Town Square

Post a New Topic

Student thefts prompt CVS to start five-at-time policy

Original post made on Nov 10, 2019

The CVS at Town & Country Village in Palo Alto is limiting the number of students who can enter the store during the Palo Alto High School lunch period to five at a time in light of recent thefts.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Sunday, November 10, 2019, 7:54 AM

Comments (118)

46 people like this
Posted by Eric Ciaramella
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2019 at 8:44 am

Seems like a prudent policy.


92 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2019 at 9:02 am

This really is a sad commentary on the state of our young people. We see them driving around in expensive cars, using expensive phones, wearing expensive clothes, and yet the local drugstore cannot trust them. I expect those who steal from CVS are a small fraction of the student body but they are all being tarred with the same brush, which is understandable.

Do wealthy kids steal for kicks? Or is it those who come from the less well off families who are stealing for items to make them look as good as those with more money?

It is sad that in Palo Alto, CVS has to resort to this.


91 people like this
Posted by disgusting
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2019 at 9:11 am

Disgusting behaviour by the students. The store should install high resolution surveillance cameras to catch the perps and prosecute them. Deterrence through punishment.


16 people like this
Posted by Another View
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2019 at 9:16 am

@disgusting -- and while they're at it they can install photo radar and red light cameras and prosecute every single speeder and red light runner. Perhaps you'll stop exceeding the 25mph limit? Deterrence through punishment.


43 people like this
Posted by disgusting
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2019 at 9:35 am

I am also in favor of much stricter enforcement of speed limit and red light laws, but for some reason this newspaper never reports on those very dangerous problems.


38 people like this
Posted by Miriam Palm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2019 at 10:00 am

Miriam Palm is a registered user.

When I was a Paly student 100 years ago (well, only 50+) we had a closed campus and could not leave during the day. This might not fly now, but worth considering?? As my mother would say, "These kids ain't had no fetchin' up" = or have not learned what respectful behaviors are.


28 people like this
Posted by Frank
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 10, 2019 at 10:01 am

I wonder what the high school staff thinks about this type of behavior? Have they address this with their student body? Should there be some type of action taken?


75 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2019 at 10:01 am

Samuel L. is a registered user.

Once again, the school says another student related issue is "not my problem" since they're not on campus. Students organize egg fights in the neighborhoods? "Not my problem." Students go across the street and steal? "Not my problem."

If Paly actually wanted to improve the situation caused by their students they could offer to send over campus security to Town and Country during the lunch hour. School could impose penalties for anyone caught stealing, even if it is "restorative justice".

Even better would be for students to police themselves and stop other students from stealing.

I'm getting tired of Paly avoiding any blame in what happens with their students within the community. They then turn around and ask the community to give them money for the benefit of the students.


17 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2019 at 11:08 am

>> Once again, the school says another student related issue is "not my problem" since they're not on campus.

Pardon my ignorance, but, under California law, does -in loco parentis- still apply from the time kids leave home for school until they get home (or wherever they are going after school)? (It used to.)

If -in loco parentis- is still in effect, then, Paly could very well step in here. If it wanted to.


14 people like this
Posted by Oldies
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2019 at 12:06 pm

But... do we know it's the students though?
What do the surveillance cameras show?
I understand why the business would want to limit the number of students, but I can't help but think if it's just the slightest discriminatory.


23 people like this
Posted by Who really are the crooks
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2019 at 1:24 pm

Sounds like age discrimination. Let’s see the proof that it is students. If I were the store I would limit the number of council members and weekly staff allowed in the store at one time


23 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Play’s an enormous school. It’s unfair to the vast majority of honest, hardworking students that some tiny group is ruining their names. The stores and police should concentrate on catching and prosecuting the culprits rather than punishing the innocent.


39 people like this
Posted by chopsticks
a resident of Stanford
on Nov 10, 2019 at 1:41 pm

CVS should just buy a Pali yearbook on Ebay, match the photos with the perps and send an officer on campus, set an example and everyone will think twice.


25 people like this
Posted by Eva
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 10, 2019 at 2:57 pm

I don't normally quote Catcher in the Rye, but..... "Pencey was full of crooks. Quite a few guys came from these wealthy families, but it was full of crooks anyway. The more expensive a school is, the more crooks it has. I'm not kidding."


10 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 10, 2019 at 3:35 pm

The students only have 40 minutes for lunch. Maybe they would pay if lines were shorter. It’s 10 minutes each way, then they only have 20 minutes to wait in line and eat. But for those who don’t have friends to pal around with, 40 minutes can be long.

Or, it could be that parents aren’t giving them lunch money. Despite this being thought of as a wealthy city, there are many kids who have no lunch money. Reasons? 1) Parents are strung-out on mortgages/rent and expect the student to make their own lunch; student doesn’t have time or will to do. 2) They get one allowance and can use for food or merchandise so they choose clothing or other items 3) There is lunch account money for bad Paly snack bar but student doesn’t want that food. 4) Parents don’t give them enough money to last all week.

Mortgages and rent are high, many residents are just barely getting by. It’s a myth that this is a wealthy city. I don’t understand why families stay here when they can’t save any money for college or retirement. Palo Alto is not worth it, folks. Take care of your kids, be sure they have a lunch!


37 people like this
Posted by JR
a resident of Palo Verde
on Nov 10, 2019 at 3:46 pm

Students can get free or reduced price school lunch by filling out a few forms. There is no excuse for kids stealing from CVS - not at Paly, not anywhere in the State of California.

It's apparent now that there is no leadership at Paly. When your students vandalize the city year-after-year, when the nearby drug store limits the number of students from your school that can enter the store, it's a clear message. Your school is creating delinquent, not citizens. Paly leadership needs to be replaced, start at the top.


14 people like this
Posted by Miles
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2019 at 4:03 pm

I sympathize with the store management, but at the same time, it seems a little unfair to inconvenience and effectively denigrate the vast majority of innocent students just because of a small number of shoplifters.  I guess it's okay to discriminate against young folks, but what if it were, say, African Americans who were found to be stealing from the store?  Would it be okay to limit the number of blacks in the store to no more than five at a time?


I do support the use of plenty of high-def cameras and then using the video to identify and prosecute the offenders. 


I also like Samuel's suggestion that Paly send their campus security officer(s), if any, over to the pharmacy to keep an eye on things during the lunch hour.   (That being said, I think Sam's other wish, for the students to police each other, is a bridge too far.)


17 people like this
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2019 at 4:11 pm

This should be put to the student body leaders to come up with a plan to address the claims of student shoplifting. I don't think the students are pleased to be branded as shoplifters. I'd expect to see some assessment of what drives the behavior and the perceptions and set of creative solutions that the student body would own and carry out.

This should be a teaching moment for the student community to lead from within.


38 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2019 at 4:22 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

I'm not expecting students to turn other students in to the police or the school. But aren't they taught "see something, Say something."? Isn't this the generation of "Upstanders"?

@Mom, are you seriously making excuses for them to steal? Not enough time to stand in a line so its ok to just take it? The entitlement has gone a bit too far.


9 people like this
Posted by Ex Californian
a resident of another community
on Nov 10, 2019 at 4:36 pm

[Post removed.]


36 people like this
Posted by That MV Guy
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 10, 2019 at 4:55 pm

""In talking with the school, they said once the students are off campus, there's not much they can do," Garcia said. "


That's what a closed campus is about, so yes, they can do somewthing. Kids don't like them, but if the kids cannot show enough responsibility off-campus during breaks, then too bad. Close it. No leaving school grounds during school hours.


40 people like this
Posted by Customer
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2019 at 5:57 pm

I’ve been in the CVS when a swarm of students come in being disrespectful and things quickly become chaotic. As a courtesy to other customers, sounds like a good idea. Im sure a wealthy Paly parent will be offended and try and sue.


11 people like this
Posted by Michael
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 10, 2019 at 6:11 pm

[Post removed.]


68 people like this
Posted by Not new
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 10, 2019 at 6:30 pm

This behavior isn’t new. Kids have been stealing from T&C shops for decades.

And if you want to know why Paly Admin doesn’t do anything about it, here’s your answer: they don’t want to suspend kids and truly don’t want to assign any consequences at all. The parents storm the district office and create havoc for the admins, saying that their snowflake was unfairly targeted. There is a long history of this behavior, by both students and parents. None of this is new.


9 people like this
Posted by Former Paly Parent
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 10, 2019 at 6:55 pm

While Paly and its students have a lot going for them, there are some troubling, persistent culture problems there that lead to anti-social behavior. Some it comes from parents who enable, no doubt. But the school administrators need to step their game and create a culture that includes respect for others.


19 people like this
Posted by All you have to do
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 10, 2019 at 7:27 pm

If you want children and teenagers to return back to being normal human beings:

a) remove their smartphones (even if it is at their disadvantage with their peers, school, or their work) (these schools have enough money to provide students with computers - like they have been doing since the 80s - remember Apple II's and Apple IIe's in the class room?)

b) Don't let students bring their own laptop to school ( 9/10 students use a social network platform during class, and then to their convenience, wait till they get home to either watch the teacher via a video (as schools record their lectures) or preview the next day's lecture from the year before (rendering school time for social network time).

c) Control Internet Access at schools - Limit web access to the ages of the students. Many students feel they can view whatever they want to as they know their parents are only concern about politicians and the news, so they can sit there studying what successful murderers, hackers and scammers do ... for fun.

d) The news should not tell people to "comment" or react to a story via social media - because most of the comments are either from teenagers or single parents in support of their teenagers' opinion(s).

e) Families need to spend the their weekends away from the TV and the Internet. Netflix is horrible for you, as is Hulu, Amazon Prime, and hundreds of the many popular on-demand streaming apps. While stress may be a major factor in the country's weight gain, binge-watching also chronically catapults the obesity factor in the country, too.

f) Students and people under the age of 21, should not be allowed to walk and text, or drive an text as for the most part children are dying left and right.

g) Students under the age of 18 should be prohibited from protesting. Just imagine if 5th and 6th graders protested against Vietnam instead of attending school.

10) Here's a controversial one: Stop enforcing programming and coding in schools. The majority of the nation's high schools are delivering students into computer science and engineering degrees while those jobs are becoming limited to the highly experienced; Facebook, Apple, and others won't hire you unless you have 5-10 years experience and are highly regarded in the field. On top of that, California residents are less likely to be hired by local companies where "survivable" incomes are produced. Students should be looking at other industries regardless of the code-enforced vision and message that seems to be all over the world (thanks to Zuckerberg). Doctors and lawyers are leaving their jobs to study code, which puts everyone at a bind, too. On top of that, coding jobs have higher pay.

We are all responsible for America, every single human being in this country is responsible.


29 people like this
Posted by Ok Boomer
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2019 at 7:29 pm

@All you have to do, you left out: "Get off my lawn!"


14 people like this
Posted by Marc
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2019 at 7:41 pm

Re: All you have to do

You do know that "Leave it to Beaver" is gone? June isn't waiting for you at home with dinner ready wearing a string of pearls. It's not 1950 anymore and as much as the residents of Palo Alto moan that they want to go back to 1950, it just isn't going to happen.

Can we please stop moaning about the "...when I was your age..." or "...I miss the days..." or "return back..." which is to say that you want things to be what you faintly remember from 50 years ago.

/marc


24 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2019 at 8:58 pm

Solution.

Lunch is 40 minutes.

Takes 8-10 minutes to get to CVS, 8-10 to get to class.= 20-24 minutes of problem time for CVS.

Just close the store for 25 minutes and give almost all their employees the state mandated employee break.


19 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2019 at 9:09 pm

A Gunn grad here. Campus was closed when I went there, ‘79 grad, it worked great, we had clubs, socializing. I don’t like Paly’s open campus (and I admit I don’t know Gunn’s current policy).
I barely qualify as a “boomer” and don’t identify w/older retired ppl in their 60’s (in case someone is gonna “ok boomer” me).


58 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2019 at 10:16 pm

There are some really ridiculous ideas here.

Parents need to parent children. They need to teach them right from wrong. Parents need to punish/discipline/reprimand young children for their bad behavior from preschool age and continue until they reach adulthood. Parents need to behave like responsible adults, recognize when their children are defiant/misbehave/act up, and deal with their bad behavior. Parents need to behave responsibly to teach their children how to behave and to expect their children to behave well and teach them to be responsible for their mistakes.

Too many parents are making excuses for their children's bad behavior. It starts when they are very young. Children are getting the message that their parents will excuse bad behavior, ignore bad behavior, or will support bad behavior when their children fall foul of school rules or even the law.

When parents are paying to cheat to get their children into college the message is getting across that the rules don't matter and that includes the law doesn't matter. These parents are not doing anybody any favors, least of all their own children.


35 people like this
Posted by a smart kid
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 10, 2019 at 10:41 pm

as a high school student i just wanna say that al lot of you are making bullshit points. not to be blunt, but adults say a lot of bs and think they know shit but y’all really know nothing. some teens mature slower than others and you gotta deal with it. we do dumb shit that’s how we learn and grow and to be completely honest a lot of you do not know how to parent and therefore these kids are going around waisting food and clothes and money and you just let them. yelling about the youth and technology and all that bullshit doesnt do anything. get your heads out of your asses and raise your goddamn kids, teach them generosity and kindness, teach them empathy, humility, teach them how to cope and manage stress and let them figure out their limits. instead of bitching and moaning do your job. and if you weren’t ready then you shouldve used protection. stop avoiding blame. it is your fault. we are trying to learn how to be adults and how to function in a society, and its your job to teach us that. not just parents, but grandparents, aunts, uncles, random adults on the street. stop complaining about something you caused, and start trying to make a difference and teach limits and important things and this kind of stuff wont happen. also i have yet to see a single piece of proof that paly students are doing this.


62 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 10, 2019 at 11:08 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

@ a smart kid,
Yeah it's everyone else's fault but the people who are stealing. You might be taken more seriously if you learn how to communicate and possibly learned basic spelling, grammar and capitalization.

But, that's probably someone else's fault, right?


65 people like this
Posted by Nancy
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 10, 2019 at 11:19 pm

A smart a$$ kid.

“Adults say a lot a bs but really know nothing”

“It’s your job to teach us”

Okay, how should I proceed...

Thanks for making me laugh.


81 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 10, 2019 at 11:26 pm

@Mom - I cannot believe that some people would try to excuse or justify students stealing. I don't care if the "lines are too long." I really don't care if they "cannot afford" whatever it is that they are stealing either.

As for alleged "poverty:" You probably don't know what it is like to be REALLY poor. As an immigrant and former child migrant farm worker, I grew up picking fields all over this country. We were very poor. We never had name-brand clothing, soap, shampoo, etc. Even the dollar menu at McDonald's was effectively out-of-reach for us.

Yet, despite our economic condition, we never felt sorry for ourselves or looked at successful families with bitterness. More importantly, we never stole anything. Our parents just raised us better than that. Not only did we want to avoid doing wrong, we never would do anything that would bring shame to our family.


66 people like this
Posted by Maurice
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:45 am

Dear a smart kid,

I hate to break it to you, but your comment doesn't come across as very "smart." Maybe you should rethink who is part of your group of peers or mentors.

This isn't about empathy, humility, generosity or stress management. It's about personal responsibility. Blaming others reflects a shocking lack of this very important attribute.

If you think that it "takes a village" to teach a teenager how to function in society (and why they shouldn't steal), then I suspect that you misunderstand the underlying basis of civility.


10 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 11, 2019 at 1:19 am

@Nayeli and others

Where did I stayed that shoplifting is okay? I did not, I just offered reasons why it may be occurring. Half the residents in Palo Alto rent and not everyone lives in a house. Add the Tinsley kids and there is a substantial amount of students who don’t have much money. There are lunch specials at T&C but average cost for lunch is $6-$10 per day. Not everyone has the money to give their children. In that case, they should make them sack lunches. I used to send leftovers from dinner in a thermos but for my second child, I just give lunch money.


15 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2019 at 4:07 am

First of all, I would love to see proof not only that items are being stolen at a higher rate during this period of time, but also that Paly students are responsible. How do we know for sure without evidence? What if other (non-Paly students) people steal items when the store is full of students because they think they have a lower chance of getting caught? We also need to ensure that shoplifting is also the main concern here and that they are not just annoyed that there are large numbers of students in the store during their lunch hour, resulting in longer lines and a more chaotic environment. I don't think its fair to limit the number of students in the store if that is the case, or if they do then they need to be transparent and acknowledge that this is the main reason. And how do they know who is a student and who isn't?

I don't understand how they are not able to catch shoplifters. As a teenager, I knew shoplifting was wrong and never stole anything. I was also extremely fearful that not only was I on close watch but that I would get in trouble or get arrested if I stole anything. How has nobody gotten into trouble? They need better cameras or more security inside the store. I bet if a couple of these "students" were caught and detained that word would spread and others would know that serious trouble is ahead if they are caught shoplifting.

Maybe I am naive but I am surprised that supposedly a bunch of Paly students are shoplifting at CVS. It just seems so risky and unnecessary. What if it is the same 1-2 kids? Wouldn't it be better to identify who is doing this rather than blaming the entire student population?


4 people like this
Posted by Thad
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2019 at 4:30 am

I think the entire town of Palo Alto should be disbanded and the land divided up to the boarding towns.

Oh wait it's just some candy bars and make-up being stolen?


25 people like this
Posted by Chris Zaharias
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2019 at 5:09 am

1000-10000x more money has been stolen by PA adult citizens through tax avoidance schemes than PA students could ever steal from a CVS. If the kids are stealing, it's probably because they've heard you proudly talking about all the ways you and your lawyers have lowered your taxes owed.

Get off your high horses


7 people like this
Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 11, 2019 at 8:25 am

We need an honor system in our schools, where students pledge not to cheat, steal, and/or commit other infractions.

I understand from CVS management that they leave shelves less or not stocked because of student stealing, which affects normal clients.

Proverbs tell a lot: One rotten apple spoils it for the rest, including other honest students.


15 people like this
Posted by Thomas Paine IV
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Nov 11, 2019 at 8:25 am

I think CVS should consider a RICO lawsuit against Paly.


2 people like this
Posted by paly student
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 9:57 am

kinda sucks when you just want to buy a pack of gum and then you have to wait outside the door and risk being late for class. luckily i've got 4th theatre so i'm one of the first there half of the time but yeah.

trader joe's >> cvs.


2 people like this
Posted by SuperWoke
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2019 at 11:21 am

I'm surprised theft is a problem considering how wealthy Palo Alto High kids generally are. The school saying there's not much they can do about it is a cop out. They can talk to the kids about it and send a message to all the parents letting them know about the situation. Apply some soft social pressure.


7 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 11, 2019 at 11:41 am

The decision is solely CVS's to make. There is no immediate need for extreme action, but many of these comments have merit. Everyone involved bears a piece of the problem. My suggestion is that participants in this problem all do their fair share of the workload. CVS has already taken it's step: enforcing a new policy. But for the problem to be solved, parents, students, and school staff should also try to creatively problem solve. Parents can engage in conversations with their children and talk about the problem, even if the child is not directly related to this situation. Students can positively influence their peers and improve their morals. Staff should also do their part, even though there is not much to be done on their behalf. All in all, this quagmire seems to revolve around honesty, responsibility, and morality. Everyone can do something, no matter how little it seems to do.

I refuse to name who I am. I believe that describing myself does not benefit anyone, including myself. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Have a great rest of your day!


12 people like this
Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 11, 2019 at 11:41 am

hey @smartkid,

Got a job?


20 people like this
Posted by bike commuter
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 11, 2019 at 11:43 am

Since when a pack of gum became the basic human rights?


12 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 11:54 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

The only reason a very good friend of my younger daughter stopped shopping lifting is that she almost got caught. That was is the late 70s, early 80s; they graduated from Palo in 1982. Close the campus and have a lunchroom, or the little darlings can bring their own lunch.


11 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 11:55 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

The only reason a very good friend of my younger daughter stopped shopping lifting is that she almost got caught. That was is the late 70s, early 80s; they graduated from Paly in 1982. Close the campus and have a lunchroom, or the little darlings can bring their own lunch. A new concept.


19 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 11:56 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

Close the campus and the little darlings can bring their own lunch.


5 people like this
Posted by CoCo
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:03 pm

I've learned to avoid T&C during Paly lunch because it is simply too chaotic - I'm not surprised that CVS has issues - the store doesn't have a lot of cashiers and the design of the store (long and narrow) also makes it difficult to monitor customers whether they are kids or adults. They might consider online ordering/payment so the kids who really need something can order in the morning and just swing by and pick up their order, already bagged. The school could help by offering better food options for kids and/or staggering lunch times so that a huge number of kids aren't trying to patronize the stores/restaurants in the same small block of time. Obviously the kids shouldn't steal, but there are ways to combat the problem beyond "tsk tsking" the students or humiliating them by making them stand outside. T&C is an "attractive nuisance" to the Paly population - the school and the shopping center management should work together to minimize the factors that encourage kids to make poor decisions and maximize the ways to serve the school community.


21 people like this
Posted by Hu
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:33 pm

I went to high school in Asia, where we had a semi closed campus.

They implemented a policy where students checked out at the gates, then had to check back in. This was a pressure valve for kids who wanted to get out, but was enough of a hassle that it wasn't the 'default' option. They also had student volunteers manning the gates, with a single teacher making the rounds.

The school also got a record of who left the campus each day, and whenever trouble happened, the program would stop for a few days, incentivising the students to self police. They made it very clear that freedom was a privilege.

This probably won't work here because cultural differences, but putting it out there for reference


38 people like this
Posted by Jeremy Robinson
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:34 pm

I just spoke with a clerk at Trader Joe’s regarding CVS’ new policy. He said the kids steal from them as well.
I avoid shopping at either store from 11:45-1pm.

I find the students to be rude, disrespectful and rowdy. Now to add that they are thieves is really disheartening. I wish this problem could be addressed by the school and merchants together. Maybe a closed campus is the answer.


9 people like this
Posted by Ideas
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Lots of good and bad ideas here. I don't blame CVS from limiting the number of students, but here's some ore ideas:
1. If they increase staffing during the mid-day, they can probably increase their revenue and catch more shoplifters. They need to catch them so that they can learn that horrifying fear of very bad consequences to wake up and grow up - many stores like CVS will give a first warning (take a picture, have a long talk in a back office while calling the school / parents, and based on the kids attitude possibly calling the cops). This can be a great wake up call for kids starting down a bad road. Hence, a unique learning opportunity that "Smart Kid" was talking about when kids screw up. They need to be corrected, and hopefully in a way they can learn from it.

2. This next idea won't solve all shoplifting but, our school had a student run on-campus store when classes were in a break (out of a SHED, i.e., NOT expensive) for simple snacks/drinks/gum etc. The store gave students a great chance to get management, customer service and even marketing work experience, all while raising money for some thing the club/group chose. Plus they were right on-site which saves a walk for students. A Paly student club could even talk to CVS staff and find out what are the popular items that are shoplifted, and stock those. Of course CVS will still have shrinkage (which is a nice way describe stuff that was shoplifted), but it might help cut down on the mobs showing up at lunch which will help the staff better monitor the store and catch shoplifters so they can get their unique learning opportunity on their path to becoming a "good global citizen".


8 people like this
Posted by Paly72
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Paly72 is a registered user.

Paly students and Town & Country merchants have had a fraught relationship ever since the Village was built in the 1950’s...shoplifting, milling about, car parking and racing. I know from having grown up just across the tracks. Have a look at some of the related stories in the Paly Journalism Archive at palyjournalismarchive.pausd.org, search on “shoplifting” or “town and country” or some other relevant term. See, for example, an article from the 18 October 1957 issue of The Campanile headlined Town and Country Relations Improve, extracted below. Times may have changed, but this is a good civics lesson from which all parties could carry forward and benefit.

“The relationship between Town and Country Village and Palo Alto High School began with friction a few years ago but through planning and understanding has reached a satisfactory peace. It all started two years ago when a store window displayed a sign saying that Paly students were not wanted in the store during the noon hour. The merchant even took the precaution to hire a policeman to enforce this regulation. At this time Paly had 500 more students than at present and it was also operating under a double noon hour. This 'no admittance' sign only antagonized the students. The situation was getting worse. About the middle of the 1955-56 school year the manager of Town and Country met with Dr. Ralph Mason and several student leaders to discuss the problem. At this point Paly was looking for someone to sponsor a sports award banquet. Town and Country decided to finance this activity, and the first Father and Son Sports Award Banquet was held at Rickey's that year. Dr. Mason says, 'It really is a first class banquet and the boys look forward to this annual occasion.' Last fall Town and Country began financing Paly football programs. With their support the programs can feature many pictures with very few ads. All the program profits go into the Boys' League treasury. Last week Paly received a call from Town and Country telling how pleased they were with the football programs that were delivered to each merchant. The total gift the merchants have made in supporting various activities is $790. Dr. Mason says, 'We certainly have obligations and responsibilities to return for this help.' Two of the requests Town and Country asks of Paly students are that they refrain from eating in the stores so that the merchandise will not be damaged, and from gathering in large numbers in front of the stores so that other customers can easily enter. 'Town and Country is a special kind of shopping center. They were willing to build across from a high school because they knew that Paly representatives would get along With their sort of clients,' states Dr. Mason.”


4 people like this
Posted by Jamie
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Jamie is a registered user.

Teapot tempest.


11 people like this
Posted by Chip
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 11, 2019 at 1:06 pm

Don't blame CVS for protecting itself. Food sold @ CVS isn't known for nutrition & kids buy mostly candy, chips, & soda. Really, is that somehow better than the Paly snack bar?
Aren't lunch periods already somewhat staggered by class schedules? Do some kids have free periods they use for lunch?
Some teens steal for the "thrill." Having a real PAPD cop at the store who could actually arrest miscreants would be worthwhile. School security officers can't do that & have no authority except on school property. I've seen teens @ CVS get snacks & eat them inside the store while browsing other mdse, before leaving the store, with nothing left to check out at the registers.

Let in a few food trucks @ lunchtime. Maybe the Village Cheese House could sell ready-made $5 cello-wrapped sandwiches, smaller than the pre-made ones they have in the shop? School security staff can monitor the lines for unruly behavior on campus. Get vending machines for chips, pretzels, even sandwiches so kids don't have to wait until "lunch time" to buy.


23 people like this
Posted by Leland J.
a resident of Professorville
on Nov 11, 2019 at 1:07 pm

Gadzooks! This crowd of thuggish young ruffians reminds me of the scoundrels who used to filch our precious squirrel oil and deer antler powder from the olde country store back in '67. Lucky for us, my beloved Miss Jane kept a close eye on those ragamuffins -- not to mention a finger on the trigger of her musket!

Next thing you know, these diabolical miscreants will be flooding the sepia pages of our fair newspapers with impertinent opinions and nonsensical photographs of themselves! O the shame!


7 people like this
Posted by maguro_01
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2019 at 1:37 pm

Shop lifting in the area must have increased. Some stores in the shopping center between San Antonio and Showers Drive along El Camino are obviously damaged. I bought a package at Safeway and found at home that the necessary tube of goop was missing from the box. Returning to replace it I found a number of such packages. On the shelves with women's cosmetics as much as a third of rows of packages were missing their contents. I have no sympathy for companies selling eternal youth for forty bucks in a little jar more expensive than the contents, but it's still shoplifting. Of course shaving supplies have been locked up for some time. The Walmart there also seems under siege with more and more merchandise in locked cases.

For years I've heard stories about some kids in PA dropping hundreds of dollars a month on plastic. Almost everyone needs to learn to save money, set priorities, and make choices. Those essential skills in life won't be learned dropping hundreds a month on plastic. Parents might be surprised that some such kids might be in the shoplifter population. Of course, it's still true that someone without such skills can grow up and become President...........


15 people like this
Posted by Palo Alto Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 11, 2019 at 1:41 pm

The behavior of the students who are stealing is reprehensible, especially given how much privilege many students already have in their lives.

I must take issue with some of the comments above - those that make sweeping generalizations about "Paly students" and "teenagers." I am the parent of a Paly student. He is an honest, conscientious person who would never steal and who is disgusted by the behavior of the students who have been stealing - in part because it's so disrespectful to CVS' workers. His friends, too, are honest, respectful, and hard-working - as are the large majority of Paly students, I believe. I am hopeful for the future when I spend time with Paly kids. Please don't lump them all together.


6 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

While it would help build school /community relations for Paly to offer some assistance, that just won't happen. They still have a major vaping problem in their own campus that they essentially ignore. Just last week there was a police chase through campus and the admin barely acknowledged it despite the fact that the suspect was inside a bathroom in the middle of campus.
How about if student leadership, such as ASB, meet with CVS to see if they can work out a better solution.


16 people like this
Posted by Dinner table talk
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2019 at 1:59 pm

This sounds like a good topic for family conversation at dinner tonight. Parents, it is not the school's job (though they and student leadership can also work on community values), it is primarily your job to engage your children in conversations about values. It is your job to model good behavior.

This sounds like an interesting family discussion. Remember to listen.


21 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 11, 2019 at 2:10 pm

Surely this is not that hard. A single arrest and prosecution would end the problem for years to come. Don't they have security cameras?


12 people like this
Posted by Customer
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 11, 2019 at 2:20 pm

Customer is a registered user.

My bad for not reporting this, but watched 20-somethings tuck items into a backpack before getting in line. My Paly student begged me to not make a scene. Stop blaming only the teens. And as I left, watched two different adults ignore the stop signs. Tend to your own garden.


14 people like this
Posted by Paly Student #2
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 11, 2019 at 2:25 pm

Paly Student #2 is a registered user.

As a student of Palo Alto High School, it hurts when people bash the entire school. It's only a small percentage of kids who are actually stealing. Taking into account everyone's arguments, I agree that it might not be Paly kids stealing. Town and Country is a public place where anyone has a right to go into CVS and it could be anybody stealing. While I also don't want to offend people, there are some comments here not even talking about the recent events but how teens are being raised and how parents are raising their kdis. I don't think people should be pointing fingers unless there is concrete evidence.


4 people like this
Posted by Charles Walters
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 11, 2019 at 3:13 pm

[Post removed.]


22 people like this
Posted by sophie888
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2019 at 3:28 pm

Paly Student #2 it helps if Paly Student can stand up to the student theft in these stores if you want to protect your own and Palo Alto high's reputation.


35 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 11, 2019 at 3:37 pm

@ Paly Student #2 - I don't think that anyone here is bashing "the entire school." I think that we all realize that whoever is stealing -- whether a student at Paly or some other people altogether -- are the "bad apples." Please don't think that people in Palo Alto would readily judge an entire school by the bad examples of a small group.

@ Charles Walters - Do you REALLY feel a need to politicize something like this? Your comment is just wrong and quite cringe-worthy.


3 people like this
Posted by Love Palo Alto
a resident of Community Center
on Nov 11, 2019 at 3:49 pm

How about teaching kindness and paying it forward and buying some snacks for hungry Paly students. Tower building at Paly accepts donations of non perishable snacks.

Here is from Paly link Nov 10
O.O.F. - Out of Food. Help!
On going, Paly Tower Building
If you can, please send reinforcements. Thank you again for helping to feed the teens. Here’s the Amazon wishlist link: Web Link or feel free to just drop by the Main Office with anything you’d like to contribute to the goody drawer. This chillier weather really makes kids hungry. Thank you so much for whatever you can do to help. If link does work, any non perishable snacks would work.
Pay it forward and love your kids.


11 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2019 at 4:14 pm

Article:

>>In an effort to do the right thing, Garcia sought advice from local police on what to do and was advised to limit the number of students by monitoring the door and reaching out to the school for help. "In talking with the school, they said once the students are off campus, there's not much they can do," Garcia said.

I'm still wondering about this. Why isn't the school administration taking responsibility for enforcing standards of behavior for their students during school hours?

I'm also wondering why the Palo Alto police aren't more active on this. Just because this kind of shoplifting isn't normally charged as a felony any more (and, I'm glad about that), doesn't mean that it isn't still illegal, still serious, and still a misdemeanor. The best time for intervention is -before- felonies are committed.


7 people like this
Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2019 at 4:52 pm

Some silly suggestions posted. Close the entire campus because of a small portion stealing from CVS who aren't necessarily Paly students? Paly has 2200 students and not everyone goes to T&C because there is so little time.

I rely on my student to buy food at T&C, it's easier for me. Asian Box has a $9 lunch special. Cheese House sandwiches are $9 and sandwiches can be ordered online prior to lunch: Web Link? Japanese restaurant has a $9 lunch. Lulu's offers a burrito and drink for $7.50 for Paly students. Poki Bowl is $10. Howie's offers $7 for a big slice of pizza and soda.

These thieves are obviously being ignored/disrespected by their parents. Students who come from truly nurturing families do not break the law. Or, the parents won't give them money for lunch or a sack lunch. I know some parents think it builds responsibility by forcing their kids to make their own lunches but it does not, it makes them feel ignored. My mom worked FT and she always packed my lunch for me. While these working parents are eating out or at their cafeteria, they expect their children to make themselves sack lunches? Right there is the lack of respect.

Someone else mentioned stealing occurring in 1978-80s? There were mostly offices at T&C when I graduated in '81. There was only The Cheese House and a tennis shop and no traffic signal between Paly and T&C because there was so little traffic. There was a crosswalk and a triangular cement piece that students would stand on to wait for cars to pass (the remnant is still visible on the street of Embarcadero). Most students did not venture over to T&C because there was nothing there.


9 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 5:04 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

@ Grew Up Here,
Wasn't John's market at T&C back in your day?


11 people like this
Posted by duveneck
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 5:08 pm

So why don't kids bring food/lunches to school? Cheaper, no lines, probably less junk food. No brainer.


Like this comment
Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2019 at 5:10 pm

@Samuel L: No, never heard of it. Unless it was there when I was in elementary or middle school, it wasn't there when I was at Paly. There was only The Cheese House and Paly snack bar for food.


8 people like this
Posted by Grew Up Here
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2019 at 5:17 pm

@duveneck
Because many parents require their students to pack their own lunches and they don't. Not that they are spoiled, they don't have time. Teens' biological clocks are different than adults'. Their clocks have them staying up later and waking up later, it's proven research. I recall in elementary school, my daughter told me about a girl whose mom would not pack her lunch for her because she felt that she could do it herself in 4th grade. So this girl was usually begging others for food because she didn't want to pack a lunch. Not that the family didn't have money, she proceeded onto Castilleja. She also had a brother who would sock her in the stomach if he got mad. Parenting is everything.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 11, 2019 at 6:55 pm

I doubt that if CVS is complaining about theft, they are not talking about food (lunch) items. I doubt very much these are hungry students stealing food because they don't have lunch money, although I admit I could be wrong.

I would suspect that in CVS the thefts are primarily make up, toiletries, or various non-prescription medications.

If kids are hungry, they are more than likely to steal from Trader Joes, or similar, not drugstores. The drugstore sells candy and chips, not a filling lunch.

As I said, I could be wrong.



7 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 11, 2019 at 7:16 pm

Samuel L. is a registered user.

@Grew up here
John's Market occupied the CVS spot from about 1992 until 2000 so a bit after your time at Paly.


28 people like this
Posted by ALB
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 11, 2019 at 8:56 pm

ALB is a registered user.

There is a herd instinct happening here. I have been to CVS and seen the crowds of young people swarming the pharmacy. When I went to high school in Palo Alto we ate our lunches at school. Read the book The Crowd by Gustave Le Bon regarding the nature of a crowd and how individuals become one entity. So even though it seems perhaps harsh to only allow five people in at a time I agree that this is how the manager needs to TEACH these people that their behavior will no longer be tolerated. I am sure there are many teenagers who do behave well. The bad behavior of a
few ruin it for the rest of their fellow classmates. Thank you CVS for taking control of the situation.


10 people like this
Posted by Maurice
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2019 at 8:51 am

Has CVS started which specific items are being stolen? It seems that some people are reacting under the assumption that this is about food items. All theft is wrong. For this type of response, I wonder if it might be other things being stolen.

As for meals: I took my lunch throughout my youth. I made most of my lunches each morning too. It's why the lunch box is still so popular. It teaches responsibility too. If your children are too proud to take their lunch (or if other kids bully them food it), then that would be a different problem altogether. It is easily fixed by good parenting.


17 people like this
Posted by Disrespectful Adults
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 12, 2019 at 9:06 am

Disrespectful Adults is a registered user.

Students, thank you for commenting and expressing your valued voice. I'm so sorry you have to see these accusatory, derogatory, disrespectful comments from so many adults on this string. It's sad you have to experience the age discrimination and disrespectful treatment by CVS based on assumptions and zero factual evidence.

Every single Paly student I've met has been kind, respectful, and hardworking. Lovely young adults this community can be proud of. (I'm speaking as a parent of college students who were Paly students, academically successful, gave back to their community volunteering hundreds of hours earning Presidential service awards, and worked to earn their own spending money. Good people with a strong moral compass.) Walgreens and many stores lock up their goods because of theft, but accusing the Paly students as a group is despicable. At least Walgreens produced video of a thief (caught, from the east bay) of loading up medication in bags and running out. Adults on this string appear to be clueless about what fabulous young adults you are and totally out of touch (suggesting students leave computers at home, and get off the Internet, when both are required and necessary at Paly during the school day to do your work accessed via the cloud, as though this has anything to do with CVS thefts). Just ignore the nasty, rude accusations from people on this thread. My observations are that adults treat teens disrespectfully and I will not be one of those adults. My young adults decided to take their (self hard earned) spending money elsewhere and not shop at CVS -- at T&C or anywhere. I have done the same. Shop at stores that welcome you.


15 people like this
Posted by Hulkamania
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 12, 2019 at 10:30 am

Hulkamania is a registered user.

Samuel L. sez, "I'm not expecting students to turn other students in to the police or the school. But aren't they taught "see something, Say something."? Isn't this the generation of "Upstanders"?"

I believe they go by the saying, "Snitches get stitches." I could be wrong.


11 people like this
Posted by shocked
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2019 at 11:55 am

And the recent rant about Paly Egg wars Web Link must have been fake news by another disrespectful adult. Can't imagine our "Lovely young adults this community can be proud of" would participate in such activity.


17 people like this
Posted by A parent
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 12, 2019 at 12:18 pm

It is both PALY's and parent's responsibility to teach or reenforce each student that shoplifting is not ok.
Underage shoplifting can lead to bigger ethical issues later in life.


2 people like this
Posted by Julie armitano
a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Nov 12, 2019 at 12:41 pm

That's a good idea.
They should go there after school.


3 people like this
Posted by member 1
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 12, 2019 at 1:37 pm

They buy cash cards and have drugs ubered to them a street or two away. They are not just buying candy or chips. CVS has had amazing profit from having this school across the street. CVS should be on notice for selling crap to minors.

The rich kids go across the street and this promotes the elitist atmosphere and limits interaction between groups that can not afford to buy fast food daily.

IT is not wise to consider snacks and food and what some rich kid wants to eat in any part of the safety of the entire public school. Casti. kids have a closed campus.

How about a gated campus with open gates that are monitored and How about the businesses from across the street giving back 10 percent of all sales to Paly students and staff toward security guards.


6 people like this
Posted by budding extremist
a resident of Gunn High School
on Nov 12, 2019 at 6:15 pm

@All you have to do nice manifesto you got there mind if i steal it and start purging the infidels?


14 people like this
Posted by A student
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 12, 2019 at 6:37 pm

@All you have to do, everything you're saying here is nonsense.

a) Smartphones are not the bane of humanity, they allow kids to easily communicate with friends, use the internet, access their grades, communicate with teachers, have fun (I know, right? Teenagers having fun? Preposterous), and so many other things.

b) Why wouldn't they be able to access social media with a school computer? Also, as a student, I have never heard of students listening to prerecorded lectures. That's not a thing in high school. Either way, if that's how they prefer to learn, don't attack it, especially since in your made-up scenario, they're actually making an effort to learn.

c) Where are you even getting this idea from? Teenagers are all trying to become hackers and murderers? Do you even know what "teenager" means? Do you think it means "person who believes that the year is not 1960 and therefore is the embodiment of the Devil himself? What in the world are you talking about?

d) Teenagers shouldn't be able to express their opinion? Have you heard of the first amendment? Freedom of speech? Does that mean anything to you?

e) Don't even try to tell me that you have never watched TV. Netflix is just a cheaper and more convenient version of TV. What's the problem here?

f) This is, admittedly, a fair point, although completely unrelated to the topic at hand, not unlike the rest of your arguments. However, I would like to know why you think this is a child-only phenomenon.

g) I'm at a loss for words here. You believe that teenagers should not be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to protest. Once again, first amendment. This, once again, just sounds like someone who thinks that teenagers are hellspawn because they would rather live in 2019 than 1960.

10, which is apparently the eighth letter of the alphabet) There's a lot to talk about here. First, you say that coding should notbe taught at schools. First of all, it's hardly forced upon students in the first place. Second, why are you so opposed to moving forward as a society? Programming is a valuable skill and would be one of the more relevant things taught in school. It should be taught more, not less. You also said "On top of that, coding jobs have higher pay." That contradicts your own argument. Why should schools not teach a skill that will let them be more successful in life?

Overall, your arguments are off-topic and baseless, and it sounds like you're just trying to say that each and every one of the 800 million teenagers in the world is a horrible person because they support the progression of society.


10 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Nov 12, 2019 at 6:52 pm

CCS Corporate has overturned the 5 at a time policy. It had not gotten proper approvals.


4 people like this
Posted by shocked
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 12, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Let's see whether CVS Corporate will cover all of this store's losses.
Just open the doors and say "Free Stuff!"
Let Corporate do the enforcement.


12 people like this
Posted by anonymous2
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2019 at 7:54 am

This is just a reflection of the poor campus security, absent principal and total lack of consequences for any poor behavior at the school. The kids think this is normal.


11 people like this
Posted by Paly mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 13, 2019 at 9:45 am

My Paly freshman told me there are a small number of kids who hate school, life did this. They tried to express their angers when they steal things and knock off items from the store shelves.

Parents, school staff, neighbors and friends need to help, love and support them. I think it takes a village to raise our kids.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2019 at 10:03 am

Article: "In talking with the school, they said once the students are off campus, there's not much they can do," Garcia said.

I'm still stuck on this. I believe that both the school and the police are empowered to work on this issue. Unfortunately, it seems to be a common attitude that if it isn't a felony, it isn't a crime. That attitude is very wrongheaded. The school and the police need to intervene here and divert the kids going down that path.


10 people like this
Posted by member 1
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Nov 13, 2019 at 11:31 am

Paly mom you are the problem. Kids need consequences for stealing. Oh... the poor babies do not have love so they take profits from others and destroy property. Poor little children. These are all pretty wealthy kids who just think they are better than others and are probably the same ones that just litter and let the custodians pick up their garbage. The school has food for any hungry child and love for all of them.


7 people like this
Posted by Beggars Belief
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2019 at 11:44 am

Let's have a bit of perspective here. I think we can all agree that stealing from a drug store is wrong, and people ought not to do it. That being said, it's petty property crime and hardly an intractable problem. I am sure the store has security cameras, and indeed can apparently afford to employ private security. Yet the degree of outrage leveled at our young people mystifies me. Have you nothing better to do than vilify children, the vast majority of whom abide by our laws and support the local economy? You ought to be ashamed of yourselves--your comments are pathetic, entitled, asinine screed.

Now to public policy--there seems to be a belief that schools are empowered to act in loco parentis to regulate the behavior of students while not physically present. Your belief does not make it so--students do not shed their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse gate; they certainly do not shed them beyond the gate. In loco parentis intervention by a school does not grant the same coercive power as an actual parent. The school has the power to intervene when students act off campus in a manner that damages the learning environment. While that standard is frustratingly vague, even the most adept lawyer would struggle to cast the theft of a few dollars worth of drug store merchandise as a pressing educational concern. On the bright side, when the district is inevitably sued for overstepping the mark, the students can use their settlement money to patronize CVS--what a waste of taxpayer dollars that would be.

We should not seek to turn our schools into agents of social control; it is neither their appropriate role, nor their area of expertise. This is plainly and simply a matter for the police and the parents of the minors involved. I am quite supportive of the police citing students for theft--that seems to me the proper course of events at this juncture. There is no need for fuss, and there is no need for outrage. We should be sober about this, not cast aspersions on Paly, our young people, or our community.

All that said, I think the focus of this thread has missed the broader implication of the story. A prominent Palo Alto business, at one of our primary shopping precincts, has instituted a policy whereby it refuses service to some customers on the basis of their apparent age. You may make what arguments you will about risk of theft, but risk of theft is not the factor being used to deny access. We abhor age discrimination in other contexts, as well we should. I am quite certain that if for example, a restaurant at Town and Country refused to seat older patrons at visible table because 'it detracts from the atmosphere', there would be much uproar. Surely as a community we would not patronize that restaurant. These kinds of rules are just plain wrong, regardless of the target demographic, and we ought to draw moral inference from their promulgation. They reflect poorly on us as a city, and they would certainly not be tolerated in "the Palo Alto I grew up in."

Those of you who called for bystanders to be 'upstanders', where are you now? The rights of young Palo Altans are trampled, and yet you do nothing. Children learn from the example we set for them--if we treat them like criminals, then they will behave like criminals. If we stand up, they will learn to stand up in their turn. Let kindness and fairness be your watchwords, folks--that is the only way.


7 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2019 at 1:19 pm

Posted by Beggars Belief, a resident of Barron Park

>> even the most adept lawyer would struggle to cast the theft of a few dollars worth of drug store merchandise as a pressing educational concern

On the contrary. The only victim of this kind of petty crime is not the drug store. The harm is also to the character of the person who is allowed to proceed. And the harm may indeed affect that individual's education.


11 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of another community
on Nov 13, 2019 at 2:09 pm

Stealing has become a big problem around here.
Almost 10 years ago, Walgreen's in Midtown stuck bar codes on packs of gum and other popular items in an attempt to deter theft.
Ask the night shift Safeway employees at Midtown about their theft problems.
It happens often, and the shoplifters walk off with expensive items like liquor.


4 people like this
Posted by Beggars Belief
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2019 at 3:17 pm

Anon, that's a very interesting point, though on reflection I was being a bit tangential. Without belaboring metaphysics, how exactly do you believe that harm to character will impact an individual's ability to learn? What state or district educational objectives are not achievable because of that harm? Not all educated people are paragons of virtue, and nor does it appear to me that a lack of virtue was generally an obstacle to their educational development. Not every part of a student's development is the province of education; this is particularly true when it comes to the prescriptive elements of morality.


14 people like this
Posted by Anonimouse
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2019 at 3:31 pm

On the contrary. We're all victims. Retailers just raise their prices on the rest of us to cover the losses from theft.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Crescent Park
on Nov 13, 2019 at 3:40 pm

@Beggars, I'd be less concerned about the school-related aspects if there weren't a long and well-documented history of anti-social and entitled behavior among Paly students. On and off-campus sexual assaults and harassment (by teachers, students, and even the principal at one point, all improperly handled by site administrators), underage drinking culture, on-campus streaking (a "tradition" for many years), first-year student hazing, recurring false fire alarms, "egg wars," etc. It's a long history, enabled by indulgent parents (like some on this thread).

So like "broken windows," none of these things by themselves is disruptive enough to impair student's education - but collectively, they add up to a culture that gets in the way of both education and moral character. The school can't do everything I agree; but it needs to *something* to address anti-social behavior.


5 people like this
Posted by Member
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 13, 2019 at 3:40 pm

Beggar b.

You are bit much. Teachers and staff are responsible for their students during the school day so are responsible for them. Kids stealing from the local store during the school day is the problem of the school because they have opened their campus. The staff is paid during lunch to monitor kids so allowing them to leave and to say they are unable to keep them safe when they allowed them to leave initially without caring what they do. Casti kids are watched during the school day. After school, they are not the responsibility of paid staff . No other schools allow kids to leave campus whenever they feel like it. This is unsafe for more reasons we can name.


4 people like this
Posted by Beggars Belief
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 13, 2019 at 5:10 pm

Member, perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned in the idea that facts have a place on the web--so indeed do coherent sentences. Just because you say something doesn't make it true. If you'll permit me to work backwards, the contention that " No other schools allow kids to leave campus whenever they feel like it" is laughable--Gunn High School has the same open campus policy as Paly, and open campus high schools are common across the United States. I eagerly await evidence of your contention that open campuses meaningfully detract from student safety, and I expect given the numerous examples of open campus implementation that you will be able to provide evidence beyond the anecdotal.

Nobody is suggesting that Paly does not have a duty of care to its students; however, that duty has a scope limited both by administrative regulation, and by law. Broadly, schools are responsible for student welfare during the school day, when they are on school premises. When students choose to voluntarily leave school grounds, while complying with attendance requirements, they do so at their own risk. The duty of care on the school for their welfare is reduced, and they gain civic rights that are reduced in deference to the maintenance of an effective learning environment for others. Even a brief dalliance with a search engine would get you that far, and I recommend you avail yourself of that educational resource before continuing.

Paly students have a right to privacy free of arbitrary or capricious intrusion, as do we all. The duty of care is balanced by the courts against this right--a school is neither a parent, nor a babysitter. While it can act in lieu of a parent under certain circumstances, those circumstances are significantly constrained. The basis for school intervention off campus is the welfare of the learning environment on campus. We are not discussing if the duty of care is diminished, but how much it is diminished. Advance an argument along those lines, and we can talk.



Resident, that's a point well made--the pattern of sexual harassment and assault, of underage drinking and smoking, of hazing, and other anti-social behavior at Paly should be of deep concern to the community. To the extent that we can focus more on the socio-emotional aspects of learning as part of the curriculum, I think we should. Moreover, it is imperative that we protect students on campus when events off campus pose a specific barrier to their education (as in the case of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and hazing). That being said, there are tangible legal limits on the degree to which the school can become involved in petty crime off campus. Schools definitely can make "stealing is wrong" a part of the curriculum--and indeed they should.

However, they can't necessarily punish students for stealing, unless they are prepared to prove that those actions harmed the learning environment. The "broken windows" argument is interesting, but when it comes to school discipline, the school is bound to be fair--the culture is not a factor considered by the courts to mitigate school involvement where it would otherwise not be permissible.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Nov 13, 2019 at 5:31 pm

Sorry beggar.

Ed code for public schools trumps your smartypantsisms. During the school day staff is responsible for their students safety and is responsible for them. It is the same if there is a school field trip and they leave campus. The staff is still responsible for the behavior and safety of their students. I do think probably that it may be safer across the street. There is no excuse for stealing. Probably the businesses should give out free food because the profit from Paly students purchases.

Don;t “Mary Poppins” the mistake staff has made in not monitoring their students during their school day. No amt of grammar excellence excuses theft.


11 people like this
Posted by closed campus, why not??
a resident of Mountain View
on Nov 14, 2019 at 11:05 am

As noted by Miriam, when we went to school campus was closed, you were there for class, no fooling around, if you left campus (or skipped class) you were in big trouble with the school AND with your parents. Today if the school reprimands a student, the parents lawyer-up because their "gifted" darlings can do no wrong, that is especially true in affluent communities. Not doing those kids any favors, they will grow up to be entitled annoying adults, living in the parents 'basement' (or equivalent).

CVS should just prohibit students during school hours.I suppose ACLU would sue them (as well as the parents).


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 14, 2019 at 11:18 am

Posted by closed campus, why not??, a resident of Mountain View

>> As noted by Miriam, when we went to school campus was closed,

According to "Beggars Belief", that is pretty much the only legal option. I'm not sure, but, I'm not a lawyer either, so, if that really is the case, then, -closed campus-.

Of course, if it is the case that the school and police could cooperate to do some behavior mod without giving kids a felony conviction, then, I would prefer that. But, I guess that isn't possible. Closed campus.


10 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Nov 14, 2019 at 12:13 pm

It's just a misdemeanor anyway, and would be expunged from their records when they reach majority. A discussion between their parents and a juvenile court judge, with a little community service time, could quickly set things right.


4 people like this
Posted by Paly mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 14, 2019 at 2:03 pm

My Paly teen told me that there are a few students who hate school, families and life. They stole and knocked off things from the shelves. There are not that many Bad apples in school. Given what happened in LA today. Everyone knows the school staffs have more important things to take care....

Please support the kids, the schools instead of blaming and pointing fingers


4 people like this
Posted by Member1
a resident of another community
on Nov 14, 2019 at 4:50 pm

Member1 is a registered user.

Paly mom.

Ignoring kids who hate life would be stupid. They need to be identified and helped because of what happened. These kids need to be watched, not ignored. Doing nothing will not help the good apples or the bad apples. ( I don’t think any kid is bad)


8 people like this
Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 15, 2019 at 8:21 am

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

Increase video surveillance, edit tapes to include only clips of clear-cut shoplifting and run it as a loop in the front window. Fear of embarassment is pretty strong during adolescence.


2 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 15, 2019 at 11:16 am

Posted by Family Friendly, a resident of Evergreen Park

>> It's just a misdemeanor anyway, and would be expunged from their records when they reach majority. A discussion between their parents and a juvenile court judge, with a little community service time, could quickly set things right.

While it is true that felony convictions are very serious and usually have lifetime consequences, including being legally excluded permanently from certain professions, de facto excluded from many middle-class jobs, assisted housing, etc, etc., you are incorrect in using the phrase "just a misdemeanor". Misdemeanor -arrests- of certain kinds can prevent entrance into Canada, (and the U.S. !) for example, as well as making it difficult to get a decent job. Not to mention thousands of dollars in legal costs, fines, and of course jail time. I don't know how people got the idea that misdemeanors are no big deal, but, that is incorrect.

It is true that -sometimes- a shoplifting conviction of a juvenile will be "sealed", but, it still can have consequences, depending, and, in any case, you can't count on it.

Some students may find the protection offered by "in loco parentis" to be a bit stifling, but, a criminal record can be stifling for life. I don't want to see students get tagged with criminal records for life for petty offenses. I don't see an alternative to the schools being involved, because the alternative is law enforcement.



2 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Nov 22, 2019 at 10:57 am

There will always be high school students, college students and adults who shoplift. From all walks of life. Get real.


Like this comment
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Nov 23, 2019 at 10:30 am

I would like to begin with this: I am a Paly student, and I have never shoplifted in my life. The same can be said of most of the students at Paly, and this rule is a clear sign of age discrimination. I will not deny that a few students at Paly have likely shoplifted from CVS, but I think it is entirely likely that adults have done so as well. The majority of CVS’s customers are students from Paly, particularly during lunch, and a certain percentage of customers at any store have ill intent. That is no excuse to group all students into the same category and label us as thieves.
Second of all, @All you have to do, I have one question for you: do you have any evidence that any of those extreme and sometimes anti-democratic policies will work? I’d caution you to think about what you would do if each and every one of those was applied to you. I should not have to say this, but teenagers are people, and we deserve the same rights as anyone else.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 23, 2019 at 11:15 am

Posted by Anonymous, a resident of Palo Alto High School

>> I will not deny that a few students at Paly have likely shoplifted from CVS, but I think it is entirely likely that adults have done so as well. The majority of CVS’s customers are students from Paly, particularly during lunch, and a certain percentage of customers at any store have ill intent.

I'm wondering whether you would support involvement by the Paly administration in cooperating with law enforcement, and, with local merchants, in redirecting those students who do shoplift?


6 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Nov 23, 2019 at 5:52 pm

I've never shoplifted myself, and I attended Palo Alto High a long time ago. But teenagers are huge shoplifters. I've read through the years that 76% of teens admit to shoplifting. And that's just those who are willing to admit it. I wouldn't think it would be that high, but 76% is a large majority of teens. Shoplifting for teens is a rebellious act, and teenagers are rebellious by nature. Thankfully, not all of them steal.


8 people like this
Posted by Family Friendly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 24, 2019 at 9:50 am

I grew up in a much rougher neighborhood than Palo Alto. A kid was actually killed in my high school because of Mexican gang rivalry. Even so, there’s no way “76%” of the students shoplifted. It was always a minority of students who were the criminal element.


2 people like this
Posted by Doing The Right Thing
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 24, 2019 at 12:20 pm

Curious...what are the primary items of theft amongst these youngsters?


2 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2019 at 3:41 pm

Family Friendly, I was surprised by 76% myself. I would've guessed closer to 15-20%. Unless you're shoplifting yourself, or busting shoplifters daily - you're clueless. My sister worked retail in Palo Alto in the 70s, and they busted shoplifters every day, all day long. Some of these kids were rich kids.

Most people who shoplift don't "need to steal" they WANT TO STEAL. There's a difference.

Teenage shoplifters aren't the "criminal element." They're rebellious kids looking to get away with something. More serious crimes, especially felonies ARE the criminal element. Including Mexican gangs.

I remember my sister telling me the average teenage female shoplifter stole "Maybelline mascara or lipstick" which was valued at less than two dollars. Hardly the criminal element. Males were more likely to steal more valuable items. There's a shock.


6 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Nov 24, 2019 at 7:27 pm

SHOPLIFTERS ANONYMOUS

Shoplifting among teens is up 67 percent from 10 years ago.

12 percent of teenage shoplifters admit that they steal at least once a week.

33 percent of teenage shoplifters say it is difficult to stop even after being caught.

66 percent of teenage shoplifters say they hang out with others who also shoplift.

One of five adult shoplifters admits shoplifting when they were teens.

Obviously, teenage shoplifters (and shoplifters in general) are a big problem, and it's getting WORSE.


2 people like this
Posted by Carol Scheufele
a resident of another community
on Dec 8, 2019 at 11:12 am

To this day I still remember being closely followed around a small gift shop as a teenager were I grew up in San Juan Capistrano. I must have looked the profile, but my parents taught me not to steal. What they did not teach me & I wish they had was to avoid close relationships with those that do steal, because they can end up stealing your valuable time.


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields


All your news. All in one place. Every day.

Su Hong 2.0? Former waiter reopens Chinese standby under new name in Palo Alto
By Elena Kadvany | 9 comments | 5,565 views

What gives you hope?
By Sherry Listgarten | 6 comments | 2,288 views

Living as Roommates? Not Having Much Sex?
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 2,264 views

Expert witnesses are more than experts. Plus my 7 fundamental impeachment questions
By Douglas Moran | 30 comments | 2,229 views

Holiday Traditions
By Cheryl Bac | 2 comments | 672 views

 

The holidays are here!

From live music to a visit with Santa, here's a look at some local holiday activities to help you get into the spirit of the season.

VIEW