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Palo Alto Unified cuts off remote commenting, prompting pushback

Original post made on Apr 29, 2022

During last week's Palo Alto Unified School District board meeting, members of the public could no longer address the board over Zoom, instead having to show up in person to speak their minds.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, April 29, 2022, 6:56 AM

Comments (10)

Posted by peppered
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 29, 2022 at 11:58 am

peppered is a registered user.

What are they thinking suppressing citizen involvement?
Maybe it's time to boot them out and elect folks who are more interested in hearing from us.


Posted by Chris
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2022 at 12:35 pm

Chris is a registered user.

I'm surprised that the paper allowed the three letter abbreviation for a vulgar and offensive expletive to be used in the Comment section. That abbrevion has has been bleeped out on television and radio shows locally and nationally. It seems to me that having some standards of civility in the paper doesn't harm the free speech opportunities of anonymous participants. Just my opinion.


Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Professorville
on Apr 29, 2022 at 12:56 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

Is this really a surprise? The district always talks about open communication, equal access and their favorite one, "transparency", but they'd prefer to not have to deal with parents or the public. They make sure to speak loudly about reaching out to the underrepresented groups in the district, yet they vote to limit the access of those same people.

Collins throws them some crumbs and says they can just email us and maybe we'll read it. Some parents and students can't spend an hour plus driving to the district office and waiting for their name to be called.

What is the harm in allowing remote comments? How does that negatively impact the meeting.

Jennifer DiBrienza gives a weak excuse that it's the only Covid influenced policy remaining. What's her point? Many companies have made long lasting changes, mostly because it makes things better for all.

PAUSD should just come out and admit they're goal is not to get feedback and criticism.




Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2022 at 1:17 pm

Bystander is a registered user.

In the past I have been at PAUSD board meetings long after my kids' bedtimes. Probably long after a babysitter's bedtime.

Not everyone can stay at a meeting until "they" decide it is time for public comment.


Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 29, 2022 at 7:21 pm

S. Underwood is a registered user.

The video conference approach to meetings was one of the very few good things to come out of our schools' Covid response.

Not only should remote commenting be permitted, but remote attendance for all (presenters, officials, etc) should be allowed and indeed encouraged. Same goes for City Council.


Posted by Anony Mouse
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 2, 2022 at 8:25 pm

Anony Mouse is a registered user.

Hmmm. So the three person committee made this decision. I wonder how this vote went down. Do we think Don was fighting tooth and nail for more transparency? Jennifer’s quote seems evasive. Maybe it was unanimous? We all know that everything this board does is by unanimous vote. Democracy in action. This is your tax dollars, my friends. You might want to “write to the Board” as Todd suggests. I’m sure they’ll get right on it.


Posted by Anony
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 4, 2022 at 8:23 am

Anony is a registered user.

Very disappointed. In this time and day there is no excuse and it only shows their obvious intent to shut the community up. Time to get these three out.


Posted by rsmithjr
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 5, 2022 at 6:18 pm

rsmithjr is a registered user.

What is the excuse for this?

PAUSD wants the residents to support the district. We can have bake sales, donations, and so on, but they don't want to hear our views.


Posted by Roger Dodger
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 5, 2022 at 7:25 pm

Roger Dodger is a registered user.

You would think that Don Austin would be chomping at the bit to let the media know that he is #1 at transparency by encouraging every single possible way for people to take part in the democratic process of running our schools. Surely there is room for this. Unless it's just too bothersome to hear from the hoi poloi when there are so many critical things to take care of, like staying on top of like a curated Twitter feed that, curiously enough, also limits comments from the public....


Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Professorville
on May 7, 2022 at 10:00 pm

Samuel L is a registered user.

Austin can't handle criticism. He's an adolescent in a large grown body. Not sure how anyone is surprised. People from his old district in Palos Verdes told us this is how he operates. He puts on a smiley face in front of the cameras, but has little respect for the views of teachers, parents, community members.


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