News

Office for Civil Rights to investigate Paly sex-assault cases

Parent files federal complaint, alleging district violated anti-discrimination law Title IX

The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights will investigate two separate reports of sexual assault at Palo Alto High School as part of its ongoing monitoring of the school district following a yearslong investigation into a string of Title IX violations.

The federal agency indicated its decision to investigate these two cases — both involving students on campus, one in November 2015 and another in October 2016 — in response to a complaint filed in July by a parent who alleges the district failed to comply with anti-discrimination law Title IX in these incidents. The complainant, parent Kathy Jordan, provided the Office for Civil Right's letter to the Weekly.

In 2015, a female Paly junior reported to the school that a male student had sexually assaulted her on the quad. In 2016, administrators became aware of an incident of oral sex in a campus bathroom between a female Paly freshman and male junior, which the freshman's mother told the Weekly was not consensual but school leaders said was not initially reported to them as a sexual assault. The same male student was convicted in juvenile court several months later for an off-campus sexual assault involving a female Menlo-Atherton High School student. Media reports that publicly disclosed the 2016 incident this spring sparked community uproar over the district's handling of student sexual violence.

Although neither of these cases was covered in the Office for Civil Rights' prior investigation into the school district, a resolution agreement approved this spring commits the district to at least three years of federal monitoring and a series of corrective actions. The agency said it will be examining the incidents under the resolution agreement rather than opening a new case.

The Office for Civil Rights "is already in the process of closely examining the district's actions and investigations related to all of the matters referred to in your letter and will be addressing any compliance issues and identifying any needed corrective actions," OCR Team Leader Sara Berman wrote to Jordan on July 31.

Jordan, whose older daughter recently graduated from Paly and was not a victim in either case, also filed in June eight formal personnel complaints against district leadership and Paly administrators she alleges violated board policy, state and federal law in their handling of these two cases.

At the district level, Jordan filed complaints against Superintendent Max McGee and former Chief Student Services and Title IX Compliance Officer Holly Wade, who announced her resignation in April.

At Paly, Jordan has filed multiple complaints against Principal Kim Diorio, Assistant Principal Adam Paulson, Assistant Principal Vicki Kim, Assistant Principal Jerry Berkson, former Assistant Principal Kathie Laurence (now Gunn High School's principal) and Mental Health and Wellness Coordinator Jonathan Frecceri, who was not an administrator and is no longer working at Paly.

Jordan alleges the administrators failed to properly respond to the two sexual-assault reports, fostering a "hostile climate of sexual harassment at Paly, rather than a climate free of sexual harassment in which the students can participate in the educational programming."

Jordan has requested the district terminate each employee against whom she filed a complaint. In an interview, she said she will be satisfied with no other outcome than their removal.

"Complying with the law is not optional," she told the Weekly. "If OCR is saying it's a systemic problem, which it is, how will that problem be corrected with the same personnel in the same place in the same roles who may take the same actions again?"

McGee declined to comment on Office for Civil Rights' decision, stating: "We take the complaints seriously and we will be investigating them."

The school district has opened an investigation into Jordan's complaints and is taking them "very seriously," Karen Hendricks, the new assistant superintendent for human resources, wrote to Jordan on July 31. The district is, however, waiting for a report from a law firm currently investigating administrators' handling of the 2016 incident before addressing Jordan's employee concerns, Hendricks wrote. (The firm, Cozen O'Connor, is expected to give a public update in open session sometime "early in the school year," board President Terry Godfrey said.)

Jordan's complaints "present an unusual level of complexity," Hendricks wrote in a follow-up letter to Jordan on Monday, Aug. 14. "The challenging underlying claims must be resolved before we can address your requests that employment actions be taken with regard to the individuals allegedly involved."

Given this, the district did not meet a 60-day deadline to conclude the investigation into her complaints. Jordan appealed the district's "inconclusive" decision to the California Department of Education on Aug. 4. The state's Education Equity Uniform Complaint Office will be contacting the district as a result, according to a letter the office sent to Jordan.

Given Jordan made multiple complaints about the same employees, Hendricks said in her Aug. 14 letter that the district will now be applying the 60-day timeline to the most recent complaint filed.

Jordan alleges that Diorio failed to conduct a proper Title IX investigation in both the 2015 and 2016 cases and to produce required written documentation of the investigation and resolution to the victims. She also alleges that Diorio violated Title IX and state government code by "withholding" 25 sexual-misconduct reports other staff made to her about former Paly principal Phil Winston. (In its findings, the Office for Civil Rights determined that Diorio, then assistant principal, was not prompt enough in reporting these allegations about Winston, then her supervisor, that she received from numerous staff over the course of three years.)

Jordan also questioned the involvement, or lack thereof, of Holly Wade as Title IX compliance officer, in the cases, and whether a culture of school autonomy is contributing to the district's failure to follow policy and law.

The other Paly administrators, she alleges, should have been sufficiently trained and aware of their legal obligations under Title IX to respond properly to the students' reports.

A fire was lit under Jordan this spring after the media reports about the October 2016 incident. She had not been involved in school district politics previously, she said, but has since become a regular presence at school board meetings and an unrelenting advocate on this issue. Since May she has filed 30 Public Records Act requests, most of which have not yet been filled, in a hope to surface evidence that might support the job-performance complaints. The complaints cite exhaustively from federal law, board policy, news coverage of Title IX issues at Paly and conversations she has had with the families of the female Paly students from the two cases.

Jordan said she is motivated by a concern for student safety and a desire to hold the district accountable.

"It could be my child that this could happen to. It could be any of our children that this could happen to," she said.

"I believe in the goal that Title IX hopes to achieve," she added. "What's happening in the district is not bringing us closer to that."

Since May, the district has rushed to make changes in response to community concerns, including asking Cozen O'Connor to conduct an independent investigation of the district's handling of the 2016 Paly case and creating a new full-time, district-level position to oversee Title IX and civil-rights compliance. (The district has yet to fill that position, but an interim coordinator hired this summer will stay until a permanent one is hired, McGee said.) Policy revisions and increased staff training were also already underway as part of the resolution agreement with the Office for Civil Rights.

In a message to the school district community in July, school board President Terry Godfrey acknowledged that a "change in culture and in processes" is needed.

The school district has been under federal investigation since 2013, after an article in Paly student publication Verde Magazine on the school's "rape culture" caught the Office for Civil Rights' attention. The agency later expanded its investigation to include multiple reports of sexual assault, dating violence and sexual harassment on- and off-campus at Paly and Gunn High School.

A letter of findings the Office for Civil Rights released in March details a repeated failure to comply with Title IX and its own policies and procedures in these cases.

The district has seen a sharp spike in sexual-violence reports since May. The district has since documented more than 20 Title IX-related incidents in its Uniform Complaint Procedure (UCP) log, including five new reports made in July and August. The district is now posting the log on a new Title IX compliance webpage on a weekly basis. The complaints involve both students and staff, on- and off-campus incidents and have been reported at the high schools as well as middle and elementary campuses.

In the Office for Civil Rights' letter to Jordan in July, Berman encouraged her and others in the community "to continue to come forward and report to OCR, so that we can ensure compliance" with the resolution agreement.

The Palo Alto Weekly has created a Storify page to capture ongoing coverage of sexual misconduct in the Palo Alto school district. To view it, go to storify.com/paloaltoweekly.

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Comments

6 people like this
Posted by Stan
a resident of another community
on Aug 25, 2017 at 8:31 am

[Post removed.]


53 people like this
Posted by Kathy Jordan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 25, 2017 at 9:16 am

For those who are interested in this issue, I wanted to clarify a few things and make the information more complete.

According to the victim's mother, the Oct. 11, 2016 victim alleged sexual assault when she reported to the Paly administration. Again, according to the victim's mother, the victim reported on Oct. 14, 2016 to Kim Diorio, Vicki Kim and Jonathan Frecceri.

According to the Nov. 2015 victim's father, and from email exchanges he can provide, he worked on his daughter's alleged sexual assault incident at Paly with Kim Diorio, Vicki Kim, and Adam Paulson. According to the victim's father, Jerry Berkson also played a role in assisting his daughter w some remediation.

Yet, according to the victims' families, even though all of these Paly administration officials knew and were involved in these two incidents to some extent, and all of the senior Paly administration are long time, senior, supervisory officials, no Title IX investigation or report was produced for either incident and neither victim/family were informed of their rights to file a written UCP complaint, which would have kicked off similar processes to Title IX if they had done so. The District has admitted it did not perform a Title IX investigation for either incident in news reports, and according to the families, little remediation was provided to the victims to be able to continue to attend school and feel safe while doing so. This is what Title IX and state law requires.

Also, although a 4 year ongoing OCR investigation for PAUSD regarding sexual assault and sexual harassment was happening at the time of the incidents, it's unclear if PAUSD disclosed the incidents to OCR at the time they were reported. OCR is a federal law enforcement agency. To me, this is mind boggling.

And apparently, both of the alleged offenses, Nov. 2015 and Oct. 11, 2016, if determined to have taken place by the Principal, as stated in Calif Ed Code law, would have resulted in mandated expulsion for the two perpetrators (EDC 48915). But how can you determine what happened if you didn't perform the required investigation? Reportedly, neither perpetrator was expelled.

How can our students feel safe on campus when they can't be sure the school administration will support them?

And there are approximately 10 more cases of sexual assault/sexual harassment associated with Paly that we know little about yet, as the victims have not come forward to the press or to others. These are listed on the District complaint log.

[Portion removed.]

As a qualifier, it's not all District employees who have been non compliant, only certain ones. According to public record requests, and according to the Nov. 2015 victim's father, teachers at Paly did the right thing and reported up the chain when the information was brought to them.

I truly hope that our community will join together to provide a safe environment for our children.


53 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 25, 2017 at 10:29 am

Thank you, Kathy Jordan for being strong and "in their face" when others just want to cruise through.

There's no way that our children can feel safe and comfortable in their educational environment when the "protectorate" fails in their collective duty.

This is no time to stand by.


34 people like this
Posted by again and again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2017 at 10:32 am

Thank you Kathy Jordan.

Had

#1 the Superintendent and his staff responded by the 60 day deadlines

and

[portion removed; there were no findings made in June, only an update on the investigation.]

the OCR and California Department of Education might not have gotten involved.

Those in the dark:

the two families who alleged that their daughters had been sexually assaulted on Paly's campus 1 and 2 years ago,

you who filed complaints against staff entrusted with those investigations > 60 days ago, and

the public.

We only know what we see:

a Superintendent, principal, assistant principals, and others whose positions, responsibilies, and pay have not be altered,

lawyers who have ALREADY been paid, a lot, for this investigation, and

deadlines ignored, repeatedly.



42 people like this
Posted by Kathy Jordan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 25, 2017 at 11:13 am

PA Weekly removed a portion of my post that enumerated the taxpayer $$ that have been spent so far by the District related to complying with a variety of investigations regarding claims of unlawful discrimination, which are the past OCR investigations of PAUSD. And there is also the current Cozen O'Connor investigation of senior district officials' handling of the two alleged sexual assault incidents, Nov. 2015 and Oct. 11, 2016. Cozen O'Connor's payments budgeted by the Board so far total approximately $500,000. OCR investigated PAUSD for sexual harassment/sexual assault incidents from June 2013-March 2017 and interviewed 55 staff members, among other things. All of that costs money, taxpayer money.

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just follow the law?

[Editor's Note: The removed portion went beyond the statements made in this post and violated our Terms of Use. Thank you for revising it.]


22 people like this
Posted by It Was a Cover Up
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 25, 2017 at 12:02 pm

These incidents were 'covered-up' in order to preserve the sterling image and reputation of the PAUSD.


5 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 25, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


20 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Aug 25, 2017 at 12:29 pm

There has always been an infuriating reluctance by both the school administration and the board to deal with sexual violence. I suppose they truly believe, or wish to believe that the PAUSD is this top notch, idilic, flawless district where nothing bad ever happens, and anything that contradicts this fantasy is unpalatable to them. This is how Palo Alto schools in regard to owning Palo Alto real estate is sold to potential buyers by certain realtors in Asia, and this fantasy seems to have permeated many entities, including those running Palo Alto's public education system.


23 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 25, 2017 at 1:20 pm

Parcel tax money would seem to be increasingly used to fight lawsuits and not for improving/enhancing the quality of our children's education.


21 people like this
Posted by Click bait
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 25, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Dear editors. The OCR isn't filing a new investigation. Your headline is click bait. Please fix it. And you owe me 5 minutes of my life back.


9 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 25, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by again and again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 25, 2017 at 2:22 pm

You reported the end of June that "the board received a verbal update from the law firm last week that informed McGee's annual evaluation."

So Cozen has already uncovered something substantive about staff's roles, or non-roles, in the October 2016 Paly incident and shared that with the board. What it shared with the board has not been disseminated but, given that it was paid a lot for this work, it was probably an oral report, a written summary of its findings, or something of comparable or more heft which gave the board lots to talk about and possibly even was the impetus behind the Superintendent's retirement announcement.

May 16th's Paly Voice: "According to board member Terry Godfrey, the firm — Cozen O’Connor — will 'provide a report to the board to assist in further evaluation of the superintendent...' Later, Godfrey indicated the review would also include the actions of other district staff." Voice article headline: Board to hire law firm to probe staff handling of sexual assault allegations.

May 16: Board met in closed session to evaluate the performance of the Superintendent and a principal.

June 2: Cozen hired to "conduct an external review of the District’s response to a Title IX report at the Palo Alto High School during the 2016-2017 academic year to determine how the matter was handled, and whether it was handled in accordance with applicable federal laws, state laws and Board policies."

June: Board met several more times in closed session to evaluate performance.

June 27 Cozen's update: "Consistent with the scope of the engagement.. Cozen has completed most of the employee interviews [and] within the next two weeks, Cozen will seek to complete the remaining non-employee interviews."
Web Link

June 28: Board signs off on its evaluation of Dr. McGee, no raise is given and, according to the Weekly, he suddenly announces that he is going to retire next year.

Weekly also reports that "Board President Terry Godfrey announced in open session that afternoon that the board unanimously 'accepted' his evaluation but did not state if they had given him a satisfactory performance review. McGee's contract requires the board to report in public session if the superintendent's evaluation is satisfactory, but not if it is unsatisfactory. " Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Marrilyn
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 26, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Go Kathy!


31 people like this
Posted by Pausd parent
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 26, 2017 at 6:08 pm

I am just done with the constant attacks on our pausd employees. It is. I wonder why all of the latest hires come from our of state - no one locally wants to work in this town and have their name slaughtered daily by us vicious parents.

I probably know more about the events at Paly than most. I have spoken off the record with a lot of the involved parties. There is more to the story. Any administrator, if given the clear facts that a non consensual assault took place, would not just suspend and expel the perpetrator but would also involve the local police department. The fact that these steps did not take place mean one of two things: (1) the Paly administrators screwed up or (2) the evidence showed that there wasn't a non consensual sexual interaction.

Calling for multiple administrators to get fired isn't going to fix a thing. A better outcome would be increased education for our students on how to treat one another coupled with a parent community that doesn't excuse their own student's behaviors. You can replace the entire PAUSD administrative team but until you directly address those two issues (the students and their behavior-excusing parents), you won't see any change.

A school administrator should be in classrooms, supporting teachers, and having positive interactions with students. I don't think they should be having to deal with dozens of records request or having OCR on speed dial for hourly conversations. You aren't asking for a school administrator; you're requesting a prison warden.

This is the PAUSD cycle. Every administrative team lasts 2-4 years until they're run out of town. We keep on expecting the next administrative team to fix our problems.

But they are OUR problems.


11 people like this
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 26, 2017 at 6:27 pm

@Pausd parent, there is no doubt that whatever happened at Paly last October, a Title IX investigation should have been conducted and it wasn't. There is no doubt that after the offender later returned to school with a felony sexual assault conviction, a Title IX investigation should have been conducted and it wasn't. Those aren't attacks, they are just sad facts. And this was while the District was in the midst of finally "resolving" eight years of investigations with the OCR.

You may know the "inside story" (how? Paly admins violating student confidentiality?) but we all can be pretty sure that federal law and board policy were broken. Who was responsible for that other than the administrators at Paly and the district office? The district has paid $200,000 (and counting) for Cozen O'Conner to investigate what staff did and didn't do. I'm more interested in their report than what an "insider" thinks she knows.

Fact check: this year's district office and principal hires: 1 from out of state, 5 from in state.


19 people like this
Posted by Pausd parent
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 26, 2017 at 9:43 pm

You can edit the previous post about "out of state" and change it to "out of the Bay Area". No one locally is taking these highly laid administrative jobs in Palo Alto. There's a reason for that. They know.

No other school district has to deal with the relentless behavior and expectations of Title IX and OCR and ACLU that you push upon our PAUSD administrators. PAUSD should just spend some PIE money on a few Title IX watchdogs and everyone will be perfectly happy.

Why aren't other districts having to deal with these issues? Do you truly believe that all of the past and current pausd administrators have a secret plot or something? Why does Jordan have four principals in four years? Why does Paly and Gunn seem to have a new principal every three years? When do we stop thinking that they're the issue and instead something else is going on.

And it is easy to have inside information when you talk with high school kids. They know what happened. They know waaaaay more than the newspapers do. It's easy to piece together what happened. It's cute how you blast the administration for not handling it well but at the first mention that maybe they did, you (incorrectly) blast them for sharing private information. Beautiful double standard there. Sums up the vocal minority of PAUSD parents (irony to my username here) quite well.

A district always does a private investigation. This is nothing new nor unusual for a school district. It's a CYA tactic. They'd prefer not to have to do it and instead spend the money on the student's, but this community won't let it fly.

We have amazing, talented administrators in this district. The issue is how our students behave... and how our parent community (edit: some members of our parent community) fail to support or educators in the course of their profession.


24 people like this
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 26, 2017 at 10:26 pm

@Pausd parent - So the inside info source you are relying on is high school kid rumors? Ok, 'nuf said.

On staff coming from out of the area, you're mistaken. New Asst Sup for HR came from Carmel. New principal at Terman came from San Jose; principal at Jordan came from Campbell; principal at Gunn came from Paly. Last year's new principal at Jordan came from Los Altos; new principal at JLS was from Briones, before that Cupertino. Last year's Asst Sup came from Los Gatos. Last year's Equity coordinator came from Stanford; the new one came from Inglewood in SoCal and seems like an upgrade. The only out of stater in the last two years is Asst Sup for Student Services.

Gunn has had 5 principals in the last 25 years (not counting the one who just started). Paly's had more, but if think excessive expectations drove Winston away, you haven't been reading the papers.

Why does PAUSD have all these issues? I think other districts do a better job following the rules. PAUSD has a history of sloppy management and a sense that the rules don't apply to them. Know of many other districts that pass Board resolutions lashing out at the federal Dept of Education? Me neither.

My view is that most of our teachers are pretty good and the students are excellent. The school administrators are average (which is fine), and senior administrators (and the board) have been sub-par and created/tolerated a culture that is sloppy and badly managed. Hopefully the new superintendent will make a dent in it.


3 people like this
Posted by An Alternative
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Aug 26, 2017 at 11:05 pm

How about having PAPD Reserve officers on campus? An incident could then be reported quickly and the perpetrators held in custody pending an immediate investigation.

It would also serve as a deterrent. There are only two high schools in Palo Alto and the manpower requirements would be negligible.


17 people like this
Posted by Pausd parent
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 27, 2017 at 7:29 am

@paly parent - you are welcome to believe what you want to believe about what I know and what the facts are.

There are only two possible options from the incident that happened on campus: (1) Paly administrators didn't investigate or (2) Paly investigators investigated and found that there wasn't a sexual assault and that there were more facts to the case that we don't get to know. This is common sense.

Given that we know they did investigate, option 2 must be true: the facts of the case showed no sexual assault.

A school also does not address Title IX just because a student has had an arrest outside of their school walls, as your post implied. That's incorrect.

As far as where the administrators come from and how long they stay, just scan Palo Alto Online for their articles about new hires. Sacramento. East Coast. So Call.

And you can't deny the turnover of administration in pausd. This is Gunn's fourth (fifth?) principal in ten years. Paly had SL, JM, PW, and now Mrs. Diorio. That's all within the last 12 years. Every 3 years, they leave.

Feel free to include the middle schools. Jordan is on 4/4 and 7 in the last 11.
JLS is on number two in three year. Terman is on their third or fourth in ten years.

You can look at the district office exodus as well. Is there anyone in the district office administration who was employed twelve years ago? There's tons of turnover here as well.

But don't lose sight of the main purpose of the conversation here, as you haven't mentioned my main point once throughout your posts: a lot of the damage to pausd has been from the vocal minority of destructive, unreasonable, not-my-kid parents.

We can keep replacing all of these administrators, just like the original post calls for. Sure, go ahead. Blame the district office for everything; I'm sure the next supt will fix it!

Eventually, we need to discuss the choices of our students and the behaviors of this community.


10 people like this
Posted by Mad Max
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 27, 2017 at 7:38 am

The reason PAUSD is in so much chaos and trouble is that Max McGee is toxic and has done a horrible job. He didn't do basic things and he didn't do big things either. For over a year he didn't respond to public records act requests. He didn't take or keep Board minutes. He didn't monitor or handle labor negotiations correctly. He didn't ensure that any laws were correctly followed. Special Ed became chaos. Title IX became chaos. He promoted whoever flattered him. [Portion removed.] He failed to fire those who were inept. [Portion removed.] The only things he paid attention to were those that either some board member was screaming at him about or that stroked his ego like AAR -- the biggest money pit in the history of the district. And why has the person running that program seemingly followed him around the country? That's interesting and someone should follow up on it.

I am confused about why the board has not moved more swiftly to terminate him. He is being paid a lot of money that could be used to fill in the giant holes he has made in the budget with his inept management.

All that said, the Board has been forthright and transparent and nondefensive about the Paly catastrophe. It's just that information without action makes them all look bad (and implicates them in whatever he does or doesn't do next). Board, if you retain someone who has failed over and over then their next failure is on you not them.

With all due respect to Kathy Jordan, I am sure OCR was already aware of what happened at Paly, since they read the news and also the district was already forced by OCR to answer for this situation. Moreover, the report being released by Cozen will pre-investigate the matter for OCR. So there is nothing accomplished there that wasn't already occurring. However, it is important to note that parents are very unhappy, to my point about the political risks to the board members.


10 people like this
Posted by Credibility Gone
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 27, 2017 at 8:28 am

@pausd Parent makes a case for the professionals, by basically blaming students:

"We have amazing, talented administrators in this district. The issue is how our students behave... and how our parent community (edit: some members of our parent community) fail to support or educators in the course of their profession. "


But I (and many parents) don't see it this way. Their credibility is shot - how many cases of teachers having sex or molesting students? I've lost count. Do you think these are Parent and student "bad choices"?

But it doesn't end there - we have Administrators sexually harassing students.(PW). The very people who should be managing. And in many cases these incidents are swept under the rug, only to be discovered later. There is no accountability- no consequence to the staff that see this and sit silent.

Setting aside the lesser problems that nobody appears to overseeing the students, we parents have come to a clear conclusion: the schools have no credibility, and are taking no steps to rebuild it.

Here is something they could do: stop f*g our kids. Our children are not sex objects for school employees.

Literally get that through your heads.

We are angry that the schools have done nothing publicly to rebuke their staff. Have not been put on notice that this MUST stop. There are no clear reporting requirements, no clear investigation requirements, and we keep discovering time and time again the same abuse of our children.

How can you ask us to "support educators in their profession " when those same educators abuse our children, look the other way when their peers abuse our children, and cover up incidents of abuse. YOU are not supporting US.

You see, when educators band together to abuse our children, you are ALL guilty. When I see a single teacher/admin break ranks and side with the children; speak out against the abuses and demand reform in management - then.

And only then.

Will credibility start to slowly be rebuilt with the community.


5 people like this
Posted by again and again
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2017 at 11:37 am

Pausd parent,

You are saying that staff investigated, trust that staff's investigations were done properly, and so those pressing for confirmation of that are out of line.

Staff not following the proper UCP notification process raises concerns that they may have done the investigation incorrectly too. The recent OCR findings outlining where Paly staff fell short on similar matters, repeatedly, doesn't help the "trust" us claim either.

Best is to support those seeking a review, admit to mistakes if any, and let the board do its job and determine the consequences if mistakes are uncovered.


2 people like this
Posted by Stanford Professor
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 27, 2017 at 11:47 am

QUOTE: "How about having PAPD Reserve officers on campus? An incident could then be reported quickly and the perpetrators held in custody pending an immediate investigation.

It would also serve as a deterrent. There are only two high schools in Palo Alto and the manpower requirements would be negligible."

Even better. Have younger-looking police officers infiltrate the high school campus. Kind of like a PA 'Mod Squad'. By intermingling with the students, they would get the 'low-down' on everything going on that is against the law.

Cameron Crowe went 'undercover' prior to writing his book "Fast Times at Ridgemont High'. It went on to become both a successful novel and movie.

'Fast Times in PA' would provide an interesting take on life in our community.


3 people like this
Posted by Sad
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 28, 2017 at 11:48 am

This article made me so sad. [Portion removed.] To have as a goal to fire everybody is just bad energy and misguided. The PAUSD is in the process of trying to fire its way to excellence. There seems to be no forgiveness or understanding that issues are complicated or nuanced. Folks like PW were relieved of their responsibility, students were disciplined, and perpetrators are in jail. What more do people want? [Portion removed.] What do our kids learn when people want good, decent, very talented administrators fired? [Portion removed.]

There are so many good people in Palo Alto. But there are others with righteous anger. And it is destined to bring down the entire educational edifice.

I am glad PAUSD parent is attempting to balance out the [portion removed] voices here.


Posted by Credibility Gone
a resident of Old Palo Alto

on Aug 28, 2017 at 1:31 pm


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9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 28, 2017 at 1:58 pm

"To have as a goal to fire everybody is just bad energy and misguided. The PAUSD is in the process of trying to fire its way to excellence. "

Let's be clear - NO administrator has been fired, with the exception of PW, and that was only after they gave him a classroom job and people found out. No principal, no asst principal, no district office staff. So, far from EVERYBODY, I would be happy to see ANYBODY pay a consequence for inability to follow the law and do their job. How about we just start with Dr. McGee?


4 people like this
Posted by screed
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 28, 2017 at 2:03 pm

The Office for Civil Rights is NOT a law enforcement organization. To me it is "mind boggling" that anyone would describe it as such.


12 people like this
Posted by screed
a resident of Stanford
on Aug 28, 2017 at 2:15 pm

@Pausd parent, you are absolutely right. I would not wish a PAUSD administrator position on my worst enemy. Day in and day out, they have to deal with the entitled, and over-educated, know-it-alls, gadflies, and cranks that pass as fellow parents in our district. Each one fixated on their particular crusade to the exclusion of all else. I couldn't do it. I will continue volunteering for the PTA and standing up for our educators (and administrators) as much as I can. They deserve better treatment than they currently receive.


2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 28, 2017 at 2:59 pm

"The Office for Civil Rights is NOT a law enforcement organization. To me it is "mind boggling" that anyone would describe it as such."

Umm, yes it is - they enforce civil rights laws. From their web site: Web Link

The mission of the Office for Civil Rights is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights. ... The Office for Civil Rights enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education


1 person likes this
Posted by Member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Sep 6, 2017 at 9:30 pm

I'm perplexed. This article mentions UCP complaints against administrators, with Jordan's allegation of their failure to initiate a Title IX investigation, which I guess makes sense since they'd be responsible for initiating that type of investigation. My confusion is this: I'm not sure why Jordan would ALSO file a complaint of this nature against a non-administrator?

In her reply Jordan makes it pretty clear why she has grievances with "Paly administration officials," but doesn't address why she's also filed a UCP complaint against a non-administrative employee. This is also not addressed anywhere in the article. The article says the student met with him (the non-administrator), and that he's not an administrator (therefore unable to initiate a Title IX investigation), so what's the allegation? Is she alleging that he did not report his conversation with the student to his administrators and/or follow mandated reporting procedures? This should be clarified.

As a school teacher, this deeply concerns me. Classified and certificated school employees must report to administrators and file CPS or police reports per mandated reporting laws, but should not be presumed responsible for taking administrative action.


3 people like this
Posted by super's predictions
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:30 am

Superintendent McGee just shared with Paly students his prediction of what the Cozen O’Connor investigation of Paly administrators' investigations will show:

1. that there was a lack of coordination between school and district

2. that there "certainly" was a lack of coordination between school and outside sources such as the police

3. that there was a lack of documentation.

Noting room for improvement, he seems to be OK with what didn't happen because "people were doing the best they could with what they had, but they did not have enough knowledge, they did not have the organizational structure that enabled them to coordinate with one another and also with the police and outside world — the juvenile court system, other schools."

Web Link

All Paly staff have phones and email accounts so that they didn't have the "organizational structure" for communications doesn't ring true.

Does the lack of coordination with the police involve ignoring the mandated reporting of suspicions of sexual assault? If it does that is a MAJOR misstep with quite serious consequences for the non-reporters.

Web Link

As for the rest, he's saying that he and his staff fell short by not having policies that or training to tell staff what to do in these situations.


9 people like this
Posted by Paly Dad
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 7, 2017 at 10:47 am

So if the above Super's Predictions is true - WHY did the Paly staff lack the training, infrastructure, etc. to follow the law? Why, after *eight years of OCR investigations*, including several at Paly, and in the middle of finalizing a resolution agreement with the OCR, did they not know (or care) how to handle things correctly to protect the students?

One answer - Dr. McGee. HE failed to put the right people in place. HE failed to emphasize the importance of following the law. HE failed to follow-up and oversee to make sure people were trained and policies followed. The policies were actually in place - they just weren't followed.

McGee likes to blame his team for EVERYTHING - they screwed up, it's never him. When SO MANY things go wrong, there's only one common thread - McGee's utter lack of management.

Time for a change. Right now. Come on board, do your job.


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis

on Sep 26, 2017 at 10:07 am

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


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

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