Many  questions to follow.

Here is my post from May 2014. Please scroll down, a bit.

Blog Housekeeping, and – “A new broom sweeps clean, but the old broom knows the corners”

Blog Housekeeping –
This note is heads up  for those who signed up for email delivering of my postings  – Thank you!!!!

I have listed many times my thoughts about the ongoing censoring on PAOnline, which is “… an important area for discussion within the community about the power of censorship in shaping andbiasing the discussion on Palo Alto issues….”  – Anonymous (link #1).  I related more to this issue here (link #2), among many other places, and obviously on the page I dedicated to “Before and After” censoring/editing.

I am planning to comment here, posting, instead of using the “Ongoing” page  which I initially  dedicated to this purpose.  This may result in more frequent postings (depending on the events) – I wanted to give you a fair notice. I’ll try and see.
And –
Here are some thoughts related to recent news and comments posted both on the thread letting us know of the new Gunn principal (link #3), and the thread that listed a letter to the editor about the recent news as to Palo Alto high. (link #4):
The news of the new Gunn principal had me think of the broom quote I listed on the title. Without getting into any specific details regarding the new principal  (who I obviously do not know), having a new broom may totally make sense when a serious cleanup is called for.  A “new broom” can bring new fresh perspectives, free of the local habits formed over many years and taken for granted.
Many have called for an independent investigation into PAUSD practices. Such an investigation seems less likely than ever.  My estimation of the magnitude of the cleanup called for caused me to address Mr. Dauber more than a year ago, calling on him to form a Shadow PAUSD Board (Link #5), and ask him, again, on December 2013 to reconsider my suggestion (my blog – link #6.1, Palo Alto online – Link #6.2)
My perspective of the magnitude of the work called for to cleanup reminds me of Hercules, thinking of his choice as to the best method to clean the stables. Nobody wants to go the way Hercules went, or to throw out the baby with the bath water.
 I am still convinced that the bigger picture calls for a serious investigation of past events.  I suggested that the past decade be reviewed in my “objectives” for the PAUSD Shadow Board since I am convinced that some patterns were established well before the last Superintendent and all need to be identified.
The letter to the editor titled “Modeling Bad Behavior” (listed  in Link #4) caused me to think of the second part of the broom quote which I listed in the title. This letter deals with the story about the ex-principal of Palo Alto High.  (I did relate to teachers’ personal modeling in another post relating to the thread that brought us the news about PAUSD Board’s  secret meeting – link #7).

When the new principal of Palo Alto high was announced last year, the Weekly published an article titled:

“New Paly Principal Knows Her Way Around Campus” (link #8).  Again – the second part of the broom quote comes to mind.

The following is a partial list of questions I asked myself, particularly in light of the recently published allegations around the prior principal’s actions and his subsequent demotion.  I do hope that these questions were properly considered:

1.  Was Ms. Diorio aware of the sexual harassment allegations that were investigated by PAUSD officials before those became a cause for PAUSD official’s  investigation?

1.1 – If Ms. Diorio was aware of the allegations:
1.1.1  Where did she take the info?
1.1.2 – If she was aware, and did not forward the info, why didn’t she? (Was it because she was afraid of retaliation?)

1.2 If Ms. Diorio was not aware of the allegations –

1.2.1 Was she approachable to the woman who felt harassed?
1.2.2 How come she was not aware?
2. Streaking, campus culture etc. sampling –
2.1 Did Ms. Diorio think that a clothes-optional school is a blessing to this community?
2.2 If she did not approve of the streaking occurrences, where did she take her concerns before she was promoted? What did she do about her concerns?

Basically, if any of the allegations published about the prior principal are correct, did Ms. Diorio roam around campus with her eyes/ears/mouth closed?  And if so, why?

A week ago (2/28/17) I posted a partial description  of the circumstances that led to the complete closure of the  thread dealing with PAUSD secret meetings (link #1). I noted many times that I thought the info was super important, I could not underhand the rationale behind the heavy censorship, the way the discussion was stiffed.
Here are couple of examples of my  comments which were removed completely. I still cannot underhand why. Please note  “never been more disgusted” and  “Teachers too” comments, to which i related below. Seems to me that their comments are still very relevant.

Before- posted on 01/02/2014

Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
0 minutes ago
village fool is a registered user.
@Never been more disgusted – Back in July you wrote:
“…Or maybe I will continue to teach my students that their democratic duty is to criticize their elected and paid leaders to ensure that they are representing us. My union president may be silent right now, but I will not be.”
I wished you, then, that you voice will be heard. I decided, then, to try to follow up with you.
I want to think that you also teach the virtues of free speech, First Amendment etc.

“teachers too” ended her/his comment here ( Web Link) saying: “… they are the people we pay to care for our kids, and they are all part of the problem. Until they recognize that and stop playing the game of silence, then only then will we be on the way to improvement.”

All correlates nicely to your July’s comment, above.

Wishing you that your voice will be heard and inspire your students. Many agree that teachers’ personal modeling can go a long way.
Happy New year!

(this is part of a longer post in my blog – Web Link)


Comment removed, completely.


Before – posted 12/15/2013:

Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
0 minutes ago

village fool is a registered user.

@Never been so disgusted – Back in July I decided to try and follow up with you. I posted here, yesterday, Saturday 12/14/12.
My sincere efforts to conform to the Terms of Use did not help me, and my comment disappeared completely. It can be found on my blog where I have posted samples of editing/censoring (Web Link)

Happy Holidays and Break! (I hope my holiday greetings will remain untouched)


Post gone, completely.



The following comment was posted, and disappeared on Saturday, 12/14/13

Posted by village fool, a resident of another community
1 hour ago

village fool is a registered user.

@Never been more disgusted – back in July you wrote – “…Or maybe I will continue to teach my students that their democratic duty is to criticize their elected and paid leaders to ensure that they are representing us. My union president may be silent right now, but I will not be.”
I wished you, then, that your voice would be heard.

Back in July I decided to try and follow up with you. I am writing to wish you a great Holiday and break!

I do hope that you are also teaching the virtues of free speech. I wonder if teaching the virtues of free speech include any type of personal modeling?
Back in July I could not have foreseen my comments being removed the way they have been now. I am aware that this thread was restricted only to those who log in. I am sorry about that, apparently this is a one way communication. I could suggest an alternative, but I think that having mentioned an alternative is one of the reasons that had my comments have disappeared completely, so I’ll refrain from mentioning alternatives.

I am copying “Teachers too”s comment (which was posted here: Web Link). This comment articulates parts of the thoughts I was having back in July. I am hoping that copying a comment which was not edited will help me in my sincere effort to conform here and have this comment remained untouched.

“Teachers too” wrote: “The school board is responsible for approving policy and directing the superintendent, currently Kevin Skelly, and they have been woefully incapable of these basic responsibilities. Increasingly absent are defensive excuses in this forum about how they are volunteers, good-people, and other emptiness designed to divert attention from how harmful the school board and Kevin Skelly have been to the PAUSD brand. Teachers are perhaps the biggest part of this particular thread. They are the most important adult at school in a student’s life and they have the most contact time with the student, and that includes the supervision and monitoring for the student’s well-being. In some of these bullying cases, the teacher has been accused, just like the principal, of failing to protect the student from bullying. In short, bullying has everything to do about teachers. It’s quite basic. Union folks have been eerily quiet about this whole mess. I think part is explained by a deal to remain quiet and collect raises, you know, don’t rock the boat and you’ll get what you want. I think the other part is that the union doesn’t know what to do, judging by the past few years of watching former PAEA president Triona Gogarty and current president Teri Baldwin publicly represent teachers at PAUSD board meetings, focusing of pay raises and nothing else. PAEA is one of the most powerful forces in PAUSD, nothing gets done without Skelly first asking for approval, and that includes anti-bullying policy. You would think that paying all these people more would result in the resolution of PAUSD problems, but it has had the opposite effect. Will the board’s 5-0 vote in 12 hours make Skelly a better leader? Well, did the 5-0 votes last month and in the spring to give raises to the teachers and principals make them better at what they do? They are all part of the organization, they are the people we pay to care for our kids, and they are all part of the problem. Until they recognize that and stop playing the game of silence, then only then will we be on the way to improvement. ”

Let me copy, again, the last sentence of “Teachers too”s comment – “… they are the people we pay to care for our kids, and they are all part of the problem. Until they recognize that and stop playing the game of silence, then only then will we be on the way to improvement. ”
This goes back to my points about modeling the virtues of free speech and exercising academic freedom.

Wishing you, again, great Holiday!


Comment gone.  Completely.



Link#1 –

On July 2013 The PA Weekly published a thread titled:  In secret, school board weighs not cooperating with federal agency (link #1).
As it turns out  those discussions surfaced again,  rescind or not? etc.
I thought then that the info was ultra important and that the censoring silenced a very important discussion. Many comments vanished. The thread was made available  only to those who login very short time after I posted the question: 

Posted by village fool, a resident of another community

on Jul 15, 2013 at 5:47 am

I am confused – is it certain that the recent agreements with the OCR will be followed?

Making a thread available only to those who login proved to stifle the discussion. This thread took many twists, other threads relating to this issue popped up in an attempt to continue this discussion without logging in  (so I believe). This thread was a personal straw for me: the  combination of the importance the issue discussed and the censorship stifling the discussion was the  reason I decided to start a blog, a place where I cannot be deleted. I continued to try to point to the importance of those secret meetings. Most of my comments vanished, samples can be found of the page I dedicated to the ongoing censoring (link #3). The thread was locked completely after the editorial addressing the “Cut the Mike night” – Nadir.. Here are the comments leading to the secret meetings thread being locked completely (link #2):

Posted by yes, but, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood

on Feb 4, 2014 at 9:16 am

Town Square Moderator,

There is a separate thread which Village Fool keeps resuscitating which I believe is a method to ignite controversy surrounding similar issues. It’s among your top posts of the day. If people click, it just gets more views, usually few people have commented since the original thread was started.

I have appreciated your delivering news on the topics regardless of controversy; however, when posters use a thread to ignite passions towards one view or another, that seems unnecessary. Astroturf movements on Town Square should at least have real people behind them.

Palo Alto Online Moderator Response:

Thanks for pointing this out. We’ve closed that topic from further comment so this won’t happen any longer.

Discussion gone with the locking of this thread, until pretty recently. Rescind? Why? etc.

The above is a very partial tale. More censored comments  can be found a on the page I dedicated to the ongoing censoring. (link #3). 
And – 
Dear Ms. Gaona Mendoza- Congrats!  Another open letter is on the works. More than three years ago  I addressed you first time (link #4), I have written to you quite a few times since.  Thank you for your thoughtful responses and for all you do!
Link #1 –
Link #3 –
Link #4-
@info on on Special Ed –

You started a thread on Palo Alto Online asking of ways to find info about Special Ed (link #1).  I am responding to you here in the hope that you will see my response since I cannot post online. My IP address is blocked and anything I post from another place noting “my name” vanishes.
The California Department of Education (CDE) maintains a site that may have some answers to the questions you asked. I do not know if you are familiar with this site – dataquest (link #2) below.
You can find all sorts of info about Special Ed, Enrollment by disability, enrollment by race, dropouts, etc., and you can compare district level, school level, etc. (not all info is available in all levels).
As an example – I just saw that PAUSD had on 2015/2016 118 white students and 20 Asian students who have been diagnosed to have “Specific Learning Disorder.”
Having written the above, I would take the info with a grain of salt. I say this because PAUSD was under investigation by the CDE.  This investigation was not reported to the public when Special Ed successes were presented to the school board three years ago. I refer to this meeting (link #3 below) when I wrote an open letter to Ms. Gaona Mendosa. I  must admit that I did not follow the resulting investigation closely – the random comments I read during the past three years indicate that Superintendent reported to the public only after the investigation ended and all issues were corrected. You may want to also check Edmond Burke’s blog (no longer active), which also referred to the CDE investigation.

And a few additional notes/questions (bearing in mind that I did not research current situation):
– You may see references to “specific learning disorder.” This used to be the biggest % of diagnosed disabilities.  Last I checked, California’s students are shortchanged on the National level compared to Vermont, for example. Meaning that, in order to qualify in California, a student has to have a “bigger difficulty” than a student who attends school in Vermont.  Students in other states may get the support they need early, while California students will not qualify. This inequity will have long term impacts not only the lack of support, but inequity (on a national level) where other states may have accommodations for SAT impacting college admissions, etc.
– Private placements:  Way back I heard of students attending Charles Armstrong school at PAUSD expense. Those who shared this with me and were interested in exploring this issue told me that private lawyers were apparently involved in some placements and the info about the settlement between the student’s family and PAUSD was to be kept confidential. I do not know if this info is correct. If it was correct, I do not know if the students were part of Dataquest’s statistics, nor how to see this expense. I do not know if there is a way to see how much $ PAUSD spent on legal settlements.  Also – if this info was correct, I am wondering if any underrepresented minority student was ever sent to such school.
– If the bit I mentioned above about Charles Armstrong school is accurate, it may be part of the explanation  (along other similar bits) why many thought that PAUSD’s Special Ed  was better years ago, as those who had the means to hire private lawyers got what they wanted.
*Both threads related to Stanford.
*Both threads were locked completely, no more commenting during the  June 11th’ weekend.
*Both threads share the same last line posted by the modertor:
“Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.”

Thread #1: Editorial: Stanford’s deafening silence



Last comment before closure:
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jun 10, 2016 at 5:52 pm
Re the “deafening silence,” I think it’s quite telling the Joe Biden, the US Congress, the Mayor of New York City and so many other public officials have shown leadership in holding events where they responded to the victim’s statement and in some cases held public readings of her letter.Those events were 3,000 miles away. Where was the local leadership?

[Portion removed.]


Thread #2: Stanford task force recommends expulsion as ‘expected’ sanction for sexual assault



Last comment before closure:
Posted by Nonsense and innocence
a resident of Old Palo Alto
15 hours ago

While I agree that sexual assault is a matter for police, and universities should improve reporting.

But I disagree with the “innocent until proven extreme” conjecture.

Let’s put this in perspective- most organizations have rules they administrate for members. (Not judiciary!)

Example – business has a right to refuse service to unruly customers. The library can revoke my library card for not following their rules. I don’t have to be found guilty by a judge and jury of drinking a soda in the reference section. The librarian can handle that – I lose privileges when I break rules. No judge needed.

Students who cheat on exams lose the privilege of going to that school – they are expelled. There is an administrative process to determine cheating, with accusations, and appeal (usually to a disciplinary board)

I see no reason why sexual assault isn’t a rule on campus.

There could be an administrative process just like cheating. With review and with consequences (we aren’t talking jail – just the loss of privilege of attending that specific college).

You lost your library card – now you gotta get your books elsewhere. No judge needed.

So I see no problem with a reasonable administrative process.

Now we can discuss what that process looks like: is the accuser required to file a police report? Is there a disciplinary board? Do the have written guidelines? Is there appeal? Is there a range of punishments ( suspension 1term, 2 term…permanent)

All good things to discuss. All legal.

And it can be a parallel process to the judicial case.

Judge decides if you go to jail.
School decides if you can attend their school.