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District may hire full-time Title IX officer, investigator

Original post made on May 31, 2017

Palo Alto school board members are considering hiring a dedicated Title IX compliance officer and a separate investigator to help the district, which has long struggled to comply with the federal civil-rights law.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 11:50 AM

Comments (33)

Posted by Jim H
a resident of College Terrace
on May 31, 2017 at 12:08 pm

You can add as many people at the district office as you want, but if people like Kim Diorio and other administration members continue to try to handle things in house and not follow the law and the procedures in place, it won't matter because the district office will never find out about it. [Portion removed.]

Posted by Kathy Jordan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 31, 2017 at 1:04 pm

Suddenly there are 17 new events meriting UCP log entry since May 12th? And no one has taken responsibility for entering them? It shows TBD on the log entry for who entered them. And the actual date of the incident(s) is unclear? What does this tell you?

The District cannot be credible in handling this; they have not been forthright, what with sudden log entries and not revealing anything until medial reports come out, etc. We need District officials with the will to act, the commitment to the cause of combating sexual harassment, and who have integrity. We seem to be in short supply of that at the District, and at Paly in particular, currently.

Please consider signing the petition; you can do so without displaying your name, as I know many are afraid of retaliation.
Web Link

Posted by Far Far Away
a resident of another community
on May 31, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Since this looks to me like mumblwoof designed to keep the heat off the school administration and more important the parents of the offenders my advice would be to hire two investigators. If you hire one he/she will spend time trying to get the compliance officers job.

Sarc/ off.

Probably wouldn't hurt to review how the Penn State, Jerry Sandusky scandal evolved and hope there aren't any Sara Ganims lurking about.

Posted by paly alumni
a resident of College Terrace
on May 31, 2017 at 6:09 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Useless
a resident of Greene Middle School
on May 31, 2017 at 6:17 pm

This is a complete waste of money, especially at a time when there is a shortfall of money in the district.

None too bright, cutting important services for children, ostensibly to save money, then hiring a person to handle Title IX violations. Can't even be certain that a person paid by the district will not keep violations under wraps, like the current administration is doing.

Better to rein in the school principals, the counselors, and the administrators-- starting with the superintendent.

For now, Diorio and McGee should be on retroactive unpaid leave-- going back to October. Which means THEY will owe the district serious cash!

Posted by Cover up culture
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2017 at 8:03 pm

Did you see the KTVU latest story? Web Link with the excuses from McGee that "the lawyers advised us to not follow Title IX because it was not a Title IX issue" and "we no longer use that lawyer" are getting very old.

His other lame excuse is he didn't know about it.

And why was the superintendent not involved in this decision as he states?

Who is running the show at this District? Just the lawyers? Who are in cover up mode at every turn?

Posted by hysteria
a resident of College Terrace
on May 31, 2017 at 8:35 pm

more hysteria about alleged sexual-assualts. I would love to see facts, and some background on this supposed epidemic.
Kids making mistakes and having regrets later is likely the majority of issues. Bottom line is more of our tax money to administration rather than teaching and smaller class sizes.

Posted by hysteria
a resident of College Terrace
on May 31, 2017 at 8:41 pm

from the article

And while McGee pointed to larger, cultural issues present not only in Palo Alto but in schools and communities across the country — a culture tolerant of rape, a lack of understanding about consent, underage drinking, the need for more training and education

so who said a "culture of rape"? was this McGree or the editors of the Palo Alto Weekly trying to cause a ruckus? Please clarify this- this is such an outrageous statement.

Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Verde School
on May 31, 2017 at 9:03 pm

I still want to know what is happening in our school bathrooms. I want to know what is going to be done to stop boys and girls going into each others bathrooms. I want to know how we can stop not just sexual assaults in bathrooms but sex in bathrooms altogether.

Whether or not these events are assaults or something else, whether these are regretted consensual encounters, whether these are peer pressure mistakes or anything else. They should not be happening in our high school bathrooms.

The culture is giving permission and opportunity for this to happen.

Posted by Come on
a resident of Barron Park
on May 31, 2017 at 9:05 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]

Posted by Samuel
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 31, 2017 at 9:40 pm

@ hysteria,
Actually, in an interview in the past couple weeks journalism teacher Esther Wojcicki said that, "the rape culture on campus is improving"

If I can track down the video, I'll add the link. It is one of the KTVU pieces.

Not sure if an improving rape culture is a flattering way to portray your school

Posted by Culture of Impunity
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 31, 2017 at 10:54 pm

Just watched the KTVU spot and laughed my butt off. What a pile of covfefe.

Lookit dude, get your excuses straight. Did you not know, or did your lawyer tell you it wasn't a Title IX issue? Was it Holly or Kim or Scott or your lawyer or who is taking the fall for Magic Max McGee?

As sad and surreal as this whole fiasco is, I have to admit I LOVED seeing channel 2 chase Holly up the street. She's exiting in a fitting blaze of failure.

Posted by Cover up culture
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 31, 2017 at 11:05 pm

Impunity, the KTVU spot is a classic.

It reminds me of the days of Mike Wallace chasing down a person microphone in hand with a crew from CBS's 60 Minutes as the person scurries away. Ah, those were the days.

The rationale of 'it is the fault of the lawyer(s) no longer used by the district [do I believe that? not really] and I had no knowledge of it' is really priceless.

Posted by Deja vu
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2017 at 12:05 am

Wiw, this sounds so familiar.

Remember the excuse about why the district cohldn't handle bullying? Oh, the laws are so complicated! Never mind that the district wrote its own procedures for following the kaw, got themapproved, but just willfully failed to follow its own procedures. The parent is right, this os about will, commitment, and i tegrity, there is no tricky grey area rhat earnest people are just missing.

I think the City should create an ombudsposition in the City charter, someone any person can go to. That person would know how to turn complaints into followed procedures, and would advocate for just the families and students. This kind of accountability is not new across the country.

Why just Title IX? Do people really think title IX is the only issue the district office coverup culture has made fester? If McGee and company do not try to finally make things right, they will deserve the next, worse controversy and the blowback.

Posted by white elephant
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 1, 2017 at 12:44 am

While the lack of responsibility in combination with rule-by-terrorizing-everyone runs deep at Paly, Diorio, and her admin.s have really escalated the bizare behavior to maximum level of intolerance. Some Ghost writer is logging the reported incidents into the log book? who is responsible, who is incharge? How can Diorio be implicated in title IX investigation and say" I only regret i sat on the info. for 3 years and did nothing" , then turn around and do exactly the same inaction again in the Oct. Nov. incidents? There is no excuse for this. The laws have been known for decades, You are the principal. You should take decisive action immediately, not endanger the lives of all students and in particular the victums. There is no justification for this ineptitude.The entir community is up in arms about this.

Posted by Far Far Away
a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2017 at 7:24 am

Well folks, the Genie is out of the lamp. 17 More accusations that were treated like the one that started this pile of excrement rolling? Good luck not getting any on you.

Posted by KTVU reporting
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:11 am

KTVU is reporting this morning that Gloria Allred is now getting involved.

Gutter press and gutter attorneys are in their element now. Supermarket tabloids next?

Posted by Alarmed
a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2017 at 9:49 am

Hopefully any lawyer who advocates for the victims can make improvements. I don't believe McGee when he skirted responsibility saying his lawyers advised against a Title IX investigation. Note he said the lawyers he bashed are no longer working on investigations.

He didn't say the law firm had been fired or removed. They are still there probably. And they will continue to be the ones who end up being blamed even though McGee is responsible.

Who is the law firm and lawyer that McGee specifically criticizes? What is their name? Did the PAUSD file a complaint with CalBar concerning that attorney? Please find out the details, reporters.

If PAUSD says the law firm gave defective advice and failed to follow the law, they should have filed a complaint with the bar association. Did they?

Posted by MidtownMom
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2017 at 10:44 am

There doesn't seem to be anything being done at the school to assure the kids of their safety either ! Does this mean that the district itself is unsure they can keep the kids safe ??

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 1, 2017 at 12:42 pm

Annette is a registered user.

It is tremendously sad that our school district needs a Title IX Officer. This suggests to me that we are, fundamentally, failing our youth. But since we clearly have a problem and need to get back on a good track, why would the district even consider giving the responsibility to an insider or take a recommendation from the superintendent when this sorry mess has unfolded on his watch? Absolute objectivity is needed and right now - fair or not - choosing an insider is arguably not a good move.

Posted by Far Far Away
a resident of another community
on Jun 1, 2017 at 3:47 pm

Annette: it is sad. But it's a permutation of the old management cliche, "If you don't abide by the big rules you get the little rules"
The title 9 compliance officer is there to make sure all the forms are filled out and filed with h the appropriate agencies.

Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Title IX was originally intended to strengthen protection for equality but has now been turned into a shadow Kangaroo court system for Liberal Progressives to wage their war on boys and use it as an implement for feminist grudge settling.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."

How did the legislatures and school districts roam so far from the original purpose to now chasing down every instance of youthful indiscretion? According to the recent PAonline editorial, the school district has the "obligation to investigate reports of sexual assault regardless of whether an incident was initially viewed as consensual or an assault, and has nothing to do with whether criminal charges are filed."

Our constitution establishes the high standard that we are all innocent until proven guilty. Not so with Title IX. School administrations around the country have repeatedly shown that they are not equipped to hold that standard or have actively decided to use a much lower one. They should not be given that kind of power or responsibility.

The result has been a ridiculous series of high profile cases (coincidentally in privileged universities like Columbia, Duke, Stanford and UVA) where either the accusations turned out to be false and/or the defendant was acquitted in the legal system but still persecuted by the school and the left-wing public. Regret is not the same as rape and mortification is not a misdemeanor.

Its application of fairness is as uneven as the who-draws-the-short-stick methods of determining guilt. Heralded grievance groups are immune (women, LGBTQ, illegal immigrants) and male athletes (all races) are particularly targeted. The scales of justice are twisted into scorn for jilted lovers.

How to navigate the alcohol filled waters of teenage hookups and half truths? One wonders if the same effort and authority would be placed on the investigation if a girl dumped her boyfriend for a new one with a better car. Under Title IX, it most certainly would create a hostile educational environment for the victim.

Posted by @Sanctimonious
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2017 at 7:37 pm

Title IX is not a “war on boys.”

When anyone--male or female--is sexually assaulted, the trauma almost guarantees they will no longer have equal participation in the educational system.

Sexual violence is not “youthful indiscretion.” It is violence.

Crimes occur, “whether criminal charges are filed or not.” Just because a victim does not file charges, does not mean a crime was not committed.

“The scales of justice are twisted into scorn for jilted lovers.” High school students or college students, who have barely met each other, are not “lovers.” It’s more that one is a predator and the other is the target.

Alcohol, or drugs, are not always a factor and did not seem to be a factor on the campus of Paly. But, even if people are drunk or high, violence does not have to be the outcome.

Posted by stanhutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 2, 2017 at 8:55 pm

stanhutchings is a registered user.

Never mind hiring a Title IX investigator. All sexual misconduct should be reported to parents, who should file a police report. It's time to get the miscreants into the spotlight, along with their parents. All students should be counseled and encouraged to report all sexual misconduct to their teachers, peers and parents. Spread the word so others can be careful not to get involved with the "bad apples". Use public shaming, utilizing social media and the legal system. Charges of statutory rape should start cutting down on the incidence of actual rape. For harassment, groping and other insults there are laws on the books that can be applied, if the victims and their parents insist on police, parents of offenders, and school staff involvement.

Posted by Do not renew contracts
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jun 3, 2017 at 11:13 am

1. Do not renew Max McGee's contract. You don't even need to fire him (and then still have to pay him). Just let the contract run out. He still gets to work the 2017-2018. No shame in that.

2. Reassign Kim Diorio to the classroom. You have to pay her the $160K or whatever, but that is only an exra $40K.

Most everything else is shaping up: Scott Bowers is leaving, Holly Wade is leaving, Melissa Baten-Caswell will not win another election in her lifetime. It has been a rough 12 years with the principal revolt of 2006-2007, the reign of Kevin Skelly (with an assist from Charles Young from 2007 to 2014, and then three years of used-car selling from Max McGee, who made things worse, not better.

Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 3, 2017 at 11:40 am

@Do not renew - generally agree, except that McGee should be fired, even if it costs money. He's failed to recruit any senior staff (who's running special ed now? anyone?) except for Markus, who was a disaster. He doesn't manage the staff he has, he doesn't care about compliance or Title IX, he cares more about his rep than the schools or the community. Another year of him will guarantee more problems. He's gotta go before the district can start rebuilding.

Posted by RearViewMirror
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 3, 2017 at 3:58 pm

A Title IX investigator is necessary;but it's also like driving while looking in the rear view mirror.

Where is the leadership?

Why is there no proactive statement from the top to the staff:"get your act together or you are fired."

If you fail to investigate - gone.

If you fail to notify UP the chain of command -gone.

If you cover up - gone.

If you see your peers acting inappropriately and don't report it - gone.

If you have sex with students - gone.

If you create or encourage a sexualiized environment- gone.

Basically we parents have no tolerance for the screw ups, coverups, excuses, and complete absence off leadership.

If Max has not had this discussion with staff, then he has failed to set clear expectations and accountability. And if he has had this discussion, why is it not public?

We need leadership who is unafraid of their staff

We can investigate the past all year long, but somebody needs to start managing the future.

Posted by Far Far Away
a resident of another community
on Jun 3, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Rear View Mirror hit the nail right on its head. This situation has clearly been allowed to fester for a while, for what reason who knows. There may be people in Palo Alto with enough clout to keep the story from going national. It has pretty much disappeared from NorCal media. But the victims are still out there and I'll wager their numbers are growing.

Posted by Sanctimonious City
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2017 at 6:46 pm


You are correct. After thinking about it my criticism was too narrow. It is not only a war on boys but a war on justice itself.

No innocent until proven guilty, no right to confront your accuser, no right to a jury trial of ones peers and no double jeopardy. Not even a requirement for a crime to be filed at all. It is a one sided penal system designed to intimidate and kick out students with the "wrong" beliefs, race or class.

Title IX was never meant to prosecute crimes including sexual assault, battery and rape. We already have a system of courts for those and the fact that people wish to adjudicate those types of offenses outside of the courts says it all. It is an abuse of power that has turned women's rights issues into witch hunts.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Los Altos Hills

on Jun 4, 2017 at 9:40 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Posted by @Sanctimonious
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2017 at 11:02 am

Many would agree that situations involving violent crimes should not be handled by high schools, colleges, and universities but by the courts first and foremost. That said, as things stand, Title IX is not "a war on justice" but a means to obtaining justice.

In the Paly case, the perpetrator was found guilty in court first--not "convicted" by the public beforehand.

Males, females, and those who identify outside the binary are victims of sexual assault. This year, beyond Palo Alto but still within the Bay Area, there is the case of the high school football players sexually assaulting other male football players in Napa. Males are also victims of sexual assault.

Posted by concern
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 4, 2017 at 3:18 pm

An ombudsman seems like a good idea at this point, or a person who is not connected to the school or is representing parents that may possibly be able to untangle the different ed codes, constitutional rights, title nine, OCR... and help these conflicts not sit and fester while people decide to judge and take sides over gossip and get emotional over things they think happened. There is already a pretty big polarity between parents and staff and with 600 new Freshman, they better get a much better, clearer united front. No law replaces a clear path of communication and just good old fashioned adult supervision n at home and school. Kids are not adults and they need to know they are being taken care of and watched. Kids deserve a quick fair resolution and they deserve much better privacy when adults are dealing with situations. Each family needs a plan and their own protocol for making sure their privacy and their rights are protected wherever they are-even at a camp, hanging around the neighborhood, off to college...

Posted by Board Mis-Management
a resident of Greene Middle School
on Jun 5, 2017 at 3:44 pm

[Portion removed.]

It was shocking to watch the Board continuously attack parents of disabled bullied children, children who could not attend school because they were bullied for their disabilities, and accuse parents and investigators of committing perjury, an accusation which was found to be false. It turns out the Board was again given bad information by it's 100% successful employees and attorneys.

Employees were promoted with no competitive job posting. Jobs were only open to current employees and contractors, and only for 1 week. Not surprising, only 1 person applied for these jobs, and that person had to be promoted. Parents and even community advocates and attorneys spoke at Board meetings and tried to warn the Superintendent and Board members about the problems with the employees and danger of putting near absolute power for all counseling, evaluation, legal, special education, attendance, and complaints and information requests under control of a few people, and ultimately under management of 1 person and their attorney.

When parent volunteers asked as a safety precaution to have a liaison from the Board to tell Board members what was happening, the Board responded by criticizing the parent volunteers as disorganized because they didn't know when their committee meetings were held, although it was published on the web site and parents managed to find it for years.

It went on. Board refusing to put the attorney contract out for competitive bid based on the 100% successful employees and attorneys saying they couldn't be promoted without their own attorney. Accusing parents of just all being emotional. After all, 100% successful employees and their attorney said parents were just too emotional, and they themselves were calm.

CDE Audit results of violations not being published until they were all corrected and 100% corrected, under close CDE supervision until it was done. Not putting contracts out for competitive bidding, which came to a head with the Special Education evaluation, when staff who were promoted staff were allowed to choose and manage and the contract for their own evaluation, and the Board then calling the results mismanagement.

The Board should have exercised exercise, and common sense. That is what they are there for.

Time and again, the Board members stated they requested information from the Administration, and did not receive it. They were expected to vote anyway. Why was this acceptable?

Bad information came to a head with the 3 year teacher contract and Administrators saying their own contracts were not tied to teacher raises, when it turns out, they were. The Board attacked anyone with concerns a 3 year raise was not affordable. Guess what. It wasn't. Board's behaviors did not protect teachers, it made them look bad and created uncertainty about their financial future. Ultimately, the Board's actions and remarks did not protect their employees, a basic function.

Circling back, the OCRs March 2017 letter to the District showed a basic inability to manage and meet even the most basic requirements, like not having two policies that contradicted each other and failing to include correct phone numbers.

What is stunning is all this happened WHILE the Administration was under investigation by the OCR, supposedly working with the OCR.

Looking back to when this started,
-If the Administrators could not provide the Board basic information;
- If Administrators and the Board could not handle cases without blaming the victim and attacking families of the disabled and abused
- If the Administrators could not follow basic procedures to report incidents of bullying,
then there was no reason to believe they would do so in cases of sexual harassment and abuse.

Bad Board management and oversight from Day 1.

Board, please look at what you did wrong and stop doing it.

Please change.

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