Monday Briefs

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Setting the facts straight about lawsuit against school district

There seems to be a great deal of misconceptions around the community dealing with the issue of a lawsuit filed against the School District by Mr. Guy Fischer because of the alleged failure by the district to deal with issues pertaining to the harassment of his son.

We discussed this briefly last week, but again in yesterday’s Davis Enterprise, Richard Hogan of Davis writes, “This lawsuit will have a direct impact on my purse. With a child attending school in the Davis school district, I will be required to compensate for the loss in funding…. I will pay in the end.”

The suggestion has been made that the district would pay out potentially the $100,000 that Mr. Fischer is suing for plus lawyer fees and that this would take money from the school district’s budget that would otherwise go for learning and education. While I am still trying to get a hold of the school district (I think they are out for the winter break, so this may have to wait until January), my understanding is that most government agencies have an insurance pool for such cases. A number of entities will buy into the pool for insurance against such lawsuits. They may have to pay a deductible. However, the bulk of the costs are paid by the insurance pool and not directly from educational funds. So the direct effect of this lawsuit on Mr. Hogan’s child’s education is not going to be noticeable.

Mr. Hogan then closes his letter with: “This is what happens in a sue-happy world. Enough already!”

We all hate frivolous lawsuits, but with all due respect to Mr. Hogan and his opinions—how dare he judge the merits of Mr. Fischer’s case on the basis of a single article in a newspaper? We have a legal process where the facts will come out and a jury after hearing those facts will determine if Mr. Fischer and his son have been wronged and if they are entitled to compensation for their wrongs.

As suggested in last week’s blog, if people are so concerned about the district having to pay out money in lawsuits, perhaps they ought to take action and put pressure on the district to be more responsive when situations like these arise.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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48 thoughts on “Monday Briefs”

  1. Doug Paul Davis

    Yes. The city has a very similar arrangement. They are in a pool with a number of other cities. It is both a good and bad thing. The good news is that this will not take valuable resources from other priorities. The bad news is that unless there is a pattern and premiums go up or fellow cities start to object it is more difficult to force the city to make substantive changes if they are not facing punitive damages that actually hurt in terms of budgetary priorities.

  2. Doug Paul Davis

    Yes. The city has a very similar arrangement. They are in a pool with a number of other cities. It is both a good and bad thing. The good news is that this will not take valuable resources from other priorities. The bad news is that unless there is a pattern and premiums go up or fellow cities start to object it is more difficult to force the city to make substantive changes if they are not facing punitive damages that actually hurt in terms of budgetary priorities.

  3. Doug Paul Davis

    Yes. The city has a very similar arrangement. They are in a pool with a number of other cities. It is both a good and bad thing. The good news is that this will not take valuable resources from other priorities. The bad news is that unless there is a pattern and premiums go up or fellow cities start to object it is more difficult to force the city to make substantive changes if they are not facing punitive damages that actually hurt in terms of budgetary priorities.

  4. Doug Paul Davis

    Yes. The city has a very similar arrangement. They are in a pool with a number of other cities. It is both a good and bad thing. The good news is that this will not take valuable resources from other priorities. The bad news is that unless there is a pattern and premiums go up or fellow cities start to object it is more difficult to force the city to make substantive changes if they are not facing punitive damages that actually hurt in terms of budgetary priorities.

  5. Doug Paul Davis

    The second incident involved the beating up of a kid that led to him requiring emergency care, so in that case merely conducting an investigation that was thorough would have done the trick.

    In the first case, merely punishing the students involved in quick and consistent manner. One the reasons the district is getting sued is when Zach returned to school, he was harassed again in front of teacher and the teacher did nothing.

    The district needs to step up here, simple disciplinary actions are all they really need to do.

  6. Doug Paul Davis

    The second incident involved the beating up of a kid that led to him requiring emergency care, so in that case merely conducting an investigation that was thorough would have done the trick.

    In the first case, merely punishing the students involved in quick and consistent manner. One the reasons the district is getting sued is when Zach returned to school, he was harassed again in front of teacher and the teacher did nothing.

    The district needs to step up here, simple disciplinary actions are all they really need to do.

  7. Doug Paul Davis

    The second incident involved the beating up of a kid that led to him requiring emergency care, so in that case merely conducting an investigation that was thorough would have done the trick.

    In the first case, merely punishing the students involved in quick and consistent manner. One the reasons the district is getting sued is when Zach returned to school, he was harassed again in front of teacher and the teacher did nothing.

    The district needs to step up here, simple disciplinary actions are all they really need to do.

  8. Doug Paul Davis

    The second incident involved the beating up of a kid that led to him requiring emergency care, so in that case merely conducting an investigation that was thorough would have done the trick.

    In the first case, merely punishing the students involved in quick and consistent manner. One the reasons the district is getting sued is when Zach returned to school, he was harassed again in front of teacher and the teacher did nothing.

    The district needs to step up here, simple disciplinary actions are all they really need to do.

  9. Anonymous

    Simple disciplinary actions. What happens when the parents of the alleged perpetrators sue the school district for penalizing their kids on the hearsay of a student? Evidently, there are some instances of blatant harassment but it seems like we’re getting close to bringing out the “thought police.” Is the next step to suspend the students who snicker or make remarks about another student’s hygiene problem or appearance? Yes, I’m stretching the point but you can be sure that students in Davis will find more covert and insidious ways to bother someone they don’t like. Meanwhile, school adminstrators and teachers can play detective.

  10. Anonymous

    Simple disciplinary actions. What happens when the parents of the alleged perpetrators sue the school district for penalizing their kids on the hearsay of a student? Evidently, there are some instances of blatant harassment but it seems like we’re getting close to bringing out the “thought police.” Is the next step to suspend the students who snicker or make remarks about another student’s hygiene problem or appearance? Yes, I’m stretching the point but you can be sure that students in Davis will find more covert and insidious ways to bother someone they don’t like. Meanwhile, school adminstrators and teachers can play detective.

  11. Anonymous

    Simple disciplinary actions. What happens when the parents of the alleged perpetrators sue the school district for penalizing their kids on the hearsay of a student? Evidently, there are some instances of blatant harassment but it seems like we’re getting close to bringing out the “thought police.” Is the next step to suspend the students who snicker or make remarks about another student’s hygiene problem or appearance? Yes, I’m stretching the point but you can be sure that students in Davis will find more covert and insidious ways to bother someone they don’t like. Meanwhile, school adminstrators and teachers can play detective.

  12. Anonymous

    Simple disciplinary actions. What happens when the parents of the alleged perpetrators sue the school district for penalizing their kids on the hearsay of a student? Evidently, there are some instances of blatant harassment but it seems like we’re getting close to bringing out the “thought police.” Is the next step to suspend the students who snicker or make remarks about another student’s hygiene problem or appearance? Yes, I’m stretching the point but you can be sure that students in Davis will find more covert and insidious ways to bother someone they don’t like. Meanwhile, school adminstrators and teachers can play detective.

  13. Doug Paul Davis

    Students find more covert ways to beat each other up as well, does not mean that you cede them that right. And it doesn’t mean you fail to enforce the rules when you do catch them.

  14. Doug Paul Davis

    Students find more covert ways to beat each other up as well, does not mean that you cede them that right. And it doesn’t mean you fail to enforce the rules when you do catch them.

  15. Doug Paul Davis

    Students find more covert ways to beat each other up as well, does not mean that you cede them that right. And it doesn’t mean you fail to enforce the rules when you do catch them.

  16. Doug Paul Davis

    Students find more covert ways to beat each other up as well, does not mean that you cede them that right. And it doesn’t mean you fail to enforce the rules when you do catch them.

  17. Anonymous

    Remember the kid at a college calling some black girls(oops, womyn) “water buffaloes” and the furor that caused? That is where we’re headed.

    What rules? You can’t say “gay?” You can’t use a euphemism for “gay?” You can’t bring up anything smacking of sexuality with this particular individual?

    Do you think the authorities can just suspend a kid because another says he or she was harassed? I
    have taught in area middle schools and sometimes I have some truly nasty little kids. I have found (surprise)that they often have nasty parents and I am left defending my own actions in bringing a transgression to light. I stil recall being grilled by a Davis principal because 2 boys in the back of the room had made inappropriate remarks to a girl who sat next to them. I didn’t know this had happened until the principal told me. The principal seemed to think I was privy to any and every side conversation that ever took place in my class of 30 students (no wonder she didn’t last in the clasroom).

    As much as I concede that this issue goes beyond cruel epithets, I believe that instituting preventative policies will go only so far and come with their own costs.

    Chances are, the district will pay lots of lip service to this or that committee, training or penal code and it will never be enough for the people that it is supposed to protect; especially since we live in a time and place where the rights of the individual are at a premium.

    “You say my son called your son —- . Well your son started it by taking his pencil last week…”

    Now the teacher can sit there for the next 15 minutes weighing each version of the conflict. Fine. Now let’s call in the parents and spend another half hour or so.

    “Oh. So Johny called him an A-hole and that was when Jimmy brought up the gay thing.”

    “Why is it that Jimmy is suspended for a week while Johny gets a slap on the wrist for his part?” complains Jimmy’s mother.

    “Well… Jimmy’s behavior is categorized as a hate crime while Johny’s isn’t.”

    “Well here’s a signed petition from all the kids who say Johny has bothered them. What are you going to do about it?”

    That is what this will come down to eventually. Then you will have some kids abusing the power that comes with this and the ones on the other side will find ways to get around the codes.

  18. Anonymous

    Remember the kid at a college calling some black girls(oops, womyn) “water buffaloes” and the furor that caused? That is where we’re headed.

    What rules? You can’t say “gay?” You can’t use a euphemism for “gay?” You can’t bring up anything smacking of sexuality with this particular individual?

    Do you think the authorities can just suspend a kid because another says he or she was harassed? I
    have taught in area middle schools and sometimes I have some truly nasty little kids. I have found (surprise)that they often have nasty parents and I am left defending my own actions in bringing a transgression to light. I stil recall being grilled by a Davis principal because 2 boys in the back of the room had made inappropriate remarks to a girl who sat next to them. I didn’t know this had happened until the principal told me. The principal seemed to think I was privy to any and every side conversation that ever took place in my class of 30 students (no wonder she didn’t last in the clasroom).

    As much as I concede that this issue goes beyond cruel epithets, I believe that instituting preventative policies will go only so far and come with their own costs.

    Chances are, the district will pay lots of lip service to this or that committee, training or penal code and it will never be enough for the people that it is supposed to protect; especially since we live in a time and place where the rights of the individual are at a premium.

    “You say my son called your son —- . Well your son started it by taking his pencil last week…”

    Now the teacher can sit there for the next 15 minutes weighing each version of the conflict. Fine. Now let’s call in the parents and spend another half hour or so.

    “Oh. So Johny called him an A-hole and that was when Jimmy brought up the gay thing.”

    “Why is it that Jimmy is suspended for a week while Johny gets a slap on the wrist for his part?” complains Jimmy’s mother.

    “Well… Jimmy’s behavior is categorized as a hate crime while Johny’s isn’t.”

    “Well here’s a signed petition from all the kids who say Johny has bothered them. What are you going to do about it?”

    That is what this will come down to eventually. Then you will have some kids abusing the power that comes with this and the ones on the other side will find ways to get around the codes.

  19. Anonymous

    Remember the kid at a college calling some black girls(oops, womyn) “water buffaloes” and the furor that caused? That is where we’re headed.

    What rules? You can’t say “gay?” You can’t use a euphemism for “gay?” You can’t bring up anything smacking of sexuality with this particular individual?

    Do you think the authorities can just suspend a kid because another says he or she was harassed? I
    have taught in area middle schools and sometimes I have some truly nasty little kids. I have found (surprise)that they often have nasty parents and I am left defending my own actions in bringing a transgression to light. I stil recall being grilled by a Davis principal because 2 boys in the back of the room had made inappropriate remarks to a girl who sat next to them. I didn’t know this had happened until the principal told me. The principal seemed to think I was privy to any and every side conversation that ever took place in my class of 30 students (no wonder she didn’t last in the clasroom).

    As much as I concede that this issue goes beyond cruel epithets, I believe that instituting preventative policies will go only so far and come with their own costs.

    Chances are, the district will pay lots of lip service to this or that committee, training or penal code and it will never be enough for the people that it is supposed to protect; especially since we live in a time and place where the rights of the individual are at a premium.

    “You say my son called your son —- . Well your son started it by taking his pencil last week…”

    Now the teacher can sit there for the next 15 minutes weighing each version of the conflict. Fine. Now let’s call in the parents and spend another half hour or so.

    “Oh. So Johny called him an A-hole and that was when Jimmy brought up the gay thing.”

    “Why is it that Jimmy is suspended for a week while Johny gets a slap on the wrist for his part?” complains Jimmy’s mother.

    “Well… Jimmy’s behavior is categorized as a hate crime while Johny’s isn’t.”

    “Well here’s a signed petition from all the kids who say Johny has bothered them. What are you going to do about it?”

    That is what this will come down to eventually. Then you will have some kids abusing the power that comes with this and the ones on the other side will find ways to get around the codes.

  20. Anonymous

    Remember the kid at a college calling some black girls(oops, womyn) “water buffaloes” and the furor that caused? That is where we’re headed.

    What rules? You can’t say “gay?” You can’t use a euphemism for “gay?” You can’t bring up anything smacking of sexuality with this particular individual?

    Do you think the authorities can just suspend a kid because another says he or she was harassed? I
    have taught in area middle schools and sometimes I have some truly nasty little kids. I have found (surprise)that they often have nasty parents and I am left defending my own actions in bringing a transgression to light. I stil recall being grilled by a Davis principal because 2 boys in the back of the room had made inappropriate remarks to a girl who sat next to them. I didn’t know this had happened until the principal told me. The principal seemed to think I was privy to any and every side conversation that ever took place in my class of 30 students (no wonder she didn’t last in the clasroom).

    As much as I concede that this issue goes beyond cruel epithets, I believe that instituting preventative policies will go only so far and come with their own costs.

    Chances are, the district will pay lots of lip service to this or that committee, training or penal code and it will never be enough for the people that it is supposed to protect; especially since we live in a time and place where the rights of the individual are at a premium.

    “You say my son called your son —- . Well your son started it by taking his pencil last week…”

    Now the teacher can sit there for the next 15 minutes weighing each version of the conflict. Fine. Now let’s call in the parents and spend another half hour or so.

    “Oh. So Johny called him an A-hole and that was when Jimmy brought up the gay thing.”

    “Why is it that Jimmy is suspended for a week while Johny gets a slap on the wrist for his part?” complains Jimmy’s mother.

    “Well… Jimmy’s behavior is categorized as a hate crime while Johny’s isn’t.”

    “Well here’s a signed petition from all the kids who say Johny has bothered them. What are you going to do about it?”

    That is what this will come down to eventually. Then you will have some kids abusing the power that comes with this and the ones on the other side will find ways to get around the codes.

  21. Doug Paul Davis

    I understand your point, but this is not a case that is pushing the limits. This is a case–actually both of them–that involve serious and repeated harassments, with witnesses, that went beyond name calling.

    I agree with you about the exact danger that you describe, but this is not such a case. The Principal and school district both acknowledged these were very serious incidents–that was the first word out of his mouth in November at the HRC meeting.

    As Mr. Fischer told me, the teachers who had control of their classes did not have these problems, it was only during the classes where the teacher was not in control that incidents occurred.

  22. Doug Paul Davis

    I understand your point, but this is not a case that is pushing the limits. This is a case–actually both of them–that involve serious and repeated harassments, with witnesses, that went beyond name calling.

    I agree with you about the exact danger that you describe, but this is not such a case. The Principal and school district both acknowledged these were very serious incidents–that was the first word out of his mouth in November at the HRC meeting.

    As Mr. Fischer told me, the teachers who had control of their classes did not have these problems, it was only during the classes where the teacher was not in control that incidents occurred.

  23. Doug Paul Davis

    I understand your point, but this is not a case that is pushing the limits. This is a case–actually both of them–that involve serious and repeated harassments, with witnesses, that went beyond name calling.

    I agree with you about the exact danger that you describe, but this is not such a case. The Principal and school district both acknowledged these were very serious incidents–that was the first word out of his mouth in November at the HRC meeting.

    As Mr. Fischer told me, the teachers who had control of their classes did not have these problems, it was only during the classes where the teacher was not in control that incidents occurred.

  24. Doug Paul Davis

    I understand your point, but this is not a case that is pushing the limits. This is a case–actually both of them–that involve serious and repeated harassments, with witnesses, that went beyond name calling.

    I agree with you about the exact danger that you describe, but this is not such a case. The Principal and school district both acknowledged these were very serious incidents–that was the first word out of his mouth in November at the HRC meeting.

    As Mr. Fischer told me, the teachers who had control of their classes did not have these problems, it was only during the classes where the teacher was not in control that incidents occurred.

  25. Anonymous

    Thanks. I hope for the best. I don’t like to see anyone suffer. I was privy to some info from the side of the school that painted a different picture, or maybe just a differnt side of the elephant.

  26. Anonymous

    Thanks. I hope for the best. I don’t like to see anyone suffer. I was privy to some info from the side of the school that painted a different picture, or maybe just a differnt side of the elephant.

  27. Anonymous

    Thanks. I hope for the best. I don’t like to see anyone suffer. I was privy to some info from the side of the school that painted a different picture, or maybe just a differnt side of the elephant.

  28. Anonymous

    Thanks. I hope for the best. I don’t like to see anyone suffer. I was privy to some info from the side of the school that painted a different picture, or maybe just a differnt side of the elephant.

  29. Doug Paul Davis

    That kind of gibes with what I’ve been hearing that the school district is smearing the family. I hope that is not the case, but it is what I’m hearing. I don’t think that serves anyone’s interest. I want Zach to be able to return to school and I hope that the school district will be willing to settle. From all appearances that seems less and less likely.

  30. Doug Paul Davis

    That kind of gibes with what I’ve been hearing that the school district is smearing the family. I hope that is not the case, but it is what I’m hearing. I don’t think that serves anyone’s interest. I want Zach to be able to return to school and I hope that the school district will be willing to settle. From all appearances that seems less and less likely.

  31. Doug Paul Davis

    That kind of gibes with what I’ve been hearing that the school district is smearing the family. I hope that is not the case, but it is what I’m hearing. I don’t think that serves anyone’s interest. I want Zach to be able to return to school and I hope that the school district will be willing to settle. From all appearances that seems less and less likely.

  32. Doug Paul Davis

    That kind of gibes with what I’ve been hearing that the school district is smearing the family. I hope that is not the case, but it is what I’m hearing. I don’t think that serves anyone’s interest. I want Zach to be able to return to school and I hope that the school district will be willing to settle. From all appearances that seems less and less likely.

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