Rescind, replace and approve | February 24, 2017 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - February 24, 2017

Rescind, replace and approve

It's finally time for school district to take responsibility for past missteps with OCR

The Palo Alto Board of Education will make two important decisions next Tuesday night, and both will say a lot about what kind of district we are and the values of our current five trustees.

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Posted by Ken Dauber
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 24, 2017 at 11:57 am

One small correction to this editorial: the editorial says that the board "has deliberated almost entirely in open session" on the draft Resolution Agreement and on the question of rescinding the 2014 resolution. In fact, the board has not discussed these issues in closed session, as the published closed session agendas reflect. I don't believe that there is a closed meeting exception under the Brown Act that would permit the board to meet in closed session to discuss these issues.

As I said at the last board meeting, I'm looking forward to voting to approve the Resolution Agreement with OCR and to repeal the 2014 resolution, and to a more cooperative relationship with OCR that will better serve our students.

Posted by name withheld
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2017 at 9:18 am

I have a question. We had trouble with a 504 and were aggressively retaliated against. We stopped even asking for help because when we did, that only ratcheted up their lies and retaliation. There definitely was a cultivated cover up culture, and none of the people involved has ever been held to account. I can't see that it has changed. Addtionally, there doesn't seem to be anything like whistleblower protection, so complaining about the illegal retaliation has seemed foolhardy and dangerous. But the evidence is still there, and the denial of educational needs continues to have an impact.

This isn't a Title IX issue, though. Does this mean only past Title IX problems are of interest, or will there finally be recourse to document and end ignoring the 504 and end the persistent retaliation? Since OCR pretty much only pays attention to retaliation after you prove it, it makes no sense to go to them while a child is still in school because going to them is what caused the retaliation in the first place. Our district is still messed up, as far as I can see.

Posted by name withheld
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 25, 2017 at 9:24 am

I mean, will there be a mechanism to bring evidence anonymously to the district board and avoid going to the OCR maybe? Does district legal still basically act as personal lawyers for district personnel regardless of their behavior, or is there a clear mandate for the legal team to serve the district and families? Itseems to me the latter should be legally the case, but the former is what we always had before. Has that changed?

Posted by Duveneck Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 25, 2017 at 10:36 am

@name withheld - there is no ombudsman for what you describe, but the nearest thing would be to contact a school board member. Their contact info (email and phone) is on the board page of the district website (Web Link They vary in skills, interests, attitude, and experience but they are each a resource for families who feel they are not getting a fair shake.

Posted by Kerry
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 25, 2017 at 11:25 am

I don't understand why our school board is giving in to the OCR. It's original decision to fight back was correct, imo. The new Trump administration will probably reign in the out-of-control OCR (or eliminate it all together). How can our local political leaders, including the Weekly, be so out of step with reality?

Posted by fertig
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 25, 2017 at 12:09 pm

"The new Trump administration will probably reign in the out-of-control OCR (or eliminate it all together)."

Hence, no reason to continue with the resolution. It's done it's job and OCR are not responding in a reasonable time and all the OCR staff that were the cause of the original issue have moved on.

Posted by Nobody special
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 25, 2017 at 12:36 pm

@Kerry, yes that whole obey the law, protect civil rights, do right by people thing - that is sooo 2014! Someone should just declare the Weekly fake news and tell those school board members to get with the program. Sad!

Posted by PTA Member
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 25, 2017 at 12:40 pm

I have higher standards for our school district than "grab them by the p***y" Trump. Thanks to the board for finally acting to protect students rather than perpetrators.

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