News

Student's case spurs Palo Alto school district to examine response to bullying

School board to review discrimination policy, procedures

The Palo Alto school board plans to take a closer look at how staff are implementing policies and procedures for addressing complaints of discriminatory bullying in the wake of the publication of a story in the Palo Alto Weekly about the repeated bullying this year of a special-education middle school student in the district.

The board will discuss implementation of the district's Uniform Complaint Procedure, or UCP, a separate process established to handle bullying complaints based on a protected class, such as race, gender or disability, at a special meeting on special education that had already been scheduled for Dec. 6, board President Heidi Emberling said Thursday.

The board also added a personnel evaluation related to the case to its closed-session agenda for this coming Tuesday, Nov. 15, she said.

This will be the first time the full board discusses the case. Trustees said they were not informed by staff about this particular bullying case, which began in January and has stretched into this school year, and learned about it instead through the Weekly's story, published last Friday, Nov. 4.

The Uniform Complaint Procedure was revised in 2014 at the direction of the federal Office for Civil Rights to bring the district into compliance with federal and state law so that all allegations of unlawful discrimination, based on legally protected classes, would be handled at the district level. The district ultimately adopted a two-tiered system: All complaints that do not involve legally protected classes are to be handled at the schools, while those that do automatically start a district-level investigation.

In this particular case, repeated complaints, both verbal and written, over several months from the parents of the student to various staff members at Jordan Middle School and at the district did not trigger a UCP investigation. It was not until the parents filled out a UCP form — which is not required to open an investigation — that the district's investigation began.

At a meeting of the board’s policy review committee (BPRC) Thursday morning, chair Ken Dauber said this family’s case illustrated "a complete failure to implement board policy and consequently, I think, to support the students rights in this area."

The district’s two-tiered approach to handling bullying reports seems to have failed, Dauber said, "to serve as a practical guide for staff decision-making."

"We’re asking staff to decide … whether the UCP should be invoked in a particular case, and if they decide that it shouldn’t because it doesn’t appear on its face to involve a protected class, and only later or never discover that it does, then we’re led into a violation of board policy and also federal and state law," he said.

Chief Student Services Officer Holly Wade, also the district’s UCP compliance officer, replied that there is a "need for further professional learning" on the policy.

But she defended the district’s handling of this particular case, saying it was "fully investigated" and that staff did their "due diligence" in following proper procedure. Dauber disputed both of those statements. He later said in an interview that "both of those statements were incorrect on their face based on the facts" and that "it would be more productive if we acknowledged those facts and addressed them."

Wade said the parents of the student were informed soon after they first reported incidences of bullying in January that they could file a UCP complaint, and that they declined to do so. The parents, who the Weekly is not identifying to protect their privacy, maintain that neither Jordan staff nor district administrators informed them of the option to file a complaint, and that they would have done so as soon as possible had they known. (They filled out a UCP reporting form in May at the suggestion of a parent-advocate for special-education families in the district.)

Regardless of whether a student or family files a complaint, school administrators or the compliance officer are required by policy to "implement immediate measures necessary to stop the discrimination and to ensure all students have access to the educational program and a safe school environment."

Emberling, who served on the policy review committee when the new bullying policies and procedures were developed, told the Weekly that at that time she "hesitated to support a two-tiered system for precisely this reason, that the burden on the school sites would be greater because then they have to decide if it's meeting the threshold for a UCP complaint or not."

She said she hopes to hear site and district staffs' perspectives on the process, but that a "more consistent approach where anything that meets the threshold of bullying would automatically trigger a UCP complaint" could remove that burden for staff and improve outcomes for students.

Teri Baldwin, president of the Palo Alto Educators Association (PAEA), expressed concern at the BPRC meeting that cases are rising to the level of a district investigation without any previous attempt to more informal resolution, such as parents meeting with a teacher to talk about a problem. She said she was aware of several teachers who were surprised by the opening of a UCP investigation into an issue that they knew nothing about.

"All of a sudden a teacher just gets a notice … and they have no, no clue whats going on, what happened, anything," Baldwin said. "I think we're going straight to this huge procedure and we’re not dealing with anything at the classroom level."

The district's obligation to investigate any allegations of bullying based on a protected class "does trump that conversation" with teachers, Wade said.

Dauber requested that a review of the district's bullying policy and Uniform Complaint Procedure be placed on the BPRC’s next meeting agenda, scheduled for Dec. 9. Terry Godfrey, the other board member who serves on the committee, supported the idea of a review, given the policy has now been in place for several years.

She later told the Weekly that there appeared to be a "failure to execute on this policy" in the early handling of this family’s case. She refrained from commenting on staff's failure to inform the board about the case until hearing from them what happened.

The board will also likely discuss their oversight of Uniform Complaint Procedure cases at the Dec. 6 special meeting.

Emberling said a quarterly report updating the board on UCP cases would be "useful."

"Otherwise, where’s the transparency?" she said.

---

Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Comments

37 people like this
Posted by JordanProblems
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2016 at 10:31 pm

Terri Baldwin misses the point: "I think we're going straight to this huge procedure and we’re not dealing with anything at the classroom level."


That's really the point, isn't it - the procedure is happening because they are NOT dealing with these issues appropriately in the classroom. Had the teachers and administrators dealt with the bullying properly on day one, it would not have escalated to the point of needing an investigation.

Given that teachers did NOT deal with the issues of bullying in the classroom, then the school and district must get involved.

Jordan cannot continue to mishandle children's safety issues, and expect it to be swept under the rug.


32 people like this
Posted by Jordan parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2016 at 6:04 am

The Jordan bullying story saddened but didn't surprise me. Administrators there have long been adept at looking the other way. That was true of Tom and it's still true of Katie.

Kudos to Dauber and Godfrey for caring enough to follow up. Leadership from the district is needed. No student should be hounded out of school while his parents beg for help.

The fact that the senior administrator responsible for compliance, Holly Wade, chooses to defend this is shocking but also not surprising. Leadership matters.


29 people like this
Posted by Forever Bad
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 11, 2016 at 9:21 am

Our son was badly beaten by an older boy whose parents then played "the race card"!

The result: BOTH boys were suspended for three days!

The older boy continued to threaten our son, but Jordan officials could do nothing about verbal threats ( they said)!

Eventually, our son grew much bigger than the older boy, and the threats stopped.

The older boy graduated from Paly, but before he even had a chance to leave for college, he was arrested for selling drugs--including heroin. His parents tried to play the race card in court, but this time no one would listen!

He is still in prison, claims to have " found " Jesus, and twice has tried to friend me on FB! Naturally, I declined.


24 people like this
Posted by Fight!
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2016 at 10:43 am

Children are taught that it is wrong to stand up to bullies. This is wrong. A large part of your life will depend on how you deal with various forms of bullying. Every person will be bullied at some point in their life, there is no shame in being a victim. But there is great shame in remaining a victim. Early practice is the best solution. Use these early experiences of being bullied as a means to practice for the ever increasing bullies that you will face in life. I congratulate any child or adult who stands down a bully by whatever means necessary.


2 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 11, 2016 at 10:50 am

Forever Bad,
Why not friend the kid? Obviously he had a rough upbringing. Forgiveness is a good thing and it's not like he killed anyone.


29 people like this
Posted by Forever Bad
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 11, 2016 at 11:07 am

The kid NEARLY killed at least three people, including one he left unconscious in an alley off of University Ave!

He had a very soft, spoiled upbringing. His parents, wealthy immigrants, always made excuses for his behavior, one time claiming that he was being suspended ( this time in high school at Paly) because he won the fight he started.

It just escalated until finally his parents could not bail him out with money, excuses, or claims of racial discrimination.

The kid had a rap sheet a mile long! Aggravated assault and battery, possession and selling of narcotics and heroin! He can't even get parole for another ten years!

Jordan was bad, PAUSD is bad, this kid is pure evil, despite his claims of religious redemption. Psychologists testified in court that he is most likely a sociopath-- there were signs of it in him at age three, apparently.

Sociopathic bullies are beyond saving or rehabilitating. If released from prison they pick up where they left off, terrorizing animals and then people!


20 people like this
Posted by member
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2016 at 11:42 am

Protected Class? Since when are we supposed to have a class system in America? This kind of separatist garbage is causing the divisions we're see happening in the nation as a whole. Why is it permitted? What's wrong with one set of rules we all must adhere to and one set of consequences for breaking them? It's policies like this that motivated the conservative right to vote on Tuesday, and the Liberal left to riot in the streets when their feelings got hurt over it.




23 people like this
Posted by PAmom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2016 at 12:02 pm

"Forever Bad",

I understand your experience. The girl who bullied my daughter had parents who regularly made excused for her aggressive behavior and seemed to believe she could do no wrong. They blaimed others instead of holding her accountable and insisted she should be allowed to get away with anything. They didn't care what she did to anyone. As a mental health professional I had her pegged for conduct disorder, the child form of antisocial personality disorder, and she was later diagnosed with a mental illness that, when untreated has similar symptoms. We switched our daughter to another school to get away from that family who also bullied me, and from the principal who swept the whole thing under the rug. That girl was later expelled from two middle schools, arrested and put in a juvenile facility. If only the parents had taken responsibility for addressing the girl's issues instead of insisting she was "normal", things may have turned out better for their daughter. It gives me solace that, while their daughter is in the juvenile justice system, mine graduated from Paly, now attends a selective private university on a scholarship and has close friends.

You are right that sociopaths cannot be rehabilitated. They are self-serving people with no moral compass who live by different rules from the rest of us. It took going through what I went through with that family to learn that some people are neurologically not capable of empathy or compassion.


16 people like this
Posted by Frankie
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2016 at 12:02 pm

We fled Palo Alto in 1998. Our son was bullied in elementary school, and the school's handling of the situation was a major contributor to our decision to move to another town and send our kids to private school. I am deeply saddened to see that nothing has changed since then. With the benefit of hindsight, I perceive teacher response as key, due either to a lack of adequate training, a clear,strongly enforced policy as well as staff hesitancy or unwillingness to get involved. I hope a solution can be identified. Finally, I was appalled to read the reference to a two-tier process and "protected class(es)" of students. NO student should have to endure being bullied under ANY circumstance - period! The addition of a another "layer" of Palo Alto process in response to such issues is mind boggling, though certainly no surprise.


6 people like this
Posted by Racism in PA
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 11, 2016 at 12:03 pm

[Post removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by David
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

Bullying is not murder, but the effects of bullying can last a lifetime. Bullies pick on weaker and smaller people because they think these weaker ones are easy targets. If a student is unable to stand up him or herself, then they need to report it, but also tell everyone they know. Then the bully can be confronted and put in their place. Sadly, some students may not have friends for support. If this is the case, call the police if the school does not address the problem.
No student should be bullied for years or forced to leave school. The status quo of appeasing the bully and their parents is unacceptable. Enough is enough. Teachers are in charge of the classroom. Someone needs to be in charge of the campus when students are not in class. Hire more monitors if needed.
There are policies in place. Enforce them.


11 people like this
Posted by Stan
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 11, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Great work Elena,

thank you.


9 people like this
Posted by PAmom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 11, 2016 at 4:26 pm

Neighbor and Forever Bad,

We can forgive people who hurt us, but we might still have to protect ourselves from them, and that is the case with that man. In my situation, the bully's family also made excuses until their daughter's behavior got too extreme (hard drugs, starting fights, threatening to bring a gun to school and shoot a teacher) to go on excusing. I imagine the parents probably blamed the teachers, administrators and police for setting limits. They were later reported for abusing their daughter and then moved out of town.

Frankie,

What happened that your family had to flee Palo Alto? That sounds awful! Hearing others' stories always helps me feel less alone.


15 people like this
Posted by stanhutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2016 at 5:53 pm

stanhutchings is a registered user.

I submit that the name of the schools involved had less than 1% contribution, while the school environment and attitude of staff had more than 99% contribution, to the bullying that has continued year after year. Any funds available to change the names of schools should instead be used to train teachers, principals, and all others involved with students, in sensitivity, understanding, and the principles of decent behavior, including how to detect potential and actual bullies, and how to deal effectively with them and their parents.
When our daughter attended Walter Hays, she was bullied by older and bigger students. When we complained to the teacher, she blamed our daughter for over-reacting, crying and complaining. Apparently this same attitude still is rampant in the PAUSD.


8 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 12, 2016 at 7:37 am

@stanhutchings,
School personnel get lots of training. The trouble is that the system in place also creates an antagonism toward kids in "special classes" especially special ed kids. The effect is personnel including teachers holding the kids at arms' length, basically, less inclined to even hold parents meetings, talk face to face, or exchange casual emails that would imorove connection and communication. The problem isn't only the two-tiered system, it's the fact that from start to finish, the system is not primarily geared to protect all students, with people who priorities the needs of the students. The district, through its legal advice probably, has a system of fighting first against any accommodations, or at the least taking an adversarial stance. The trouble is that there are no employees, such as a separate group of personnel, or even an ombudsman, whise job ut is to focus first on the needs of the students. That's the law, by the way, that districts are supposed to proactively identify students with problems and reach out to help them, provide accommodations, and recommend helps. But in a system in which all support staff are already an effective arm of the prosecution - testifying in court against families, deliberately avoiding providing processes, obstructing by ignoring requests for records or even creating false records, claiming students received help they never did, etc, - how can they possibky also err on the side of identifying and recommending accommodations and help? It's like asking the prosecutor to also be the defense. It doesn't work well.

School employees are supposed to act as the advocates and defense, and they have worked out a system in which they act mainly as prosecution. How then can they be expected to handle a case like this properly, start to finish, when there is so much inclination NOT to do the right thing at every step? How can they be expected to report something when they see an active effort to suppress being open about such things? District oersonnel do not see honesty being rewarded in thus district, and they see dishonesty by personnel rewarded repeatedly. Such a culture cannot respond effectively in such a case, at the school or district level, even if the rules are changed. The rules should be changed, but it's not enough.

PAUSD once had a stellar reputation for special ed. I'm concerned that our failing to reform the culture and practices, removing poorly performing personnel as necessary (and I don't mean scapegoating those on the lowest levels), not only hurts kids, but also allows administrators to (behind the scenes) cut corners where students can least afford the neglect, in order to cover for bad financial management. (Think about it - if you aren't managing funds well, where would you cut the biggest corners to cover for that? It's just a fact that special ed is a big target.) My hope is that Todd Collins' presence on the board will help ensure a big spotlight on this. Our kids deserve the best care and education we can provide.


10 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 12, 2016 at 8:00 am

"t's policies like this that motivated the conservative right to vote on Tuesday, and the Liberal left to riot in the streets when their feelings got hurt over it. "

@member,
The only takeaway from this election is that when elections are so close as they have tended to be in modern times, and more than one candidate wins the popular vote but doesn't win the election, it's time to change. The interpretation that somehow the right came out in droves is a bit of a whitewash (pun intended) when Hollary Clinton got more votes in total than her opponent, even while supporters were lulled into thinking she was a shoe in so vote your conscience.

The Liberal left has much to be angry about when two Presidential candidates in recent history took more votes and still they lost the Presidency. They should be rioting in states like Michigan that were swing states but effectively tied, to get the state legislatures to immediately enact laws to allocate the electoral votes either by proportion, or in the case of a very close election, allocate most or all of the electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote. That would obviate the need for a Constitutional amendment to make up for our antiquated system that awards the Presidency to the LOSER. If the shoe were on the other foot, you know very well the right would be screaming bloody murder and helping the public see every second that their candidate is the rightful winner. Somehow the left - and the media - just let the right (and the media) interpret what happened as if rightwing voters surged agead. They didn't, Clinton still got more votes, people.

Shame on the media for once again being led around by the nose by the right, and interpreting the election as if somehow the voter proportions were the same thing as electoral votes. The rightwing voters didn't suddenly come out in droves, they voted about like they have. The left both experienced voter suppression and didn't come out in the kind of droves they should have - however, they came out more than the right, didn't they, since Clinton won the popular vote. You wouldn't even know that from the pundits. If we had reformed our system for the modern world, Clinton won.

The interesting thing is that states still could make rules that would allocate the electoral votes differently, and i dividual electoral colleges without state rules could decide to allocate their votes to the win er of the popular vote or proportionately, since that would be only fair. Since the electoral college doesn't formally vote for the President for a few weeks, there is time for the media and the people to get this right. Clinton got more votes, as did Gore.

Now, let's get back to the topic here, which has nothing to do with Presidential politics or school naming.


13 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 13, 2016 at 1:36 am

Jordan had a culture of bullying many years ago when my child was there. Teachers looked the other way during physical and verbal altercations and PE teachers partook in teasing and put downs. Boys pushed each other off the ledge in full view of the teachers and shoved each other at the lockers. My child came home extremely upset when a boy stuck a food out purposely to trip another boy in PE class who was badly hurt. I hope Jordan environment has improved.


Like this comment
Posted by BPRC
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 14, 2016 at 10:20 am

BPRC is a registered user.

Is this meeting of the BPRC recorded? Is there a link?


3 people like this
Posted by BPRC
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 14, 2016 at 12:38 pm

BPRC is a registered user.

Families:
If you tried to get the school to stop bullying of a disabled child at school and they have not, you do NOT need to go through PAUSD's Uniform Complaint Procedure (UCP) or the Districts separate bullying policy/procedure. If you file with UCP or PAUSD bullying procedures (or the State of California CDE), PAUSD will investigate itself. That has not been effective in helping disabled bullied children in PAUSD for several years, so you need to go to an outside body to investigate.

You should file a complaint directly with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

From OCR Parent Factsheet:
"To learn more about federal civil rights laws or how to file a
complaint, contact OCR at 800-421-3481 (TDD: 800-877-8339), or ocr@ed.gov. OCR’s
website is www.ed.gov/ocr. To fill out a complaint form online, go to
Web Link."

Here is the Parent Factsheet: What Are Public Schools Required to Do When Students With Disabilities Are Bullied?:
Web Link

U.S. Department of Education, Instructions to School Districts:
Web Link
Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 14, 2016 at 1:12 pm

@BPRC,
In a better world, you would be correct. But it's not - being pragmatic, you should think this through.

OCR does not take all cases, even legitimate ones, and except in very serious cases, does not decide the actual complaint. If more people go to the OCR but nothing big happens, the District will use it as fodder to claim there was no merit to those cases and to slam the parents instead of improving. They have already done this. Families whose kids were already victimized are hurt again by a District with an unhealthy culture when it comes to owning and solving disputes, complaints and problems. The board is as likely to soend taxpayer money again trying to intimidate families and the OCR, especially in this new administration.

The other problem is the very real threat of retaliation. Although retaliation against any family who complains, whether the complaint is taken or not, is illegal, in practice, there are no whistleblower-like protections that prevent retaliation. When people complain, retaliation seems pretty common, with employees rewarded. If you complain up the chain, you have to complain to the retaliators, and parents have complained about them ganging up against families and even scheming and backbiting. If you complain about retaliation to the Super, it DOES NOT net an investigation, it nets a warning against complaining, and actions that underscore the power of those people over your child's education, health, and safety. The retaliation can be against parents and the child, who may already be suffering from being held at arms' length, basically, by staff in the school. It can get to a point of a child feeling unsafe to attend school because of the *adults*.

Far more effective would be if Board members, teachers, or CAC went to the OCR with a complaint on behalf of a large class of students. A lot of the same problems keep resurfacing for kids with IEPs and 504s, and apparently, bullied students. Board members know more about what has been done behind the scenes. Board members could also create an ombudsperson position that answers to the City and Board, and has independent power to intervene and protect those who have to complain. A clear policy to protect against retaliatiom would also help. The trouble is, you can't get that from an administration that protects retaliators and has no interest in reporting complaints of retaliation or investigating them.

Leaving is sometimes the only pragmatic thing to do. It's not right, but until the people creating that culture and their influence are gone, it's better than false hope that anything will get better from a complaint. It's better than experiencing the longterm trauma from such retaliation.





4 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 14, 2016 at 1:14 pm

And by the way, board members can make anonymous complaints to OCR too.


13 people like this
Posted by OCR in the age of Trump
a resident of Green Acres
on Nov 14, 2016 at 1:35 pm

Forget about OCR after the election. You might as well throw complaints in the wastebasket.

I take some comfort in Ken Dauber's response where he called the screwup at JMS "a complete failure to implement board policy and consequently, I think, to support the students rights in this area."

After Holly Wade tried the same old script of defending employees who massively f*d up, Dauber was having none of it: "Dauber disputed both of those statements. He later said in an interview that "both of those statements were incorrect on their face based on the facts" and that "it would be more productive if we acknowledged those facts and addressed them."

Maybe the district is beginning to turn a corner, even without OCR to help.


14 people like this
Posted by Never Changes
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 14, 2016 at 2:30 pm

As far as I know, Jordan has not improved re bullying since the early 1990s.

Male PE teachers appear to encourage this during the PE time, calling boys wimps and nerds and klutzes.

Our son went to Jordan from 2007-2010, and suffered from asthma. His allergens at the time were dust, grasses, weeds and flowering trees. Naturally, his Dr wrote him an excuse from running on the turf area. The Dr was well aware that this teacher was in violation of the ADA, and finally told him so.

When our son handed him the excuse from the Dr, this PE teacher called him a wimp and angrily hurled expletives about the Dr toward our son, who was VERY intimidated. THEN the guy tore the note into pieces, and being all of all of eleven at the time had to fight back tears.

Of course, the whole PE class witnessed this, were shocked and terrified. Some were willing to testify about this teacher's sadistic behavior to the principal.

We filed a complaint, the other kids verified what happened. The principal promised to take care of the situation.

Yeah, right-- this PE teacher tormented this class for the rest of the school year, and was still teaching at Jordan at least a year after our son moved on to Paly.

There is, and has always been, some weird sadistic culture at Jordan-- and it just validates and encourages bullies. It isn't always toward kids with learning or obvious physical disabilities. Sometimes it's because the victim is small, or tall, or freckled, has green eyes, a large nose, braces, wears glasses, has curly hair, red hair, whatever that has been currently deemed unattractive. And it has changed a lot since 2007-- and happens a lot more to girls.


10 people like this
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 14, 2016 at 11:12 pm

To the poster above,

What you said in your post is almost correlates to my daughter's experienced at Jordan regarding sadistic PE teachers. Our kids overlapped for two years. I complained to Miliken (principal at the time). The male PE "teacher" ended up calling out and belittling my daughter for the rest of the year for telling on him and trying to get him in trouble, so I complained to the head of the department as well. I am not sure if he stayed at the school. Later, my daughter saw him mowing the lawn at Jordan during summer break, hope he became a gardener and left the school. Bullying at Jordan was not only towards kids with disabilities or necessarily only by the other students, bullying at Jordan was often done by the teachers. I hope not any more.


10 people like this
Posted by Stop the Hysterics
a resident of Duveneck School
on Nov 14, 2016 at 11:44 pm

I have three children who graduated from Jordan. They guessed who the teacher is, who "neighbor" is talking about. This teacher jokes around all the time and there are many kids who think he is funny. In fact, my daughter started laughing when she said his name.

There is a lot of autism in Silicon Valley. An autistic trait is being too literal and not being able to understand humor. They need to be taught to be less literal.

None of my children ever complained about teacher abuse except for one sarcastic, rude, impatient [portion removed] teacher whom two of my children suffered through.

There isn't much bullying in PAUSD compared to other schools in the nation. Students are generally nice. My children think that many of the students who are bullied have personality issues which provoke and the parents should teach them proper social behavior. To attend a public school completely devoid of any bullying is expecting way too much. And especially in middle school, where hormones start flying and students go through awkward years, there will be some bullying. But to say that it's a sadistic school is nowhere near the truth.


22 people like this
Posted by PAmom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 15, 2016 at 1:13 am

Stop the Hysterics,

Your post isn't helpful, lacks compassion and promotes victim-blaming. Yes, autistic kids and some others struggle with social skills, but that doesn't make bullying OK and minimizing the problem by saying most kids are nice doesn't make being bullied any easier for the kids or their families. Some kids who don't have "personality issues" are bullied just because they look different, such as because of race or body type. Please don't blame all bullying on the victims or their parents; put the blame on the bullies where it belongs. 'nough said.


17 people like this
Posted by PA
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 15, 2016 at 1:52 am

TO: Stop the Hysterics, a resident of Duveneck School

Just to relate your post to this Tuesday's (11/8/16) outcome, so as I understand it, what you are saying, it was all in good humor and taking it any other way would deem half of the US citizens, "autistic ...... and not being able to understand humor". According to your philosophy, "They need to be taught to be less literal". I guess "THEY" (again as it relates to the election) who don't get the jokes are: the minorities, women, disabled, veterans, Muslim, etc. CONGRATULATIONS, your kind of person won. Funny to you and your kids, not so funny to whom the hatred and venom is directed, just cruel and frightening. I am offended, very upse, so I guess you would refer to me as autistic. [Portion removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Head Shaking
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 15, 2016 at 5:28 pm

[Portion removed.] We moved from elsewhere and the parents here have no idea what real bullying is. In kindergarten, my daughter had to learn to hit back. In third grade, my son had to shove someone into a locker to get respect. Not encouraging physical violence but it was the only way. Kids here need to learn to man-up; life is unfair and if they can't handle conflict, they won't do well in the real world. No employer wants a whiner. [Portion removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 16, 2016 at 9:48 am

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Now, these results could lose your FEDERAL FUNDING of Education in the District! I suggest that the proper teaching to ALL People at the District be implemented NOW and the Federal government SHOWN that these required policies are implemented NOW and actual PROOF be shown to keep Federal monies in the PROPER EDUCATION OF STAFF AND DISTRICT EMPLOYEES. You want that money, EARN IT!


14 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 16, 2016 at 10:02 am

@Head Shaking,
No one is suggesting that it's possible to prevent all bullying. Your comparison is meaningless, though. We have a lower rate of crime in this town, too. Would you have the police not improve bad policies for investigating homicides or stop investigating homicides altogether just because it's worse elsewhere?

This is about whether the district employees are following its own policies and procedures, and whether they even work or do more harm than good. Because whether you prefer a more Lord of the Flies environment or not, there are laws and students have rights. If we have put in place procedures with the intention that they help the employees follow the law to benefit students, but instead the procedures either aren't practical to follow or expectations resulting from those procedures are leading to negative adult behaviors that hurt the educations, connections, and safety of students, so we must morally and legally reexamine and revise thise procedures. Many other districts do so without such drama.

Just so you know, our experience was more bullying from adults than students in PAUSD, sometimes pretty egregious and worse than anything I saw myself in an inner city high school. We, too, think there is less peer bullying here. The rate of bullying has no connection to any child's situation or how serious it is, thoigh, or how poorly adults handle it -- the procedures seem to have amplified the severity in this case.


12 people like this
Posted by PAmom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 16, 2016 at 11:00 am

Head Shaking,

I agree with A Parent that your comment is unhelpful, and it lacks compassion, has a sarcastic tone and also promotes victim blaming. Do you really think that an employer will see an employee as a whiner if they report that another employee brandished a knife at them? And you think a frightened child should be expected to fight back without any adult help? That does sound like Lord of the Flies. It really bothers me when adults believe that children should be expected to handle being assaulted with no protection or justice, when an adult in the same situation would call the police. It was that kind of thinking and blaming from adults that led to my being repeatedly bullied, leered at, exposed to and groped because I thought I had no recourse, that no body cared enough to help. And the rate of bullying at PAUSD schools is irrelevant. Any child who's bullied deserves help from the people who are paid to care for and protect them.


14 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 19, 2016 at 8:20 am

Here is the problem in a nutshell:

At a meeting of the board’s policy review committee (BPRC) Thursday morning, chair Ken Dauber said this family’s case illustrated "a complete failure to implement board policy and consequently, I think, to support the students rights in this area."


... [Wade] defended the district’s handling of this particular case, saying it was "fully investigated" and that staff did their "due diligence" in following proper procedure. Dauber disputed both of those statements. He later said in an interview that "both of those statements were incorrect on their face based on the facts" and that "it would be more productive if we acknowledged those facts and addressed them."


--
1) Holly Wade does not see/admit to any mistake
2) She will vigorously oppose, using the long and powerful arm of her hired legal team, any attempt to change a broken system


The real losers are the vulnerable children and their heartbroken families


12 people like this
Posted by Holly has to go
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 19, 2016 at 1:09 pm

Holly Wade has been a disaster. Kevin Skelly hired her and left her for Glenn McGee, who is looking to sign a healthy contract extension for himself so he can't appear to not support Wade. Let both of their contracts run out.


4 people like this
Posted by A Parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 20, 2016 at 11:57 am

@Holly has to go,
I think Brenda Carrillo is just as or more responsible for the problematic culture than Wade. I think if the two don't go together, there is little hope of improvement. Carrillo is a lot more persuasive and adept at coming out looking good in these situations than Wade and currying favor from where her bread is buttered while using her power to settle slights and scores against families who dared to speak up because they don't like being lied to and mistreated. I'm not even convinced Wade would be so bad if not for Carrillo.


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

He said – she said – who is lying? Justice Brett Kavanaugh or PA resident Christine Ford
By Diana Diamond | 71 comments | 3,195 views

Global Warming Diet
By Laura Stec | 8 comments | 1,342 views

Couples: "Taming Your Gremlin" by Richard Carson
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,233 views

Preparing for kindergarten
By Cheryl Bac | 0 comments | 679 views

 

Pre-registration ends today!

​On Friday, September 21, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run, or—for the first time—half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

Learn More