News

Parent sues Palo Alto Unified for barring student from attending class without a mask

'I'm not challenging the mask mandate,' says father, who is also the attorney in the case

The Palo Alto Unified School District faces a lawsuit from a district parent who claims his son will suffer damages from being barred from an in-person summer class. The son has a speech disability and is "unable to wear a face mask safely," according to the suit filed July 7, 2021. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

The father of a rising senior at Palo Alto High School is suing the Palo Alto Unified School District after his son was prohibited from attending an in-person summer class without a mask.

The father, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the underage student and who also is the attorney in the case, claims that his son cannot wear a mask because he is "unable to wear a face mask safely" and a "speech/communication disability … makes it difficult for him to pronounce certain letters and sounds," according to the lawsuit that was filed on July 7 in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

The suit claims that the student will suffer damages from being barred from class because he will not be able to graduate on time if he is absent for more than three days. According to court documents, the student was enrolled in the district's summer school credit recovery course that is two and half weeks long and prohibits students from missing more than three days to receive credit.

According to court documents, the student attempted to attend class without a mask on the first day of summer school at Gunn High on July 6 but was promptly told to go to the office. The father, who was waiting at the school parking lot, received a text message about the incident and met with Courtney Carlomagno, principal of Gunn's summer program. Carlomagno informed the father that this son would not be allowed in class without a mask, and he subsequently missed the first day of summer school.

The father also spoke with Mike Jacobs, the district safety manager who is listed as another defendant in the case, over the phone. Jacobs later told the father in an email that without "proof of a medical condition or disability," the student cannot not be exempt from wearing a mask.

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In an interview, the father argued that the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines don't stipulate that written or documented proof of a disability is required to receive an exemption. He also said that the school's policy on written documentation was never made explicitly clear beforehand.

"I don't know where this is coming from, and I never received the policy," the father said. "The first thing I asked was, 'Please send me your written policies on this,' and they didn't have any of their own. They said it was fluid, it's changing."

The district and school officials refused to provide alternatives to work through the issue, according to the lawsuit.

According to the father, his son continued to submit homework assignments for the course in the hopes that the situation would be ironed out and the student would be able to receive credit for the course. So far, the teacher has not graded the student's assignments and no longer responds to his emails, he said.

In email exchanges between the student's father and school officials that began on June 28, which are documented in the suit, the father sought a face-mask exemption for his son, citing guidelines from the state Department of Public Health and CDC, since he was told that online courses were not offered for the summer.

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The father told Jacobs that his son cannot wear a face mask safely because he has a speech and communication disability that is made more acute when wearing a face mask. Evidence of his disability was "noted in recent high school report card comments from his teachers."

On July 3, Jacobs followed up with the father in an email, stating that the student "did not have a medically related reason on file that would indicate a need for a face covering exemption."

In addition, Jacobs cited the district's special education department, which acknowledged that the student did receive special education services through the Individualized Education Program (IEP), but was removed from the program after an assessment report from February 2018 that stated he had made "tremendous progress." Based on teacher feedback and standardized testing, the special education department said he was no longer eligible to be considered a student with a speech-language impairment and no longer needed speech-language therapy.

"It was reported that (the student's) overall speech remained mostly accurate and 95-100% intelligible across all school contexts," the email from Jacobs stated. "His teachers agreed that neither they nor his classmates had difficulty understanding him."

Although the assessment report noted that the student's voice could be "low at times and/or he may occasionally speak too quickly," that did not interfere significantly with communication. Because of this, a mask exemption was not offered to the student, Jacobs wrote.

The father argues in the suit that Jacobs did not address his son's inability to wear a mask safely or recent comments teachers made after he was removed from the speech program.

The father told this news organization that his son was in the IEP from second to eighth grades for "speech-language impairments." During his freshman and sophomore years in fall 2018 to spring 2020, the student still received comments on his report cards that said it was difficult to understand him when he talks, according to his father.

The father said that if his son wears a mask, "he'll never speak again in class."

"It's hard enough, when he speaks, for others to understand him, and he's aware of that," he said.

"I'm not challenging the mask mandate. I'm just invoking (my son's) rights under the exemptions," the father said.

As part of the lawsuit, the father requested a temporary restraining order to stop the school district from barring the student from attending class without a mask while the case is being heard. Judge Socrates Manoukian denied the request in a document filed July 12, stating the "plaintiff has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits." The judge also stated that the "matter may now be moot" since more than three days had already passed since summer school started and the suit was filed.

The father, who is a patent attorney, told this news organization that he will continue to pursue the lawsuit, and will add more "legal causes of action" and potentially more defendants. He added that he is not seeking any monetary legal damages.

"This is not about money," he said. "This is my son's future, his ability to go to school, get an education and go off to college and not to settle on some kind of harmful accommodation. ... I don't want any money."

The father hopes that the district will let his son take an online course or an extra class, perhaps outside the district, that will satisfy his graduation requirements.

In an email, Superintendent Don Austin wrote that the father's suggestion that he does not have an issue with masking in general is "completely false." In emails shared with this news organization, the father had previously reached out to the district to see if his family could be exempt from wearing masks during his daughter's eighth grade promotion ceremony last month.

"This is not a disabilities issue," Austin wrote.

In addition to noting that the student had no Individualized Education Program or a 504 plan, which ensures that a child with a disability receives proper accommodations, Austin said in an email that the parent was told on multiple occasions that the student would not be able to participate in summer school without a mask and that he would be compliant if he wore a "face shield with a drape combined with social distancing" instead.

"He was offered meetings and asked to share his new concerns with either documentation or an evaluation by our district nurse," Austin wrote. "He declined at every step and was personally confrontational with the staff. The assigned judge dismissed his request on merit.

"We do not expect everyone to agree with the rules set by the CDC or our (Santa Clara County Public Health Department), but we will follow their protocols as we have done since March of 2020."

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Parent sues Palo Alto Unified for barring student from attending class without a mask

'I'm not challenging the mask mandate,' says father, who is also the attorney in the case

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 14, 2021, 9:53 am
Updated: Wed, Jul 14, 2021, 2:16 pm

The father of a rising senior at Palo Alto High School is suing the Palo Alto Unified School District after his son was prohibited from attending an in-person summer class without a mask.

The father, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the underage student and who also is the attorney in the case, claims that his son cannot wear a mask because he is "unable to wear a face mask safely" and a "speech/communication disability … makes it difficult for him to pronounce certain letters and sounds," according to the lawsuit that was filed on July 7 in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

The suit claims that the student will suffer damages from being barred from class because he will not be able to graduate on time if he is absent for more than three days. According to court documents, the student was enrolled in the district's summer school credit recovery course that is two and half weeks long and prohibits students from missing more than three days to receive credit.

According to court documents, the student attempted to attend class without a mask on the first day of summer school at Gunn High on July 6 but was promptly told to go to the office. The father, who was waiting at the school parking lot, received a text message about the incident and met with Courtney Carlomagno, principal of Gunn's summer program. Carlomagno informed the father that this son would not be allowed in class without a mask, and he subsequently missed the first day of summer school.

The father also spoke with Mike Jacobs, the district safety manager who is listed as another defendant in the case, over the phone. Jacobs later told the father in an email that without "proof of a medical condition or disability," the student cannot not be exempt from wearing a mask.

In an interview, the father argued that the state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines don't stipulate that written or documented proof of a disability is required to receive an exemption. He also said that the school's policy on written documentation was never made explicitly clear beforehand.

"I don't know where this is coming from, and I never received the policy," the father said. "The first thing I asked was, 'Please send me your written policies on this,' and they didn't have any of their own. They said it was fluid, it's changing."

The district and school officials refused to provide alternatives to work through the issue, according to the lawsuit.

According to the father, his son continued to submit homework assignments for the course in the hopes that the situation would be ironed out and the student would be able to receive credit for the course. So far, the teacher has not graded the student's assignments and no longer responds to his emails, he said.

In email exchanges between the student's father and school officials that began on June 28, which are documented in the suit, the father sought a face-mask exemption for his son, citing guidelines from the state Department of Public Health and CDC, since he was told that online courses were not offered for the summer.

The father told Jacobs that his son cannot wear a face mask safely because he has a speech and communication disability that is made more acute when wearing a face mask. Evidence of his disability was "noted in recent high school report card comments from his teachers."

On July 3, Jacobs followed up with the father in an email, stating that the student "did not have a medically related reason on file that would indicate a need for a face covering exemption."

In addition, Jacobs cited the district's special education department, which acknowledged that the student did receive special education services through the Individualized Education Program (IEP), but was removed from the program after an assessment report from February 2018 that stated he had made "tremendous progress." Based on teacher feedback and standardized testing, the special education department said he was no longer eligible to be considered a student with a speech-language impairment and no longer needed speech-language therapy.

"It was reported that (the student's) overall speech remained mostly accurate and 95-100% intelligible across all school contexts," the email from Jacobs stated. "His teachers agreed that neither they nor his classmates had difficulty understanding him."

Although the assessment report noted that the student's voice could be "low at times and/or he may occasionally speak too quickly," that did not interfere significantly with communication. Because of this, a mask exemption was not offered to the student, Jacobs wrote.

The father argues in the suit that Jacobs did not address his son's inability to wear a mask safely or recent comments teachers made after he was removed from the speech program.

The father told this news organization that his son was in the IEP from second to eighth grades for "speech-language impairments." During his freshman and sophomore years in fall 2018 to spring 2020, the student still received comments on his report cards that said it was difficult to understand him when he talks, according to his father.

The father said that if his son wears a mask, "he'll never speak again in class."

"It's hard enough, when he speaks, for others to understand him, and he's aware of that," he said.

"I'm not challenging the mask mandate. I'm just invoking (my son's) rights under the exemptions," the father said.

As part of the lawsuit, the father requested a temporary restraining order to stop the school district from barring the student from attending class without a mask while the case is being heard. Judge Socrates Manoukian denied the request in a document filed July 12, stating the "plaintiff has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits." The judge also stated that the "matter may now be moot" since more than three days had already passed since summer school started and the suit was filed.

The father, who is a patent attorney, told this news organization that he will continue to pursue the lawsuit, and will add more "legal causes of action" and potentially more defendants. He added that he is not seeking any monetary legal damages.

"This is not about money," he said. "This is my son's future, his ability to go to school, get an education and go off to college and not to settle on some kind of harmful accommodation. ... I don't want any money."

The father hopes that the district will let his son take an online course or an extra class, perhaps outside the district, that will satisfy his graduation requirements.

In an email, Superintendent Don Austin wrote that the father's suggestion that he does not have an issue with masking in general is "completely false." In emails shared with this news organization, the father had previously reached out to the district to see if his family could be exempt from wearing masks during his daughter's eighth grade promotion ceremony last month.

"This is not a disabilities issue," Austin wrote.

In addition to noting that the student had no Individualized Education Program or a 504 plan, which ensures that a child with a disability receives proper accommodations, Austin said in an email that the parent was told on multiple occasions that the student would not be able to participate in summer school without a mask and that he would be compliant if he wore a "face shield with a drape combined with social distancing" instead.

"He was offered meetings and asked to share his new concerns with either documentation or an evaluation by our district nurse," Austin wrote. "He declined at every step and was personally confrontational with the staff. The assigned judge dismissed his request on merit.

"We do not expect everyone to agree with the rules set by the CDC or our (Santa Clara County Public Health Department), but we will follow their protocols as we have done since March of 2020."

Comments

Consider Your Options.
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:31 am
Consider Your Options. , Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:31 am

Have the plaintiff and PAUSD considered compromise to include the student in school before resorting to law suit? There are plastic face shield masks that don't cover the mouth but protect from the virus. What if the young man wore a shield with a regular face mask and removed the mouth cover when he needs to speak. (This will only work if he is vaccinated.) Could this solve his communications problem and address the concerns of teachers and students he is sharing classroom space with in a moment when variants are taking hold? If it's really not about the money, perhaps lawyer dad might consider the needs of others and offer a compromise to get his son back in the classroom before he "lawyers up" against our public school district.

Also, is this student vaccinated? That is a very important data point. If not, then he absolutely should not be in school without a mask. Period.

Dad and PAUSD, what have you both done to work together to solve this student's problem without putting other students and staff in harm's way? It's not at all clear in this story.

For example: Web Link


Jonathan Brown
Registered user
Ventura
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:36 am
Jonathan Brown, Ventura
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:36 am

CDC guidance no longer requires masks for people who are fully vaccinated, so California's blanket mask mandate seems like overkill and likely will impede kids' learning. It's time to include COVID vaccination among the requirements for school attendance for those age-eligible. The CDC also states that "Schools that continue to require people older than 2 years of age to wear a mask should make exceptions for ... A person who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of a disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.)." Web Link


cmarg
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:42 am
cmarg, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 11:42 am

Health and safety are very important for all those attending school - the teachers and other students. I just learned of someone who had received his both shots of the vaccine and still got covid; he is quarantining now.

Hurting people hurt others. I feel sad for the father and I hope he can find some peace.


Samuel L
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:01 pm
Samuel L, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:01 pm

Is this the same Don Austin that claims that PAUSD cares about educating ALL students? PAUSD seriously couldn't come up with a way for this student to take a summer school class?
The student had a previously documented speech issue. I'm sure the speech issue is definitely affected by wearing a mask. That doesn't seem like a stretch.
Once again, PAUSD forces a family to get a lawyer and sue in order to get an education for their child. It's one of PAUSD's core values.


Old PA Resident
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:10 pm
Old PA Resident, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:10 pm

Sounds like the dad put his desire to fight above his son's desire to take the class. I agree, we need to advocate for people who can't self advocate (I have been doing it for 16 years for my "IEP" child), but we also need to stop making a mountain out of a molehill and suing the school district. Surely there was a compromise that would have been acceptable. Sounds like dad is a bit trigger happy. Must be nice to not have to pay a lawyer for filing such a frivolous lawsuit. Now we taxpayers get to pay to resolve it. Just wear the mask, it's a pain for everyone, not just your son.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:14 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:14 pm

Cut the kid some slack. He has a speech impediment.


Green Gables
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:18 pm
Green Gables, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:18 pm

Cannot kick anyone out of school because of no mask so says the State of California


Tecsi
Registered user
Los Altos Hills
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:29 pm
Tecsi, Los Altos Hills
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:29 pm

Really, is wearing a mask that hard?

This is such a waste of time, money and energy. I am fully vaccinated and wear a mask indoors, just so express by support for health safety.


Aletheia
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:41 pm
Aletheia, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:41 pm
TTrayu
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:42 pm
TTrayu, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 12:42 pm

Sounds like the father didn’t want to provide proof. The June 4 CDPH Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework for schools states that “persons exempted from wearing a face covering due to a medical condition, as confirmed by school district health team and therapists, must wear a non-restrictive alternative, such as a face shield with drape on the bottom edge, as long as their condition permits it.” How would the district’s health team and therapists confirm a mask exemption if the father refused to provide proof? This seems like another ridiculous and frivolous law suite that is wasting tax dollars.

Web Link


Bystander
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2021 at 1:04 pm
Bystander, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 1:04 pm

Obviously the only information any of us have is what is written in the article. There are indeed problems with masks, deaf people are unable to read lips for example.

I am not surprised at this law suit. I expect there will be many more due to the pandemic and the school district's slow response/county response, etc.

CDC and WHO have both hummed and haahed on this and confusion reigns.

When schools required forms for various accommodations, face masks was not an issue so of course documents from several years ago would not be relevant. What has been happening over the past 16 months has been rewriting all sorts of policies.

It is a shame that the school/teacher could not be more accommodating and it is a shame that the need for this class is so crucial not just to this child but to so many. I think any sympathetic teacher should have been doing almost anything to ensure that a child's ability to complete graduation requirements would have been paramount.

So yes, I imagine we will see many more lawsuits along similar lines over the next year or so. This will not be the first, or the last.


Hulkamania
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 14, 2021 at 1:38 pm
Hulkamania, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 1:38 pm

Whenever someone says, "This is not about money.", it's always about money.


Forever Name
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2021 at 1:43 pm
Forever Name, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 1:43 pm

Dad you are a rock star! I fully support you.


Another Bystander
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:10 pm
Another Bystander, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:10 pm

I'm not taking sides here, but the CA Public Health guidance looks pretty clear. The reason(s) for a mask exemption had to be confirmed by school district health team members and therapists. Not sure where that guidance stands now though. Thanks for the link @TTrayu.


Tj
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:36 pm
Tj, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Only is SHALLOW ALTO!!!!!


commonsense
Registered user
Professorville
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:58 pm
commonsense, Professorville
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 2:58 pm
side splitting
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:13 pm
side splitting, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:13 pm

There is an option for non in person summer school class - UC Scout.
[Portion removed.]


Matriarch
Registered user
Professorville
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:36 pm
Matriarch, Professorville
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:36 pm

Looks like Dad doesn't want to cooperate, but enjoys arguing, since "the parent was told on multiple occasions that the student would not be able to participate in summer school without a mask and that he would be compliant if he wore a "face shield with a drape combined with social distancing" instead.

"He was offered meetings and asked to share his new concerns with either documentation or an evaluation by our district nurse," so there were options beyond the standard face mask, just not the ones that the family wants. Looks like the entire family is "special" because they requested no-mask status at another school event - not just one, but all of them. Much ado about nothing.


side splitting
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:39 pm
side splitting, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 3:39 pm
Jimmy
Registered user
Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 14, 2021 at 5:04 pm
Jimmy, Palo Alto Hills
Registered user
on Jul 14, 2021 at 5:04 pm
swuzy
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jul 15, 2021 at 10:20 am
swuzy, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 10:20 am

Many people use a mini portable speaker / microphone set up while wearing face masks. Teachers, guides, etc do that. Some user commentators say it works great; others say beware of excessive feedback (volume control, etc).

ZOWEETEK Portable Rechargeable Mini Voice Amplifier with Wired Microphone Headset and Waistband, Supports MP3 Format Audio for Teachers, Singing, Coaches, Training, Presentation, Tour Guide. About $36 on Amazon.

Web Link


Old Person
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 15, 2021 at 2:21 pm
Old Person, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 2:21 pm

I'm so tired of people not considering the health of school staff and fellow students. Everyone is struggling in some way, this family is not the only one. It sounds like the district gave this parent opportunities to come up with a solution but he refused to cooperate. Making his child show up on the first day of school without a mask knowing he would be turned away is a cruel thing to do to his child.


Anonymous
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 15, 2021 at 2:47 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 2:47 pm

Suing is the California way, sadly.


Neighbor
Registered user
Greenmeadow
on Jul 15, 2021 at 7:10 pm
Neighbor, Greenmeadow
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 7:10 pm

I understand a parent's concern when a child has difficulty with speech volume and enunciation. What I'm confused about here is why the face shield option was rejected by this dad. Unless I'm missing something, this seems like a good option -- the shield allows people to see his face, which can improve understanding when he speaks, and, unlike a mask, there is space between his mouth and the plastic, which should help with enunciation.


PA Community Advocate
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2021 at 10:01 pm
PA Community Advocate, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 15, 2021 at 10:01 pm

In a decade we will look back at masking kids as what it really is - child abuse.

The benefits are overstated at best and in all likelihood nonexistent in real world conditions. [Portion removed.]


John B. Sails
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 16, 2021 at 6:06 am
John B. Sails, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 6:06 am
PA Community Advocate
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2021 at 6:45 am
PA Community Advocate, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 6:45 am
John B. Sails
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 16, 2021 at 7:09 am
John B. Sails, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 7:09 am
Old Person
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:22 am
Old Person, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:22 am

Do you wear a seat belt in the car? Do you drive a car that was manufactured to government safety standards? Do you put your small children in car seats? Fences around swimming pools have greatly reduced accidental drownings. If your pool has a diving board, the pool must have sufficient depth to prevent broken necks. Do you make sure your children know how to swim before letting them go to a pool? What's so hard about wearing a mask?


John B. Sails
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:51 am
John B. Sails, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:51 am


To the point of this topic, what PA Advocate says is still correct. Young people have only minimal risk from Covid.

Different subject: Old (and obese) people much higher risk.

So, 'what is so hard' about you choosing for yourself: YOU wear a mask but that is the end of your decision-making on the subject?. Why should you be permitted to tell ME to wear one, when I am fully vaxxed, a non-smoker, non-drinker, and thin?


Old Person
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 16, 2021 at 1:03 pm
Old Person, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 1:03 pm

Good point about being vaccinated. Is that student vaccinated? If that student was fully vaccinated, that would make a big difference. Keep in mind that the school is responsible for the health of all the students entrusted to them during school hours. It's nothing to take lightly, so I understand their caution. I would not say that it's alright for your kids to get Covid because chances are that they will be just fine afterwards.


John B. Sails
Registered user
Midtown
on Jul 16, 2021 at 4:28 pm
John B. Sails, Midtown
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 4:28 pm
PA Community Advocate
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2021 at 4:54 pm
PA Community Advocate, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 4:54 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2021 at 8:30 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 8:30 pm

First off, my condolences for anybody that is working in this district and has to put up with this type of nonsense from these type of people on a daily basis. I would snap. This is an interesting case here. Who do we believe? The “honest”lawyer (oxymoron) who swears it’s not about the money and he is only advocating for his child and isn’t even fighting the mask mandate. Or do we believe the ever “honest” Don Austin who states he has emails that say: In emails shared with this news organization, the father had previously reached out to the district to see if his family could be exempt from wearing masks during his daughter's eighth grade promotion ceremony last month. Austin also states he offered them accommodations and that this father has been confrontational with staff over the mask mandate. Based on the fact Austin was able to provide the emails to the news organization, it suggests this father/lawyer has a pattern of being anti-mask. We are in a dangerous global pandemic. Not everything is about you. The health and safety of the staff matter and take precedence over your pathetic mask grievances. If you don’t want to mask up please move to Missouri.
To the sad parents of this district please stop suing over every little thing. It’s so embarrassing.
Agree with The Bystander that this will be the tip of the iceberg.

“In a decade we will look back at masking kids as what it really is - child abuse”
No we won’t. Masking children is not child abuse. We need to move beyond the whole “kids are so special” mindset. We also must move on from the nonsense of last year that the kids don’t get Covid or spread it. Pandemic, from Greek pandemos: "pertaining to all people; public, common.” ALL people and this includes children. There is no vaccine currently approved under 12. The masks may not work perfectly but that is all unvaccinated children have as a line of defense at this point. [Portion removed.]


PA Community Advocate
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2021 at 9:34 pm
PA Community Advocate, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 9:34 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:58 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 16, 2021 at 10:58 pm
Citizen
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2021 at 9:22 am
Citizen , College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2021 at 9:22 am

[Portion removed.]

Go Dad. Fight for your kid, though please don't do it at other kids expense. With that caveat, fight, fight, fight.

As for the teachers, they're paid to be there, and can take precautions. If they don't like it, there are other jobs they can find.


The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2021 at 12:12 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2021 at 12:12 pm

“As for the teachers, they're paid to be there, and can take precautions. If they don't like it, there are other jobs they can find”

Typically abusive attitude toward faculty and staff as if their lives don’t matter. But yet you entrust them with your children and expect them to care take for them. The teachers don’t have to find another job because you don’t like masks and it’s not “all about the kids.” [Portion removed.] The children need to mask up and take the SAME precautions. If the children are unmasked the precautions do not work. Just like with distance learning, teachers will continue to be unionized and paid. [Portion removed.]


Citizen
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2021 at 1:37 pm
Citizen , College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2021 at 1:37 pm

Teachers aren't more important than grocery store workers or medical personnel or others who actually did continue to do their jobs, in person, during the pandemic. They should also do their job and take precautions. Let the kid attend school, and get an education, while the teacher takes precautions.


The Voice of Palo Alto
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Jul 18, 2021 at 2:17 pm
The Voice of Palo Alto, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2021 at 2:17 pm

“Teachers aren't more important than grocery store workers or medical personnel or others who actually did continue to do their jobs, in person, during the pandemic.”

Teachers continued teaching online during the pandemic and did their jobs. [Portion removed.] The schools were closed due to the greatest disease outbreak in a century. People only think the schools shouldn’t have closed because they think either “kids don’t get COVID” or that “COVID doesn’t effect the kids as badly as adults.” Again that is the “not caring about the health and safety of the staff.” Now over a year later, schools are set to reopen with a more transmissible variant circulating and with the United Stated on a trajectory of a high National increase in cases due to the delta variant right when schools are set to reopen, But now the shoe is on the other foot. Teachers are vaccinated and have a layer of protection, and most children are not vaccinated. There is also no vaccine currently available for children under 12. This seems like a very dangerous school reopening. I don’t wish it in on anybody, but unfortunately, people who have the same opinion as yourself may end up with a very sick child. Finally, the same old comparing “teachers to grocery store workers” nonsense is a false comparison. Grocery store workers are essential during a disease outbreak as people need to eat to live. That is essential. Comparing teachers to medical workers is also another false comparison. Since when ever else were teachers compared to medical staff. Those doctors work in controlled Covid environment. Give me a break. The students can be educated online. This kid can go to a school in a mask. Supporting this frivolous law suit is an embarrassment and “typical.” I’m tired of your ilk. Support health and safety. The concept of masking shouldn’t be this hard. [Portion removed.]


Citizen
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2021 at 4:19 pm
Citizen , College Terrace
Registered user
on Jul 18, 2021 at 4:19 pm
peppered
Registered user
Community Center
on Jul 20, 2021 at 11:18 pm
peppered, Community Center
Registered user
on Jul 20, 2021 at 11:18 pm

This parent seems supremely self-absorbed.
Sounds like a real whiner.
It's not only about his son. It's about everyone else's kids and school staff too.
If his son cannot wear a mask, he needs to stay home and get his instruction online.
If he won't wear a mask, he doesn't get to put others at risk just because he wants a social experience.
The man needs to be taught a lesson.
The lawsuit should be dismissed -- with prejudice.


Be realistic
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jul 21, 2021 at 11:53 am
Be realistic, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 11:53 am

In two short weeks, the number of cases soared from about 3 per 100k to 24.7 today - more than eight times. Web Link
All thanks to selfish and ignorant conspiracy theory followers and those who hoped to free-load on the rest of us who followed the guidelines. We are quickly taken back down after all human life and economy sacrifices.

There. Sue the delta variant now and all future variants that you antivaxxers/antimaskers are helping to breed.


PA Streets
Registered user
Charleston Meadows
on Jul 21, 2021 at 12:18 pm
PA Streets, Charleston Meadows
Registered user
on Jul 21, 2021 at 12:18 pm

Yes, I think this parent has gone overboard. He could have worked with the district to gain an exemption for his son if it was truly needed.

[Portion removed.]


Howmanybikesdoesittake?
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Aug 16, 2021 at 11:26 pm
Howmanybikesdoesittake?, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Aug 16, 2021 at 11:26 pm

Anyone who has dealt with the District regarding special needs knows its a waste of time to negotiate with the school. For one,the administration stretches it out to avoid activity. When you finally get them over a barrel, they will agree, promise to do it right with a fully traine staff member but they won't deliver. Its just to get you to back off, while they come back at you more hostile, stalling, then more excuses, bait & switch or nothing. In the words of my child, " What is wrong with you people that you won't do your jobs? Why do ask me what I need evey year when you haven't provided anything that is already documented.That is why I am failing every class.You don't listen to me and you don't keep your commitments, even when they are scheduled. I have to miss classes to show up for your schedule and you don't show up. Something always comes up. You are destroying my future, no wonder kids from this school walk into a train. You tell me the same lies every year and expect me to trust you and not be angry?

So congratulating yourselves because the bounty of your cumulative efforts is you is that you wrote down 1 thing down? Absolutely nothing will change because you wrote 1 thing down in my IEP. Lots of people write lots of things all the time and make many committments,and nothing ever changes. You actually have to implement them." And with that he put his head down to try to blink back the tears. I had pleaded with my son,to suspend his disbelief that the same thing would happen again, and to discuss with hope that something positive could be achieved,that this would not be a WOT and another humiliation. He did have genuine hope that something might change but with his case manager's statement,that she wrote it down as the validating statement,the bubble burst, he knew there was no hope of any change of getting the support he needed. And less than 1 year later he dropped out of Paly (IQ154). Paly needs a "stick" to do the right thing. ps they lie in court


Meadow
Registered user
Greene Middle School
on Sep 2, 2021 at 12:54 am
Meadow, Greene Middle School
Registered user
on Sep 2, 2021 at 12:54 am

Didn't the parent provide emails to the press, and not the Superintendent? It appears:
-The parent did not insist the child attend school without a mask. He asked if there was a safe alternative, such as independent study or online.
- The parent was given false information. There were online independent study programs the student could have enrolled in through PAUSD, then and now.
- The parent attempted to obtain a written policy or guideline, which was not provided. Since the district gave staff instructions, there had to be something in writing the District was using.
- The districted offered an evaluations of a speech deficit by a school nurse. A nurse is not qualified to evaluate speech deficits.
- The district's risk manager decided the child’s file showed no medical need. A risk manager is not a medical or disability expert. He is a liability prevention specialist to save money. He should NOT have access to a child’s educational or special education file.
-The Superintendent issued a press statement with a blanket medical determination he lacks training to make.
The Superintendent's actions were horrible because they:
- Criticized a child’s parent, called him names, and portraying him as unreasonable
- Disclosed private student course information
- Retaliated against a parent for seeking help for a disabled child via critical public statements and refusal to grade a child’s work
- Made broad statements without full facts. He could not have attended every meeting or conversation or known what a parent was told "at every step."
- Commented on a continuing legal action
- Implies his district “won” an entire legal matter instead of small portion based on timing
-Discriminated saying a disabled student in AP and Honors courses should not have full access to credit recovery as non-disabled
- Incited hatred toward a child and family by framing an issue as a bad parent not caring for other student's safety, encouraging posters in this forum to attack the parent


Howmanybikesdoesittake?
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Sep 3, 2021 at 3:23 am
Howmanybikesdoesittake?, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2021 at 3:23 am

Meadow thank you for pointing out the bad faith tactics of PAUSD school district against the kids that need the help the most. We have experienced group dishonesty to CYA after they realized we knew the law and tried to hold them accountable, unfortunately there was no morale behavior within the entire PAUSD because they spent many many $$ to legally attack and discredit us. Shameful behavior that noone seems to object to all the way up to the school board. Very smug special ed folks know they won't be held accountable for reprehensible behavior and harming children. We also had all our very private information spilled to the point that random people were bullying and shaming my child and adults walking up to me and telling us "We should leave, that everyone at Churchill and the school hate us. That didn't we know, we are supposed to leave and pay for our own kids education, that it takes too much $ out the system from the regular kids. Don't we get it? They aren't going to provide anyhthing, it doesn't matter that its the law, don't we see we aren't getting anywhere with our complaints?"


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