At one Palo Alto school, long troubled by sexual misconduct, a new student advocacy group is born | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

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At one Palo Alto school, long troubled by sexual misconduct, a new student advocacy group is born

Original post made on Feb 7, 2020

A group of Palo Alto High students is working to educate their peers about sexual assault, consent and relationships -- education they say is still very much needed at their school.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 7, 2020, 8:32 AM

Comments (19)

22 people like this
Posted by Scotty
a resident of Green Acres
on Feb 7, 2020 at 9:18 am

Based on the headline alone, thought this would be about Stanford, not Paly.


29 people like this
Posted by Sally
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 7, 2020 at 9:49 am

It's terrific to see young women taking the lead in changing the norms of their peer-space, knowing their rights, and supporting each other.

I am curious what channels exist for challenging administration malpractice (or accusations thereof) in handling these issues. I know (to put it mildly) that this has been a difficult issue for PAUSD in the past. Any information is welcome!


14 people like this
Posted by A He-She Speaks
a resident of another community
on Feb 7, 2020 at 9:51 am

This is a very serious concern & issue that will continually need to be addressed as society recognizes more individuals of gender diversities.

Keep in mind that 'recognize' is not synonymous with 'acceptance' so assaults & bullying will always remain on the horizon for some.

As a 'he-she' I am often very frightened at times...especially if some guy turns on me because I happen to be a pre-transexual male.


22 people like this
Posted by Don't do anything extra
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 7, 2020 at 11:06 am

Addressing the extreme peer pressure from district administrators and also from other parents and other students to silence speaking up about incidents and harassment -----might be a good topic. What about addressing how a student publication repeatedly published a claim that an alleged Paly sexual assault incident was 'consensual' without providing any verification of that, apparently relying on the word of an administrator likely trying to save her job, while refusing to publish the public statements of the victim contradicting that claim? What about addressing other examples in the past of administrators and advisers using student publications to help the district cover up its mishandling and misconduct? Check the articles in student publications around Paly principal Phil Winston's departure, for example, when he actually departed Paly and PAUSD due to his sexual harassing conduct.


18 people like this
Posted by Don't do anything extra
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 7, 2020 at 11:55 am

Hey, what about the new HS principals? Maybe the RISE students could consider suggesting that candidates shouldn't be considered for HS principal if they couldn't follow Title IX/UCP/anti-discrimination laws affecting students, like Laurence and Paulson couldnt. Or that candidates shouldn't be considered if they couldn't follow other laws affecting students either.


20 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 7, 2020 at 1:48 pm

It's good to see the students get involved. The adults in the district are more concerned with optics rather than progress. The students actually know what is going on at the campuses. The board and the district just listen to their yes-men and believe the overly positive spin on the horrible situation.


21 people like this
Posted by Samuel L.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 7, 2020 at 1:54 pm

@Don't do anything extra - Exactly! Neither of them should have been promoted. I would actually say that no one within the district should be given either principal position. I find it hard to believe that there's anyone in the district that was unaware of what was being hidden and buried. Teachers knew about the assaults, as did principals, assistant principals, etc... They've all be trained to stay quiet and let the lawyers figure it out.


9 people like this
Posted by Need Prevention (Education)
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 7, 2020 at 2:32 pm

Hard to believe how neglected this issue is locally. Time to speak up!
Why can't a teacher or principal call in an accused student and have an *informal* discussion. No need for lawyers and administrative flutter at this early point. No need for records being kept, except by the principal, privately.
Bad behavior can often be avoided by early intervention.
Otherwise known as teaching.

And how about some meetings for boys only, to enlighten them to teach them civilized behavior.


6 people like this
Posted by Another He-She
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 7, 2020 at 3:18 pm

> As a 'he-she' I am often very frightened at times...especially if some guy turns on me because I happen to be a pre-transexual male.

It would be potentially even worse to be a he-she residing in a 'red state' where there is minimal tolerance or acceptance of gender diversity...it's bad enough in the SF Bay Area.

Excessive alcohol consumption + male lust + eventual anger (or ostracization by peers) often contributes to many of these gender mistaken crimes.

I am scared but proud of who I am!


13 people like this
Posted by R2
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 7, 2020 at 8:16 pm

How about the students who falsely claim harassment by others?
It is out of control.


5 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Feb 8, 2020 at 8:17 am

First project. What happens after the report. How to document and how to sue abusers safely.


13 people like this
Posted by Independent
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Feb 8, 2020 at 8:25 am

@Need Prevention - because there are laws that dictate what must happen if sexually misconduct is alleged at school, that's why.

If a teacher sexually harasses a student, that's just a private conversation? No, I don't think so.


31 people like this
Posted by Survivor
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 8, 2020 at 11:44 am

From personal experience, I can say that Paly has a culture that enables sexual violence. I am a survivor of sexual assault during my time at the school. I am proud of these young people for the work they are doing. You give me hope!


12 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Never report to school employees. Call a lawyer first and have representation. Staff can not be trusted with your privacy. There are outside advocacy groups. Victim assistance at Santa Clara county can get help.


11 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2020 at 12:41 pm

408 280-2416. lACY legal help for youths up to 21 . They can call themselves for devices and get representation. Would love to see an article on experiences here. Many kids do not know their rights and they should . They should have representation because so many adults are complicit.


9 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Feb 9, 2020 at 12:42 pm

408 280-2416. lACY legal help for youths up to 21 . Advice not deviices


3 people like this
Posted by Nick
a resident of another community
on Feb 11, 2020 at 3:12 pm

I attended Paly back in the day. Between Stanford and Paly, what the hell is going on in Palo Alto?


3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous1
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2020 at 5:45 am

At paly, the staff has no cohesiveness. Teachers are autonomous by subject area and each other. The leadership has no physical presence and no idea what goes on in each classroom because their model is to sit in an office and write down what staff says they are doing without ever looking. Parents are ignored and if they speak up their kids suffer retaliation. The admin does not know their students or have an interest in individuals. The campus is open and the admin still has never figured out how to take roll for safety drills and allows kids with Preps to walk off campus when alarms are sounded. This long standing climate makes it easier for anonymity first and also fear of no support when reporting. Thinking the best of and assuming they are not doing anything is easy, but also sometimes not really good for the kids that need supervision.


1 person likes this
Posted by parent
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Mar 14, 2020 at 9:08 pm

"Aalami also made a pamphlet for her classmates that laid out how to report sexual harassment or assault — a process she didn't understand before her class project.

"Students said, 'I don't know how to file a report,' even after all these initiatives, which is kind of problematic," she said."

Regarding the above 2 statements from the article: It is obvious that PAUSD/Paly administrators DO NOT WANT the students to know how to report sexual harassment. They don't want a paper trail of how often it occurs. They don't want to investigate or decide what to do in each case. Keep those blinders on!


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