 members sat stonefaced and silent whenever the topic of discrimination or bullying or harassment came up. I watched board meetings where the parents of the child at Terman spoke. Melissa Caswell and Camille Townsend waited for 3 minutes for it to be over and didn't lift a finger to help. I heard the mother of the Gunn victim say the same thing about Caswell at a board meeting.
The solid wall of denial has crumbled, and now panic is setting in at the Daily Post and among certain members of the old board. What happens when the school board has at least one member who is willing to tell the truth, and will refuse to meet in secret and stonewall the community?
Thank you Ken Dauber for standing up under this assault. You are winning, just don't back down.


14 people like this
Posted by Not a fan of the Daily Post
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2015 at 4:51 pm

epiphany -- "The Post's efforts should be commended because it has clarified how the complaints should be viewed."

Praised? Praised? The Post has been on an anti-Dauber campaign for months. Their efforts were not to serve in the public interest; their overriding interest was to take down Dauber (for what reason is hard to say).

The Daily Post is not a newspaper; it's an example of yellow journalism. Their "journalists" are not actual journalists; they're badly trained copy typists, to the point where in an article on a matter happening in Atherton, the "reporter" for the Post copied an article from The Almanac's website verbatim, right down to quoting Peter Carpenter's comment on the site. [Portion removed.]


45 people like this
Posted by Parents of the 2nd OCR settlement
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm

It was always really sad that advocacy for children is viewed negatively here, and that a concerned person's advocating for children (especially the weakest among us) before and after being on the school board could ever be viewed as somehow a conflict of interest instead of relevant life experience and qualification. What's next? Having a child with a disability or who has ever had to fight for their rights being a conflict of interest in serving on the board or schools?

I will echo the above. We filed the complaint to the OCR that resulted in the 2nd settlement agreement. Ken Dauber had nothing at all to do with our filing, and he didn't know about the settlement agreement then either. The wild goose chases the district sent us on for months after we asked for 504 procedures, including once denying they even knew anything about 504 procedures, did. The OCR did not even decide our student's case and whether to grant the 504, the district does that. In the complaint, we asked that the district offer 504 procedures to all PAUSD families, and offer the procedures to our student. At the time, we did not know anything about the other case, we only learned about it when we read it in the papers. We did try to approach every level within the district first, including eventually board members. (Ken Dauber was not a board member then.) It may even have been Camille Townsend's suggestion that resulted in our even knowing about reaching out to the Dept of Education, but I can't remember offhand.

Again, the OCR did not decide our student's case, the district did. The Weekly even had a copy of our settlement agreement for months prior to it going in the paper, and they only had it in the context of our talking with the Weekly about our efforts to make healthier schools. Ken Dauber knew nothing about it then. None of this would ever have turned into this mess if our district had dealt with things in a healthy way. (It's really disturbing to us that the people on the board would even be taking this tack with the OCR while being so unconcerned about what we experienced as a result of having filed, after it became public. School districts exist to educate kids.)


11 people like this
Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 4:58 pm

@Not a fan of the Daily Post - do you realize how biased you sound, putting down the paper with the view you disagree with? It sounds just like somebody putting down Fox News or Huff Post or MSNBC or <pick your favorite>.

Personally I find the Weekly as biased or more as the Post. That's ok, I don't put them down for it. I read 'em both to get contrasting points of view.


1 person likes this
Posted by Not a fan of the Daily Post
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:03 pm

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

The Weekly and the Post are just sources of information.

Individual citizens are the people who ultimately decide what is the truth.


Like this comment
Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:10 pm

[Post removed.]


48 people like this
Posted by Amado Padilla
a resident of Stanford
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm

I have read the Post articles and editorial regarding School Board member Ken Dauber. I want to thank the Weekly Online for setting the record straight on Mr. Dauber. As responsible members of the community whether we have children in school or not we need to be their advocates to ensure that every child succeeds and that no child experiences the pain of bullying, exclusion, or sexual intimidation. I am in complete support of the OCR investigation of PAUSD if the district is not complying with the law. Further, there is no reason why the PAUSD or any other district regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status should be exempt from an OCR investigation. Accordingly, I also support the idea that the School Board must cooperate with the OCR in order to be credible with every parent in the district. In my estimation, we need more people like Ken Dauber who is willing to stand up and show that he can be counted on to advocate on behalf of all the children in the district. It is shameful that the other members of the School Board do not show the same strength of character especially since they are presumably the care takers of all our children. Thank you - Ken Dauber!!


20 people like this
Posted by fan of the daily post
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:28 pm

Not a fan- I thought you were describing the weekly.
The post is not afraid to upset the ” powers that be” and is not beholden to financial interests unlike a certain other paper in town


8 people like this
Posted by Not a fan of the Daily Post
a resident of Mountain View
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:30 pm

@fan of the daily post -- Oh, how naive you are.


1 person likes this
Posted by choices
a resident of Crescent Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:34 pm

@Epiphany,

It certainly makes a difference when you realize why OCR chose to do these investigations in Palo Alto instead of districts with far more serious problems.
It does make you wonder how OCR chooses to use it's limited resources. To spend them on an affluent district with very involved parents and residents and a direct line to Sandy might be great for Palo Alto but, you've got to admit, is suboptimal.


8 people like this
Posted by Bo
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:37 pm

> And we should ignore the yellow journalism,

What yellow journalism?

> stop the misinformation

What misinformation?

Has a local paper printed anything about untrue about anything? The one article I read made it clear that Dauber had no conflict of interest based on his communications with friends in the Federal Government. The article simply pointed out that there was a communication between Dauber and the Federal government, which seems to have resulted in an OCR investigation of the PAUSD—based on the timing. This communication occurred before Dauber was elected to the school board. The article did claim that Dauber did not offer that information at any time when this issue of OCR investigations of the PAUSD were a hot topic here in Palo Alto.

Interesting that people claiming yellow journalism can not be more specific
about the journalist malfeasance over which they seem so incensed.


40 people like this
Posted by Parents of the 2nd OCR settlement
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Thank you, Dr. Padilla.

I think it bears repeating that the purpose of the OCR in all of this is just to get the district to follow the law -- usually, procedures the district already wrote themselves for how they would follow the law. The OCR isn't putting anyone in jail, and hasn't even taken away any district funding (though that is within their power if the district gets any federal funds). Their purpose is just to get the district to follow the law. In our case, the OCR offered free training resources to the district but they declined and said they would do it themselves. The whole thing could have been avoided, and if not avoided, could have been entirely positive.

That said, I would make the observation that just because people haven't complained in a given situation, does not mean there are no problems to fix. District people complain bitterly about being subject to these complaints, yet the alternative for parents still so often remains being ignored at best.


5 people like this
Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:44 pm

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Stay Tuned
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2015 at 5:51 pm

[Post removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by more than that
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 6:15 pm

Weekly: "The FPPC ruled that ... the Political Reform Act does not restrict his participation in these decisions."

Not mentioned in this article is the FPPC's disclaimer stated upfront that the letter is not advice about "general conflict of interest prohibitions such as common law conflict of interest or Section 1090," advising Dauber to also "consult with your school district's statement of incompatible activities."

So there are at least 4 different conflict rules for board members. The FPPC addressed only one of them.

[Portion removed.]


6 people like this
Posted by Alphonso
a resident of Los Altos Hills
on Sep 16, 2015 at 6:34 pm

[Post removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Greta Bennett
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Sep 16, 2015 at 6:40 pm

[Portion removed.] As the FPPC letter clearly states, it only rules on FINANCIAL conflicts of interest, which were never much of a question in the first place: Dauber hasn't been paid by OCR since 2011. It does not rule on ethical conflicts of interest (and whether ethically, not just financially, he ought to be participating in discussions of OCR issues in which he has publicly acknowledged involvement), does not end questions about Dauber's encouragement of complaints, and does not even attempt to shed light on OCR's involvement in PAUSD (which some argue stems from Dauber's advocacy). So questions about Dauber and OCR, as well as OCR's interest in PAUSD, have not been put to rest by a letter telling us Dauber hasn't recently received money from OCR.

I don't think it's right for you to be casting as news and fact that questions have been put to rest when it is really just the Weekly's opinion.

It is really disappointing to see the Weekly unable to provide a balanced perspective on these issues as it drives forward a relentlessly pro-Dauber propaganda machine. Please consider a more balanced approach in the future.


4 people like this
Posted by Bo
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 6:44 pm

[Post removed.]


27 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 16, 2015 at 6:46 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

There are NO conflicts of interest when an elected official without financial conflicts acts on their principles.

An elected official has been placed in office by the voters because they support her/his opinions and philosophy.

The FPPC properly limits financial conflicts of interests period.

Absent financial conflicts of interest an elected official is compelled to act on their principles.


23 people like this
Posted by Steve Bennett
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2015 at 6:50 pm

It's deeply ironic to read Greta lecture on journalistic ethics at the same time that she repeats the very same baseless slurs that Dauber has refuted. Thanks to the Weekly for a balanced and informative report.


17 people like this
Posted by Stay Tuned
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2015 at 7:03 pm

Keeping your red pen busy I see. Here's a funny phrase that just caught my eye. Apparently the Weekly is a "relentlessly pro-Dauber propaganda machine." That gave me a good laugh. What is with you people. This is just getting weird all over the place. [Portion removed.]


3 people like this
Posted by more than that
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 7:28 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by My brain is melting from the dumbness ^^^^
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2015 at 7:31 pm

[Post removed.]


27 people like this
Posted by Taxpayer
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 7:33 pm

[Portion removed.]

I have a daughter at Paly. I think there is still a lot of work to be done there for girls. I like Dauber and I like Title IX.


6 people like this
Posted by Crystal
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm

More,

No one disputes the facts! As others have posted, it explains why there have been so many OCR investigations in Palo Alto.


3 people like this
Posted by more than that
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 16, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Ken Dauber acknowledges that he knows the Paly complainant - it is the OCR - having worked for the OCR for years and, according to the FPPC, "over the past 15 years [he also was] a paid and at times unpaid consultant to organizations that were headed by future heads of the OCR."

But on another OCR case, Ken Dauber says "his involvement with the family took place after the family filed its complaint." Is he referring to the Gunn case that the article says he is lobbying the board about and which is one of the OCR families he told the FPPC that contributed to his school board campaign?



Like this comment
Posted by epiphany
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2015 at 8:38 pm

I'm pretty sure that was an early pro-bono case. I seriously doubt there was any contribution.


2 people like this
Posted by Stay Tuned
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Sep 16, 2015 at 8:45 pm

[Post removed.]


31 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:33 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

I usually like to read the Post, but Dave Price's opinion piece on Monday made me question the objectivity of the paper. I do think Mr. Price has an axe to grind and is writing is of questionable validity, at least on the topic of Ken Dauber.

This is what I posted on PAO's "Dauber seeks conflict-of-interest ruling from FPPC" thread on Monday:

Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Sep 14, 2015 at 1:49 pm
Be Kind PA is a registered user.

I just read Dave Price's opinion piece in today's Post and his conclusions are not supported by the evidence he presents. This type of persuasive writing would earn a 10th grader a very poor grade.

According to Price, Dauber said he "did not recruit, encourage, or arrange for anyone to file a complaint." Price also says that Dauber "has stated all along that he hasn't encouraged anyone to file an OCR compliant." Price then cites evidence in emails that Dauber was talking directly to the OCR and mentioned "assisting" a family. Price then seems to equate "helping the family with getting services" to recruiting or encouraging them to file an OCR complaint. This is a non sequitur.

Ken Dauber should be commended for working to improve the district and helping kids, not falsely accused of misdeeds of which he is not guilty. Price should retract and apologize. And re-take a high school class on persuasive writing.


45 people like this
Posted by Laura's Mom
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Laura's Mom is a registered user.

As with the other 2 parents above, we too submitted a complaint, the current open case at Gunn. And as with the other 2 parents, we did so without any coercion at all from Dauber. I’m getting tired of having to repeat that but it seems many refuse to believe it. First our children are mistreated/bullied/assaulted/etc, then the district did nothing to protect them, and to top it off many in this community turn on us by insinuating that our complaints have no real basis.

We filed our complaint because of 1 reason – the district did not want to admit or learn from their mistakes. After the district attorney and court got our daughter the protection she needed, I asked 3 times to meet with Skelly and the administrators in charge of our case so we could all discuss where the district fell short in protecting our daughter before her physical assault (they knew she was being harassed and did nothing to stop it), and after her assault (they thought they could ignore a restraining order, etc). Skelly refused to meet. It was clear he had no intention of improving protocols so that future victims could be better protected. That is the only reason we filed.

There have been serious mishaps in this district and the children are the ones most hurt. To those of you who continue to rake us over the coals, think about what you would do if it was your child or grandchild who was the victim. To those of you who offer your support, we can’t thank you enough.

I am grateful that the FPPC has cleared up this confusion and grateful to have Dauber on the board.


16 people like this
Posted by Red
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 17, 2015 at 6:41 pm

Red is a registered user.

Unresponsiveness by the previous School BOARD and the district staff under SKELLY'S administration to the problems of pervasive bullying of both disabled/non-disabled children and sexual harassment of girls on our campuses have been revealed by the courageous public assertions of victimized families of GUNN, Termen and Duveneck DESPITE THE BLIND DENIALS of district's "establishment loyalists"

Thankfully, KEN Dauber WAS THERE TO CHALLENGE THE INSENSITIVITY, IGNORANCE AND SHAMEFUL INACTION OF THE PREVIOUS SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS AND THE Skelly ADMINISTRATION.


2 people like this
Posted by PA native
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 18, 2015 at 7:16 pm

PA native is a registered user.

How could the above posters be talking about the same schools I went to, and that my child and his friends attend?
How could there be so many complaints? Is there a parallel universe here? I love the Palo Alto schools, only reason to stay around her in my humble opinion. Great teachers, great classes, great schools.


11 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 18, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Reason is a registered user.

@PA Native -

There are quite a few good teachers, and a few terrible ones. So if you are moderately lucky, you haven't known the problems that can happen. Doubly lucky if your kid has no issues that need any particular help.

So there are two kinds of parents in Palo: those who have had trouble with the schools, and those who will...


...it is only a matter of time.


5 people like this
Posted by Ze'ev Wurman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 19, 2015 at 12:22 pm

Ze'ev Wurman is a registered user.

There seems to be a general commingling between PAUSD handling of incidents with minority students and its interaction with OCR, and Mr. Dauber's personal behavior.

I think PAUSD did not handle well many of the actual incidents with minority students, and the upheaval of the last few years will overall help us to do a better job in the future. I don't know whether the interaction with OCR could have been better or more useful -- OCR is not known for its light touch or thoughtful "Dear Colleague" letters -- but I am personally pleased that PAUSD did not roll over and play dead when OCR interfered in a high-handed way, as most school districts would instinctively do.

A separate issue is Mr. Dauber's behavior in this case. He alerted OCR to the events and purposefully used Russlynn Ali's name and implied personal relationship with her in his email, to enhance the probability his complaint will be acted upon. In another mail he acknowledged working with at least one family regarding their OCR complaint. Nothing wrong per se with his actions, yet until recently he publicly denied having done either one. THAT is the issue that people react to: whether public lying/dissembling by a public official, about an issue that was a key for him getting elected, is an acceptable or honorable behavior.

We need to separate the facts around the OCR complaints with the facts of Mr. Dauber personal behavior. That has nothing to do with FPCC or with the actual nature of the complaints. After all, I wish to remind people that President Clinton was impeached not for his relationship with an intern, but for lying about it.


18 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 19, 2015 at 1:04 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

Well Ze'ev that's a pretty big gun you just fired. You just called a school board member a liar. Given that you are a frequent gadfly on issues before the board, wouldn't you like to have any evidence of such a big charge? Kind of shot your wad there. What if you are making a false accusation? Didn't leave yourself much room there.

And in fact, you are making a false accusation. In fact, Dauber never "cknowledged working with at least one family regarding their OCR complaint." Provide evidence for that charge.

At some point, all of these chickens will come home to roost. The laws of the state of California regarding defamation still operate. You will be held accountable. So please, go on.


20 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Reason is a registered user.

Ze'ev writes: "...He alerted OCR to the events and purposefully used Russlynn Ali's name and implied personal relationship with her in his email, to enhance the probability his complaint will be acted upon."


Not only is there no evidence to back this claim, there is also nothing wrong with ANY community member appealing to higher authority to seek justice.

It is neither illegal, or morally wrong to do so.

At most you could accuse someone of breaking ranks with the hidden-turd-culture of PAUSD school board.

But it is not illegal or immoral to call in the Feds. In fact, many of us in town feel that OCR involvement has made our schools slightly safer. I would say much safer if the schools actually took seriously the harm they are causing our children.


As for the crowd that is insulted, or upset because someone ratted you out to the Feds - TOO BAD. YOU PEOPLE WERE MISTREATING OUR CHILDREN.


There is no requirement for individual citizens, or school board members, or district employees or ANYONE to gang together to protect the local school district when they are doing things illegal.


16 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 19, 2015 at 3:04 pm

Reason is a registered user.

... in fact, there is a very good analogy right in front of our faces: most of the school board members are friends with city council members, mayors and prior mayors of Palo Alto. Yet, just because they have friends in another government body does not mean they have to recuse themselves for conflict of interest.

I didn't see a single board member step outside while discussing Cubberly issues that dealt directly with the city. WHO THEY ARE CLOSE FRIENDS WITH.

You see, having friends in another government office is not a conflict of interest. And you can add to that the fact that PAUSD cannot have a conflict with OCR, because PAUSD is subject to OCR oversight. They must be in compliance. Any board member advocating to be out of compliance is the person with a conflict.

A board member cannot have a conflict with a government oversight body to whom he offers cooperation and compliance.

I was very glad to see both Ken and Terry express cooperation with the OCR. Its the right thing to do.


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Posted by Ze'ev Wurman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Ze'ev Wurman is a registered user.

Parent2: I suggest you check the concept of "public figure" and "actual malice" before you waive libel laws around.

Reason: Which part of "Nothing wrong per se with his actions" you don't understand?


22 people like this
Posted by Peggy Duncan
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 19, 2015 at 4:39 pm

Peggy Duncan is a registered user.

As far as I can remember, "actual malice" requires knowledge that the information published was false. Mr. Wurman writes that "In another mail he acknowledged working with at least one family regarding their OCR complaint" yet the article that Mr. Wurman is commenting on says clearly that "In its editorial, the Post accused Dauber of helping a family who needed special-education services to file an OCR complaint against the district. However, Dauber said his involvement with the family took place after the family filed its complaint." Is Mr. Wurman disputing Mr. Dauber's statement? Otherwise, it seems that Mr. Wurman is making a public statement about Mr. Dauber that Mr. Wurman clearly knows to be false, since it is refuted in the very article that Mr. Wurman is commenting on.

Mr. Wurman's other statement also seems to be false, though not so directly. "He alerted OCR to the events and purposefully used Russlynn Ali's name and implied personal relationship with her in his email, to enhance the probability his complaint will be acted upon...until recently he publicly denied having done either one." The first part of the statement is an unsupported statement of opinion, not fact, so seems safe enough. I don't see any evidence that Mr. Dauber "publicly denied" this. To the contrary, a Weekly article a few weeks ago said that Dauber told the reporter about this contact during the last election.

I suppose that what is really going on here is a political disagreement, as Mr. Wurman says "I am personally pleased that PAUSD did not roll over and play dead when OCR interfered in a high-handed way, as most school districts would instinctively do." Personally, I think that it would be better to keep the focus there rather than make false statements about Mr. Dauber.


4 people like this
Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 19, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Fred is a registered user.

@Peggy - from the prior PAOnline article:

Over the past several years, anonymous posters on Palo Alto Online's Town Square forum have accused Dauber of assisting district parents in preparing complaints to the Office for Civil Rights and of using his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district, allegations that Dauber has strongly denied.

I don't know when Mr. Dauber publicly denied the allegations, but the PAO says that he did ("strongly"!), and that's good enough for me. If his email quoted in the Post isn't "urging [an] investigation," I'm not not sure what is. Do you see it differently?

Interesting to see people trying to shut down people who disagree with them by accusing them of libel. Maybe the facts aren't working?


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Posted by Ze'ev Wurman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 19, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Ze'ev Wurman is a registered user.

I, obviously, intended "wave" rather than "waive" in my previous message. Sorry about that.


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 19, 2015 at 6:54 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by Peggy Duncan
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 19, 2015 at 7:15 pm

Peggy Duncan is a registered user.

Fred, it's clear that Mr. Dauber was suggesting that OCR provide advice to the district because Mr. Skelly did not understand the requirement for an internal investigation by the district. I have to wonder whether you and Mr. Wurman are deliberately misstating the facts. Certainly Mr. Wurman seems to be acknowledging that he made false statements.


7 people like this
Posted by Fred
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 19, 2015 at 7:33 pm

Fred is a registered user.

@Peggy, I guess you and I read it differently. I think reporting to an enforcement agency that you think an investigation should have happened and asking for "technical insistence" amounts to urging an investigation. And what do you know, a few days later, they DID start an investigation. What a coincidence!

"I have to wonder whether you and Mr. Wurman are deliberately misstating the facts." @Peggy, again you are accusing people you disagree with of bad faith. Why do you do that? I'm just sticking to the facts and my opinions; how about you?


11 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 19, 2015 at 9:46 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


2 people like this
Posted by Ze'ev Wurman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 19, 2015 at 9:51 pm

Ze'ev Wurman is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

Peggy Duncan: Where and when did I acknowledge making a false statement? I did not. Nothing said here so far made me change my mind or my position.


9 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 19, 2015 at 9:54 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Peggy Duncan
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 19, 2015 at 10:09 pm

Peggy Duncan is a registered user.

Mr. Wurman,
I don't agree with ad hominem attacks but I'm afraid that you may have brought it on yourself.

I wrote above that: Mr. Wurman writes that "In another mail he acknowledged working with at least one family regarding their OCR complaint" yet the article that Mr. Wurman is commenting on says clearly that "In its editorial, the Post accused Dauber of helping a family who needed special-education services to file an OCR complaint against the district. However, Dauber said his involvement with the family took place after the family filed its complaint." Is Mr. Wurman disputing Mr. Dauber's statement? Otherwise, it seems that Mr. Wurman is making a public statement about Mr. Dauber that Mr. Wurman clearly knows to be false, since it is refuted in the very article that Mr. Wurman is commenting on.

You in return asked "Where and when did I acknowledge making a false statement?" If you make a statement that Mr. Dauber is lying, and then when the error is pointed out to you do not address the error, then you are implicitly acknowledging it. It is not very honorable of you to lodge a charge of dishonesty, and then when your error is pointed out to you, simply stand your ground. If you are in fact a former government official, I would think you would know that.

Or is your reference to "actual malice" as a requirement of libel because Mr. Dauber is a public official intended to claim a license to make false statements yourself with impunity? You are probably right as a practical matter, but it does not leave you in a position to claim the moral high ground.

I would have more respect for you and your position if you simply acknowledged frankly your political differences and disagreements, rather than taking shelter in liberal libel laws.


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Posted by Ze'ev Wurman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 19, 2015 at 11:23 pm

Ze'ev Wurman is a registered user.

Peggy,

Another reader, Fred (thank you!), already kindly provided the published quote by the Weekly itself:

"Over the past several years, anonymous posters on Palo Alto Online's Town Square forum have accused Dauber of assisting district parents in preparing complaints to the Office for Civil Rights and of using his relationships with top agency officials to urge investigations into the district, allegations that Dauber has strongly denied."

I cannot claim intimate knowledge with all the convoluted nuances of Mr. Dauber's defense. I am simply responding to what I read in the press: that "he was accused of assisting parents" and that he "has strongly denied [the accusation]," yet his own email now shows he did help them. That seems clear enough to me.

I guess I did not realize how apt was my remembering Clinton in this context. It seems we are heading into a deep discussion of what the meaning of is is.

Incidentally, I am going to stop responding to this thread. I rarely read Town Square these days and even more rarely write to it, but the amount of filth and ad hominem that one reads here is disappointing. Particularly from cowardly posters hiding behind pseudonyms.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Community Center

on Sep 20, 2015 at 7:18 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


25 people like this
Posted by Peggy Duncan
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 20, 2015 at 7:25 am

Peggy Duncan is a registered user.

Mr. Wurman,

You owe Mr. Dauber an apology and a retraction. You are using the weasel words "I cannot claim intimate knowledge with all the convoluted nuances of Mr. Dauber's defense" to elide the fact that you explicitly and falsely accused him of lying when he denied "assisting district parents in preparing complaints to the Office for Civil Rights." When pressed, you pointed to an email that he wrote in which he mentioned helping parents of a child in the district obtain "services" to which they were entitled. I pointed out to you that Mr. Dauber said in this very article that "The effort to obtain needed services occurred after the Resolution Agreement was entered into, and was unrelated to the filing of the complaint."

In his blog post linked from the article, Dauber wrote that "The 'services' I referred to had literally nothing to do with filing of the complaint by the family 2 years previously. My wife and I were unaware of the complaint or the Resolution Agreement until it was reported in the press in January 2013."

That is not a "convoluted nuance," in your words.

In my opinion, the honorable thing for you to do now is to stop making false claims of lying directed at Mr. Dauber, and taking refuge in slippery words and liberal libel laws. You should frankly admit that you made a mistake. Or are you concerned that having made such a bald and easily disproved charge of lying, you are in danger of admitting actual malice and subjecting yourself to liability? If that is the case, then your best choice is probably, as you suggest, to withdraw before you make your situation even worse.

I do agree with Mr. Dauber that cooperating with the Office for Civil Rights is the right course for Palo Alto students, and I disagree with your characterization of cooperation as "rolling over and playing dead." I would have much higher respect for you if you tried to win that argument on the merits, rather than restoring to knowing and false statements directed at others, whether a public official or not.


2 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 20, 2015 at 8:02 am

parent2 is a registered user.

[Post removed.']


84 people like this
Posted by Ze'ev Wurman
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 20, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Ze'ev Wurman is a registered user.

Dear Peggy,

Breaking my own promise not to respond, this is what I have to say.

1. There is no dispute that Mr. Dauber did ask OCR to intervene and then tried to keep this information away from the public, until his email of 5/29/13 to OCR came to light.

2. There is no dispute that Mr. Dauber assisted a family that filed an OCR complaint and then tried to keep this information away, until his email of 2/17/2013 to OCR came to light.

Mr. Dauber -- and you -- argue that his assistance was given after the filing of the complaint. Looking back at the press at the time, I see PAW reporting on 5/17/2013 (Web Link ):

"Palo Alto Unified School District was notified Friday [5/10/2013] that a third case has been opened by the federal Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.

...
The complaint also says the family has been working with both an educational advocate and an attorney to try to resolve the issues with the district prior to filing the OCR complaint."

In other words, Mr. Dauber's email to OCR in February 2013 seems to precede the family's filing of OCR complaint presumably sometime in April 2013.

Consequently, I find Mr. Dauber argument of providing assistance only subsequent to filing of the complaint unconvincing.

3. I already said, and I will repeat it here, that nothing in Mr. Dauber efforts to involve OCR is necessarily wrong. In fact, some might well argue it was the right thing to do, presumably barring his appeal to authority by spuriously referencing Russlynn Ali in both emails.

What I find wrong and dishonorable is his later denial of having done so, during his campaign for a PAUSD board seat. I used the alternation "lying/dissembling" and so far I see no reason to modify it.

Finally, I do not "tak[e] refuge" behind "slippery words and liberal libel laws" as you baselessly claim. I also do not hide behind pseudonyms, like most people here do. I am stating my opinion based on the facts as I see them, and my references to libel laws was meant to point out to those who wave them, with a clear intent to shut people like me down, that I am not easily scared. And since when pointing out the clear requirement of the law is "taking refuge" anyway?


28 people like this
Posted by Peggy Duncan
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 20, 2015 at 1:37 pm

Peggy Duncan is a registered user.

Mr. Wurman,

I am sorry but I think you are the one who is not being honest, and I think you know it. I suspect that is why you keep shifting your ground.

You say, "There is no dispute that Mr. Dauber did ask OCR to intervene and then tried to keep this information away from the public, until his email of 5/29/13 to OCR came to light." Actually, the facts based on what has been made public is that Mr. Dauber asked OCR to provide advice, or "technical assistance." Your original post called this a "complaint," a distinction you seem to by trying to paper over using the ambiguous word "intervene." As for "tried to keep this information away from the public," the Weekly reported several weeks ago that Mr. Dauber told the paper about during the 2014 election. Once again, you are remarkably willing to make false and misleading statements in the course of accusing someone else of lying.

Your original post said "In another mail he acknowledged working with at least one family regarding their OCR complaint." That statement is untrue, yet rather than correct it you now point to a May 2013 complaint, which is an entirely different complaint that the one that gave rise to a Resolution Agreement in 2012, and to which Mr. Dauber refers in the article. With no evidence whatsoever, you now say that Mr. Dauber is lying about THAT complaint. You have apparently abandoned your original claim that Mr. Dauber "acknowledged" helping a family prepare a complaint. Why not just admit it and move on?

In my view, you are precisely taking refuge behind "slippery words and liberal libel laws." I do hope that this is not how you conducted yourself when you were a public official.


19 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 20, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Peggy - Thank you for your dogged defense of the truth.

Elected officials, particularly in California, are public figures and it is virtually impossible to be even be charged with libeling them.

On this Forum even the most outrageous comments about elected public officials are left up even after those comments are flagged.

One wonders why any of us take the abuse that elected office entails.


15 people like this
Posted by Angie Baker
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2015 at 3:33 pm

Angie Baker is a registered user.

Googling Ze'ev Werman I found out he was a political appointment in George W. Bush's Education Department. Republicans hate the Education Department and they really hate OCR especially under Obama. [Portion removed.]


12 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 5:56 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

Mr. Wurman:

To me, it appears you are cherry-picking portions of sentences and using them out of context. On one hand, Dauber claimed he did not recruit or encourage any family to file an OCR complaint, which is not the same as saying that he did not help any families that were having difficulties getting services, whether or not they previously or subsequently filed a complaint with the OCR.

Perhaps this would be resolved if you could supply direct quotes from Dauber himself, rather than statements made by a newspaper, and direct quotes from Dauber's emails, to illustrate exactly how and when he lied. Short of that, I'm not seeing any dishonesty on the part of Mr. Dauber.


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 20, 2015 at 6:24 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Now the Paly High student newspaper has editorialized that "The Campanile believes that Dauber acted inappropriately by contacting a federal office rather than pushing to first resolve the conflict within the district."

"If a parent catches his or her child performing illicit acts, the typical reaction would never be to dial 911. Instead, the issue would be resolved within the family. The same can be said for concerns expressed by those affiliated with Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) regarding PAUSD’s improper handling of Title IX, which bars discrimination on the basis of sex in federally-funded activities."

- See more at: Web Link

Are our schools actually teaching values that expose such a cover-up mentality?


13 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 20, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Correction, but maybe both versions apply:

Are our schools actually teaching values that espouse such a cover-up mentality?


22 people like this
Posted by Laura's Mom
a resident of Gunn High School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 6:48 pm

Laura's Mom is a registered user.

2 things confuse me in this Campanile article:

First, if Skelly contacted the OCR around May 16th and Dauber on May 29th, why is Dauber being attacked? They are splitting hairs over whose email got there first? No one is angry that Skelly contacted the OCR? I personally am very happy that they both contacted the OCR.

Second, the statement “Teachers have routinely had bullying and sexual harassment training for years, and while there were additional sessions as the result of OCR, teachers did not see these sessions as necessary since the previous training had been effective. “ If the previous training had been so effective, why was there a rape culture on campus as these students themselves wrote about?


17 people like this
Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 20, 2015 at 7:08 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

I agree with Laura's mom. Thank gof there is an OCR investigation. This campanile article is essentially retaliation for Daubers perceived role in bringing about the investigation. The law says no retaliation for any participation with OCR and that retaliation is easier to prove and easier to make a finding about than the alleged discrimination itself. Public attacks on whistleblowers on campus publications? Should this be allowed? It's just more hostile environment but everyone at Paly is so busy drinking the Koolaid and feeling resentful that that have no idea. What is the effect on a female student or a trams student who has been harassed? This is intimidating. If we find out who you are and that you took it "outside the family" we will publicly attack you.

Who had their thinking cap on when this was published? too late OCR already has it thanks to Woj putting it all over the Internet: keep it in the family don't complain shut up keep quiet. Nice.

Can't wait to see circling the wagons part 3, coming soon!


20 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 20, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Do the citizens of the PAUSD really support a culture that advocates covering up crimes and treating them as "family matters"?


2 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2015 at 9:18 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

I think the analogy was more about who to call, not about covering up crimes

Were there criminal accusations against Paly?


17 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 20, 2015 at 9:25 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

""If a parent catches his or her child performing illicit acts, the typical reaction would never be to dial 911. Instead, the issue would be resolved within the family."

il·lic·it forbidden by law, rules, or custom.

Illicit act = crime.

Redefining illicit acts as something else is simply a clever method of covering up a crime, like rape.


19 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 9:37 pm

Reason is a registered user.

To carry the Campanile "family" analogy a little further: Let's say weird uncle Phil is ogling the kids, and you have already spoken to Grandfather Kevin a dozen times about other issues that went unresolved...

THEN IT IS OKAY TO CALL THE COPS.

You see, even within families you sometimes need to call the cops. Don't believe me? Well, just ask the cops - domestic disturbance is one of their most common calls.

ITS OKAY TO CALL THE COPS WHEN YOU DON'T FEEL SAFE.

Now let's visit what this looks like in the actual legal framework of the OCR - The OCR does not require you to resolve anything with your local district. Ever. If you don't feel safe working through your district, you should, and may, contact the OCR directly.

There is NO requirement to work within your district. It is a shame the students of the Campanile did not do the proper investigation of the OCR rules before publishing. Perhaps their advisor should look into that. Making such a charged accusation about a sitting board member without gathering the facts is rather dimwitted in my opinion.

So, what do we have with this article? I jumbled family analogy that is nothing more than "nyah, nyah, MOM - Billy told Dad" in a situation that is neither applicable, nor does any good when examining the real rules of OCR.


It also belies a serious failure in moral understanding. Let's recoup the fault:

1) the person who committed rape
2) the people who bullied the girl because of sexual assault
3) the school personnel who did nothing to stop the bullying
4) the school personnel who did nothing to investigate any of this
5) the leader of the schools who created an environment of tolerance to bullying, sexual assault
6) the board members who did nothing when such issues were raise to their attention
(At this point, I would interject, multiple times, across multiple issues, across multiple schools with many victims unable to get support from the school)

People who have moral character:
1) anyone who intervenes to bring in a higher authority (OCR) to clean up 1-6 above.

People who have no moral compass:
1) anyone who makes accusations, or tries to cover up the issues above, or praises "Amen" to provide cover for the dysfunctional school district, staff, Super, Board ...etc. etc.


To claim that Mr. Dauber cost the school $900K (in their short-sighted Campanile article) fails to recognize all the WRONG that has persistently dogged this district for the last 8 years.

Maybe they should learn some real journalism, and go after all THAT mess.


23 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 9:41 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

I stopped reading the Campanile article after the first two sentences. I guess we need to remember the Campanile is a student newspaper run under the direction of district teachers and staff. Whichever adult(s) participated in the publishing of that article should be immediately fired. Irrespective of the views expressed about Dauber, the first two sentences are just wrong.

>> If a parent catches his or her child performing illicit acts, the typical reaction would never be to dial 911. Instead, the issue would be resolved within the family.

Well, it depends on what those illicit acts are and how many times the "child" has committed them. It depends on what harm the child has inflicted on others and what ongoing threat he represents to the community. If my son had repeatedly allowed rape to happen, was at the center of a group who thought rape was OK, would allow rape to continue to happen, and refused to respond to pleas to help stop the rapes, I would call 911. I would not "keep it within the family" because obviously the "family" was not stopping the problem or was not able to stop the problem.

Any adult that could be complicit in this sick mindset of "keeping it within the family" should be fired immediately from PAUSD.

These first two sentences make PAUSD sound like the mob! This is beyond dysfunctional - it is sick! What is this district teaching our young people?!


6 people like this
Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 9:45 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

@Reason,

Amen. I wonder if this article will follow these "kids" who wrote it and undermine their college options and future careers.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Reason is a registered user.

Well, everything is a teachable moment... some just more costly than others.

I suspect they will eventually come to realize what they did, and under whose guidance they operated, and feel pretty foolish, or feel duped. Which they may well have been.

However, this looks more like the students have applied their own adolescent moral direction to this problem, and come to the conclusion on their own that "cover up" and "keep it in the family" are morally acceptable approaches.

Most adults grow beyond this level of immature thinking and come to realize when your brother jacks your car, robs a bank, and runs a school bus over a cliff - it is time to call the cops.

What is most disappointing is the guidance the students received that did not apply some critical reasoning to this entire mess, and allowed the students to wade in on a complex issue that is likely to stick to them for some time to come. They have seriously harmed the authors by allowing this retaliatory piece to move forward.

And as for the puppets that join in the chorus on Campanile comments - well, you can publicly tell who also has underdeveloped moral reasoning.


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Posted by Roger Dodger
a resident of another community
on Sep 20, 2015 at 10:14 pm

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I can't be the only one who has noticed the rich irony now that the students have chimed in at the Campanile. It appears there's no end of talk on this forum from certain people about helping the children, until the children say something that pisses them off. Then it's time to fire whichever evil staff member is responsible for this (surely it must be a staff member, and not the children themselves who came up with this - after all we know that children can't think at such a complex level), and heaven help those poor children whose futures have been indelibly damaged by publishing this. Because surely their futures have been damaged by publishing something that pisses off a small group of people on a local anonymous forum.

TL;DR: Remember the old fairy tale about the child who noticed that the emperor was wearing no clothes; that emperor had a lot of people around him assuring him that everything was just fine and that he didn't have to worry about conflicts.


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Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 10:26 pm

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@Dodger:

Wasn't it the [Campanile] article on "Rape Culture" that started all of this? [Moderator's Note: The "Rape Culture" article was published in Verde Magazine, not The Campanile.]

Ironic.

If you think the kids are not influenced by the staff over-seeing them, you might be naive.




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Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 10:28 pm

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The Rape culture was in the Verde magazine I believe. Probably the same oversight, but definitely different students.


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Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2015 at 10:33 pm

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For a hard subject, the students picked an analogy that may not be worldly, but at least it's their voice.

Their school is accused of something bad. A board member called the feds. The costs of triggering an investigation are real.IF they thought a real crime had been committed by the school, they would probably have not have said lets' keep it in the family. Some reasoning needed from the adults here.

Dauber does not appear to want to exactly take credit for what some are calling a good thing - good to trigger an investigation about the case.

If it was such a good idea to trigger an investigation, Dauber should be saying so. If he's not, maybe the 911 call was not necessary. Dauber should speak to it, and explain himself what he thinks.


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Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 10:36 pm

Reason is a registered user.

In considering this whole mess, we can see the same reasoning applied to the Campanile article as to the original problem:

"It also belies a serious failure in moral understanding. Let's recoup the fault:

1) the person who committed rape
2) the people who bullied the girl because of sexual assault
3) the school personnel who did nothing to stop the bullying"
...


It is very likely that the bullies of the victim of sexual assault (#2) likely did so to protect the perpetrator. To protect their social order. The impact of the bullying was to 'keep it quiet', 'don't tell', etc. Basically using social pressure to enact a cover-up.

'Keep it within the school' is not only a toxic way to approach working with the OCR, it is part of the original problem.

PAUSD has an epidemic of poor moral reasoning.


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Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2015 at 10:39 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

Can anyone call the OCR and trigger a response?

How usual is that?

It could make a difference if there was history with the caller, which could cause a certain type of response from the authority.


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Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 10:44 pm

Reason is a registered user.

Let's not forget the original problem: sexual assault, bullying, etc.



The cost of the investigation does not arise because it was reported, but rather because of the original problems.


The ongoing misrepresentation of the cost is just another way to try to pin the problem on whomever reported it. This is just poor reasoning.

The actual problem is still the actual problem: bullying, sexual assault, Philander-Phil, and a Super who did nothing when approached with many more problems. This is where the fault lies, and where the cost is attributable.


Let's use the family analogy: brother jacks my car, robs a bank and runs a school bus over a cliff. When I report him to the cops, and cost him $900K for legal defense, is that my fault? No. I am not responsible for the cost - he is. He is the one who caused mayhem. He owns the cost.

Attributing the cost to me because I called the cops is just another misdirection of blame. It is a form of social pressure to enact retaliation against me for ratting him out. And it doesn't really work; as everyone knows where the original fault lies. Not with the reporter, but with the perpetrators and those who offer them cover.


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 20, 2015 at 10:56 pm

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The English department staff at Paly is aggrieved about the OCR investigation because Paul Kandell, Verde advisor was aware of the allegations of the sexual assault and bullying of, according to the Verde original article from 2013, as many as 8 or 10 girls. The Verde article itself stated that the allegations of the girl featured in the story "tina" were similar to "many students." Elsewhere, in the Weekly coverage of their story, they said 10 girls. So it has never been clear how many students at Paly experienced bullying and harassment based on having been sexually assaulted. That year, there was a website called "gossip girl" that was slut-shaming and bullying. There was clearly enough of an issue that the Verde decided to write about it and interviewed many girls who said that they were raped, or bullied for being raped, or both.

The issue that has not been addressed is the role of the journalism program advisors, otherwise known as "district teachers."

What did they know and when did they know it? This is not merely a student-run publication, or a piece of investigative reporting. As reporting goes, it was also awful, not even up to the standards of Rolling Stone. "Tina" could be our "Jackie" and the boys involved were never interviewed -- quite possibly they were never sourced to exist at all. So we can't assume that the "Rape Culture" story is even true. But it is an allegation, a very serious allegation of sexual harassment and a hostile educational climate. "Tina" had to transfer or leave Paly or depart somehow -- that is reported in the story. Given that the writers said that her story was representative of others, that indicates that others experienced a hostile environment.

When did Mr. Kandell and Esther Wojcicki and the other English teachers at Paly find out about these allegations of serious, systemic sexual harassment of female students at Paly. At least some of them knew BEFORE the article was published. WELL BEFORE the article was published. They were advising the students. [Portion removed.]

So here we have the Journalism teachers reading multiple drafts, KNEE DEEP in the REPORTING of a story that is about systemic, serious and evidently credible allegations of a hostile environment and sexual assault that at least according to the story is not really being addressed. We already know what was not done -- THERE WAS NO TITLE IX INVESTIGATION.

Everyone is acting (and even Dauber said in his email to OCR) that the school was on notice of these allegations when the story was published.

WRONG. The school was ON NOTICE when Paul Kandell, a Responsible Employee -- because he is someone that a student could reasonably believe could help her -- knew, which is very very significantly prior to the publication of the story.

Why then might the journalism advisors at Paly have a bit of sensitivity around the OCR investigation. Oh, might it be because they are being investigated? [Portion removed.]

I think that can help us to understand why these teachers have an axe to grind with Dauber and influenced their students over it. [Portion removed.] All of these kids are so vulnerable to parental and teacher influence, and often they are just unfortunately a battleground for their parents' anxieties and poor behavior (witness the recent zero period debacle at Gunn in which certain parents and teachers fanned the flames of angst over having a better schedule and less homework due to the shift to block scheduling and starting at 8:30). Palo Alto is a hard place to be a kid, not least due to these adults who put the burden of all their own foibles and mental health issues onto these kids, and the teachers who live in a constant state of envy and feelings of relative deprivation, as well as inferiority due to their relative lack of ability and skills compared to their own students and the community.

These kids are the repository of a lot of adult anxieties and drama. The community closes ranks around its brand and reputation.

Do you know that Palo Alto actually told OCR that there has not been a single complaint of sexual harassment at Paly in four years? That's a true fact.

Folks, any ideas why no one has complained in four years? Hint: it's not because there is no sexual harassment.

[Portion removed.]

So why was Dauber endorsed by all of Paly's student publications both times he ran? Well, he's by far the best candidate and the best board member. [Portion removed.] But more than that, he told them the truth about homework, and about test and project stacking, and he never hid the fact that he felt that PAUSD had screwed up Title IX. It did in fact screw up Title IX, and it continues to do so to this day. He told them the truth and all this screeching now is the adults using the kids for sock puppets.

I don't think that's even remotely deniable given Esther Wojcicki's facebook postings from earlier this week which presaged precisely some of the key arguments of the "student" editorial. Furthermore, which teachers were the unnamed teachers mentioned in the editorial who don't think they need any more training because it is all going swimmingly? Why is that statement entirely unsourced? Where did the million dollar number come from? The district has paid around a million to FFF for all matters including special education. No one has ever asserted anything like that number being attributable to the Paly investigation, which probably cost something like 100K (too much but not 1 million).

All of this is smoke and mirrors, hiding adult resentments of parents and teachers as well as wagon-circling and messenger shooting. [Portion removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by Peggy Duncan
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 20, 2015 at 11:00 pm

Peggy Duncan is a registered user.

There is no mystery about Dauber's views on this, so far as I can see. He has been remarkably clear in his blog about the events of 2013, as well as what he thinks of the Paly investigation and OCR (Web Link). He said that he requested that OCR consider offering PAUSD technical assistance in order to help correct a potential violation of Title IX: the district's failure to open its own Title IX investigation into the rape culture allegations. He said that he made that request as it was apparent that even after community members had informed the district of the requirements of Title IX, senior district staff did not understand that they were required to initiate their own investigation. On the investigation itself, he wrote:

"I support OCR in carrying out its mission of protecting the civil rights of all students. I reject the premise of the Post that this investigation is illegitimate. I especially reject the notion, promoted by the Post, that merely because other schools such as Saratoga High School also had publicized incidents of sexual violence, OCR should be investigating those schools rather than Paly. The situation in other schools is irrelevant to issues that may exist here. The OCR investigation should be viewed as an opportunity to improve our schools for all students. Indeed, according to Principal Kim Diorio, improvements have already been made as a result of the investigation. The board and district administration took what is in my view the wrong tack when it attempted to resist that investigation by blocking OCR's efforts to interview students and passing a Resolution criticizing OCR and lobbying to curtail the agency's authority. These efforts to block the agency were wrongheaded and did not benefit our students."

On OCR itself, Dauber writes that "its mission should be our mission":

"Moreover, Federal law provides that any student or parent who feels that their civil rights have been violated in public school have the absolute right to bring that situation to OCR and ask for help. Those laws were designed to protect our children from harassment and discrimination based on race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, disability and any other protected classification. Without OCR, our schools would still be segregated. OCR is an important agency, its mission should be our mission, and I support anyone who files a complaint in good faith. Parents, students, and community members who file complaints should be supported, not criticized, and the district should work diligently to understand and if necessary correct any issues they raise."

While he says that he did not himself make a complaint in this case, he says that he does not filing complaints as illegitimate:

"I reject the premise that filing a complaint with OCR, or assisting any family in doing so, is somehow illegitimate or grounds for criticism. If the Post or other community members are seeking an explanation for the OCR investigations in Palo Alto, they need to look no further than the legally non-compliant complaint procedures utilized by the district prior to the Terman complaint. Where parents feel that their complaints have no transparent and legitimate path to resolution, they are more likely to seek a forum outside the district itself for their complaints, including OCR, the California Department of Education, and the courts. Looking over the history of the OCR complaints, one feature that all have in common is that the parents complained repeatedly to district officials but received little or no response. While we have made progress due to the two 2012 OCR Resolution Agreements, at the last board meeting the Superintendent acknowledged that the district still is not in compliance with legal requirements of the Uniform Complaint Procedure regarding reports of sexual harassment. The best route to avoiding complaints is to ensure that we have appropriate, legally compliant complaint resolution procedures that parents can actually use."


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 20, 2015 at 11:10 pm

parent2 is a registered user.

@ resident3

You asked "Can anyone call the OCR and trigger a response?"

Yes. Try it. Send them an email and say "It seems like the district is retaliating against those who communicated with OCR and this article is really worrisome because it seems to be making a hostile environment and intimidating witnesses. Teachers who are themselves being investigated are involved. Help Help."

Oh wait, someone probably already did that. You all think people are playing. People are not playing.


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Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2015 at 11:31 pm

resident3 is a registered user.

"You all think people are playing. People are not playing."

I assume you are speaking about the Paly investigation. I doubt anyone is playing with that.

Accusations all over the map. What OCR will need to do is to get this done and over with soon.


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Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 11:35 pm

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[Post removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Reason is a registered user.

Wait..."When did Mr. Kandell and Esther Wojcicki and the other English teachers at Paly find out about these allegations of serious, systemic sexual harassment of female students at Paly. "


You mean that Mr. Kendell and Ms. Wojcicki, teachers with a responsibility to report bullying, sexual assault, etc. knew about the issue, AND PUBLISHED THE STORY RATHER THAN REPORT IT?

I had always assumed they had reported this, and simply that the district or Super ignored them.

If this turns out to be true, that they never reported the issue until published, that's messed up.

Have they withheld names, claiming journalistic freedom? I would think their obligations as a teacher override their journalistic responsibilities (one is done within the context of the other).

Okay, now I am seeing many layers of moral failings. I would like to see some evidence what these teachers knew, and whether they reported the issues, or sat on it until publication.


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Posted by Be Kind PA
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Sep 20, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Be Kind PA is a registered user.

@Resident3 said:

"What OCR will need to do is to get this done and over with soon."

No, what OCR needs to do is investigate thoroughly and provide help to our ailing district; especially the girls, minorities, and special education kids.

Whatever the cost to the district, it is not caused by Ken Dauber or the victims, it is caused by the bullies, perpetrators, and uncaring administration of the past.


10 people like this
Posted by Angie Baker
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 20, 2015 at 11:44 pm

Angie Baker is a registered user.

@resident3, it is probably making it hard for OCR to finish this up if journalism teachers are creating more issues to be investigated.

Woj seems like kind of a loose cannon I remember this issue Web Link

Dauber wasn't on the board yet in 2013 right?


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2015 at 12:04 am

parent2 is a registered user.

Wait..."When did Mr. Kandell and Esther Wojcicki and the other English teachers at Paly find out about these allegations of serious, systemic sexual harassment of female students at Paly. "

[Portion removed.]

** That appears to be a very important question and one parents should get the answer to.

I had always assumed they had reported this, and simply that the district or Super ignored them.

[Portion removed.]

Okay, now I am seeing many layers of moral failings. I would like to see some evidence what these teachers knew, and whether they reported the issues, or sat on it until publication.

*** yes, as would we all.


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Posted by Roger Dodger
a resident of another community
on Sep 21, 2015 at 6:05 am

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@parent2

"All of these kids are so vulnerable to parental and teacher influence, and often they are just unfortunately a battleground for their parents' anxieties and poor behavior "

I think this says it all.


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:20 am

parent2 is a registered user.

It isn't at all clear whether or not a high school journalism advisor would be able to claim the benefits of California's source protection law, if revealing that source were required by the Ed Code, a collective bargaining agreement, or federal law. While on the one hand, the student journalists have First Amendment protection (and protection from teacher censorship), and also likely are covered by the reporter shield law, what about the teacher? Teachers are protected from discipline or retaliation in CA for protecting student journalist rights. A teacher could claim the protection of that law if disciplined for the failure to disclose that 8-10 girls had been raped and their civil rights were being violated, even though the Ed Code, the collective bargaining agreement, and Title IX required disclosure.

For one thing, being able to claim the protection of all of these laws would depend on the context in which the teacher encountered the students who were having their rights violated. If, for example, they were encountered as students in his own classes, or students in a journalism course rather than as "sources", that would mean that the law has no application. But assuming that the teacher knew about these events solely through advising the paper, then the question is raised whether a journalism teacher in a California high school can fail to report to the school administration bullying and harassment and civil rights violations that he knows about in order to protect the confidential sources of his students?

This hasn't been decided by a court. But my guess is that the answer is no because of the student health and safety implications. Rather it is the case that high school student journalists who do not want to have their sources divulged should not disclose those source identities to the teacher, and should not keep notes where they can be found by teachers. Once a teacher knows about abuse of students, it is likely that courts would decide that the public policy interest in ensuring that teachers report such abuse in a high school context would trump any vicarious First Amendment protection that the teacher might enjoy based on student expressive activity.

[Portion removed.]


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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:25 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

In my opinion the stated protocol of covering up crimes and treating them as "family matters" is a failure of moral values by the student authors of this Editorial. That failure cannot simply to passed off to others.

The larger question is where should these students have learned different values? At home? At school?


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:27 am

parent2 is a registered user.

Also, the journalist shield is something a reporter can invoke -- it's not a requirement. It should be pointed out that while a journalist cannot be forced to disclose a source, they aren't barred by law from doing it either. A journalist who knows that a source is going to commit a murder is not legally bound to somehow not report it. Even if a teacher cannot be disciplined for failing to report (again, I think courts would go the other way on that one) sexual assault about which he knows, he has the option to do it. He is not barred by law somehow from reporting even if he cannot be forced to do it or disciplined for failing to do it. This is an ethical issue, not strictly a legal issue and the parents of the district may take a look at those ethics and judge them as they may.


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Posted by EndsandMeans
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:29 am

EndsandMeans is a registered user.

@Roger Dodger and parent2,

Really? Because I have witnessed that kind of cheap-shot parent bashing as usually an unprofessional power slam by administrators or teachers who don't have enough moral compass to put kids, families, and truth above their own pettiness and failings.

@Angie Baker
I finally read that link you provided. Woj was apologizing for her Huffington Post essay after the suicide of a Paly student. I think the post you provided is beautiful and an example for every last administrator in PAUSD: even when you mean well, what you do can have unintended and serious negative consequences, and being willing to take responsibility for realizing it and doing what is necessary to make it right including making a sincere apology is the right and best thing to do. Nothing about the original story or the apology afterwards (including a retraction of the story) is "loose canon". The administrators in PAUSD should have what she's having. (I think [portion removed] anyone who went after Dauber on half-baked information should do the same.)

On that note, I would remind any who find it relevant in the administration that Yom Kippur is fast approaching and is about atonement (not hypocrisy). The apology Ms. Baker linked to is a great model.

This whole mess about whether Dauber did this or that with the OCR is ridiculous. No parent goes straight to the OCR, and OCR makes very clear that if parents make complaints, the complaints are only taken under very narrow circumstances and will probably not be taken. I know for a fact this was done with PAUSD complaints. Ken Dauber stuck his neck out and headed up a group called WE CAN DO BETTER PALO ALTO years ago, and got a lot of requests for help from other parents because there is literally no recourse against abusive administrative practices here. Three parents who filed complaints above said he had nothing to do with the complaints. I also know that after even an OCR settlement, parents are on their own, OCR is there to ensure districts provide adequate process, they do not decide the cases or act as lawyers for families. The family that asked Dauber for help clearly had no other recourse, and since there was an OCR settlement already in that situation, ANYONE trying to help them would have followed up with the OCR for assistance if they had half a brain.

What bothers me the most is that Dauber is the only one of the whole lot of them whose behavior has been trustworthy and sincere, putting kids first. If you can't help with the serious trust problem we have in PAUSD administration, at least please stop piling on dishonestly to the one leader trying to fix it. (Speaking for myself, Ken Dauber had nothing to do with that post.)

You want to know how to stop people from going to the OCR? The City should revise its charter to add a position for Ombudsperson for the district alongside Superintendent. The ombudsperson will work for the City, not the district, but have power to intervene in the district equivalent to the superintendent. Make the complaint and resolution process more clear and simple (have you ever seen the district's UCP complaint form, which is a masterpiece of obfuscation? I wonder if McGee realizes that any complaint to him as superintendent that falls under UCP rules is considered a UCP complaint even if it doesn't come on a form and I believe he is legally bound to count those and report them to the board?) If local complaint processes - where the place to go is more impartial and the Ombudsperson has the power to fix things - were balanced and trustworthy, no one would ever have to go outside. The Ombudsperson would and should understand how to extend complaint processes to parents who feel they need them, though, as would be legally required. (So, every time the parents above tried to get help and asked for due process but district people didn't know or didn't apprise parents of their rights, or even claimed they didn't have processes, they were violating the law. I don't hear anyone incensed about that travesty.)

Going to the OCR at all is not some kind of underhanded thing, it is legal due process. The worst thing that happened is that administrators who SHOULD HAVE SIMPLY APOLOGIZED AND DONE THE RIGHT THING said it "embarrassed" them. OCR's goal is to get districts to follow the laws -- that districts write the procedures to do themselves anyway -- and our district is not above following the law. We didn't lose any funding, no one went to jail. Additionally, while parents who complained do seem to have gone through superhuman efforts to resolve things locally first to no avail, there is no requirement to exhaust administrative remedies locally (because there are no binding administrative local remedies available to them. If PAUSD doesn't like parents going to OCR, perhaps they should think about creating some recourse with teeth locally when families need it.)

In fact, PAUSD is still violating the law because they aren't just supposed to provide process when asked, there is a provision of the ADA in which districts are supposed to PROACTIVELY identify students who need protections and extend those to them. This is because research shows early intervention and protection is cheaper and results in far better outcomes overall. I don't see that happening, though I have seen some improvements (families whose kids were clearly disabled and needing assistance and unable to advocate aggressively enough for their kids, finally granted accommodations).


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Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:38 am

resident3 is a registered user.

I don't understand the legal stuff but I see your point about the teachers and head of the Journalism department.

It happens when too much power is given to any one person and whatever they do is unquestioned.

I do think that the students's analogy was with the assumption that the school had not committed a crime and the students should be left out of this ridiculous adult mess.

The students are in the middle of a legal stink, and enough is enough.

Whoever, however this got out of hand it does need to get resolved soon. And the sooner it can be resolved, the sooner that actual education about rape and bullying can happen.

Is there such a thing as a settlement? The school says they were wrong and the corrections are dispensed?


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Posted by Reason
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:46 am

Reason is a registered user.

I like the idea of a City-defined Ombudsperson. Is that really possible? Does the City have a legal authority that oversee's the school district?


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Posted by EndsandMeans
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:51 am

EndsandMeans is a registered user.

@resident3,

The mess is coming about because our district is not able or willing to handle problems honestly. There will be problems (gasp!) in any school district of this size. Parents are involved in this "adult mess" because their kids need help or protections legally due them. The district is keeping the real mess going here by attacking the only recourse parents have, such as it is.

Dauber is getting attacked for being the good Samaritan genuinely trying to help. Look at the incentives of others who have misbehaved: salaries that eclipse others of far greater responsibility in our society, egos and reputations to maintain those salaries and power, huge nearly half billion dollar facilities projects with no comprehensive oversight. Why is the 4th estate not examining those?


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Posted by parent2
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:58 am

parent2 is a registered user.

@resident 3 I agree completely that the right thing to do is to settle this matter quickly. When OCR announced a compliance review of Paly, the single right outcome would be to have immediately expressed willingness to cooperate and request early resolution. OCR generally likes to investigate enough to understand the scope of the problem and would therefore still want to see documents and interview teachers and students. However, after that settlement is entirely at the discretion of the school itself. The OCR procedure manual expressly provides that settlement is available to the school AT ANY TIME prior to the close of the investigation.

In fact, Ken Dauber first came to prominence on this issue when he pointed out that PAUSD was hit with a Letter of Finding in the Terman disability bullying case and questioned why the district did not enter into voluntary resolution rather than waiting for a finding. First FFF lawyers [portion removed] about the availability of early resolution, then they covered up the fact that they had never requested it. The fact is the district simply saw the complainant as a crackpot and though that they would prevail so they didn't consider early resolution. Whoops. Another piece of stellar advice from FFF that you and I paid top dollar for. Dauber pointed out at the time, back in 2013, that of 1500 districts who had disability harassment complaint investigations opened in 2008-12, only 15 resulted in letters of finding.

What about a settlement in the Paly and Gunn cases? Dauber has raised exactly this point in recent board meetings, and asked the Superintendent to ask OCR whether settlement is still an option for PAUSD. Unfortunately, McGee said he needed a board vote, and the majority o the board (Camille, Melissa, and Heidi) are still committed to FIGHTING ON!!! So, no settlement. The entire summer passed without approaching OCR about settlement. [Portion removed.]

The downside though is that by waiting the district might receive 2 massive findings of noncompliance. That is an actual investigatory finding by the US Department of Education that PAUSD violated the rights of female students [portion removed.] That finding can then be utilized as evidence in any civil action that might be filed by any student later against the district, for example for teacher/student harassment. That means that if a student was harmed during the period of time covered by the OCR investigation (2011-15) and later sues for sexual harassment, that finding is just sitting there like a time bomb.

[Portion remoevd.] The only sane and responsible thing to do is to reach a voluntary Resolution Agreement short of a finding of noncompliance, an option that may still be open to the district.

[Portion removed.]


14 people like this
Posted by EndsandMeans
a resident of Barron Park
on Sep 21, 2015 at 8:59 am

EndsandMeans is a registered user.

@Reason,

The legal oversight of school districts is frankly a little murky because school district formation is kind of a poorly thought-out segment of law.

But, there does seem to be a power cities have in school district formation and organization (and reorganization). In some states, the school districts actually answer to mayors or other elected officials. Look at the Palo Alto city charter. Web Link

Article VIII-A lays out the Board of Education and appointment of Superintendent of Schools. Want the Superintendent to have to submit to an approval vote by the electorate every three years? Increase the number or responsibility of board members? Add an Ombudsperson with power equivalent to the superintendent and oversight authority as a check and balance for the community? Here's where you do that. If you wish to amend the charter, look for other places that have something like what you want. Then go talk to community leaders like Bob Moss or people who put through the Maybell referendum for how you change the City Charter. It wouldn't be easy, but democracy works best when no one has total power that can and will be abused.


2 people like this
Posted by resident3
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 21, 2015 at 9:05 am

resident3 is a registered user.

Ends,

I meant the "adult" thing in the sense that minors are involved and like a divorce, that needs to be taken into account.

I actually have no further interest in Dauber's role.

This is no longer about the individuals involved but how these institutions sort it out with lawyers. For me, this is not something to take sides on, I wish that all do the right thing, and the sooner the better.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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