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Teacher Story Sensationalized

Original post made by Midtown Resident, Midtown, on Oct 30, 2006

I'm thinking that the "party" story may have been exaggerated and overblown. You have surely noticed this happening before in the media. Those of you ready to serve judgement would do well to calm down and wait to hear the facts. My goodness, Palo Alto is purported to be a caring community for students...does this not hold true for our teachers, as well? Take a deep breath and let the better person in you take over.

Comments (13)

Posted by Midtown Resident
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 30, 2006 at 9:11 pm

Midtown Resident is a registered user.

I know Dick and Lisa personally and they are two of the most wonderful people ever to grace this community with their presence and contributions.
My daughter was a student in Lisa's class and I've come to know what an incredible teacher and human being she is first hand.
The sensational and (what will surely prove to be largely untrue) reporting of this incident smacks of muckraking yellow journalism and is to be despised by right thinking people of conscience.
Palo Alto parents: get a grip.
Let the facts come out before you pull your tired, sad, indignant Palo Alto parent act. You only serve to perpetuate the stereotypical image you deserve.
How about modeling the concept of "innocent until proven guilty" to your kids and your community as these allegations are ultimately adjudicated?
Now there's a novel thought.
Your rush to judgement is shameful.

Posted by John
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 31, 2006 at 12:48 pm

I agree!

I allowed a high school party at my home, a few years ago. I was there to meet evey single kid that attended, and I insisted that no booze or dope would be allowed. I looked each kid in the eye, and attempted to smell their breath. They all said, "No problem, it's your house, and we will obey your rules". It was a sleepover, and I patrolled the grounds until 1 AM. Then I went to sleep. Guess what? It turned into a drinking party (while I slept). I didn't find out until the next morning. I asked my own kid how the booze got by me, and she said the girls had small vodka bottles in their bras. She eventually admitted that is was a conspiracy to get by me.

Wait for the facts, folks. It might surprise you.

Posted by Thank You
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 31, 2006 at 8:49 pm

Thank you to the person who originally posted this topic. I appreciate the fact that you recognize that you weren't there, the press wasn't there, and the police only caught a glimpse of the party. Most of the people who were quick to condemn parents and children in their comments in other related forum topics have no clue what they are talking about. So much of what The Weekly, The Merc, and SF Chronicle wrote came through with a heavy bias from the police. I'm sure that the fuzz were just upset about a spoiled Saturday night and decided to vent out their anger (ok - maybe not, but they still were way too anal without having all the facts).

Let's get a fact straight (and maybe some more later on).

First, there were enough people sober to take everyone home who was intoxicated. PAPD was either flat out lying, or just too stupid to notice that. You'd think they'd figure it out by the fact that a good 20-30 students passed the Breathalyzers. Hmm. What does that tell you?

Posted by Enlightened
a resident of Meadow Park
on Nov 1, 2006 at 7:14 am

John's post enhances my belief that the couple is guilty of contributing to minor's delinquency as charged.

For if there was not a sleepover, John's active supervising would have succeeded in preventing any drinking by the group. John sets a good example of how a responsible parent should supervise a teen party. Even in failure, we see in John a highly responsible parent doing his best to help the teens do the right thing.

For if the couple supervised actively like John, there would not have been any drinking. If the teens were already drunk by 10:30PM, you know the drinking started much earlier, meaning there was very little if any supervision throughout the evening. If this Halloween party was held at John's house, I am certain there would not have been any drinking by invited guests and any drinking uninvited guests would have been turned away.

Posted by k
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 1, 2006 at 10:01 am

why this new thread - there already is one

Posted by Been There, Didn't Do That
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 1, 2006 at 11:18 am

I, as a young adult, was taking care of 4 kids while their parents were out of town. I came home after work to a HUGE, boozing, brawling party (the family dog was kicked into the swimming pool). Knowing I was responsible, I called for friends to help me get rid of the drunks. A bunch of friends - Stanford athletes and friends from work, showed up to help get rid of people. Cabs were called, rides with sober adults were organized, some kids were allowed to sleep over. It was awful.

The police dept. tried to get a narc to infiltrate the party, but I didn't let him in.

Even the neighbors knew I hadn't allowed this and helped clear out the loud, drunk teenagers.

The police weren't there to help me at all - they would've busted me for something I didn't do. They even tried to accuse me of shooting a dead bird on a sidewalk - a bird that had been laying there dead for several days. Great powers of detection, officers!

Posted by WithHeld
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2006 at 12:43 pm

You're all so quick to indite the cops who were on the scene! Did you know that one of the responding officers found his daughter attending this party? He was even quoted in the newspaper. Given the well known "blue wall of silence" that exists among the police force, why would the cops want such scandalous details out there with a fellow officer's kid and her reputation involved?

Posted by PV Parent
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Nov 1, 2006 at 12:55 pm

If this is true about the fact that one of the responding officers found his own daughter at the party, then this must be made known. It would certainly put him and the whole team in a conflict of issues position and would explain a lot about why all the teens seem to have got off scott free and none of their parents contacted by the police about their permissive behavior or parenting skills in this case.

Posted by Anon
a resident of South of Midtown
on Nov 1, 2006 at 2:27 pm

I agree with those who ask everyone to wait and see what the facts are. I was involved in an incident last year which was WILDLY exaggerated when it was reported in the Weekly. Actually, about half the story was completely untruthful, only one side of the story was told, and I was NEVER asked by anyone at the Weekly about what happened. I don't know if this is the case here, but it certainly could be. Since we do subscribe to the belief that someone is innocent until proven guilty, we need to wait and let the police finish their investigation. Also, do remember, that teens can be sneaky about drinking and that some parents are naive about what can quickly happen at teen parties.

Posted by WithHeld
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 1, 2006 at 3:17 pm

Hey PV Parent,

Why does finding a responding officer's child at the party put the entire team in a conflict of issues? Do you actually think that police officers don't often cross paths with their loved ones and friends in the course of doing their jobs? From what I read quite a few parents were called to the scene to take their inebriated teens home. I'm sure that was embarrassing enough without adding a lecture on parenting to it. Besides, do we really need a police force full of Dr. Phil's? I would like to think that many of these parents have talked to their kids about the dangers of alcohol and driving. Unfortunately peer pressure can be a very strong pull for some. And we all know from experience teens will do what they want and they can be a very secretive about it.

Personally, I thought the PA police practiced care and restraint in what they did. Why cite the kids who were there? Don't you think lining them up and breathalizing them might have scared a few? They focused on getting them all home in one piece. I find that admirable on their part.

I'm also pretty certain that the hangover some students had the next morning served as a wonderful reminder of their stupidity.

Posted by Paly Student
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 1, 2006 at 6:55 pm

I wanted to share my opinions, as an attendee of the party. While, like the rest of the posters, I do not know whether Mrs. Swagerty and Mr. Stovel condoned the party, I do know more of the facts.

I think that the media and the police grossly misrepresented the party. A large number of people at the party were sober. So many people volunteered to take Breathalyzer tests that the police ran out. The police allege that people were going to drive home drunk, but they do not base this supposition off of any fact. There were enough sober people to drive drunk people home. Also, the few people who were outside the house were people who the Stovels had asked to leave because they were so intoxicated. But, before kicking them out Mrs. Swagerty actually offered to give them, and anyone else, rides home if they didn't have a sober driver.

Please give the Stovels the benefit of the doubt. Realize that the articles presented in the media are all completely one sided. And to those who claim that the police have no motivation for sensationalizing the story, they, in fact, do. The police seem to be trying to make an example out of the Stovels to prove to the area they are cracking down on teen parties.

Posted by Typical Teens
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 22, 2006 at 11:03 am

It is so typical of teeagers to downplay events at gatherings such as this. I know my own kid was at that party. She took her breathalyzer test and drove home safely.

Regardless, she downplays what happened. It's annoying as hell, but typical teen. After all, teenagers DO know it all (right). It is all part and parcel of a much larger problem, teen drinking in Palo Alto and how often it happens. This one incident is the tip of the iceberg.

Someday, when these know it all teens are all grown up and parents themselves, and can see things clearer from the other side of the abyss, perhaps then they will understand why what happened at that party is so unacceptable, and on so many levels.

I was in the vicinity when that party broke up, and I witnessed several of the kids who went over the fence walking by my car.

THEY WERE DRUNK, PLAIN AND SIMPLE. They looked like fools.
I would hope they remembered how stupid they looked fleeing, but most likely, and in true teen form, all they will remember is how 'lame' it was the cops 'overreacted'.

When they are discussing this in AA in a few years, I hope they remember that too.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2006 at 11:32 am

This last post really bothers me. Typical Teens writing about their kid at the party!! Something doesn't ring true here.

We don't know what happened, plain and simple. The latest rumor here which makes sense to me is that it was a Paly party, Gunn students tried to gate crash it, but couldn't pass the parents, so out of spite, they were the ones that called the police. I wouldn't be surprised if they weren't the drunk ones running over the fence away from the police.

This is how problems happen. I am not saying that Gunn kids are worse than Paly kids, it could just as easily happen the other way round and probably does. What is the problem is that parents seem to have no control of their teens. They give them car keys and too much money, then they go out and run havoc. They probably leave alcohol in their home and aren't even aware of their kids taking it.

Typical Teens are not typical in my experience. My teens have fun with their friends, go caroling at Christmas Tree Lane, go to movies, go ice skating, etc. etc. They meet for coffee or at In N Out and behave themselves. Yes, there are some that don't, but there are just as many as do. So don't start saying Typical Teens and expect this sort of behavior.

Parents, parent your teens. Set boundaries and follow up on their activities. Watch how they spend their money (the money you give them) and make sure that they behave when behind the wheel, telling you where they are going, who with, and when they are going to be back. If they don't like it, take their privileges away. This is not a rite of passage, it is LIFE.

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