School Climate Report

imageSchools

Last night at the city of Davis’ Human Relations Commission, Mel Lewis, the Davis School District’s Climate Coordinator with assistance from Pam Mari, Director of Student Services presented a brief overview of the results from the Yale School Climate Survey.

For those of you who are long time Vanguard readers, you will recall back in May, we were critical of the use of this survey for the purposes ascertaining school climate. There were four versions of this survey: Elementary and Middle School, High School, Parent, and Staff. Last May we were able to obtain the Parent version and post it on the Vanguard. Mr. Lewis informed us that the results of this survey are proprietary, and therefore they cannot post the results of the survey. This is basically a $30,000 survey purchased at public expense that cannot have the full results posted–a problematic aspect to begin with.
They were able to show us summary and graphical results.

There were 17 major categories of questions. The first graphic to the right shows the 17 categories and their distribution within the surveys. The first six are incorporated into the Elementary and Middle School Survey. Categories 2 through 7 are incorporated into the High School Category.

The big findings are represented on the second and third graphic. These pictorially demonstrate a consistent pattern that on most questions, “Black” and “Latino” students rate their school climate less than their “White” counterparts.

To Mel Lewis, this was clear and convincing evidence that the school climate was not perceived the same for all students and it was systematically more difficult for minorities than for white students, according to this survey.

Mr. Lewis stressed that this data will allow us to move away from assumptions to reality. In other words, we do not have to assume that these problems are here, we have evidence and we can now deal with them. As a result, we can improve communication and awareness. And this will help in the formation of various programs that we have discussed such as the Safe School Ambassadors program, the Unconscious Bias Training, among others.

One of the questions that had among the lowest ratings was the question: “I can talk to my teachers about my problems.” Overall, only 42 percent of students agreed, that number dropped to 6 percent among black students at one Junior High, 15 percent at another.

Before I proceed with this, I want to stress, that to me Mel Lewis and Pam Mari are very sincere on this issue. They have concerns and I think they are sincere in wanting to address these concerns.

Nevertheless, even though I am sympathetic to the results of this survey, I remain troubled by some of the interpretations of the findings.

First, as a social scientist, I question the interpretation of the results. There is a consistent pattern that shows a difference between minority and white respondents across the board. However, without having the actual figures those differences appear small numerically. Furthermore, given the low sample size for minorities, I am not certain how robust these results are and how confident we can be that these differences are not due to mere chance and random variations.

Let me give a clear and simple example. Let us suppose that there were only 10 black students at a school and 7 told us that they did not feel they could talk to their teachers. That, would be 70% percent. A one student difference in the results would drastically change the results. If one extra student said they felt they could talk to their teachers, the number would drop to 60% or if one fewer student said they could not talk to their teachers, that number would rise to 80%. In other words, one random change in the responses could swing the results by 20%. Even if you have 19 students, as was the case in one of the surveys at a Junior High, small random variation can lead to drastic change in results. Are the differences in the results between whites and non-whites, large enough to overcome the potential for random variation? If they are, they are what we would call statistically significant. If not, then they are not. From the results that we see, it is difficult to tell if they are.

So again, while I might believe the results, I have difficulty having confidence in the process.

Secondly, while I think the results are instructive, I am still far from sure that they asked the key questions. As I was skeptical in May, there were few questions that I would consider actual climate type questions. Few that asked about racism. Few that asked about race relations. Few that talked about harassment, discrimination, differentials in punishment, bullying, etc. The key issues that we have faced over the past few years are not covered by the survey. So yes, we may have stumbled onto some results here, but we might still not be asking the critical questions that will really show us where the problems lie.

Finally, as several told me following the meeting, it is far from clear that the questions asked here are much different from what was found nearly 20 years ago. We do not necessarily need more surveys. We have had surveys. We have developed programs. What we have not done is follow through on these programs with any type of commitment. In May, we talked about the “Racial Climate Assessment Report” that was done nearly 20 years ago and yet could have been written today.

Long time activist Tansey Thomas asked the school district in May:

“I don’t know why we want to start over again, everything that was a problem then, is a problem now. It’s like we’ve gone nowhere… That we form another study group, start another cycle, and it goes nowhere.”

As one person said last night, we’ve studied this enough, time for action.

The key question is whether these programs will solve the problem and whether the new board and the new superintendent will have the tenacity to follow through with these reports and implement these programs and ensure that programs will do what we are saying they will do. Short of that, we are engaging in academic exercises for no apparent benefit.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

Author

  • David Greenwald

    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.

Categories:

Civil Rights

36 comments

  1. To clarify, our family is mixed white/latino, and our kids could rather easily “pass” as white. We let them decide how they self-identify and most of the time they seem to choose latino (possibly because we speak Spanish at home). We have never noted that Davis was less friendly to us than to others.

    I basically agree w/ DPD. I have a hard time seeing how this survey will identify where the problems are, basically because the overall sampling population is small throughout the district and not detailed enough.

    Additional and more pointed questions to ask: are the trends consistent in all programs? do the Spanish Immersion or GATE programs show any notable deviations, either in elementary or JH? Are any of the results of concern reflective of socio-economic level?

    I agree w/ the other sentiments of the article. If the district cannot possibly get a meaningful survey, then lets move on already and explore other ways to address these issues if there are concerns.

  2. To clarify, our family is mixed white/latino, and our kids could rather easily “pass” as white. We let them decide how they self-identify and most of the time they seem to choose latino (possibly because we speak Spanish at home). We have never noted that Davis was less friendly to us than to others.

    I basically agree w/ DPD. I have a hard time seeing how this survey will identify where the problems are, basically because the overall sampling population is small throughout the district and not detailed enough.

    Additional and more pointed questions to ask: are the trends consistent in all programs? do the Spanish Immersion or GATE programs show any notable deviations, either in elementary or JH? Are any of the results of concern reflective of socio-economic level?

    I agree w/ the other sentiments of the article. If the district cannot possibly get a meaningful survey, then lets move on already and explore other ways to address these issues if there are concerns.

  3. To clarify, our family is mixed white/latino, and our kids could rather easily “pass” as white. We let them decide how they self-identify and most of the time they seem to choose latino (possibly because we speak Spanish at home). We have never noted that Davis was less friendly to us than to others.

    I basically agree w/ DPD. I have a hard time seeing how this survey will identify where the problems are, basically because the overall sampling population is small throughout the district and not detailed enough.

    Additional and more pointed questions to ask: are the trends consistent in all programs? do the Spanish Immersion or GATE programs show any notable deviations, either in elementary or JH? Are any of the results of concern reflective of socio-economic level?

    I agree w/ the other sentiments of the article. If the district cannot possibly get a meaningful survey, then lets move on already and explore other ways to address these issues if there are concerns.

  4. To clarify, our family is mixed white/latino, and our kids could rather easily “pass” as white. We let them decide how they self-identify and most of the time they seem to choose latino (possibly because we speak Spanish at home). We have never noted that Davis was less friendly to us than to others.

    I basically agree w/ DPD. I have a hard time seeing how this survey will identify where the problems are, basically because the overall sampling population is small throughout the district and not detailed enough.

    Additional and more pointed questions to ask: are the trends consistent in all programs? do the Spanish Immersion or GATE programs show any notable deviations, either in elementary or JH? Are any of the results of concern reflective of socio-economic level?

    I agree w/ the other sentiments of the article. If the district cannot possibly get a meaningful survey, then lets move on already and explore other ways to address these issues if there are concerns.

  5. The passage of time and the increasing “browning” of the US will address these issues as we move to a truly mixed racial/cultural population like Brazil.

  6. The passage of time and the increasing “browning” of the US will address these issues as we move to a truly mixed racial/cultural population like Brazil.

  7. The passage of time and the increasing “browning” of the US will address these issues as we move to a truly mixed racial/cultural population like Brazil.

  8. The passage of time and the increasing “browning” of the US will address these issues as we move to a truly mixed racial/cultural population like Brazil.

  9. DPD – right on!!! All the school system does is engage in endless surveys and debate, rather than get at the root problem.

    My son, a white male small for his age, and with dyslexia, was bullied constantly in elementary school; middle school; high school.

    In elementary school, he was slammed down on the cement by a much larger kid. When I went to talk to the principal about it, no one was there. After sitting in a meeting with the principal days later after tracking her down, I received no satisfaction.

    Infuriated, I took a picture of my son’s face, mailed it to the superintendent, and said the next time my son was brutalized in school, I was going to sue the district. A phone call from the asst. supt. was immediately forthcoming, and I was told to call them directly if there were any further problems.

    The principal in question went on an immediate sabbatical for one year, then showed up in an administrative position the next year. Shortly after that she became principal at a new elementary school, where she was equally inept.

    My son then went to junior high, where he was bullied yet again. I watched as he walked toward the school one morning, and was hit by a driveby spitwad by a brat on a bicycle. I tried to run the kid down, but lost him as he escaped into the school.

    My son had his calculator stepped on and destroyed one day – and the school refused to do anything – NOT ONE THING. Soon after, my son was jumped after school and had his bike destroyed. The school would do nothing yet again. I called the police, who were not too keen to do anything either, until I said I planned to take the matter to small claims court.

    The police passed the message along, and lo and behold we were reimbursed for my son’s bike. The mother of the bully admitted this kid was constantly in trouble at school, and she was tired of dealing with it.

    Then my son entered high school, where things got even worse. By this time he wasn’t getting very good grades (surprise, surprise – when your attention is on watching your back constantly, school work doesn’t seem all that important)and was placed in the AVID program – a dumping ground for problem students. Learning disabled are lumped in with trouble makers – and guess what? The bullying intensifies.

    My son was stalked by gang members in AVID. Teachers stood by and did nothing again. In fact my son was told by the Vice Principal to tell his teachers if he was bullied. When he told his teachers, they said if he complained one more time he would be suspended from school.

    One day two gang members, one a girl, cornered my son in a classroom with the teacher looking on. The girl shoved my son against the wall. After so many years of bullying, my son really lost his temper. He beat the tar out of the girl, and took on her male companion as well. The two were so startled, they caved under the onslaught.

    All three were suspended, INCLUDING MY SON. By the way, the girl gang leader was living with the Vice Principal at the time! Do you think my son was ever going to get a fair shake?

    When my son returned from being suspended, I told him never to be alone in school, even to go to the bathroom – to watch his back. One week later the girl gang member was caught with a knife in her possession and suspended for one week. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who she was planning to use the knife on.

    Soon after, when my son was out walking our dog, he was attacked by three gang members. Fortunately he and the dog ran faster than the three members on bikes. He ran in our front door screaming that gang members were after him. We called the police immediately, and they came out and took a report, but didn’t seemed too concerned.

    On graduation day, my son went to the store as a favor to me to get some milk. He was assaulted by three gang members, and got clocked with a fist up the side of his head. He dropped the milk, abandoned his bike, and was able to run home. I called the police again.

    This time we talked to a very sympathetic police officer, who knew the gang and the female gang leader in particular. My son was able to pick his assaulter out of a photo lineup. However, we were a bit too late. This same gang of three had caught a drunken college student walking alone one night some days before that, and beaten him within an inch of his life.

    The gang leader and her cohorts have been in and out of jail ever since. I am happy to say my son finally graduated from UCD as a math major, and is currently job hunting. He works part time for the UCD Engineering Dept. He is a good kid, who never harmed anyone, and tried to mind his own business.

    I had two daughters also go through the Davis school system. They fared much better, but had their fare share of problems as well. For instance, my eldest daughter had a stick pushed between her legs by some boy, who was a constant troublemaker.

    I was never so glad to see my kids out of the Davis public school system. I heartily agree with the sentiments expressed above, that the school talks around the problem of school climate, but usually does nothing. How can a child in high school be harassed, while the teacher is looking on – with no intervention taking place? If you think this is not a common problem in Davis schools – then you are very naive and living with your head in the sand.

    When there was a recent incident of a gay student being harassed, I was not the least bit surprised. And I doubt very much that anything much has changed, despite the school district’s rhetoric to the contrary. If the new truancy policy is an example, I rest my case.

    When I used to teach eighth grade math and science, the way we handled discipline had more to do with teachers taking individual responsibility. One time there was a problem in our hallways of physical violence that the administration would not address. So teachers met on their own, and volunteered to take turns every other day to step out into the hallway and be monitors. Worked like a charm, and stopped the problem cold. It didn’t cost any money to implement, and we didn’t have anyone do an expensive survey.

    Davis high school has had so many principles, the principal’s office is like a revolving door. We need a principal who is willing to stick it out and advocate for the school – address the specific problems there. It will take time and dedication. And by the way, it does not mean we have to pay an arm and a leg to get a good principal, e.g. we paid top dollar for Supt. Murphy, and look what we got for our money – not much!

    Leave it to the Davis school administration to find the most expensive and ineffective way to handle a problem!

    Sorry to be so long winded, but this is an issue that really touches a raw nerve for me, in light of my childrens’ terrible experiences in Davis schools.

  10. DPD – right on!!! All the school system does is engage in endless surveys and debate, rather than get at the root problem.

    My son, a white male small for his age, and with dyslexia, was bullied constantly in elementary school; middle school; high school.

    In elementary school, he was slammed down on the cement by a much larger kid. When I went to talk to the principal about it, no one was there. After sitting in a meeting with the principal days later after tracking her down, I received no satisfaction.

    Infuriated, I took a picture of my son’s face, mailed it to the superintendent, and said the next time my son was brutalized in school, I was going to sue the district. A phone call from the asst. supt. was immediately forthcoming, and I was told to call them directly if there were any further problems.

    The principal in question went on an immediate sabbatical for one year, then showed up in an administrative position the next year. Shortly after that she became principal at a new elementary school, where she was equally inept.

    My son then went to junior high, where he was bullied yet again. I watched as he walked toward the school one morning, and was hit by a driveby spitwad by a brat on a bicycle. I tried to run the kid down, but lost him as he escaped into the school.

    My son had his calculator stepped on and destroyed one day – and the school refused to do anything – NOT ONE THING. Soon after, my son was jumped after school and had his bike destroyed. The school would do nothing yet again. I called the police, who were not too keen to do anything either, until I said I planned to take the matter to small claims court.

    The police passed the message along, and lo and behold we were reimbursed for my son’s bike. The mother of the bully admitted this kid was constantly in trouble at school, and she was tired of dealing with it.

    Then my son entered high school, where things got even worse. By this time he wasn’t getting very good grades (surprise, surprise – when your attention is on watching your back constantly, school work doesn’t seem all that important)and was placed in the AVID program – a dumping ground for problem students. Learning disabled are lumped in with trouble makers – and guess what? The bullying intensifies.

    My son was stalked by gang members in AVID. Teachers stood by and did nothing again. In fact my son was told by the Vice Principal to tell his teachers if he was bullied. When he told his teachers, they said if he complained one more time he would be suspended from school.

    One day two gang members, one a girl, cornered my son in a classroom with the teacher looking on. The girl shoved my son against the wall. After so many years of bullying, my son really lost his temper. He beat the tar out of the girl, and took on her male companion as well. The two were so startled, they caved under the onslaught.

    All three were suspended, INCLUDING MY SON. By the way, the girl gang leader was living with the Vice Principal at the time! Do you think my son was ever going to get a fair shake?

    When my son returned from being suspended, I told him never to be alone in school, even to go to the bathroom – to watch his back. One week later the girl gang member was caught with a knife in her possession and suspended for one week. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who she was planning to use the knife on.

    Soon after, when my son was out walking our dog, he was attacked by three gang members. Fortunately he and the dog ran faster than the three members on bikes. He ran in our front door screaming that gang members were after him. We called the police immediately, and they came out and took a report, but didn’t seemed too concerned.

    On graduation day, my son went to the store as a favor to me to get some milk. He was assaulted by three gang members, and got clocked with a fist up the side of his head. He dropped the milk, abandoned his bike, and was able to run home. I called the police again.

    This time we talked to a very sympathetic police officer, who knew the gang and the female gang leader in particular. My son was able to pick his assaulter out of a photo lineup. However, we were a bit too late. This same gang of three had caught a drunken college student walking alone one night some days before that, and beaten him within an inch of his life.

    The gang leader and her cohorts have been in and out of jail ever since. I am happy to say my son finally graduated from UCD as a math major, and is currently job hunting. He works part time for the UCD Engineering Dept. He is a good kid, who never harmed anyone, and tried to mind his own business.

    I had two daughters also go through the Davis school system. They fared much better, but had their fare share of problems as well. For instance, my eldest daughter had a stick pushed between her legs by some boy, who was a constant troublemaker.

    I was never so glad to see my kids out of the Davis public school system. I heartily agree with the sentiments expressed above, that the school talks around the problem of school climate, but usually does nothing. How can a child in high school be harassed, while the teacher is looking on – with no intervention taking place? If you think this is not a common problem in Davis schools – then you are very naive and living with your head in the sand.

    When there was a recent incident of a gay student being harassed, I was not the least bit surprised. And I doubt very much that anything much has changed, despite the school district’s rhetoric to the contrary. If the new truancy policy is an example, I rest my case.

    When I used to teach eighth grade math and science, the way we handled discipline had more to do with teachers taking individual responsibility. One time there was a problem in our hallways of physical violence that the administration would not address. So teachers met on their own, and volunteered to take turns every other day to step out into the hallway and be monitors. Worked like a charm, and stopped the problem cold. It didn’t cost any money to implement, and we didn’t have anyone do an expensive survey.

    Davis high school has had so many principles, the principal’s office is like a revolving door. We need a principal who is willing to stick it out and advocate for the school – address the specific problems there. It will take time and dedication. And by the way, it does not mean we have to pay an arm and a leg to get a good principal, e.g. we paid top dollar for Supt. Murphy, and look what we got for our money – not much!

    Leave it to the Davis school administration to find the most expensive and ineffective way to handle a problem!

    Sorry to be so long winded, but this is an issue that really touches a raw nerve for me, in light of my childrens’ terrible experiences in Davis schools.

  11. DPD – right on!!! All the school system does is engage in endless surveys and debate, rather than get at the root problem.

    My son, a white male small for his age, and with dyslexia, was bullied constantly in elementary school; middle school; high school.

    In elementary school, he was slammed down on the cement by a much larger kid. When I went to talk to the principal about it, no one was there. After sitting in a meeting with the principal days later after tracking her down, I received no satisfaction.

    Infuriated, I took a picture of my son’s face, mailed it to the superintendent, and said the next time my son was brutalized in school, I was going to sue the district. A phone call from the asst. supt. was immediately forthcoming, and I was told to call them directly if there were any further problems.

    The principal in question went on an immediate sabbatical for one year, then showed up in an administrative position the next year. Shortly after that she became principal at a new elementary school, where she was equally inept.

    My son then went to junior high, where he was bullied yet again. I watched as he walked toward the school one morning, and was hit by a driveby spitwad by a brat on a bicycle. I tried to run the kid down, but lost him as he escaped into the school.

    My son had his calculator stepped on and destroyed one day – and the school refused to do anything – NOT ONE THING. Soon after, my son was jumped after school and had his bike destroyed. The school would do nothing yet again. I called the police, who were not too keen to do anything either, until I said I planned to take the matter to small claims court.

    The police passed the message along, and lo and behold we were reimbursed for my son’s bike. The mother of the bully admitted this kid was constantly in trouble at school, and she was tired of dealing with it.

    Then my son entered high school, where things got even worse. By this time he wasn’t getting very good grades (surprise, surprise – when your attention is on watching your back constantly, school work doesn’t seem all that important)and was placed in the AVID program – a dumping ground for problem students. Learning disabled are lumped in with trouble makers – and guess what? The bullying intensifies.

    My son was stalked by gang members in AVID. Teachers stood by and did nothing again. In fact my son was told by the Vice Principal to tell his teachers if he was bullied. When he told his teachers, they said if he complained one more time he would be suspended from school.

    One day two gang members, one a girl, cornered my son in a classroom with the teacher looking on. The girl shoved my son against the wall. After so many years of bullying, my son really lost his temper. He beat the tar out of the girl, and took on her male companion as well. The two were so startled, they caved under the onslaught.

    All three were suspended, INCLUDING MY SON. By the way, the girl gang leader was living with the Vice Principal at the time! Do you think my son was ever going to get a fair shake?

    When my son returned from being suspended, I told him never to be alone in school, even to go to the bathroom – to watch his back. One week later the girl gang member was caught with a knife in her possession and suspended for one week. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who she was planning to use the knife on.

    Soon after, when my son was out walking our dog, he was attacked by three gang members. Fortunately he and the dog ran faster than the three members on bikes. He ran in our front door screaming that gang members were after him. We called the police immediately, and they came out and took a report, but didn’t seemed too concerned.

    On graduation day, my son went to the store as a favor to me to get some milk. He was assaulted by three gang members, and got clocked with a fist up the side of his head. He dropped the milk, abandoned his bike, and was able to run home. I called the police again.

    This time we talked to a very sympathetic police officer, who knew the gang and the female gang leader in particular. My son was able to pick his assaulter out of a photo lineup. However, we were a bit too late. This same gang of three had caught a drunken college student walking alone one night some days before that, and beaten him within an inch of his life.

    The gang leader and her cohorts have been in and out of jail ever since. I am happy to say my son finally graduated from UCD as a math major, and is currently job hunting. He works part time for the UCD Engineering Dept. He is a good kid, who never harmed anyone, and tried to mind his own business.

    I had two daughters also go through the Davis school system. They fared much better, but had their fare share of problems as well. For instance, my eldest daughter had a stick pushed between her legs by some boy, who was a constant troublemaker.

    I was never so glad to see my kids out of the Davis public school system. I heartily agree with the sentiments expressed above, that the school talks around the problem of school climate, but usually does nothing. How can a child in high school be harassed, while the teacher is looking on – with no intervention taking place? If you think this is not a common problem in Davis schools – then you are very naive and living with your head in the sand.

    When there was a recent incident of a gay student being harassed, I was not the least bit surprised. And I doubt very much that anything much has changed, despite the school district’s rhetoric to the contrary. If the new truancy policy is an example, I rest my case.

    When I used to teach eighth grade math and science, the way we handled discipline had more to do with teachers taking individual responsibility. One time there was a problem in our hallways of physical violence that the administration would not address. So teachers met on their own, and volunteered to take turns every other day to step out into the hallway and be monitors. Worked like a charm, and stopped the problem cold. It didn’t cost any money to implement, and we didn’t have anyone do an expensive survey.

    Davis high school has had so many principles, the principal’s office is like a revolving door. We need a principal who is willing to stick it out and advocate for the school – address the specific problems there. It will take time and dedication. And by the way, it does not mean we have to pay an arm and a leg to get a good principal, e.g. we paid top dollar for Supt. Murphy, and look what we got for our money – not much!

    Leave it to the Davis school administration to find the most expensive and ineffective way to handle a problem!

    Sorry to be so long winded, but this is an issue that really touches a raw nerve for me, in light of my childrens’ terrible experiences in Davis schools.

  12. DPD – right on!!! All the school system does is engage in endless surveys and debate, rather than get at the root problem.

    My son, a white male small for his age, and with dyslexia, was bullied constantly in elementary school; middle school; high school.

    In elementary school, he was slammed down on the cement by a much larger kid. When I went to talk to the principal about it, no one was there. After sitting in a meeting with the principal days later after tracking her down, I received no satisfaction.

    Infuriated, I took a picture of my son’s face, mailed it to the superintendent, and said the next time my son was brutalized in school, I was going to sue the district. A phone call from the asst. supt. was immediately forthcoming, and I was told to call them directly if there were any further problems.

    The principal in question went on an immediate sabbatical for one year, then showed up in an administrative position the next year. Shortly after that she became principal at a new elementary school, where she was equally inept.

    My son then went to junior high, where he was bullied yet again. I watched as he walked toward the school one morning, and was hit by a driveby spitwad by a brat on a bicycle. I tried to run the kid down, but lost him as he escaped into the school.

    My son had his calculator stepped on and destroyed one day – and the school refused to do anything – NOT ONE THING. Soon after, my son was jumped after school and had his bike destroyed. The school would do nothing yet again. I called the police, who were not too keen to do anything either, until I said I planned to take the matter to small claims court.

    The police passed the message along, and lo and behold we were reimbursed for my son’s bike. The mother of the bully admitted this kid was constantly in trouble at school, and she was tired of dealing with it.

    Then my son entered high school, where things got even worse. By this time he wasn’t getting very good grades (surprise, surprise – when your attention is on watching your back constantly, school work doesn’t seem all that important)and was placed in the AVID program – a dumping ground for problem students. Learning disabled are lumped in with trouble makers – and guess what? The bullying intensifies.

    My son was stalked by gang members in AVID. Teachers stood by and did nothing again. In fact my son was told by the Vice Principal to tell his teachers if he was bullied. When he told his teachers, they said if he complained one more time he would be suspended from school.

    One day two gang members, one a girl, cornered my son in a classroom with the teacher looking on. The girl shoved my son against the wall. After so many years of bullying, my son really lost his temper. He beat the tar out of the girl, and took on her male companion as well. The two were so startled, they caved under the onslaught.

    All three were suspended, INCLUDING MY SON. By the way, the girl gang leader was living with the Vice Principal at the time! Do you think my son was ever going to get a fair shake?

    When my son returned from being suspended, I told him never to be alone in school, even to go to the bathroom – to watch his back. One week later the girl gang member was caught with a knife in her possession and suspended for one week. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who she was planning to use the knife on.

    Soon after, when my son was out walking our dog, he was attacked by three gang members. Fortunately he and the dog ran faster than the three members on bikes. He ran in our front door screaming that gang members were after him. We called the police immediately, and they came out and took a report, but didn’t seemed too concerned.

    On graduation day, my son went to the store as a favor to me to get some milk. He was assaulted by three gang members, and got clocked with a fist up the side of his head. He dropped the milk, abandoned his bike, and was able to run home. I called the police again.

    This time we talked to a very sympathetic police officer, who knew the gang and the female gang leader in particular. My son was able to pick his assaulter out of a photo lineup. However, we were a bit too late. This same gang of three had caught a drunken college student walking alone one night some days before that, and beaten him within an inch of his life.

    The gang leader and her cohorts have been in and out of jail ever since. I am happy to say my son finally graduated from UCD as a math major, and is currently job hunting. He works part time for the UCD Engineering Dept. He is a good kid, who never harmed anyone, and tried to mind his own business.

    I had two daughters also go through the Davis school system. They fared much better, but had their fare share of problems as well. For instance, my eldest daughter had a stick pushed between her legs by some boy, who was a constant troublemaker.

    I was never so glad to see my kids out of the Davis public school system. I heartily agree with the sentiments expressed above, that the school talks around the problem of school climate, but usually does nothing. How can a child in high school be harassed, while the teacher is looking on – with no intervention taking place? If you think this is not a common problem in Davis schools – then you are very naive and living with your head in the sand.

    When there was a recent incident of a gay student being harassed, I was not the least bit surprised. And I doubt very much that anything much has changed, despite the school district’s rhetoric to the contrary. If the new truancy policy is an example, I rest my case.

    When I used to teach eighth grade math and science, the way we handled discipline had more to do with teachers taking individual responsibility. One time there was a problem in our hallways of physical violence that the administration would not address. So teachers met on their own, and volunteered to take turns every other day to step out into the hallway and be monitors. Worked like a charm, and stopped the problem cold. It didn’t cost any money to implement, and we didn’t have anyone do an expensive survey.

    Davis high school has had so many principles, the principal’s office is like a revolving door. We need a principal who is willing to stick it out and advocate for the school – address the specific problems there. It will take time and dedication. And by the way, it does not mean we have to pay an arm and a leg to get a good principal, e.g. we paid top dollar for Supt. Murphy, and look what we got for our money – not much!

    Leave it to the Davis school administration to find the most expensive and ineffective way to handle a problem!

    Sorry to be so long winded, but this is an issue that really touches a raw nerve for me, in light of my childrens’ terrible experiences in Davis schools.

  13. I think my daughter had problems with the same group of students that is described above. Rather than going to the Principal’s office for help, I went to the counseling office to get help with switching my daughter’s schedule so that she was not in classes with the girl and her friends. My daughter also was relieved (as was I) when the girl was finally expelled from the school.

    However, Adults have to steel themselves from feeling completely discouraged by the apparent lack of improvement. Every three years there is a complete turn over in the student body and the work needs to be repeated again and again with each new group of students.

    If we are going to study the impact of programs, the surveys need to be done in a shorter time frame, i.e. beginning of the year, end of the year. A study once every 20 years is just stupid.

    One idea to handle parents problems in dealing with the system is to go the route of ombudsman & review board to address complaints with the district, like we have with the police department. There could be an ombudsman set up solely for the students. The current school climate administrator position attempts to be all of those things and I’m not sure that is the best model.

  14. I think my daughter had problems with the same group of students that is described above. Rather than going to the Principal’s office for help, I went to the counseling office to get help with switching my daughter’s schedule so that she was not in classes with the girl and her friends. My daughter also was relieved (as was I) when the girl was finally expelled from the school.

    However, Adults have to steel themselves from feeling completely discouraged by the apparent lack of improvement. Every three years there is a complete turn over in the student body and the work needs to be repeated again and again with each new group of students.

    If we are going to study the impact of programs, the surveys need to be done in a shorter time frame, i.e. beginning of the year, end of the year. A study once every 20 years is just stupid.

    One idea to handle parents problems in dealing with the system is to go the route of ombudsman & review board to address complaints with the district, like we have with the police department. There could be an ombudsman set up solely for the students. The current school climate administrator position attempts to be all of those things and I’m not sure that is the best model.

  15. I think my daughter had problems with the same group of students that is described above. Rather than going to the Principal’s office for help, I went to the counseling office to get help with switching my daughter’s schedule so that she was not in classes with the girl and her friends. My daughter also was relieved (as was I) when the girl was finally expelled from the school.

    However, Adults have to steel themselves from feeling completely discouraged by the apparent lack of improvement. Every three years there is a complete turn over in the student body and the work needs to be repeated again and again with each new group of students.

    If we are going to study the impact of programs, the surveys need to be done in a shorter time frame, i.e. beginning of the year, end of the year. A study once every 20 years is just stupid.

    One idea to handle parents problems in dealing with the system is to go the route of ombudsman & review board to address complaints with the district, like we have with the police department. There could be an ombudsman set up solely for the students. The current school climate administrator position attempts to be all of those things and I’m not sure that is the best model.

  16. I think my daughter had problems with the same group of students that is described above. Rather than going to the Principal’s office for help, I went to the counseling office to get help with switching my daughter’s schedule so that she was not in classes with the girl and her friends. My daughter also was relieved (as was I) when the girl was finally expelled from the school.

    However, Adults have to steel themselves from feeling completely discouraged by the apparent lack of improvement. Every three years there is a complete turn over in the student body and the work needs to be repeated again and again with each new group of students.

    If we are going to study the impact of programs, the surveys need to be done in a shorter time frame, i.e. beginning of the year, end of the year. A study once every 20 years is just stupid.

    One idea to handle parents problems in dealing with the system is to go the route of ombudsman & review board to address complaints with the district, like we have with the police department. There could be an ombudsman set up solely for the students. The current school climate administrator position attempts to be all of those things and I’m not sure that is the best model.

  17. I like the idea of an ombudsman for students to go to, if teachers/staff/administration won’t do anything substantive to take care of the problem. What teachers don’t seem to understand is that by not doing anything, it allows the bully to gain momentum – and to think he/she is all powerful. Bullies are looking for boundaries, and teachers/the administration must set those boundaries. If the teacher refuses to help a bullied student, the victim needs some place to go to get redress other than the drastic measure of going to the police.

    In the case of my son, things were always allowed to get too far out of hand. One thing I particularly noted was the absence of administrators before and after school on the grounds. They should be everywhere, so students feel safe going home, going to school, and in the halls. I stood and watched at an elementary school, as one student slapped another one just for the heck of it. I stepped in because no administrator was around, nor teacher, nor yard duty person. I also watched a drug deal go down in the afternoon as the children were leaving DHS. No teacher/administrator was in sight.

    I also heartily agree that “surveys” every 20 years are meaningless. Informal surveys each year is far more appropriate. What was a problem last year may not be a problem this year.

  18. I like the idea of an ombudsman for students to go to, if teachers/staff/administration won’t do anything substantive to take care of the problem. What teachers don’t seem to understand is that by not doing anything, it allows the bully to gain momentum – and to think he/she is all powerful. Bullies are looking for boundaries, and teachers/the administration must set those boundaries. If the teacher refuses to help a bullied student, the victim needs some place to go to get redress other than the drastic measure of going to the police.

    In the case of my son, things were always allowed to get too far out of hand. One thing I particularly noted was the absence of administrators before and after school on the grounds. They should be everywhere, so students feel safe going home, going to school, and in the halls. I stood and watched at an elementary school, as one student slapped another one just for the heck of it. I stepped in because no administrator was around, nor teacher, nor yard duty person. I also watched a drug deal go down in the afternoon as the children were leaving DHS. No teacher/administrator was in sight.

    I also heartily agree that “surveys” every 20 years are meaningless. Informal surveys each year is far more appropriate. What was a problem last year may not be a problem this year.

  19. I like the idea of an ombudsman for students to go to, if teachers/staff/administration won’t do anything substantive to take care of the problem. What teachers don’t seem to understand is that by not doing anything, it allows the bully to gain momentum – and to think he/she is all powerful. Bullies are looking for boundaries, and teachers/the administration must set those boundaries. If the teacher refuses to help a bullied student, the victim needs some place to go to get redress other than the drastic measure of going to the police.

    In the case of my son, things were always allowed to get too far out of hand. One thing I particularly noted was the absence of administrators before and after school on the grounds. They should be everywhere, so students feel safe going home, going to school, and in the halls. I stood and watched at an elementary school, as one student slapped another one just for the heck of it. I stepped in because no administrator was around, nor teacher, nor yard duty person. I also watched a drug deal go down in the afternoon as the children were leaving DHS. No teacher/administrator was in sight.

    I also heartily agree that “surveys” every 20 years are meaningless. Informal surveys each year is far more appropriate. What was a problem last year may not be a problem this year.

  20. I like the idea of an ombudsman for students to go to, if teachers/staff/administration won’t do anything substantive to take care of the problem. What teachers don’t seem to understand is that by not doing anything, it allows the bully to gain momentum – and to think he/she is all powerful. Bullies are looking for boundaries, and teachers/the administration must set those boundaries. If the teacher refuses to help a bullied student, the victim needs some place to go to get redress other than the drastic measure of going to the police.

    In the case of my son, things were always allowed to get too far out of hand. One thing I particularly noted was the absence of administrators before and after school on the grounds. They should be everywhere, so students feel safe going home, going to school, and in the halls. I stood and watched at an elementary school, as one student slapped another one just for the heck of it. I stepped in because no administrator was around, nor teacher, nor yard duty person. I also watched a drug deal go down in the afternoon as the children were leaving DHS. No teacher/administrator was in sight.

    I also heartily agree that “surveys” every 20 years are meaningless. Informal surveys each year is far more appropriate. What was a problem last year may not be a problem this year.

  21. “My son, a white male small for his age, and with dyslexia, was bullied constantly in elementary school; middle school; high school.”

    You should have put him in a martial arts program.

    “In elementary school, he was slammed down on the cement by a much larger kid.”

    Jujitsu, for example, teaches kids to use leverage when facing a larger person.

    “My son then went to junior high, where he was bullied yet again.”

    Kids who have no confidence in themselves are the ones who get bullied. Karate training builds confidence.

    “I watched as he walked toward the school one morning, and was hit by a driveby spitwad by a brat on a bicycle.”

    With Kung Fu, a student is taught how to ward off a spitwad attack.

    “I tried to run the kid down, but lost him as he escaped into the school.”

    Jogging regularly might be something you should consider.

    “My son had his calculator stepped on and destroyed one day – and the school refused to do anything – NOT ONE THING.”

    In Tae Kwan Do, your son would learn to step on his enemies. That would end the bullying.

    “Soon after, my son was jumped after school and had his bike destroyed.”

    Mixed martial arts have become quite popular in recent years.

    “The mother of the bully admitted this kid was constantly in trouble at school, and she was tired of dealing with it.”

    If you studied Capoeira, you could beat that woman’s brains in yourself.

    “My son was stalked by gang members in AVID.”

    If he knew Krav Maga, he could have beaten back an entire gang.

  22. “My son, a white male small for his age, and with dyslexia, was bullied constantly in elementary school; middle school; high school.”

    You should have put him in a martial arts program.

    “In elementary school, he was slammed down on the cement by a much larger kid.”

    Jujitsu, for example, teaches kids to use leverage when facing a larger person.

    “My son then went to junior high, where he was bullied yet again.”

    Kids who have no confidence in themselves are the ones who get bullied. Karate training builds confidence.

    “I watched as he walked toward the school one morning, and was hit by a driveby spitwad by a brat on a bicycle.”

    With Kung Fu, a student is taught how to ward off a spitwad attack.

    “I tried to run the kid down, but lost him as he escaped into the school.”

    Jogging regularly might be something you should consider.

    “My son had his calculator stepped on and destroyed one day – and the school refused to do anything – NOT ONE THING.”

    In Tae Kwan Do, your son would learn to step on his enemies. That would end the bullying.

    “Soon after, my son was jumped after school and had his bike destroyed.”

    Mixed martial arts have become quite popular in recent years.

    “The mother of the bully admitted this kid was constantly in trouble at school, and she was tired of dealing with it.”

    If you studied Capoeira, you could beat that woman’s brains in yourself.

    “My son was stalked by gang members in AVID.”

    If he knew Krav Maga, he could have beaten back an entire gang.

  23. “My son, a white male small for his age, and with dyslexia, was bullied constantly in elementary school; middle school; high school.”

    You should have put him in a martial arts program.

    “In elementary school, he was slammed down on the cement by a much larger kid.”

    Jujitsu, for example, teaches kids to use leverage when facing a larger person.

    “My son then went to junior high, where he was bullied yet again.”

    Kids who have no confidence in themselves are the ones who get bullied. Karate training builds confidence.

    “I watched as he walked toward the school one morning, and was hit by a driveby spitwad by a brat on a bicycle.”

    With Kung Fu, a student is taught how to ward off a spitwad attack.

    “I tried to run the kid down, but lost him as he escaped into the school.”

    Jogging regularly might be something you should consider.

    “My son had his calculator stepped on and destroyed one day – and the school refused to do anything – NOT ONE THING.”

    In Tae Kwan Do, your son would learn to step on his enemies. That would end the bullying.

    “Soon after, my son was jumped after school and had his bike destroyed.”

    Mixed martial arts have become quite popular in recent years.

    “The mother of the bully admitted this kid was constantly in trouble at school, and she was tired of dealing with it.”

    If you studied Capoeira, you could beat that woman’s brains in yourself.

    “My son was stalked by gang members in AVID.”

    If he knew Krav Maga, he could have beaten back an entire gang.

  24. “My son, a white male small for his age, and with dyslexia, was bullied constantly in elementary school; middle school; high school.”

    You should have put him in a martial arts program.

    “In elementary school, he was slammed down on the cement by a much larger kid.”

    Jujitsu, for example, teaches kids to use leverage when facing a larger person.

    “My son then went to junior high, where he was bullied yet again.”

    Kids who have no confidence in themselves are the ones who get bullied. Karate training builds confidence.

    “I watched as he walked toward the school one morning, and was hit by a driveby spitwad by a brat on a bicycle.”

    With Kung Fu, a student is taught how to ward off a spitwad attack.

    “I tried to run the kid down, but lost him as he escaped into the school.”

    Jogging regularly might be something you should consider.

    “My son had his calculator stepped on and destroyed one day – and the school refused to do anything – NOT ONE THING.”

    In Tae Kwan Do, your son would learn to step on his enemies. That would end the bullying.

    “Soon after, my son was jumped after school and had his bike destroyed.”

    Mixed martial arts have become quite popular in recent years.

    “The mother of the bully admitted this kid was constantly in trouble at school, and she was tired of dealing with it.”

    If you studied Capoeira, you could beat that woman’s brains in yourself.

    “My son was stalked by gang members in AVID.”

    If he knew Krav Maga, he could have beaten back an entire gang.

  25. “the idea of an ombudsman for students to go to, if teachers/staff/administration won’t do anything substantive to take care of the problem.”
    Don’t waste the money on one more ombudsman-the “police ombudsman” has an astoundingly impressive resume but MY experience was that objects at rest tend to stay at rest. He DID have time to impart one keen piece of advice, “the PD has experienced a leadership vacuum(nice going S. Pierce-3Adam2) for most, if not all, of the last TEN years(from Jan.2007 back to at least Jan. 1997). Nice going-now let’s get someone else to suck off 100k in salary, do next to nothing substantial all day and publish reports and such that get read and promptly ignored. -Fred W. in Davis

  26. “the idea of an ombudsman for students to go to, if teachers/staff/administration won’t do anything substantive to take care of the problem.”
    Don’t waste the money on one more ombudsman-the “police ombudsman” has an astoundingly impressive resume but MY experience was that objects at rest tend to stay at rest. He DID have time to impart one keen piece of advice, “the PD has experienced a leadership vacuum(nice going S. Pierce-3Adam2) for most, if not all, of the last TEN years(from Jan.2007 back to at least Jan. 1997). Nice going-now let’s get someone else to suck off 100k in salary, do next to nothing substantial all day and publish reports and such that get read and promptly ignored. -Fred W. in Davis

  27. “the idea of an ombudsman for students to go to, if teachers/staff/administration won’t do anything substantive to take care of the problem.”
    Don’t waste the money on one more ombudsman-the “police ombudsman” has an astoundingly impressive resume but MY experience was that objects at rest tend to stay at rest. He DID have time to impart one keen piece of advice, “the PD has experienced a leadership vacuum(nice going S. Pierce-3Adam2) for most, if not all, of the last TEN years(from Jan.2007 back to at least Jan. 1997). Nice going-now let’s get someone else to suck off 100k in salary, do next to nothing substantial all day and publish reports and such that get read and promptly ignored. -Fred W. in Davis

  28. “the idea of an ombudsman for students to go to, if teachers/staff/administration won’t do anything substantive to take care of the problem.”
    Don’t waste the money on one more ombudsman-the “police ombudsman” has an astoundingly impressive resume but MY experience was that objects at rest tend to stay at rest. He DID have time to impart one keen piece of advice, “the PD has experienced a leadership vacuum(nice going S. Pierce-3Adam2) for most, if not all, of the last TEN years(from Jan.2007 back to at least Jan. 1997). Nice going-now let’s get someone else to suck off 100k in salary, do next to nothing substantial all day and publish reports and such that get read and promptly ignored. -Fred W. in Davis

  29. Student advocate, student court, anything that would be a place for a bullied student to go where he/she wasn’t told he/she would be suspended if a complaint was lodged with the teacher one more time.

    And to anonymous, who advocated my son take karate and other self-defense programs, etc. – when my son finally fought back to defend himself, he got suspended. Why? Because the student that had shoved him first was living at the vice principal’s house. My son didn’t have a chance at a fair hearing.

    Normal school policy is if two students are caught fighting, no questions are asked – both students are automatically suspended. Trust me, victimized students could take all the defense courses available, and it would not solve the insidious bullying problem at Davis schools. Teachers have to make it clear bullying will not be tolerated. And supervisors need to be visible and everywhere, and have zero tolerance for bullying.

    Superintendents come and go quickly, as if there were a revolving door. They are paid huge salaries for incompetent work product. Example: Murphy – who is on his way out, being paid $240,000 for doing nothing this year, while we pay the incoming supt. $190,000. And what do they come up with – a truancy policy that involves “police sweeps”. The least of their worries should be the truancy problem. Their first priority should be to make the schools safe. Remember, an actual murder occurred at DHS – in no small part because of an inattentive administration.

  30. Student advocate, student court, anything that would be a place for a bullied student to go where he/she wasn’t told he/she would be suspended if a complaint was lodged with the teacher one more time.

    And to anonymous, who advocated my son take karate and other self-defense programs, etc. – when my son finally fought back to defend himself, he got suspended. Why? Because the student that had shoved him first was living at the vice principal’s house. My son didn’t have a chance at a fair hearing.

    Normal school policy is if two students are caught fighting, no questions are asked – both students are automatically suspended. Trust me, victimized students could take all the defense courses available, and it would not solve the insidious bullying problem at Davis schools. Teachers have to make it clear bullying will not be tolerated. And supervisors need to be visible and everywhere, and have zero tolerance for bullying.

    Superintendents come and go quickly, as if there were a revolving door. They are paid huge salaries for incompetent work product. Example: Murphy – who is on his way out, being paid $240,000 for doing nothing this year, while we pay the incoming supt. $190,000. And what do they come up with – a truancy policy that involves “police sweeps”. The least of their worries should be the truancy problem. Their first priority should be to make the schools safe. Remember, an actual murder occurred at DHS – in no small part because of an inattentive administration.

  31. Student advocate, student court, anything that would be a place for a bullied student to go where he/she wasn’t told he/she would be suspended if a complaint was lodged with the teacher one more time.

    And to anonymous, who advocated my son take karate and other self-defense programs, etc. – when my son finally fought back to defend himself, he got suspended. Why? Because the student that had shoved him first was living at the vice principal’s house. My son didn’t have a chance at a fair hearing.

    Normal school policy is if two students are caught fighting, no questions are asked – both students are automatically suspended. Trust me, victimized students could take all the defense courses available, and it would not solve the insidious bullying problem at Davis schools. Teachers have to make it clear bullying will not be tolerated. And supervisors need to be visible and everywhere, and have zero tolerance for bullying.

    Superintendents come and go quickly, as if there were a revolving door. They are paid huge salaries for incompetent work product. Example: Murphy – who is on his way out, being paid $240,000 for doing nothing this year, while we pay the incoming supt. $190,000. And what do they come up with – a truancy policy that involves “police sweeps”. The least of their worries should be the truancy problem. Their first priority should be to make the schools safe. Remember, an actual murder occurred at DHS – in no small part because of an inattentive administration.

  32. Student advocate, student court, anything that would be a place for a bullied student to go where he/she wasn’t told he/she would be suspended if a complaint was lodged with the teacher one more time.

    And to anonymous, who advocated my son take karate and other self-defense programs, etc. – when my son finally fought back to defend himself, he got suspended. Why? Because the student that had shoved him first was living at the vice principal’s house. My son didn’t have a chance at a fair hearing.

    Normal school policy is if two students are caught fighting, no questions are asked – both students are automatically suspended. Trust me, victimized students could take all the defense courses available, and it would not solve the insidious bullying problem at Davis schools. Teachers have to make it clear bullying will not be tolerated. And supervisors need to be visible and everywhere, and have zero tolerance for bullying.

    Superintendents come and go quickly, as if there were a revolving door. They are paid huge salaries for incompetent work product. Example: Murphy – who is on his way out, being paid $240,000 for doing nothing this year, while we pay the incoming supt. $190,000. And what do they come up with – a truancy policy that involves “police sweeps”. The least of their worries should be the truancy problem. Their first priority should be to make the schools safe. Remember, an actual murder occurred at DHS – in no small part because of an inattentive administration.

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