Dauber, Collins and DiBrienza said Tuesday they will vote to repeal the 2014 resolution challenging the Office for Civil Rights, which then-board members, including Baten Caswell, unanimously adopted, calling the agency "purposefully confrontational."
The resolution committed the district to lobbying local and national elected officials for support in their grievances about the civil-rights agency's investigative practices in Palo Alto. The three current board members said they were eager to leave the resolution in the past.
"This repeal of a resolution is not, for me, a rebuke to the people who supported it ... but the board has changed, times have changed and we are definitely changing our approach," Collins said.
Dauber said he didn't believe any of the criticisms leveled against the Office for Civil Rights were based in fact and were instead the "product of a defensive posture and a program of resistance that was not in the best interest of our students."
The resolution also accused one of the complainants against the school district of "document tampering," an allegation that was determined to be false by the Office for Civil Rights' attorneys.
Baten Caswell did not explicitly say whether she would support or oppose the repeal, but instead proposed a new resolution that calls the Office for Civil Rights' guidance "invaluable" and commits the district to a collaborative relationship with the agency. Dauber said he would support this resolution.
"I believe that we thought we were doing the right thing," Baten Caswell said of the original resolution. "The intent was to protect our kids."
Several parents and community members also spoke to the repeal.
Former Palo Alto Mayor Pat Burt called the resolution a "stain" from the former administration and board's "failed adversarial approach" with the civil-rights agency.
"When this resolution was passed, the City Council was appalled and ashamed by what many believed was the worst single act by the district in decades, which was fundamentally contrary to our community values," he said.
One community member, however, said he was proud of the school district the day the board passed the resolution.
"In 2014, Palo Alto stood up and bravely stated the facts," Ze'ev Wurman said, to an agency he described as "high-handed and arrogant."
"Do not, please, change the facts and the past and the history," he said, suggesting the board instead adopt its own resolution.
Superintendent Max McGee supports either rescinding the resolution or drafting a new one.
Collins, Dauber and DiBrienza also indicated they were ready to support a resolution agreement with the Office for Civil Rights that lays out corrective actions the district will be obligated to take to address legal violations the agency found in two sexual harassment and sexual violence investigations at the district's high schools.
McGee and two attorneys from the the district's law firm also recommended the board adopt at its next meeting this version of the resolution agreement, which they have been revising and clarifying with the Office for Civil Rights' staff since December.
In contrast, Baten Caswell requested to make a series of changes to the agreement to clarify what she described as ambiguous, open-ended language that could leave the district open to future liability. Her motion to direct staff to ask the Office for Civil Rights to add those clarifications failed in a 1-3 vote.
She raised concerns, for example, about a section on inappropriate relationships between employees and students, probing the two attorneys on whether the district would be obligated to, as a hypothetical example, investigate a report that a former student had married a current teacher years after the student had graduated.
The two attorneys, Elizabeth Estes and Eve P. Fichtner of law firm Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo, said they had already made all revisions they believed were necessary to protect the district. Any further, specific concerns, they suggested, could be worked out during the revision of board policies, which will be required under the resolution agreement.
The presidents of the district's teachers and classified unions also told the board they supported the intent of the agreement but want to ensure protections are also in place for employees' due-process rights.
The board is set to vote on the repeal of the 2014 resolution, Baten Caswell's proposed new resolution and the draft resolution agreement at its next meeting on Feb. 28.
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