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Open address to Ms. Mendoza, the lady who addressed the PAUSD board on 10/8/13

Original post made by village fool, another community, on Oct 13, 2013

[Portion removed.]

Dear Ms. Mendoza,

I am writing to express my admiration, respect, gratitude and shame.

I will start with the shame – I was embarrassed to watch (link #1) the lack of empathy, lack of respect and the lack of gratitude – all these were totally due when you stood to speak up after the presentation about the “new vision” in special education.

The board and audience all should have applauded – you brought the change. None of the new declarations would have been offered without your courageous actions [portion removed.]

I truly hope your child is doing better. I think you know more than others why anyone who has high stakes in PAUSD will not come forward. Retaliation was mentioned so many times.

I hope the day will come when you will stand in front of PAUSD offices and the grateful, respectful, admiring people of Palo Alto, free from fear of retaliation, will stand in line to shake your hand – all in broad day light. I know I will be there.

Yours, respectfully,

village fool


And few related thoughts/questions -
1. I do not know who actually came forward to the Weekly with the information about the OCR settlement. [Portion removed.]
In any case – I am very thankful to the family who came forward. I noted that many times before.

2. I called many times, as have many others, for an independent investigation. We are still waiting for this, and still believe it is needed…
I think that the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 (link #2) beautifully defines the logic behind attempting to correct wrongs. It seems to me this logic is especially compelling here, since it is about an education system. The preliminary steps, before any change is possible were defined as: 1. Acknowledge. 2. Apologize. 3. Educate. Unfortunately, it seems that PAUSD is in the pre-Acknowledge step. My address to Ms. Mendoza above was triggered by the board’s reaction to her on Tuesday evening, clearly showing their lack of acknowledgement.

3. Who do the board members represent? On 5/24/2013 (link #3) I wrote: ” …..The latest info as to the closed board sessions dealing with litigation had me wonder – Who are the board member serving? Info about the first OCR case revealed that the parents tried to contact the board members, seeking help. Seems that a closed session could be about a case where board members were contacted by community parents who ended addressing the OCR. I am wondering, simply – on what side are the board members? Closed session makes it clear that the board sides with the district officials – anyways, always. Should concerned parents try to contact the board members regarding concerns they have, knowing that the board always sides with the district officials? Conflict of interest?”

Link #1 -Web Link – Ms. Mendoza’: 1:46 hours
Link #2 – Web Link
Link #3 – Web Link

Comments (12)

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Posted by Paly parent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 13, 2013 at 8:45 pm

Great post. Agree completely. I wish you had a blog here.

Like this comment
Posted by Segundo
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Oct 14, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I heartily agree with you. Bravo and cheers for your bravery. No kid should go through what my son did. The PE teacher at the time, who admitted to having a brain injury and plate in his head from a motorcycle accident, was never even cited despite multiple complaints from others. In fact, my son suffered a big load of retaliation from this guy and was called a wimp infront of his classmates-- just for having severe asthma,

Like this comment
Posted by Ms. Mendoza
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm

To all of you, Thanks for your kind comments. Today, is a very special date for the student int he first OCR case, and family cannot be together because of the and miles between them. Separating families is wrong. PAUSD needs to address bullying right away before the mental health deteriorates too far. Yes, the board is as naive as Dr. Skelly and Holly Wade. When the child from the first OCR case came the board meeting and addressed the board asking for help for the bullying, none of them acknowledged her. They kept going on with their business. This is the way they work. If they do not talk about it, maybe people will think that the problem does not exist. I was not surprised at all at their attitude, when I address them this month. This needs to stop, but I cannot do it alone. Keep talking about bullying and the social emotional needs of all our students.

Like this comment
Posted by Paly parent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 19, 2013 at 10:48 pm

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Ms. Mendoza
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm

To Segundo,
I know what you mean, my special education child was humiliated for not being able to play tennis. He said to her in front of the class "...." stinks at Tennis, and all of them laugh. Next days, she did not wanted to go back to P.E. This is a child who has lack of eye and hand coordination. Of course I complained with the teacher and school principal. I was told by her counselor to put her in adaptive P.E, but I will have to fight for it with the special ed. coordinator in order to get it. I did tried to get it the adaptive P.E since first grade to the end of high school, but no lack. Wow, the messages are being deleted too fast. Somebody must not like them. I wan wonder who?

Like this comment
Posted by paly parent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 20, 2013 at 7:40 am

[Portion removed.] These problems could have and should have been addressed in a straightforward manner that was transparent to the public and made the changes needed to address the problems that the government found to exist. Instead, it has been three years since the first complaint and we still don't have a full resolution (the terms of the first RA have not been fulfilled). The public has received no real information about that. The district still, incredibly, has no policy against disability harassment. The public could and should have been informed participants in every step but instead it was treated as a confidential legal matter -- which the OCR complaints are not -- and the public was excluded to make the district's board and officials look better. That stonewalling strategy, articulated by district council who said in a confidential and accidentally released email, that the district needed to change the "tiresome, distracting" conversation about its problems in this area and stop informing the public. The next thing that happened is that the district hired a $160K per year PR officer. And that is where we are today with this -- years down the road, little progress.

I noticed that the Chadams have brought a lawsuit. One salutary effect of litigation is that it brings sunshine and documents. The discovery process will force the district to produce documents that it has been refusing to release to the Weekly through its PRAs. Once these documents are produced for a lawsuit they will be available to the public. The scrutiny on internal practices created by litigation may, in the end, lead to reforms. It may not, since PAUSD seems quite insulated from change by many factors, chief among them its claim to be "successful" through its high test scores for certain students.

Like this comment
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2013 at 8:18 am

[Portion removed.] Half-measures and keeping the teachers' and principals' unions happy is a great strategy to keep your job, but it does nothing for kids. Both the suicide and civil rights issues had festered on because no definitive action was ever taken. Skelly should have had this district on lock-down both after the second suicide and the second civil rights issue, but as a newbie superintendent, his advisors had him following a playbook by rote instead of leading with the kids first. Couldn't blame him in 2009 when the suicides began because he was new, but since then the PAUSD has hit a new low in dysfunction. [Portion removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Paly parent
a resident of Community Center
on Oct 20, 2013 at 8:24 am

[Post removed.]

Like this comment
Posted by Hoops dream
a resident of Terman Middle School
on Oct 20, 2013 at 9:02 am

You blew it people! The rules are clear. You cannot refer to a deleted posting.

Like this comment
Posted by Paly parent 2
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 20, 2013 at 9:16 am

[Portion removed.] The weekly is against D and happy to slander Klein to get there because this for the Werkly is actually about 27 university and PAH is just collateral damage. On the schools the Weekly treads more lightly and does apply a double standard. [Portion removed.] The weekly editing is arbitrary and the schools are treated with delicacy compared with city. But Paly parent was spot on in his description. The only thing I would add to it is that The PR officer seems genuinely incompetent at her job which is at least adding humor to the insult of having to pay her

Like this comment
Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2013 at 10:05 am

[Portion removed.]
I truly believe that schools issues can not be addressed without everything being exposed. Yes - the impartial investigation I mentioned, over and over.
There is no way to disconnect the infrastructure that enabled the lack of accountability (for example) from the rest of the culture.
Quite a while ago I came to conclusion that the editing here actually harm the chances of exposing issues that are crucial for all the students. At some point I decided to voice my opinion in a place where I can not be "deleted". Thus my blog. I elaborated about the the letter above in my blog - Web Link
[Portion removed.]

I posted the letter above here since I wanted to try to make sure that Ms. Mendoza will see that. I believe that support and acknowledgment can not be underestimated, especially when one experienced bullying.

Like this comment
Posted by village fool
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Dear Ms. Gaona - Mendoza:
Thank you, again, for all you are doing. I was very pleased to see today's article. Better later than never. Credit is totally due.

Watching the October 8th PAUSD board meeting had me write to you. I was appalled. I posted here hoping that you'll see my letter.
Sadly, it seems to me that the January 28Th meeting, presented yet another manifestation that PAUSD is in the Pre-Acknoledge phase. Luckily this disgraceful incident was caught on camera. I "used' the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 in comment #2 in my letter, above, to "define" this phase. It is a shame. I wish more community members have watched the recording, then. I listed the exact timing, above. It can be watched now.

All that happened since the October 8th meeting amplified my shame, gratitude, respect and admiration.

village fool

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