Commentary: Incident Represents the Latest in a String

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To be honest, I do not even know where or when to start with this, but to be very frank, everyone should be very concerned at this point with the Davis Joint Unified School District. Last summer the Davis Human Relations Commission was disbanded for a number of reasons, most of which had to do with the mishandling of a case involving a 16-year-old Davis High School student of Muslim heritage. And I think if you pin down those involved in the situation from the police to the city council, at some point all will admit that they did not handle it as they should have. What should have been a minor incident became a major incident that eventually led to a city manager, police chief, and a city commission all being fired in one sense or another.

What does this have to do with the Davis Joint Unified School District? Bear with me on that for a moment. The Davis Human Relations Commission had the authorization according to the Anti-Discrimination ordinance to “investigate and mediate” any alleged violations of the anti-discrimination ordinance. However since the body was placed on hiatus, the body has largely been a ceremonial body–hosting a few community events, but taking no part in the more formal functions it once served.

Therefore, in each of the incidents that have occurred, there has been no body sanctioned by the city that could act on the behest of aggrieved or allegedly aggrieved parties.

In November, we discovered that a Harper Junior High School student had been harassed by his peers because of his fathers’ (plural), sexual orientation. The concerning aspect of this is that the initial response at the administrative level was completely inadequate. The Principal in this case was much too lenient initially which created a safety issue and turned a small incident or string of incidents into a situation where the student would be unable to return to school and the school district is being sued, now not by one student, but by two students. The school board did eventually and fairly quickly step up and make strong changes to the discipline policy, but by that point, the damage was done. Could a body like the HRC have stepped in and prevented this case from going into the legal system? Hard to know, but that was one of the reasons it was established to begin with.

On March 1, 2007, the Davis High School principal suspended the Black Student Union at the Davis High School. A huge rift had developed in the group following the resignation of the popular club adviser Courtenay Tessler. Tessler’s resignation was due to internal tensions in the group, mainly with some of the parents. Those tensions blew up in the wake of Tessler’s resignation and a subsequent meeting that created a power struggle that devolved into “rude and disrespectful behavior” according to Ginni Davis, the association superintendent of the Davis Joint Unified School District. Climate Coordinator Mel Lewis was temporarily named as adviser following Tessler’s resignation, but that moved served to just further fuel the flames, part of which seems to centered over a rift between black immigrants versus US born African Americans.

Aside from the fraternal nature of this incident, there are two key issues. First, that there are around 60 African American students but no African American teachers at the school. Second, and related, the BSU had served as a group vital to the student in terms of support, community, and solidarity, and now that outlet is gone. That vehicle has at least temporarily been disbanded to create a “cooling-off” period, however, this has not prevented the tensions from continuing as the students marched in the streets and have held a serious of meetings to attempt to rectify the situation and force the school district to reconsider their policy.

At around the same time, the school district led strongly by an appointed task force, made the determination to close down the most heavily minority and section 8 school in the district. The closing of Valley Oak Elementary school has been covered extensively here. While in none of these incidents would I suggest that racism played a role in the handling of the situation, I would suggest that the handling of each of these was poor. I would also suggest that in the case of Valley Oak, that the fact that this particular school was slated to be closed may have to do with some political situations. There may have been a thought that it would be easier and less controversial to close Valley Oak as opposed to say North Davis Elementary or Cesar Chavez Elementary.

Regardless of intention, the effect I believe will be to put disadvantaged kids at a greater disadvantage. The sad thing was that this was a successful school. I am of the belief that you do not close down successful schools, you find ways to fund them. Already, I am hearing that the proposed closing is having a huge impact on enrollment and parental activities. Moreover, now the parents at Valley Oak Elementary and deciding how to proceed and one option that they are considering is a charter school–which would be a very risky and difficult venture, at best. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a great option, even the one available, the parcel tax, will be exceedingly difficult to pass.

That leads us to the most recent incident involving a Davis High School student, apparently asked to take down a poster of Malcolm X because it contained the phrase, “by any means necessary.” The teacher then explained to the student in front of class why the poster was inappropriate. She mentioned a “terrorist” message–which is ludicrous. The student then was asked to give a speech before an assembly, he sent the organizers two speeches, they picked the one that he gave and was told not to mention the teacher, the teacher left the assembly in tears, and the student was suspended for three days. Now the teacher has informed the family that the student is not wanted back in class.

From what I have seen this situation was completely mishandled. There is no way I can see to justify a three day suspension (which carries with it permanent repercussions to the student’s academic future) for an incident like this. There is no way that this situation should have been handled as this one was. This once again seems to be a failure of the administration to properly handle a tough situation.

The school board despite some controversy did the right thing when they “fired” Superintendent David Murphy in early March. However, what appears to be in order is a thorough house cleaning of many of the administrators that were hired under his tenure. Each of these situations except for the Valley Oak one, stem from an initial mishandling of a situation by a site administrator. In some cases an overreaction and in another an underreaction.

The initial mishandling set the tone for future interactions and the sad fact is that somehow the district has been unable to extricate itself from the problem once the initial incident was mishandled. Will that continue in the latest case? Will this end up being another lawsuit and drawn out incident? Too early to tell, but the district needs to take the initiative early on in this case and prevent it from being an ugly legal battle. There should be room from compromise and room to work out an acceptable arrangement, but the trajectory on this latest incident does not appear headed in that situation.

At some point the board needs to step in early and prevent this from becoming a lawsuit and from harming a promising student’s academic future. It is very important that they act soon. In the meantime, we have to all ask ourselves why these situations continue to occur in our community. At the recent Caesar Chavez event a couple of city officials asked me point blank why there were so few (no) minorities in attendance? The same was true at the MLK day event. It is a simple answer to unfortunately a very serious question. Meanwhile just last week, the Davis City Council took another step toward re-writing the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance. And people wonder why so few minorities attended events that used to be the most diversely attended events in the city.

People will accuse me, as they often do, of exaggerating this stuff even as more and more minorities tell me that they have to move out of Davis for the sake of their children and not wanting them to grow up in an environment of what they perceive to be intolerance but worse than that, indifference by the majority of the people to what is actually going on. I fear that this situation is about to come to a head. I would hope that those leaders in this community would be able to step in and prevent it before it reaches a boiling point.

—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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96 thoughts on “Commentary: Incident Represents the Latest in a String”

  1. Anonymous

    Our dinner table discussion thought that the US Supreme Court had addressed this issue in the past and decided that HS school administrations had virtually “carte blanche” with regard to cause for suspension. It is different for school administrations beyond HS.
    Will we see this incident raised at the School Board public meeting?

  2. Anonymous

    Our dinner table discussion thought that the US Supreme Court had addressed this issue in the past and decided that HS school administrations had virtually “carte blanche” with regard to cause for suspension. It is different for school administrations beyond HS.
    Will we see this incident raised at the School Board public meeting?

  3. Anonymous

    Our dinner table discussion thought that the US Supreme Court had addressed this issue in the past and decided that HS school administrations had virtually “carte blanche” with regard to cause for suspension. It is different for school administrations beyond HS.
    Will we see this incident raised at the School Board public meeting?

  4. Anonymous

    Our dinner table discussion thought that the US Supreme Court had addressed this issue in the past and decided that HS school administrations had virtually “carte blanche” with regard to cause for suspension. It is different for school administrations beyond HS.
    Will we see this incident raised at the School Board public meeting?

  5. DHS teacher

    To set a little of the record straight, the teacher in question is not a member of the Social Studies Department.

    Please do not make assumptions without knowing all of the facts.

    The mistake was made by a young teacher who made an error in judgement. It was not an act of malice, but an act of ignorance. While I do not excuse ignorance in education, I wish that bloggers would resist the temptation to call for this teacher’s head.

    The true mistakes made were made by the DHS Administration in their handling of the situation. Rather than a suspension, a sit-down meeting with all parties involved could have been much more productive and useful.

    The teacher-in-question could be asked to explain her thinking in removing the poster, the student could express his thoughts and concerns, and a mediator could help both parties work through the situation. Given that the subject is out of this teacher’s expertise focus, it could be shared with her that “By any means necessary” is not a terrorist cry. She could be given more information regarding Malcolm X and his message. Similary, it could be explained to the student why using this personal example in a public speech might be hurtful and harmful to his teacher.

    Communication and dialogue, not suspension.

  6. DHS teacher

    To set a little of the record straight, the teacher in question is not a member of the Social Studies Department.

    Please do not make assumptions without knowing all of the facts.

    The mistake was made by a young teacher who made an error in judgement. It was not an act of malice, but an act of ignorance. While I do not excuse ignorance in education, I wish that bloggers would resist the temptation to call for this teacher’s head.

    The true mistakes made were made by the DHS Administration in their handling of the situation. Rather than a suspension, a sit-down meeting with all parties involved could have been much more productive and useful.

    The teacher-in-question could be asked to explain her thinking in removing the poster, the student could express his thoughts and concerns, and a mediator could help both parties work through the situation. Given that the subject is out of this teacher’s expertise focus, it could be shared with her that “By any means necessary” is not a terrorist cry. She could be given more information regarding Malcolm X and his message. Similary, it could be explained to the student why using this personal example in a public speech might be hurtful and harmful to his teacher.

    Communication and dialogue, not suspension.

  7. DHS teacher

    To set a little of the record straight, the teacher in question is not a member of the Social Studies Department.

    Please do not make assumptions without knowing all of the facts.

    The mistake was made by a young teacher who made an error in judgement. It was not an act of malice, but an act of ignorance. While I do not excuse ignorance in education, I wish that bloggers would resist the temptation to call for this teacher’s head.

    The true mistakes made were made by the DHS Administration in their handling of the situation. Rather than a suspension, a sit-down meeting with all parties involved could have been much more productive and useful.

    The teacher-in-question could be asked to explain her thinking in removing the poster, the student could express his thoughts and concerns, and a mediator could help both parties work through the situation. Given that the subject is out of this teacher’s expertise focus, it could be shared with her that “By any means necessary” is not a terrorist cry. She could be given more information regarding Malcolm X and his message. Similary, it could be explained to the student why using this personal example in a public speech might be hurtful and harmful to his teacher.

    Communication and dialogue, not suspension.

  8. DHS teacher

    To set a little of the record straight, the teacher in question is not a member of the Social Studies Department.

    Please do not make assumptions without knowing all of the facts.

    The mistake was made by a young teacher who made an error in judgement. It was not an act of malice, but an act of ignorance. While I do not excuse ignorance in education, I wish that bloggers would resist the temptation to call for this teacher’s head.

    The true mistakes made were made by the DHS Administration in their handling of the situation. Rather than a suspension, a sit-down meeting with all parties involved could have been much more productive and useful.

    The teacher-in-question could be asked to explain her thinking in removing the poster, the student could express his thoughts and concerns, and a mediator could help both parties work through the situation. Given that the subject is out of this teacher’s expertise focus, it could be shared with her that “By any means necessary” is not a terrorist cry. She could be given more information regarding Malcolm X and his message. Similary, it could be explained to the student why using this personal example in a public speech might be hurtful and harmful to his teacher.

    Communication and dialogue, not suspension.

  9. Anonymous

    ooh, ooh, I know, I know!!!

    What they all have in common is that these things happen in friendly, tolerant communities all across the country all the time and have absolutely no significance, deeper meaning or evidence some dire plot. The only difference here is that a few painfully sensitive white people feel they must write endless diatribes about it…. lighten up francis.

  10. Anonymous

    ooh, ooh, I know, I know!!!

    What they all have in common is that these things happen in friendly, tolerant communities all across the country all the time and have absolutely no significance, deeper meaning or evidence some dire plot. The only difference here is that a few painfully sensitive white people feel they must write endless diatribes about it…. lighten up francis.

  11. Anonymous

    ooh, ooh, I know, I know!!!

    What they all have in common is that these things happen in friendly, tolerant communities all across the country all the time and have absolutely no significance, deeper meaning or evidence some dire plot. The only difference here is that a few painfully sensitive white people feel they must write endless diatribes about it…. lighten up francis.

  12. Anonymous

    ooh, ooh, I know, I know!!!

    What they all have in common is that these things happen in friendly, tolerant communities all across the country all the time and have absolutely no significance, deeper meaning or evidence some dire plot. The only difference here is that a few painfully sensitive white people feel they must write endless diatribes about it…. lighten up francis.

  13. Anonymous

    I urge everyone to let the telephone pollsters know that unless the school board recinds their plans to close Valley Oak Elementary and NOT place a second VO parcel tax on the ballot, that your vote will be NO on both parcel taxes along with a pledge to donate your parcel tax assessment amount to a VO charter school enterprise.

  14. Anonymous

    I urge everyone to let the telephone pollsters know that unless the school board recinds their plans to close Valley Oak Elementary and NOT place a second VO parcel tax on the ballot, that your vote will be NO on both parcel taxes along with a pledge to donate your parcel tax assessment amount to a VO charter school enterprise.

  15. Anonymous

    I urge everyone to let the telephone pollsters know that unless the school board recinds their plans to close Valley Oak Elementary and NOT place a second VO parcel tax on the ballot, that your vote will be NO on both parcel taxes along with a pledge to donate your parcel tax assessment amount to a VO charter school enterprise.

  16. Anonymous

    I urge everyone to let the telephone pollsters know that unless the school board recinds their plans to close Valley Oak Elementary and NOT place a second VO parcel tax on the ballot, that your vote will be NO on both parcel taxes along with a pledge to donate your parcel tax assessment amount to a VO charter school enterprise.

  17. Doug Paul Davis

    In response to the DHS teacher:

    First of all, I want to make it clear I am not calling for the teacher’s head. I agree that it was an error in judgment, I do not know if it was an error in malice. My only other concern here is that I have heard that this teacher has requested that the student not go back into her class, which I believe is a math class if I am not mistaken, which would put the student’s academic standing into jeopardy.

    I would also suggest that again, while I agree that the administration has messed this up and most of my missives have been directed towards that direction anyway, the situation does not seem to be resolving itself at this point in some sort amicable way.

    To so I appreciate the comments by the DHS Teacher, I have concerns about the teacher beyond the admitted poor judgment, but I also think and agree that the administration is the one that really messed this up, they should have handled the discipline better and they could have smoothed things over with the teacher rather than escalating things.

    Again, not calling for the teacher’s head. I want to be very clear on that.

  18. Doug Paul Davis

    In response to the DHS teacher:

    First of all, I want to make it clear I am not calling for the teacher’s head. I agree that it was an error in judgment, I do not know if it was an error in malice. My only other concern here is that I have heard that this teacher has requested that the student not go back into her class, which I believe is a math class if I am not mistaken, which would put the student’s academic standing into jeopardy.

    I would also suggest that again, while I agree that the administration has messed this up and most of my missives have been directed towards that direction anyway, the situation does not seem to be resolving itself at this point in some sort amicable way.

    To so I appreciate the comments by the DHS Teacher, I have concerns about the teacher beyond the admitted poor judgment, but I also think and agree that the administration is the one that really messed this up, they should have handled the discipline better and they could have smoothed things over with the teacher rather than escalating things.

    Again, not calling for the teacher’s head. I want to be very clear on that.

  19. Doug Paul Davis

    In response to the DHS teacher:

    First of all, I want to make it clear I am not calling for the teacher’s head. I agree that it was an error in judgment, I do not know if it was an error in malice. My only other concern here is that I have heard that this teacher has requested that the student not go back into her class, which I believe is a math class if I am not mistaken, which would put the student’s academic standing into jeopardy.

    I would also suggest that again, while I agree that the administration has messed this up and most of my missives have been directed towards that direction anyway, the situation does not seem to be resolving itself at this point in some sort amicable way.

    To so I appreciate the comments by the DHS Teacher, I have concerns about the teacher beyond the admitted poor judgment, but I also think and agree that the administration is the one that really messed this up, they should have handled the discipline better and they could have smoothed things over with the teacher rather than escalating things.

    Again, not calling for the teacher’s head. I want to be very clear on that.

  20. Doug Paul Davis

    In response to the DHS teacher:

    First of all, I want to make it clear I am not calling for the teacher’s head. I agree that it was an error in judgment, I do not know if it was an error in malice. My only other concern here is that I have heard that this teacher has requested that the student not go back into her class, which I believe is a math class if I am not mistaken, which would put the student’s academic standing into jeopardy.

    I would also suggest that again, while I agree that the administration has messed this up and most of my missives have been directed towards that direction anyway, the situation does not seem to be resolving itself at this point in some sort amicable way.

    To so I appreciate the comments by the DHS Teacher, I have concerns about the teacher beyond the admitted poor judgment, but I also think and agree that the administration is the one that really messed this up, they should have handled the discipline better and they could have smoothed things over with the teacher rather than escalating things.

    Again, not calling for the teacher’s head. I want to be very clear on that.

  21. Rich Rifkin

    “There is no way I can see to justify a three day suspension (which carries with it permanent repercussions to the student’s academic future) for an incident like this.”

    David,

    You may be right about the UC policy — I think you said that a student who was suspended for 3 days or more is not eligible for admission. However, I’ve looked at the UC admissions website and can find nothing that says anything remotely close to that. (It may still be a policy, but it’s just not on their website.)

    Further, I downloaded the application form, and nowhere on it — it’s a 10 page document — is there a question about suspensions from high school or any mention at all of punishments or any such thing.

    I’m wondering if maybe this idea that a student suspended for 3+ days cannot get into the UC system is more urban legend than substantiated fact?

  22. Rich Rifkin

    “There is no way I can see to justify a three day suspension (which carries with it permanent repercussions to the student’s academic future) for an incident like this.”

    David,

    You may be right about the UC policy — I think you said that a student who was suspended for 3 days or more is not eligible for admission. However, I’ve looked at the UC admissions website and can find nothing that says anything remotely close to that. (It may still be a policy, but it’s just not on their website.)

    Further, I downloaded the application form, and nowhere on it — it’s a 10 page document — is there a question about suspensions from high school or any mention at all of punishments or any such thing.

    I’m wondering if maybe this idea that a student suspended for 3+ days cannot get into the UC system is more urban legend than substantiated fact?

  23. Rich Rifkin

    “There is no way I can see to justify a three day suspension (which carries with it permanent repercussions to the student’s academic future) for an incident like this.”

    David,

    You may be right about the UC policy — I think you said that a student who was suspended for 3 days or more is not eligible for admission. However, I’ve looked at the UC admissions website and can find nothing that says anything remotely close to that. (It may still be a policy, but it’s just not on their website.)

    Further, I downloaded the application form, and nowhere on it — it’s a 10 page document — is there a question about suspensions from high school or any mention at all of punishments or any such thing.

    I’m wondering if maybe this idea that a student suspended for 3+ days cannot get into the UC system is more urban legend than substantiated fact?

  24. Rich Rifkin

    “There is no way I can see to justify a three day suspension (which carries with it permanent repercussions to the student’s academic future) for an incident like this.”

    David,

    You may be right about the UC policy — I think you said that a student who was suspended for 3 days or more is not eligible for admission. However, I’ve looked at the UC admissions website and can find nothing that says anything remotely close to that. (It may still be a policy, but it’s just not on their website.)

    Further, I downloaded the application form, and nowhere on it — it’s a 10 page document — is there a question about suspensions from high school or any mention at all of punishments or any such thing.

    I’m wondering if maybe this idea that a student suspended for 3+ days cannot get into the UC system is more urban legend than substantiated fact?

  25. Rich Rifkin

    “… your vote will be NO on both parcel taxes along with a pledge to donate your parcel tax assessment amount to a VO charter school enterprise.”

    What would that accomplish?

  26. Rich Rifkin

    “… your vote will be NO on both parcel taxes along with a pledge to donate your parcel tax assessment amount to a VO charter school enterprise.”

    What would that accomplish?

  27. Rich Rifkin

    “… your vote will be NO on both parcel taxes along with a pledge to donate your parcel tax assessment amount to a VO charter school enterprise.”

    What would that accomplish?

  28. Rich Rifkin

    “… your vote will be NO on both parcel taxes along with a pledge to donate your parcel tax assessment amount to a VO charter school enterprise.”

    What would that accomplish?

  29. Anonymous

    “The true mistakes made were made by the DHS Administration in their handling of the situation. Rather than a suspension, a sit-down meeting with all parties involved could have been much more productive and useful.”

    A sit down meeting sounds like a good idea and it is not too late to do that.SAH

  30. Anonymous

    “The true mistakes made were made by the DHS Administration in their handling of the situation. Rather than a suspension, a sit-down meeting with all parties involved could have been much more productive and useful.”

    A sit down meeting sounds like a good idea and it is not too late to do that.SAH

  31. Anonymous

    “The true mistakes made were made by the DHS Administration in their handling of the situation. Rather than a suspension, a sit-down meeting with all parties involved could have been much more productive and useful.”

    A sit down meeting sounds like a good idea and it is not too late to do that.SAH

  32. Anonymous

    “The true mistakes made were made by the DHS Administration in their handling of the situation. Rather than a suspension, a sit-down meeting with all parties involved could have been much more productive and useful.”

    A sit down meeting sounds like a good idea and it is not too late to do that.SAH

  33. Doug Paul Davis

    My understanding btw is that there were three sit down meetings between parent and staff and suddenly the vice principal unilaterally informed the family of the three day suspension.

  34. Doug Paul Davis

    My understanding btw is that there were three sit down meetings between parent and staff and suddenly the vice principal unilaterally informed the family of the three day suspension.

  35. Doug Paul Davis

    My understanding btw is that there were three sit down meetings between parent and staff and suddenly the vice principal unilaterally informed the family of the three day suspension.

  36. Doug Paul Davis

    My understanding btw is that there were three sit down meetings between parent and staff and suddenly the vice principal unilaterally informed the family of the three day suspension.

  37. Rich Rifkin

    “The teacher-in-question could be asked to explain her thinking in removing the poster, the student could express his thoughts and concerns, and a mediator could help both parties work through the situation.”

    dhs teacher,

    Was the poster made for this non-Social Studies teacher’s class? And if not, how or why was the teacher-in-question in a position to remove the poster-in-question?

    David Greenwald (“Doug Paul Davis”) says that the teacher-in-question teaches math. If that is right, I cannot understand why a math teacher would be assigning students to make such posters. And again, if this particular teacher had no part in the assignment, then I don’t see where she would have the authority to remove the poster in the first place? Maybe you can clear that up?

  38. Rich Rifkin

    “The teacher-in-question could be asked to explain her thinking in removing the poster, the student could express his thoughts and concerns, and a mediator could help both parties work through the situation.”

    dhs teacher,

    Was the poster made for this non-Social Studies teacher’s class? And if not, how or why was the teacher-in-question in a position to remove the poster-in-question?

    David Greenwald (“Doug Paul Davis”) says that the teacher-in-question teaches math. If that is right, I cannot understand why a math teacher would be assigning students to make such posters. And again, if this particular teacher had no part in the assignment, then I don’t see where she would have the authority to remove the poster in the first place? Maybe you can clear that up?

  39. Rich Rifkin

    “The teacher-in-question could be asked to explain her thinking in removing the poster, the student could express his thoughts and concerns, and a mediator could help both parties work through the situation.”

    dhs teacher,

    Was the poster made for this non-Social Studies teacher’s class? And if not, how or why was the teacher-in-question in a position to remove the poster-in-question?

    David Greenwald (“Doug Paul Davis”) says that the teacher-in-question teaches math. If that is right, I cannot understand why a math teacher would be assigning students to make such posters. And again, if this particular teacher had no part in the assignment, then I don’t see where she would have the authority to remove the poster in the first place? Maybe you can clear that up?

  40. Rich Rifkin

    “The teacher-in-question could be asked to explain her thinking in removing the poster, the student could express his thoughts and concerns, and a mediator could help both parties work through the situation.”

    dhs teacher,

    Was the poster made for this non-Social Studies teacher’s class? And if not, how or why was the teacher-in-question in a position to remove the poster-in-question?

    David Greenwald (“Doug Paul Davis”) says that the teacher-in-question teaches math. If that is right, I cannot understand why a math teacher would be assigning students to make such posters. And again, if this particular teacher had no part in the assignment, then I don’t see where she would have the authority to remove the poster in the first place? Maybe you can clear that up?

  41. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    Let’s be careful with what I said, I said I believe he has this teacher for math class, however, I’m not positive that the poster project was for math class.

  42. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    Let’s be careful with what I said, I said I believe he has this teacher for math class, however, I’m not positive that the poster project was for math class.

  43. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    Let’s be careful with what I said, I said I believe he has this teacher for math class, however, I’m not positive that the poster project was for math class.

  44. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich:

    Let’s be careful with what I said, I said I believe he has this teacher for math class, however, I’m not positive that the poster project was for math class.

  45. Anonymous

    David, I recommend that you check your facts before making inaccurate statements about UC admissions policies and practices. A real journalist would do that. A suspension is not considered in the UC application process. Perhaps with private colleges it is considered. You could have contacted an admissions advisor and verified this fact before alleging it and proliferating this myth to enhance the story. I agree that if the student is away from class on a suspension that his grades and learning could suffer, and perhaps there is a way to make up the days and assignments missed.

  46. Anonymous

    David, I recommend that you check your facts before making inaccurate statements about UC admissions policies and practices. A real journalist would do that. A suspension is not considered in the UC application process. Perhaps with private colleges it is considered. You could have contacted an admissions advisor and verified this fact before alleging it and proliferating this myth to enhance the story. I agree that if the student is away from class on a suspension that his grades and learning could suffer, and perhaps there is a way to make up the days and assignments missed.

  47. Anonymous

    David, I recommend that you check your facts before making inaccurate statements about UC admissions policies and practices. A real journalist would do that. A suspension is not considered in the UC application process. Perhaps with private colleges it is considered. You could have contacted an admissions advisor and verified this fact before alleging it and proliferating this myth to enhance the story. I agree that if the student is away from class on a suspension that his grades and learning could suffer, and perhaps there is a way to make up the days and assignments missed.

  48. Anonymous

    David, I recommend that you check your facts before making inaccurate statements about UC admissions policies and practices. A real journalist would do that. A suspension is not considered in the UC application process. Perhaps with private colleges it is considered. You could have contacted an admissions advisor and verified this fact before alleging it and proliferating this myth to enhance the story. I agree that if the student is away from class on a suspension that his grades and learning could suffer, and perhaps there is a way to make up the days and assignments missed.

  49. Anonymous

    “What would that accomplish?”

    You can be sure that the School Board would “find” the funds to keep VOE open while a city-wide study and enrollment figures were collected(meaningless now that the parents planning for their children’s enrollment have been told that the school is closing)if the polling revealed that my response was a % high enough to cause the ballot measure to not reach a 2/3 majority vote._

  50. Anonymous

    “What would that accomplish?”

    You can be sure that the School Board would “find” the funds to keep VOE open while a city-wide study and enrollment figures were collected(meaningless now that the parents planning for their children’s enrollment have been told that the school is closing)if the polling revealed that my response was a % high enough to cause the ballot measure to not reach a 2/3 majority vote._

  51. Anonymous

    “What would that accomplish?”

    You can be sure that the School Board would “find” the funds to keep VOE open while a city-wide study and enrollment figures were collected(meaningless now that the parents planning for their children’s enrollment have been told that the school is closing)if the polling revealed that my response was a % high enough to cause the ballot measure to not reach a 2/3 majority vote._

  52. Anonymous

    “What would that accomplish?”

    You can be sure that the School Board would “find” the funds to keep VOE open while a city-wide study and enrollment figures were collected(meaningless now that the parents planning for their children’s enrollment have been told that the school is closing)if the polling revealed that my response was a % high enough to cause the ballot measure to not reach a 2/3 majority vote._

  53. Doug Paul Davis

    As we all know real reporters never erroneously report things as true that turn out to be false.

    In any case Rich, you inspired me to call the UC Davis admissions office and they informed me that unless it appears on the academic transcript, and it usually doesn’t, it would have no bearing on a student’s eligibility.

    Not to excuse my error, which I apologize for and have corrected on the main article text, but I spent most of my time this weekend trying to figure out what actually happened rather than trying to figure out if someone’s claim about the repercussions of a suspension were true or not.

  54. Doug Paul Davis

    As we all know real reporters never erroneously report things as true that turn out to be false.

    In any case Rich, you inspired me to call the UC Davis admissions office and they informed me that unless it appears on the academic transcript, and it usually doesn’t, it would have no bearing on a student’s eligibility.

    Not to excuse my error, which I apologize for and have corrected on the main article text, but I spent most of my time this weekend trying to figure out what actually happened rather than trying to figure out if someone’s claim about the repercussions of a suspension were true or not.

  55. Doug Paul Davis

    As we all know real reporters never erroneously report things as true that turn out to be false.

    In any case Rich, you inspired me to call the UC Davis admissions office and they informed me that unless it appears on the academic transcript, and it usually doesn’t, it would have no bearing on a student’s eligibility.

    Not to excuse my error, which I apologize for and have corrected on the main article text, but I spent most of my time this weekend trying to figure out what actually happened rather than trying to figure out if someone’s claim about the repercussions of a suspension were true or not.

  56. Doug Paul Davis

    As we all know real reporters never erroneously report things as true that turn out to be false.

    In any case Rich, you inspired me to call the UC Davis admissions office and they informed me that unless it appears on the academic transcript, and it usually doesn’t, it would have no bearing on a student’s eligibility.

    Not to excuse my error, which I apologize for and have corrected on the main article text, but I spent most of my time this weekend trying to figure out what actually happened rather than trying to figure out if someone’s claim about the repercussions of a suspension were true or not.

  57. Rich Rifkin

    “Let’s be careful with what I said. I said I believe he has this teacher for math class. However, I’m not positive that the poster project was for math class.”

    Understood. But doesn’t it seem weird that a math teacher would have anything to do with a ‘poster project’?

    This is unclear to me: were the posters put up for educational purposes related to a class lesson or subject? Or were the posters intended simply to be decorative?

    You quote the student as saying: “Earlier this year one of my teachers agreed with our class that we could bring posters if they were appropriate.”

    That doesn’t sound like it was an assignment. Perhaps, though, it was an extra credit project, related somehow to what they were studying?

    The distinction between ‘decoration’ and ‘assignment’ is significant — though it does not justify all that followed — because if the students were studying history, or civil rights, or something that in some way related to Malcolm X, then it could have been a source of class discussion. If, on the other hand, the poster was meant to be a decoration — say in a math class — and the teacher found it inappropriate, for whatever reason, then I would think that the teacher would have the right to take it down (and give it back to the student).

    If that was the case, the teacher ought to have simply said that she did not think it was appropriate for her classroom. She shouldn’t have to explain why she felt that way. I get the sense (from what I’ve read on this blog) that this teacher felt compelled to explain why she felt it was inappropriate. And her explanation (if accurately reported here), compounded this situation into a problem. A teacher telling any child that his chosen quotation was an advocacy ‘for terrorism’ is apt to hurt the kid’s feelings. It’s probably even more sensitive for a kid whose heritage is Arabic/Islamic.

  58. Rich Rifkin

    “Let’s be careful with what I said. I said I believe he has this teacher for math class. However, I’m not positive that the poster project was for math class.”

    Understood. But doesn’t it seem weird that a math teacher would have anything to do with a ‘poster project’?

    This is unclear to me: were the posters put up for educational purposes related to a class lesson or subject? Or were the posters intended simply to be decorative?

    You quote the student as saying: “Earlier this year one of my teachers agreed with our class that we could bring posters if they were appropriate.”

    That doesn’t sound like it was an assignment. Perhaps, though, it was an extra credit project, related somehow to what they were studying?

    The distinction between ‘decoration’ and ‘assignment’ is significant — though it does not justify all that followed — because if the students were studying history, or civil rights, or something that in some way related to Malcolm X, then it could have been a source of class discussion. If, on the other hand, the poster was meant to be a decoration — say in a math class — and the teacher found it inappropriate, for whatever reason, then I would think that the teacher would have the right to take it down (and give it back to the student).

    If that was the case, the teacher ought to have simply said that she did not think it was appropriate for her classroom. She shouldn’t have to explain why she felt that way. I get the sense (from what I’ve read on this blog) that this teacher felt compelled to explain why she felt it was inappropriate. And her explanation (if accurately reported here), compounded this situation into a problem. A teacher telling any child that his chosen quotation was an advocacy ‘for terrorism’ is apt to hurt the kid’s feelings. It’s probably even more sensitive for a kid whose heritage is Arabic/Islamic.

  59. Rich Rifkin

    “Let’s be careful with what I said. I said I believe he has this teacher for math class. However, I’m not positive that the poster project was for math class.”

    Understood. But doesn’t it seem weird that a math teacher would have anything to do with a ‘poster project’?

    This is unclear to me: were the posters put up for educational purposes related to a class lesson or subject? Or were the posters intended simply to be decorative?

    You quote the student as saying: “Earlier this year one of my teachers agreed with our class that we could bring posters if they were appropriate.”

    That doesn’t sound like it was an assignment. Perhaps, though, it was an extra credit project, related somehow to what they were studying?

    The distinction between ‘decoration’ and ‘assignment’ is significant — though it does not justify all that followed — because if the students were studying history, or civil rights, or something that in some way related to Malcolm X, then it could have been a source of class discussion. If, on the other hand, the poster was meant to be a decoration — say in a math class — and the teacher found it inappropriate, for whatever reason, then I would think that the teacher would have the right to take it down (and give it back to the student).

    If that was the case, the teacher ought to have simply said that she did not think it was appropriate for her classroom. She shouldn’t have to explain why she felt that way. I get the sense (from what I’ve read on this blog) that this teacher felt compelled to explain why she felt it was inappropriate. And her explanation (if accurately reported here), compounded this situation into a problem. A teacher telling any child that his chosen quotation was an advocacy ‘for terrorism’ is apt to hurt the kid’s feelings. It’s probably even more sensitive for a kid whose heritage is Arabic/Islamic.

  60. Rich Rifkin

    “Let’s be careful with what I said. I said I believe he has this teacher for math class. However, I’m not positive that the poster project was for math class.”

    Understood. But doesn’t it seem weird that a math teacher would have anything to do with a ‘poster project’?

    This is unclear to me: were the posters put up for educational purposes related to a class lesson or subject? Or were the posters intended simply to be decorative?

    You quote the student as saying: “Earlier this year one of my teachers agreed with our class that we could bring posters if they were appropriate.”

    That doesn’t sound like it was an assignment. Perhaps, though, it was an extra credit project, related somehow to what they were studying?

    The distinction between ‘decoration’ and ‘assignment’ is significant — though it does not justify all that followed — because if the students were studying history, or civil rights, or something that in some way related to Malcolm X, then it could have been a source of class discussion. If, on the other hand, the poster was meant to be a decoration — say in a math class — and the teacher found it inappropriate, for whatever reason, then I would think that the teacher would have the right to take it down (and give it back to the student).

    If that was the case, the teacher ought to have simply said that she did not think it was appropriate for her classroom. She shouldn’t have to explain why she felt that way. I get the sense (from what I’ve read on this blog) that this teacher felt compelled to explain why she felt it was inappropriate. And her explanation (if accurately reported here), compounded this situation into a problem. A teacher telling any child that his chosen quotation was an advocacy ‘for terrorism’ is apt to hurt the kid’s feelings. It’s probably even more sensitive for a kid whose heritage is Arabic/Islamic.

  61. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich: I will try to get clarification this evening when I meet with the family as to what the assignment is about, it seems a reasonable question.

  62. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich: I will try to get clarification this evening when I meet with the family as to what the assignment is about, it seems a reasonable question.

  63. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich: I will try to get clarification this evening when I meet with the family as to what the assignment is about, it seems a reasonable question.

  64. Doug Paul Davis

    Rich: I will try to get clarification this evening when I meet with the family as to what the assignment is about, it seems a reasonable question.

  65. Anonymous

    Sharla said …

    Suspensions do have an impact on the student. During the time of the suspension, any work that is missed during that time cannot be made up, i.e. projects, homework, in-class assigmnents, quizzes or exams. So missing three days can result in not only leaving the student behind (esp. in a Math class), but potentially a lower grade.

    So, even if the suspension doesn’t appear on the transcript specifically, it does show up in an indirect way.

    School discipline (and all juvenile justice) is supposed to help the student – to lessen poor behavior by the student and get him/her to focus on their education while safequarding the educational environment for the student body as a whole. I am really trying to see what behavior the school is trying to change with the student who upset his math teacher over a difference in opinion about the activities of a famous person in history. Is he supposed to be quiet? Is he supposed to not reiterate what he is learning in school and or at least not discuss it openly? Should he pick

    What I am getting is that the young teacher was embarrassed in front of peers and students by the student and most likely felt that her authority and thus her control of the class was being challenged. We don’t know what happened in the meetings with the family and staff to warrant the suspensions, but the meetings obviously did not go well.

    This is not much different from the difficulty the City has with its young police officers. We can train people forever, but they then have to go try things out until there is maturity and self-confidence regarding their job and the tools that they have available to them.

    I think that the student should see if he can finish his math class through independent study, either under the supervision by the head of the Math Department or split-site with DSIS. I think that the suspension should be recinded by the School Board.

    We should not expect the current HRC to even discuss this issue, because it just isn’t their job anymore and could only make a recommendation for action by the City Council to the City Council 2-3 months from now which is too late.

  66. Anonymous

    Sharla said …

    Suspensions do have an impact on the student. During the time of the suspension, any work that is missed during that time cannot be made up, i.e. projects, homework, in-class assigmnents, quizzes or exams. So missing three days can result in not only leaving the student behind (esp. in a Math class), but potentially a lower grade.

    So, even if the suspension doesn’t appear on the transcript specifically, it does show up in an indirect way.

    School discipline (and all juvenile justice) is supposed to help the student – to lessen poor behavior by the student and get him/her to focus on their education while safequarding the educational environment for the student body as a whole. I am really trying to see what behavior the school is trying to change with the student who upset his math teacher over a difference in opinion about the activities of a famous person in history. Is he supposed to be quiet? Is he supposed to not reiterate what he is learning in school and or at least not discuss it openly? Should he pick

    What I am getting is that the young teacher was embarrassed in front of peers and students by the student and most likely felt that her authority and thus her control of the class was being challenged. We don’t know what happened in the meetings with the family and staff to warrant the suspensions, but the meetings obviously did not go well.

    This is not much different from the difficulty the City has with its young police officers. We can train people forever, but they then have to go try things out until there is maturity and self-confidence regarding their job and the tools that they have available to them.

    I think that the student should see if he can finish his math class through independent study, either under the supervision by the head of the Math Department or split-site with DSIS. I think that the suspension should be recinded by the School Board.

    We should not expect the current HRC to even discuss this issue, because it just isn’t their job anymore and could only make a recommendation for action by the City Council to the City Council 2-3 months from now which is too late.

  67. Anonymous

    Sharla said …

    Suspensions do have an impact on the student. During the time of the suspension, any work that is missed during that time cannot be made up, i.e. projects, homework, in-class assigmnents, quizzes or exams. So missing three days can result in not only leaving the student behind (esp. in a Math class), but potentially a lower grade.

    So, even if the suspension doesn’t appear on the transcript specifically, it does show up in an indirect way.

    School discipline (and all juvenile justice) is supposed to help the student – to lessen poor behavior by the student and get him/her to focus on their education while safequarding the educational environment for the student body as a whole. I am really trying to see what behavior the school is trying to change with the student who upset his math teacher over a difference in opinion about the activities of a famous person in history. Is he supposed to be quiet? Is he supposed to not reiterate what he is learning in school and or at least not discuss it openly? Should he pick

    What I am getting is that the young teacher was embarrassed in front of peers and students by the student and most likely felt that her authority and thus her control of the class was being challenged. We don’t know what happened in the meetings with the family and staff to warrant the suspensions, but the meetings obviously did not go well.

    This is not much different from the difficulty the City has with its young police officers. We can train people forever, but they then have to go try things out until there is maturity and self-confidence regarding their job and the tools that they have available to them.

    I think that the student should see if he can finish his math class through independent study, either under the supervision by the head of the Math Department or split-site with DSIS. I think that the suspension should be recinded by the School Board.

    We should not expect the current HRC to even discuss this issue, because it just isn’t their job anymore and could only make a recommendation for action by the City Council to the City Council 2-3 months from now which is too late.

  68. Anonymous

    Sharla said …

    Suspensions do have an impact on the student. During the time of the suspension, any work that is missed during that time cannot be made up, i.e. projects, homework, in-class assigmnents, quizzes or exams. So missing three days can result in not only leaving the student behind (esp. in a Math class), but potentially a lower grade.

    So, even if the suspension doesn’t appear on the transcript specifically, it does show up in an indirect way.

    School discipline (and all juvenile justice) is supposed to help the student – to lessen poor behavior by the student and get him/her to focus on their education while safequarding the educational environment for the student body as a whole. I am really trying to see what behavior the school is trying to change with the student who upset his math teacher over a difference in opinion about the activities of a famous person in history. Is he supposed to be quiet? Is he supposed to not reiterate what he is learning in school and or at least not discuss it openly? Should he pick

    What I am getting is that the young teacher was embarrassed in front of peers and students by the student and most likely felt that her authority and thus her control of the class was being challenged. We don’t know what happened in the meetings with the family and staff to warrant the suspensions, but the meetings obviously did not go well.

    This is not much different from the difficulty the City has with its young police officers. We can train people forever, but they then have to go try things out until there is maturity and self-confidence regarding their job and the tools that they have available to them.

    I think that the student should see if he can finish his math class through independent study, either under the supervision by the head of the Math Department or split-site with DSIS. I think that the suspension should be recinded by the School Board.

    We should not expect the current HRC to even discuss this issue, because it just isn’t their job anymore and could only make a recommendation for action by the City Council to the City Council 2-3 months from now which is too late.

  69. Don Shor

    “We don’t know what happened in the meetings with the family and staff to warrant the suspensions, but the meetings obviously did not go well.”
    Exactly: we don’t know why he was suspended. Nothing that has been described in any of the three threads on this blog about this subject describes a reasonable basis for suspension. So I don’t think we know the full story.
    I hope that more detail will be forthcoming when the blog owner meets with the family, and perhaps gets comment (unlikely, I realize) from an administrator. A key question: what specific reason was given for the suspension?

  70. Don Shor

    “We don’t know what happened in the meetings with the family and staff to warrant the suspensions, but the meetings obviously did not go well.”
    Exactly: we don’t know why he was suspended. Nothing that has been described in any of the three threads on this blog about this subject describes a reasonable basis for suspension. So I don’t think we know the full story.
    I hope that more detail will be forthcoming when the blog owner meets with the family, and perhaps gets comment (unlikely, I realize) from an administrator. A key question: what specific reason was given for the suspension?

  71. Don Shor

    “We don’t know what happened in the meetings with the family and staff to warrant the suspensions, but the meetings obviously did not go well.”
    Exactly: we don’t know why he was suspended. Nothing that has been described in any of the three threads on this blog about this subject describes a reasonable basis for suspension. So I don’t think we know the full story.
    I hope that more detail will be forthcoming when the blog owner meets with the family, and perhaps gets comment (unlikely, I realize) from an administrator. A key question: what specific reason was given for the suspension?

  72. Don Shor

    “We don’t know what happened in the meetings with the family and staff to warrant the suspensions, but the meetings obviously did not go well.”
    Exactly: we don’t know why he was suspended. Nothing that has been described in any of the three threads on this blog about this subject describes a reasonable basis for suspension. So I don’t think we know the full story.
    I hope that more detail will be forthcoming when the blog owner meets with the family, and perhaps gets comment (unlikely, I realize) from an administrator. A key question: what specific reason was given for the suspension?

  73. Anonymous

    “Further, I downloaded the application form, and nowhere on it — it’s a 10 page document — is there a question about suspensions from high school or any mention at all of punishments or any such thing.”

    Is practically a unwritten policy

  74. Anonymous

    “Further, I downloaded the application form, and nowhere on it — it’s a 10 page document — is there a question about suspensions from high school or any mention at all of punishments or any such thing.”

    Is practically a unwritten policy

  75. Anonymous

    “Further, I downloaded the application form, and nowhere on it — it’s a 10 page document — is there a question about suspensions from high school or any mention at all of punishments or any such thing.”

    Is practically a unwritten policy

  76. Anonymous

    “Further, I downloaded the application form, and nowhere on it — it’s a 10 page document — is there a question about suspensions from high school or any mention at all of punishments or any such thing.”

    Is practically a unwritten policy

  77. Anonymous

    I’ve heard from DHS students that it was just brought in because of black history month and the teacher was open to decorating the room.

  78. Anonymous

    I’ve heard from DHS students that it was just brought in because of black history month and the teacher was open to decorating the room.

  79. Anonymous

    I’ve heard from DHS students that it was just brought in because of black history month and the teacher was open to decorating the room.

  80. Anonymous

    I’ve heard from DHS students that it was just brought in because of black history month and the teacher was open to decorating the room.

  81. Rich Rifkin

    “It’s practically an unwritten policy.”

    If it does not appear on the application or on the transcript, then the admissions officers couldn’t enforce such a policy, written or not.

    Also, I tend to doubt that admissions officers for a public university are enforcing ‘unwritten policies.’

  82. Rich Rifkin

    “It’s practically an unwritten policy.”

    If it does not appear on the application or on the transcript, then the admissions officers couldn’t enforce such a policy, written or not.

    Also, I tend to doubt that admissions officers for a public university are enforcing ‘unwritten policies.’

  83. Rich Rifkin

    “It’s practically an unwritten policy.”

    If it does not appear on the application or on the transcript, then the admissions officers couldn’t enforce such a policy, written or not.

    Also, I tend to doubt that admissions officers for a public university are enforcing ‘unwritten policies.’

  84. Rich Rifkin

    “It’s practically an unwritten policy.”

    If it does not appear on the application or on the transcript, then the admissions officers couldn’t enforce such a policy, written or not.

    Also, I tend to doubt that admissions officers for a public university are enforcing ‘unwritten policies.’

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