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Proposed bullying policies to be reviewed

Original post made on Dec 2, 2013

Draft policies for handling bullying complaints, in development for almost a year following a [Web Link federal investigation], will be discussed for the first time in public tomorrow (Dec. 3) by a committee of the Palo Alto school board.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, December 2, 2013, 9:16 AM

Comments (20)

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:14 am

Overnight? I think not.

So how much did PAUSD spend on these unique rules which were expressly discouraged by the California School Boards Association.


Posted by lotsawork, a resident of Community Center
on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:36 am

@Anonymous,
No, it takes more to develop these than overnight.


Posted by Gunn Parent, a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:46 am

If the Board moves forward and adopts this policy, I would like to see the Board address:

1. How will staff and administration be trained? How much money and time was spent on earlier training which will now have to be repeated.

2. How will this policy be communicated to students and parents? How and when will school handbooks be updated? Who is responsible for ensuring that all school handbooks correctly describe the process since handbooks are site specific? Who is responsible for updating websites?

3. How will the community know if this process is working. What data will be collected from school sites? The community does not want to have to wait until situations escalate to OCR cases. How will we know if this two tier policy is effective in dealing with bullying? Will there be standards put in place with a common set of terms to collect and report from the school sites?

4. How will the community know if bullying cases are systemically mishandled at a school site? What recourse will parents and students have?

The Board will need to address these implementation concerns as well as justify why a two tier policy is better for Palo Alto.


Posted by Bob, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2013 at 1:31 pm

If the Board approved the bullying policies that got the district into this mess--why would their approval to new policies mean much?


Posted by What about..., a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 2, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Does this include ALL kinds of bullying in general? Does it include bullying against less privileged or learning disabled students? What about sexual harassment, by boys against girls? What about racial bullying? ( There is plenty of sexual harassment by boys at Paly, and plenty of racial bullying at Jordan and Paly).


Posted by Edmund Burke, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I encourage all readers interested in this topic to read my blog which has extensively addressed the questions being posted here by "Gunn Parent" and "what about..." See:

Web Link

PAUSD has released a set of forms for administrators to use that are intended to implement these policies. Regrettably, these forms bear little relationship to the policies or to the law. That will be the subject of my next post, which will be available soon.


Posted by You get only what deserved, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm

Dana Tom doesn't have to notice the public about public meetings anymore than Kevin Skelly has to talk responsibility for the last six years. Can this get any worse?


Posted by Bullied, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Seems that we are all being bullied by the administration's abuse of the law. I encourage everyone to attend this open meeting. Nothing like a little public scrutiny to put a bully to shame and empower the victims.

Wish all children in this district were believed to deserve the same protections? Wonder why the district has such a hard time not repeating its mistakes? Hope that best practices get implemented at EVERY school site? Well come on down and join the fun tomorrow!


Posted by Thanks for Joining the Cause, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2013 at 5:54 am

Bullied,
Thanks for joining forces, that is the only way to support the victims of bullying and the way to get help for the aggressors, they do to need help. I would like to see in the policies what are they going to do about the aggressors, like the ones that almost choke others by squeezing their necks. Those aggressors obviously have some issues that need to be handle before we have another suicide or some one kill in campus. Remember the boy who defended himself without the stapler, he went to jail, but not the aggressor. It seems that the district is intimidated to apply the law to everyone,except poor income people because they do not have $$ to hire a lawyer.


Posted by Thanks for Joining the Cause, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2013 at 5:55 am

Hope E.D. is there.


Posted by Memory, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 3, 2013 at 8:26 am

Remember the Columbine shootings? Those were committed by two boys who had been bullied since elementary school. They decided to get even.

That is a possibility that cannot be ignored. Neither can suicide, and we have had our fill of those long ago. It seems we have a superintendent and school board that just do not care.....the lawsuits are stacking up and they seem unperturbed by those. The cause of those lawsuits even got two recent raises and a renewed contract!

Bullying is not to be taken lightly or shrugged off--that was the lesson of Columbine. It seems PAUSD flunked that lesson.


Posted by MrG, a resident of Midtown
on Dec 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

This is confusing, the article says the meeting is to happen "tomorrow" Dec 2nd but the article was posted on Dec 2nd. Did this meeting already happen or is it today Dec 3rd? If it was yesterday did anyone attend?


Posted by Edmund Burke, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 3, 2013 at 10:15 am

The meeting is today, Tuesday, December 3, at noon. I will not be able to attend due to previous commitments however I hope to receive updates from those in the community who are able to do so.


Posted by Public Information, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm

@2MrG - This meeting time appears to be mis-labled on the PAUSD web site as starting at 5:30 p.m. instead of Noon-2:00 p.m.
It is hard to find the meeting on the PAUSD web site. It doesn't list it under Board of Education Meetings and Minutes. You have to go to Committees, then read the text (which is not about Committees, but about Board of Education meetings). Then click on "meetings" in paragraph two.
When you get to this point the Board Policy Review Committee lists a meeting December 3 at 5:30p.m. (Confusion is understandable, since the link in the previous paragraph to get to Committee meeting schedule says Open Forum is at 8:30p.m. This probably relates to the Board of Education meeting, not this Committee meetings.). Guess a lot of people are missing the meeting.


Posted by bullied, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 3, 2013 at 5:02 pm

what if you're being ''bullied'' by police? complaints go in the ''circular file''.we know ,we've gotten no response.


Posted by parent, a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm

I hope someone was able to go today and speak up for all of us. Please let us know what happened.


Posted by Separate and not equal?, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 3, 2013 at 6:54 pm

Of the twenty or so folks who attended this public meeting, almost all of them were parents of kids in "protected classes" who would get the "high end" treatment if they were bullied. Notably, they were all there to plead with the board to give ALL kids the same "high end" treatment and ensure that policies were followed fairly, consistently, and effectively.

These parents went on to speak up for the teachers and school site staff who would be tasked with the pretty impossible challenge of sorting the cases and determining which merited the "high end" treatment and which could just follow the plain vanilla process. Not only are many of these classifications invisible to many observers and participants in the process, but they shouldn't be put in the thorny position of having to pry in to students' private lives to determine whether they qualify.

However, all I really heard from Camille Townsend was how worried she was that we were overly criminalizing bullying and discriminatory harassment.
She went on and on, and ON about how important it was to protect those who are wrongly accused of being bullies (or sexual harassers). She was VERY concerned about anything that would allow the victim to find out how their attacker would be handled and what protections were put in place to prevent a recurrence.

The OCR has been very direct about the need for victims to know what actions are being taken to protect them from future harm, if and when they will have to face their attacker on campus again, etc. Camille couldn't quite put her head around that one. Amazing!

Then there was all of the fears and worries about making the process more "formal" by taking it to the district level with UCP complaints for all bullying. Ooh and Oh My! There is nothing to say that district staff could not be just as sensitive and flexible as site level staff - with the added benefit of actually (supposedly) knowing the full law, best practices, system remedies, etc.

Kevin Skelly was sure that his fabulous staff on the ground could handle bullying appropriately and his informal surveys and chats with parents made him sure that he had the right folk on the job. Yet the most interesting factoid of the meeting was that he changed directions and actually recommended that the Board adopt a consistent "one stream" process for all kids. Melissa Baten Caswell asked him twice to explain why - apparently leaning that way herself, but he never presented much of a case for the change in direction. Maybe all of our comments are actually being read?

If they do pass a "two stream" process where my kids have more protections and safeguards than their "regular" peers, I am going to ask for them to also have better teachers, classes, lunchrooms and bathrooms. If they are going to be separate and not equal, then why not ask for the moon?


Posted by give an inch, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 3, 2013 at 7:00 pm

"I am going to ask for them to also have better teachers, classes, lunchrooms and bathrooms"\
Who else saw this coming?


Posted by Separate and not equal?, a resident of Professorville
on Dec 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm

In case you didn't catch it, my last paragraph was sarcastic. I do NOT believe that some kids deserve better than others and would hope that the Board does not either.


Posted by Toilet Paper, a resident of Gunn High School
on Dec 4, 2013 at 6:53 am

We should ask for the most essential thing "toilet paper in each bathroom" I my child need it to go as an emergency and every room he went during lunch time was out of paper. There are so many students, that the toilet paper they put there in the morning is gone by lunch time. At the elementary level, some girls have their periods, and there is no place to dispose the pads. They have to leave them on floor, put inside the toilet, or carry them home. I guess they did not realized that by fourth grade some girls are already having their periods. And yes, cleaner bathrooms.


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