Additional Responses on School Climate

Yesterday we posted the majority of responses on our third weekly question to school board candidates.  Today we have Chuck Rairdan’s response and Tom Adams is supposed to send us one as well.  We ask the following: On December 1, 2012, residents from Davis and across the region attended a Davis Human Relations Commission hosted event called “Breaking the Silence of Racism.”  For a summary of the event please see here –

A number of the public commenters complained about climate issues in the school including racially based bullying, disparities in discipline between races, treatment of mixed race kids, and the lack of attention given to the issue of race and racism by school climate committees.  Some parents of children of color or mixed race said that their children never were comfortable in Davis schools and ended up transferring.

In the two years since the event, minimal progress has been made.

If elected, how would you direct the district to address issues of race, race relations, and racism?

Chuck Rairdan: I think, for starters, we have to look at the history of Davis as being a predominantly white, affluent town within the context of the neighboring Central Valley communities. Over the years, Davis has become increasingly diverse and cosmopolitan in its demographics and this trend continues. I see at least two main drivers for how this is occurring. For one, there is a general trend toward more racial mixing in the U.S., even while there remain stubborn pockets of de facto segregation along racial and socioeconomic lines.

Secondly, as UC Davis becomes increasingly cosmopolitan in its faculty and student body, we see that trend reflected in the Davis population. What was once primarily an agriculturally focused university has expanded its program offerings to be much more typical of a large, world-class university. What hasn’t kept pace with these changes, in my opinion, is a corresponding change in the prevailing mindset that has its roots in Davis’ history. Being a predominantly ‘liberal’ town does not automatically convey a change in longstanding perceptions and attitudes. It will take a conscious effort on the part of community leaders and at the family and individual levels to make strides toward a truly inclusive culture in Davis.

For its part, the school district needs to increase its efforts to raise awareness about both subtle and not-so-subtle expressions of discrimination, regardless of whether it is motivated by race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, or anything else that makes a student “different” in the eyes of the status quo. Along with these educational efforts and restorative justice up to a point, there ultimately needs to a zero tolerance policy for offenders, including those in positions of responsibility who choose to look the other way. We also need to have honest discussions about where the bullying or offending students are learning these hurtful behaviors and be prepared to address those at the source. Otherwise, we’ll just be applying band aids to a self-perpetuating problem.

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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  1. Don Shor

    Some statistics about bullying:

    Some key data points:

    More than half of bullying situations (57 percent) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied (Hawkins, Pepler, and Craig, 2001).

    School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25% (McCallion and Feder, 2013). …

    Bullied youth were most likely to report that actions that accessed support from others made a positive difference (Davis and Nixon, 2010).

    Actions aimed at changing the behavior of the bullying youth (fighting, getting back at them, telling them to stop, etc.) were rated as more likely to make things worse (Davis and Nixon, 2010).

    Students reported that the most helpful things teachers can do are: listen to the student, check in with them afterwards to see if the bullying stopped, and give the student advice (Davis and Nixon, 2010).

    Students reported that the most harmful things teachers can do are: tell the student to solve the problem themselves, tell the student that the bullying wouldn’t happen if they acted differently, ignored what was going on, or tell the student to stop tattling (Davis and Nixon, 2010).

  2. Frankly

    <i>to raise awareness about both subtle and not-so-subtle expressions of discrimination</I>

    I’m so sick and tired of this broken record drumbeat.

    “Raise Awareness!!!”   Yes, let’s all Raise Awareness!!

    And let’s add “subtle” to this… because we know that white people are all just racists and don’t know it.  As an side point here… when we allow people to tell us what we are thinking and we allow them to get away with it, we are falling down a much steeper slope of intolerance.

    We know that all males are biased against women. Right.

    We know that there are an inventory of groups that will forever be oppressed and harmed by bias and discrimination and bullying, and we should continue to make everyone aware of it.  Right.

    So if we know all this, why do we need to keep making people aware of it?

    The fact is that we don’t “know” any of it.  We don’t really see it occurring to any extent that warrant the broken record drumbeat.  “Awareness” is just pushing a liberal progressive narrative… keeping the groupism fires stoked so the narrative can live another day and make political hay.

    Talking to the kids, they think the adults are foolish about this stuff.  The kids are so over the issue of race and gender and sexual orientation as a basis for bias and discrimination.  But here is what the kids will tell you… they know that the uncool kids get picked on.  They know that some of the weird kids get picked on.  They know that teachers give preference to the cool smart kids.  They know that any visible flaw is a predatory delight.  They know that 97% of kids have visible flaws and are subject to hurtful ridicule and bias.

    They know that this stuff is the same stuff that has gone on since their parents and grandparents went to school.  But they also know that real racism and gender bias and discrimination over sexual orientation was a real problem back then… but not now.

    So the kids wonder when the adults are going to stop being so foolish focusing on all the old groupism problems, and start focusing on the individual differences that lead to bullying and bias.  The kids are powerless to resist, and eventually they are brainwashed into the same foolishness.

    This young lady has it right.  She wants to be seen as an individual and not a member of any victim group.

    But note how the media goes off on this.  Note how they are so disrespectful to this woman… calling her “baby Raven”.  They cannot take it.  This young lady just wants to be known as an American and a human, but the left blows up… “get back in you place young lady” is the message.  She is just an idiot for not accepting the old broken record drumbeat.  Just whip her back only the closed-minded thought plantation.

    “American” is a hated label folks… did you know that?  Did you know that the left has a problem with you calling yourself an “American” but not an “African American” even though you and your relatives might have never originated from Africa.. and you have absolutely no connection with that continent in any part of your life?

    These talking MSNBC heads are all effing idiots and both a source, and a reflection, of the problem.

    What will the media and the left work on if not race, gender and sexual orientation wars?  Keep it up.  Keep it inflamed.

    1. Tia Will


      So I provide you with a very real instance of what actually happened to me in my life, and you dismiss it as not worthy of consideration. I have provided you on past posts of my current efforts to stop discrimination against white males in my now female dominated profession and you act as though this does not exist.

      My point is not that all white males are prejudiced or that only minorities are oppressed. My point is and always has been that there should not be any ( repeat not any ) discrimination based on gender, or sexual preference, or race or religion. Why you cannot take me at  my word but continue to argue that I am saying something that I have never ( repeat, never said) is beyond my ability to comprehend…….as is the following.

      “when we allow people to tell us what we are thinking and we allow them to get away with it, we are falling down a much steeper slope of intolerance.

      This from someone who regularly tells me and others what the “real thought process” is behind our beliefs.



      1. Frankly

        There is no legal weapons behind my challenges to your and others thought processes.  Considering this and the leveraged power of the dominant liberal media,  there is considerable tools given to the hypersensitive thought police to materially harm those whose thoughts they “read” and disagree with.

        Again Tia, I am not saying that bias and discrimination does not exist, but what we have today in this area of our civil rights march is materially only human-to-human bad behavior.  The groupism crap needs to go.  It is divisive.  It is the last great hurdle preventing us from moving to the next level of tolerance and integration that should be the social justice utopian dream you pursue.

        In the Davis Enterprise this morning reporting on an Obama Democrat fundraising event, responding to current polls that show lower approval ratings for Obama and Democrats, Obama said: <I>“But the main thing that I need right now is votes. We’ve got to mobilize. We’ve got to organize. We’ve got to knock on doors. We’ve got to make phone calls,” he said. “If young people vote, if women vote, if people of color vote, if people who care about the environment vote, if people who care about LGBT rights vote, that’s a majority.” </I>

        There you have it.  The divide and conquer strategy in plain sight.  It is really shameful and disgusting that the once great party of labor is so void of compelling ideas to win elections that it can only resort to this group (and class) war rhetoric.

        But it is absolutely unforgiveable that this same classism and groupsim political brainwashing crap is fed to students.

        1. Tia Will


          “what we have today in this area of our civil rights march is materially only human-to-human bad behavior.”

          Slavery and genocide and human trafficking for the sex trade and the unleashing of firehoses and dogs and peacefully protesting folks attempting to end segregation in the South were ‘materially’ only human-to-human bad behavior ( some supported by law, some not). That does not mean that we should not have been and be currently doing all that we can to stop them.

          I also notice that you abhor “divisiveness” when it is President Obama who you are quoting, but seemed absolutely fine ( or at least silent) when it was Mitt Romney doing exactly the same with his “47% comment”.

          It would seem to me that all political campaigns are based on getting out the vote of those on your side. It is no better or worse when done by Democrats than by Republicans or Greens or Peace and Freedom. If you are not careful with this line of reasoning, claiming that divisiveness is wrong, you are going to start sounding like me promoting sitting around holding hands and singing Kumbaya.


        2. Frankly

          I was not happy with Romney’s 47%, but you are going to have to work harder to make that anything close to the equivalent.  And you did not report the entire context of his comment.  He said that 47% received some type of public assistance.

          It is so funny that you bring this up, because it was the left and left media that stepped up to make it into a divisive issue… again, the divide and conquer strategy at work.

        3. Don Shor

          Ronald Reagan forged an alliance with the Christian Right because they could mobilize their base and get out the vote. The GOP has spent decades using social wedge issue for that purpose. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell and Rush Limbaugh were in the front row seats at the 1992 GOP convention. The GOP intentionally worked to get marriage initiatives on the 2004 ballot so they could turn out their base, and it is arguable that the strategy carried Ohio and, thus, the electoral college for George W. Bush over Kerry that year.

          It is really shameful and disgusting that the once great party of labor is so void of compelling ideas to win elections that it can only resort to this group (and class) war rhetoric.”

          Your indignation is highly selective.

          Getting out your base is basic, especially in a low-turnout election cycle. It is frankly bizarre to suggest that Democrats are more likely to use wedge issues and identity politics than Republicans.

        4. Dave Hart

          Frankly, you might want to read your own responses before posting.  Your tirade about what Obama said is anything but “divide and conquer”.  He was saying that if you care about the real issues affecting voters because of who you are or what you care about (young, female, race, environment) you should vote.  That is a unifying call that does not mention class.

  3. tribeUSA

    ” or anything else that makes a student “different” in the eyes of the status quo.”

    The status quo has eyes?

    The above is an example of the distortion of language that is used as part of an attempt to frame these issues in a particular way. It might be more accurate to say that there may be behaviors that conform more or less to rather loosely defined status  quo behavior; and behaviors that are different in that they appear to fall outside status quo behavior. But the status quo is not some sort of megolithic monster with eyes; the problem with such language is that it throws up images of monsters that are purely imaginary.

    Most students are not rigid conformists; they have not been completely programmed by adult propaganda. It is common for all children of all cultures and races to go thru a social pecking order phase in their teens; within a common culture then it is behavior that is the primary determinant of place in the pecking order; appearances are secondary and such factors as physical attractiveness are much more important than race. Minority race appearance is often a slight advantage (‘cool’ in modern USA) if behavior or social skills are good. I just hope we are not educating our gay or minority children to carry a chip on their shoulder; this will hurt and not help them.

    1. Frankly

      Very well said.  The “minority chip on their shoulder” is exactly what happens.

      Here is the way it works.

      Student has a bad day or bad week where he/she is insulted and feels mistreated by other students or teachers.  Student has been recently programmed by the racisim narrative propagators, and latches on to that as the explanation… and begins to associate many more episodes of struggle and difficulty to being unfairly treated “because of racism” rather than to just attribute it to standard human struggle and difficulty.

      And so that child is damaged in that he/she will naturally accept the excuse of a victim instead of doing the hard work to solve the puzzles of life that are 95% human-to-human relationship challenges.  And that student will become a reliable Democrat voter in that instance.

      1. Davis Progressive

        “Here is the way it works.”

        you’re full of crap, frankly.  how would you know?  you don’t work with kids, you don’t work with kids of color, you have no professional training or experience in this matter, just your assumptions and prejudices.  not to mention your partisanship.

        1. Frankly

          How would you know DP?  How do you know that I “don’t work with kids”? How do you know that I don’t work with kids of color?  How do you know that I don’t have professional training or experience in this matter.  And by the way, what is “professional training or experience” in the matter of racism?  Do you mean being a registered Democrat or independent with strong liberal progressive credentials?

          The partisanship is 100% on the left for continuing to inflame and perpetuate racial division and racial tension.  And they have partners in the mainstream liberal media that continues to make money off the same.

          And you need to be real, real careful using that word “prejudice” because it is one of the PC thought police code words for calling someone a racist without having to own accountability for it.  My prejudice is reserved only for displays of ignorance and ignorant people that harm other people.

          Believe it or not DP, I want what is best for our kids.  The “full of crap” label needs to be laid at the feet of all those perpetuating the continued groupism message.  I would not care if I did not see it causing harm to kids.

          1. Don Shor

            How would you know DP? How do you know that I “don’t work with kids”? How do you know that I don’t work with kids of color?

            Do you?

        2. Davis Progressive

          for one thing your comments are ludicrous, ignorant, and unsophisticated.

          whenever you’re challenged you dive immediately into “the left,” “partisanship,” “PC” – that shows me a lack of depth of understanding the issues.  you’re very superficial.  i work with people on the right and the left who work with kids in the system, people of color, doesn’t matter which side of the aisle they are on, they show far greater awareness and understanding of the issue than you do.  so yes, i stand by my comments.  you may want what is best for our kids, but you have no clue how to get there.

        3. Frankly

          DP – with all due respect you don’t have a clue.  I do have a lot of experience helping those plagued with a personal victim mentality face their human challenges and persevere.  But I have also had a lot of experience watching others fail and become a mess blaming everyone else for their problems and misfortunes.

          Your political ideology is killing the opportunity for progress in race relations.  But more importantly, it is messing up the lives of individuals.  You can’t see it because you are so imbedded into the old paradigms.  You are resisting opening your mind because it means you lose your feeling of smug elitism that you are better and more caring and more helpful.  But at least you are in good company with those that similarly resist.

          I stand by my opinions and positions here.  Your thinking on this stuff is hazardous to the very people you claim to be caring for.

        4. Davis Progressive

          how many at risk kids have you worked with? have you ever worked with kids in juvenile detention?  have you ever worked with the davis bridge foundation?  have you ever volunteered your company and resources to mentor children of color?  what experience do you have?

        5. tribeUSA

          DP: As you call yourself a progressive, do you really want to represent so-called progressives by exhibiting nasty internet behavior, personal attacks, name-calling, presumptions about peoples background and experiences, etc.? Where is the need for that, and does it bolster your arguments, or just make you feel good?

  4. Tia Will

    The idea that children think that their elders are foolish for keeping alive a conversation about racism ( or any other ism)  may be true. But that does not mean that their perception is accurate. They are viewing the world from a place in which they have never applied for a job. They have never been told that they won’t be successful because of their gender ( I have). They have not been told that in the application process, they will never be told that they are not being advanced because of the color of their skin because that is now illegal, but that it may happen all the same.  These things do happen today. I know because I have steadily fought against any of these “silent” discriminations as a member of a hiring team. So those of you who believe that this is a thing of the past or simply not part of our current society are quite simply in error.

    Now one could accurately say that this is just anecdotal evidence from one doc in one company. Fair enough.

    There is objective evidence as I have posted previously in the greater diversity in orchestras that conducted “blinded” auditions in which the applicant played from behind a screen so that their age, race, and gender could  not be seen by those doing the hiring. We all have biases. These biases do matter in the real world and they still do tend to work against those of minority ( or traditionally felt to be less competent ) groups. To claim that this is not true is simply not accurate.

    1. Frankly

      Tia – you use your experience in the past to justify your narrative for the present.  The present is different.

      My son had a party at our house his senior year and had a large group of friends over.  One girl was very social and smart and struck up a conversation with me.  I asked about her family and as she was explaining it she said “and that is why I look like that standard ‘California Blend Kid’.”   I asked what she meant, and she said that girls comment a lot on how other girls look and there is a growing number of kids that are white, black, Asian and Hispanic all mixed together… and they call each other that when the look is there.  This young lady was very attractive and self-confident and didn’t seem at all negatively affected by her races.

      After that I stared noticing the same when out in public… a large population of kids having dark hair and dark olive complexion that are ambiguous looking with respect to race.

      So as the number of mixed-race kids increase, what are Democrats going to do in their strategy to continue to hold power through group and class wars?  Maybe you will start demanding that this kids are unfairly treating the part of themselves that is the most PC-correct victim.?

      1. Tia Will


        “The present is different.”

        My present is not different. In my profession, it is just a different group that is being targeted. The group is males. In my highly lucrative profession, males are largely being excluded because of perceived female preference for female gynecologists. And yet, once a male is hired, many do very, very well in their practices. What most women are really seeking is an individual who will show compassion and caring about their concerns regardless of gender. But it is a real, and a current battle to keep males on the same footing as females in the hiring process.

        One can see from the statistics in other fields that they are still skewed to hiring those who look, think and act like the prevailing leaders in the field ( regardless of the field). To deny this is to deny the facts ( which we of course know that you would never do since you are factually and not emotionally driven….right ?)

        Again, you have provided an example of what “kids” think and do as though theirs is the “correct” view point. Kids who have not been turned down for a job because of their gender, race, sexual preference….. While it is not as prevalent as it used to be, and is certainly not as blatant as it used to be, it is still with us, as my current experience attests.To deny that is to deny the facts.



        1. Frankly

          “The group is males”

          Ha!  I would like to see a transcript of any bias awareness material that reports this.

          And how do you deal with the fact that many women patients are biased toward having a female gynecologist?

          Note that I am biased having a male doctor to talk to about certain sensitive health issues.

          Human sexuality is a difficult thing to overcome with respect to complete gender neutrality.

          <I>Again, you have provided an example of what “kids” think and do as though theirs is the “correct” view point.</I>

          And here we have it.  You know better.  Liberals know better.  Kids, you are stupid and ignorant about the world.  Let us prepare you by convincing you that you are a true victim.  You will be held back from the bias and discrimination of white people… primarily white males.  You will know it when you are rejected for anything you want to do.

          In my opinion, the kids are smarter than most adults on these things.  The adults are the ones that need “awareness” training.  And the awareness needs to be how the adults are unable to let go of their defining paradigms even as they are obsolete and destructive to humanity.

          The only awareness training that the kids need is to focus on them as individuals and given them understanding of standard human tribalism and bad behavior.

        2. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > My present is not different. In my profession, it is just a different group

          > that is being targeted. The group is males. In my highly lucrative profession,

          >males are largely being excluded because of perceived female preference

          >for female gynecologists.

          That is not a “perceived” female preference.  Most (but not all) women want a female gynecologist.  Just like (despite what the title IX people want to tell you) less college women than college men want to play college rugby.

          We are never going to have a liberal dream world where exactly 50% of each gender go to each school, take each class, play7 each sport and enter each profession…

  5. Tia Will

    “So if we all ‘know’ this, why do we have to keep making people ‘aware’ of it”

    I believe that one important reason is that people tend to be able to better appreciate a concept if it applies to someone who is close to or at least known to them.

    An example from my practice. I have encountered many, many women who have ignored for years the public service messages and annual mailings from my office to come in to have their breast cancer screening done.  And yet, when their next door neighbor is diagnosed with breast cancer, they are in my office the next week. They knew all those years about the possibility of breast cancer, but they only took action when it became personal.

    So if a member of our community has experienced discrimination on the basis of an “ism” as certainly does happen, perhaps hearing it from one’s neighbor may have more impact that hearing a statistic or national news story.

  6. Tia Will


    “So as the number of mixed-race kids increase, what are Democrats going to do in their strategy to continue to hold power through group and class wars? ”

    Absolutely nothing since the Democrats are no more dependent upon groups and class wars than are the Republicans with their “47%” mentality or the Greens with their “tree hugging” philosophy, or Peace and Freedom with their “flowers in weapons” approach. Demonizing any one group for taking advantage of the energy and beliefs of those of like philosophy is indeed lacking in understanding or at least a blatant attempt to exploit emotion over reason ( which of course, you would never do…..right ?).

    1. Frankly

      Make a rational argument and I accept it and thank you for it.

      And maybe you can explain what the 47% group is and how it was rationally harmed by Romney’s comment.  Or why it wasn’t the left and liberal media that exploited the comment as just another divisive lever.  In my opinion it is the latter that causes the harm.

      As I recall, Romney apologized.  So is Obama apologizing for his divisive comments about those conservatives clinging to their guns and religion, or for the constant drumbeat of rhetoric for how Republicans and conservatives hate gays, women and minorities?

      The Democrats are completely dependent on class wars to win elections.  Go back and read what Obama said in the quote above.

      The kids are just being brainwashed and programmed to walk and talk like a good liberal Democrat.

  7. Tia Will


    My point was not about Romney’s subsequent apology. It was about your unilateral acceptance of the same divisiveness from the Republican side while calling it out on the part of those with whom you disagree. Do you feel that Fox news is not a counterpoint to the “liberal media” ? I am not aware that anyone has disallowed Fox news from presenting their view of national events.

    Do you dispute that all sides attempt to rally their own supporters ?


    1. Davis Progressive

      frankly is quick to point out everyone else’s biases but is blind to his own (as well as his limited experience in the real world on issues like this).

      1. Frankly

        Boy – this wind has you all agitated.

        Either that or you are justifying my points here.   Strong emotional responses like this are generally a good sign that progress is being made breaking the pattern of destructive bad habits.

    2. Frankly

      Thank God for Fox News, conservative radio and the Washington Times.  Other than that, the left owns it all.

      <I>It was about your unilateral acceptance of the same divisiveness from the Republican side while calling it out on the part of those with whom you disagree.</I>

      I said I was not happy with Romney’s comment because of its divisiveness.  I spoke out against it when it happened.  I said “Romney was an idiot for making that statement.”  But I also was not happy with the Democrats and the liberal media exploiting it for more divisiveness.

      So, please tell me when you have every criticized any strong leftist politician for using divisive language.

      1. Davis Progressive

        “I said I was not happy with Romney’s comment because of its divisiveness.”

        so you’re problem wasn’t that his comment was wrong, it’s that it was an electoral disaster (i.e. divisive), that’s not the same thing.

        1. Frankly

          You don’t get it.

          I have a similar problem with each.  My problem is/was divisiveness from a social and governance perspective.  From the social perspective, we become a weaker and less effective country, state and community when any politician says divisive things.  A President is the president of all constituents.  He is not just the president of the other 53%.  He is not just the president of blacks, Hispanics, women and LGBT people.  If he says something stupid, then he should explain himself and apologize.  He does not erase the impact of his words, but at least he should be given the chance to mend and heal what he has broken.

          But for the left there is 0% forgiveness for divisive comments against anything within their worldview, and 100% denial of any divisive comment against people that don’t agree with their worldview.  It is a glaring double-standard.  It is unabashed political hypocrisy at maximum volume. It is one of the biggest reason I struggle to accept the creditability of those debating left-leaning orthodoxy. One-sided hypersensitive and demand for acceptance and tolerance, and then the most vitriolic and mean spirited junk spews from their lips against anyone that dares challenge their precious ideas.

          Romney said it once and then off to the races goes the left and the left media.  He apologized but it was never heard through the din of amped up, hostile disciples of leftist dogma and Democrat politics.

          Compare that to Obama… someone that oozes group and class divisiveness from ever pore and every word.  And he never apologizes.   But from the left and left media… Nothing.  Zero.  Nada.  Crickets.

  8. Tia Will

    “That is not a “perceived” female preference.  Most (but not all) women want a female gynecologist.  Just like (despite what the title IX people want to tell you) less college women than college men want to play college rugby.
    We are never going to have a liberal dream world where exactly 50% of each gender go to each school, take each class, play7 each sport and enter each profession…”
    1. There was a time when many men would not see a woman doctor because of their erroneous belief that we were not equipped to be doctors because of our gender. It was erroneous and discriminatory behavior then, and it is erroneous and discriminatory behavior now. It should not be used as an excuse to limit anyone’s life choices. It should not be used in order to justify not allowing someone to proceed along their career path.
    2. The “liberal dream” is not the caricature that you are painting.  My “liberal dream” is that each individual has the ability to use their own talents and skills to the best of their ability unhampered by someone else’s idea of what it means to be of a certain gender, or race, or religion, or … your ism. Isn’t that what individual opportunity and responsibility supposed to be about ?

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