'Mr. White Boy was in the Nortenos' Around Town, posted by Editor, Mountain View Voice Online, on Jan 31, 2008 at 6:30 pm
Except for a few bumps in the road, Jacob DeWitt had a normal upbringing in Mountain View, say local residents who knew him. Today, the 19-year-old sits in jail, accused of stabbing a young man gangland-style on Escuela Avenue in early January.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, January 31, 2008, 4:44 PM
Posted by Different pair of eyes, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 31, 2008 at 7:25 pm
This story written here is NOT the family I saw. It was far from "normal". This boy has had issues long before this incident.
His life is ruined because thats the road he chose to go down. Yes, it is sad but maybe if he had more positive role models in his life it could have been different.
Baking cookies and coaching a team doesn't make you the perfect parents or perfect family. As a parent myself I know theres more to it then baseball and cookies.
Children should learn life morals from home NOT from the school ! I have had three kids go through middle school in the MVWSD system with a positive outcomes. There was gang activity but they were aware of the negative outcome because our continuing positive parenting.
Posted by Friend, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 31, 2008 at 9:03 pm
Reply to "Different pair of eyes"
The Family I SAW was pretty normal, every family has their problems AND THATS NORMAL. If you don't know the DeWitts personally and well then I don't think you have the right to judge their parenting skills. There are many influences outside the family to drive kids to do bad things.
Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Jan 31, 2008 at 10:14 pm
Wow! You are absolutely right that we don't know the family, but I don't need to know them to know that they were not around. Children spell love T.I.M.E. We as parents are our childrens best teachers. Not the middle schools. To say that Graham is the breeding ground for gangs is wrong. What happened to the Voice? To print an article with the words on the headline "Mr. White Boy" is very unprofessional for a local newspaper to write something based on someones opinion. What are you thinking Daniel DeBolt? If you want to write Enquire stuff then go work for them, but don't disgrace our city with this nonsense from a substitute that worked off and on in the school. Hello Daniel DeBolt! If you are going to write please write about the great programs that are being offered. Are there any? You interview an ignorant, selfish lady by the name of, Sivyer-Lee, and she becomes an expert on our city and school system. Get with it! Interview teachers, custodians, librarians, Food Service people. Get the real story. If you want the real stuff about the NFL you go to someone that is in the NFL. Not Sivyer-Lee that went to see an NFL game here and there and says the crowd was too wild for her and swore she would never ever go back to the stadium because of the lack of respect.
I call you and Daniel DeBolt to get out of your hole and get out and become a mentor and role model for these children. Don't sit on the couch and point fingers. You both become part of the problem of Lazy Americans that talk and talk and never offer solutions. This great city does not want your opinions if you have no solutions.
Posted by Angel650Vicious, a resident of the Martens-Carmelita neighborhood, on Jan 31, 2008 at 11:54 pm
i live down the street from the DeWitts and well i got into a fight with this guy, when i was 15 he was a punk then and still is a punk now im 20 and yes i did win the fight. But i knew even at that age that he was involved with gangs.... I also went to Graham and stayed clear of gangs they do try to be your friends but dont be dumb!! what this kid is going to get is some time to think in prison and im sure he will just end up getting some more time because he is now a seen as a gang member.... [Portion removed by Mountain View Voice staff.]
Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor, on Feb 1, 2008 at 10:50 am Don Frances is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
A message to "Concerned Citizen":
I wrote the headline, not Daniel DeBolt. Editors, not writers, typically are the authors of headlines.
Regarding your further comments, it is important to understand the difference between a source's opinions as quoted by a writer and those of the writer or newspaper itself. Here at the Voice, we were not personally shocked to learn that a "white boy" was in a Latino gang. But the story, and the testimony from Ms. Sivyer-Lee, are powerful because they are personal, real, and reflect the actual feelings and impressions of people who knew DeWitt. In short, they're a part of Mountain View.
As for your admonition that we "please write about the great programs that are being offered," I refer you to the following stories, all printed in the same edition of the Voice:
District readies programs for English learners (Web Link)
Posted by C.A., a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2008 at 10:53 am
I agree with Sivyer-Lee's statement that Mountain View's middle schools have become an unsafe place, but I cannot completely agree that school is the biggest factor to blame for youth transgression.
I attended Graham Middle School in the 90s. School violence seemed to be a regular occurrence. Some students managed to stay away from conflict, with help from the music department, sports programs, and CHAC, a community counseling program. But others who were involved in fights and acts of violence were suspended, only to return to school with the same sort of attitude. Perhaps this wasn’t the most effective approach.
Mountain View High School was a safer place to learn than Graham, thanks to police and security involvement, as well as an array of activities and clubs. A no tolerance policy against violence was in full effect. Students who displayed violent behavior surrounding the campus were expelled, and sent to alternative schools. However-if we put volatile adolescents together in a smaller learning environment, who's to say it won't breed more violence if the underlying emotional and behavioral issues aren't addressed in a healthy way?
Jacob DeWitt grew up with a family member of mine, so I knew about his early childhood involvement with drugs and violence. His attachment to gang activity doesn’t come as a shock to me, however the fact that he had potential to seriously injure another human being upsets me. This article failed to mention that at one point, DeWitt was an honor roll student. He managed to maintain a 4.0 grade-point average in school, something that some of most well-adjusted students weren‘t able to obtain. This proves that DeWitt had potential to direct his life in a more beneficial direction.
It seems that DeWitt, as well as other students’ conduct issues weren't addressed in a constructive way to change their lives before something like this could happen. Becoming a self-proclaimed overprotective parent isn't enough. Its essential that those who are “missing something at home,” are introduced to community counseling programs which help build self-esteem, promote academic success, and provide one-on-one attention. Sure, Graham and Crittenden middle schools make use of gang prevention officers. But this is just one step toward preventing gang brutality. The blame shouldn’t be placed on schools alone. Community counseling and after school programs need to be utilized to help stop violence before it escalates into another disturbing newspaper article.
Posted by Angelina, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2008 at 11:10 am
Growing up in Mountain View I knew there was some gang activity but nothing like it is now. My children are growing up here and the gang activity seems to be getting worse and worse. It seems as if I may be forced to have my childern attend school outside of Mountain View and in fact move out of this town.Maybe by providing more afterschool activity options for parents and children it may keep kids from getting into trouble. I agree the middle school is crucial in reaching out to these kids. At this point in their lives its easy to get lost between right and wrong especially with all the peer pressure. It would be a shame to have to relocate my family when I specially choose to raise my children here in Mountain View for the great experience I had growing up in this town.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2008 at 11:57 am
To CA--Graham in the 90s is not Graham today. There are occasional fist fights, I'm sure, but in 4 consecutive years of having kids there every day, my kids have yet to witness one act of violence or feel unsafe. The police presence on campus is similar to that of Mountain View High--and they are NOT there to arrest kids and break up fights every day, as the rumor mills love to say. They are part of the community policing program, running preventive programs, getting to know the kids and the staff, staying in touch. Perhaps this was not true when you were there, but it is definitely true today. The school is very safe.
As far as kids returning to school after being suspended--school districts don't have a lot of choice. You are required to provide students with an education, and the county is overloaded and cannot take every trouble maker off a district's hands. I believe the school does an admirable job and, as I say, in 4 years, my kids have never been or felt threatened at Graham.
Posted by Concerned Citizen, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Feb 1, 2008 at 2:11 pm
Great Don Frances! Everywhere I placed Daniel DeBolt's name just scratch it out and insert yours. I want a headline that states "Editor of the MV Voice helps community in need by getting out of his comfort zone and working with local communities to make a change". Don you are good, but please work harder on being great!
Posted by Blame the mirror, a resident of another community, on Feb 2, 2008 at 1:11 pm
Don't blame Graham or any other school, public or private. Parents have a difficult job raising their children to be model citizens and when it goes bad--like in this case--parents have to model the adult behavior of accepting responsibility. No one ever said parenting was easy. Likewise, no one said being a substitute was easy. You usually get the respect you deserve.
Posted by C.A., a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Feb 4, 2008 at 12:52 am
If you had interpreted my response correctly, you’d notice I stated that middle schools are not completely at fault. If Graham is now making use of accommodating programs as you say they are, then its up to parents to benefit from, and put into effect the values these programs demonstrate. And if a student’s family displays strong dysfunction, school programs may be a student’s last resort to avoid being pulled into defiance and civil disobedience.
What benefit does a suspension give an adolescent who clearly doesn’t intend to be at school to learn? Its simply a vacation. How a suspension is spent is completely up to the parent. But what if the student is “missing something at home,” as Sivyer-Lee stated? What if this student has parents trying to make ends meet, who find it difficult to take time off from work? It becomes obvious that a preteen left at home without supervision cannot be an effective punishment under these circumstances. Not every family can afford to have a parent at home during all hours, hire a nanny or babysitter, or live in an undisruptive and generally crime-free neighborhood such as yours in Waverly Park. What would you, Parent, suggest as punishment for these underprivilaged students? I’m fully aware that the district is crowded and cannot take every chronic trouble maker off a district's hands…but apparently there’s an alternative for those who cannot benefit from suspension: juvenile correction centers. No, thank you. I’m not a member of the board, but perhaps the district could benefit from creating efficient forms of punishment for these kind of delinquent students, if they haven‘t already.
Perhaps your comment would have been better directed at Ms. Sivyer-Lee, who already has formed a generalization about Graham today.
Posted by An educated hispanic, a resident of the Castro City neighborhood, on Feb 5, 2008 at 12:30 pm
Most violent crime in Mountain View is gang related. The last two homicides I can recall were also gang related, with one victim being a middle school student. If this makes you feel comfortable, then keep your kids in the middle schools. It might be a surprise to know, but many families pull their children from the district after the 5th grade because of the very issues touched upon in this article. True, nothing can replace good parenting, in terms of both providing a good moral compass, as well as providing protection from potential harm and bad influences. Nearly all contributors raise the issue of violence and gangs in the schools in the past or present... that should be enough to tell you there's a real potential danger to your child in the middle schools, so do the right thing and find them a good private school. The money is worth it...and the quality of education is almost always better.
The Mountain View Voice, under the editorship of Don Francs, is doing an excellent job. Finally some real journalism covering both sides of the issues from what was once a joke of a paper. Although I will admit that Don and I would probably never agree on anything, I will admit that under his leadership the Voice is once again a good read. The schools and community benefit from objective coverage, not continual positive spin from the same leadership and board members, or the same people writing in and getting published. Sure Mountain View is a great place to live, but there are many issues that many don't want to face. How about getting some more hispanic teachers and staff on board at the schools and in their leadership? Would better role models help curb hispanic gangs in the schools? What about that retirement scandal un-covered by the Voice last year? How much money was wasted there that could have been used to make the schools better?
And before I close... Ms. Lee is a great, caring person. To say otherwise is to say you don't know her.
Posted by tk78, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Feb 6, 2008 at 3:42 pm
You got the baseball team wrong. It was the Red Sox.
And, having a sibling who was on the same team for 3 years, none of us were surprised to learn of Jacob's gang involvement --- more heartbroken for Frank, since he had overcome so much at the time. Watch a kids' reaction when they strike out or lose a game (especially after an undefeated season) --- I think we all caught a glimpse of the attitude and bottled up anger that eventually finds him in an 8x8.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2008 at 9:26 pm
To CA: I was responding to your very first sentence in your original post, which reads, "I agree with Sivyer-Lee's statement that Mountain View's middle schools have become an unsafe place..." I do acknowledge that you said the schools are not entirely to blame. I hold that the school is in no way responsible, because the gang activity is not taking place there, it is taking place in the student's neighborhoods.
To Educated Hispanic--perhaps you need to read the papers a little more carefully--I believe the homicide of a student you are speaking of was of the HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR from Los Altos High who was tragically shot on Rengstorff a few years back. There was an incident a year or two back when a middle-school student was assaulted (not seriously injured) in an altercation with some teenagers---in the 7-Eleven parking lot on Escuela, nowhere near Graham. Probably gang-related, I agree, but -- I guess 7-Eleven is culpable for gang activity in Mountain View, too? And yes, I am very comfortable with my kids at Graham. My 9th-grader loved her entire 3 years there, and my 6th grader is every bit as happy there as she was at Huff, if not more so.
The blaming of the schools is absurd, wildly inaccurate, rumor-mongering and serves no purpose. The overwhelming majority of the kids at our middle schools, of every ethnicity and background, are good kids who are not getting into any trouble. The fact that gang activity exists in the community is in no way the fault of the schools. The schools are doing the best they can to identify at-risk kids and provide them with the counseling and support they need to keep them out of trouble, as does the MV Police Department with their Police Activities League.
Posted by Resident, a resident of another community, on Feb 7, 2008 at 9:40 pm
To An Educated Hispanic: "How about getting some more hispanic teachers and staff on board at the schools and in their leadership? Would better role models help curb hispanic gangs in the schools?" The gangs are in the neighborhoods, not the schools. The kids may try and bring gang colors, talk, signs, etc. to the schools, but the schools don't allow it. They can't control every minute of every kids' day, but believe me the kids know that colors, signs, anything that shows they are "affiliating" with gangs is strictly forbidden. As for role models, The Voice had an interesting article last year about the two gang-prevention counselors at Graham and Crittenden. They are both Hispanic men, Mountain View natives, who lived in these kids' neighborhoods and went to their schools. So I think the schools do understand about providing positive role modes.
You ask, "What about that retirement scandal un-covered by the Voice last year? How much money was wasted there that could have been used to make the schools better?" Since we haven't heard any more on that, I'm guessing it was the scandal that wasn't. And even if it was true, the money would have come from the state teacher's retirement fund, which has zero impact on any school district's general fund spending. This was either a red herring or a smear. Doesn't elevate the discussion much.
Posted by Parent, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Feb 7, 2008 at 9:55 pm
CA -- I'm not really sure what you are getting at. We seem to agree that one big part of the problem is that the kids who end up attracted to gangs are often not receiving enough supervision, support and guidance at home--and I don't always blame the parents, either. I may not be the clueless rich snob you appear to think I am, believe it or not. Poverty, lack of opportunity, etc. are the root causes of gangs, in my opinion. I'm sure a lot of these kids have loving, devoted families who are broken-hearted that their kids join ganga. The schools just reflect the society around them. For the punishment question--I don't think they should go go juvie, either. I don't think suspensions are effective, either. I can't tell you just what punishments the schools mete out--I just know that when a kids' behavior gets so bad it has to go the school board, their hands are tied by certain legal processes they have to go through. There are literally only a few options available to them. Last year they did open, along with the High School District and maybe one other district, a local alternative school, Terra Bella Academy, here in Mountain View. So the kids who cannot return to Graham or Crittenden, but cannot go to the county, have a school to go to here. Is this perfect? No. Do you have a better answer? If you do, please share it because everyone wants to do better for these kids. With every-shrinking budgets, it's getting harder and harder.
Posted by odschlgrl, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2008 at 9:11 am
So if the child in question did not look like a 'white boy' as mentioned in the articles would it create the same response? Would you care if he looked black or mexican?
Maybe you should all be concerned at how the schools treat the kids with low grades by tossing them in Alta Vista and letting them fend for themselves to learn nothing and not graduate with their class but with the 'Alta Vista' class all the while their parents are paying tax dollars for them to go to school at Mountain View. I say get rid of these flunky schools leave the kids in their own school and get the right teachers to teach them what they need to know, reading, math and writing. Bring back the wood shop and cooking classes that we had as kids at Crittenden and Graham. Alta Vista is a joke as soon as a teacher can't handle the student it's off to Alta Vista for a summer vacation for the student.
Posted by parent of three in mvwsd, a resident of the Sylvan Park neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2008 at 10:00 am
"Mr. White Boy" What a racist statement and from a "substitute teacher? Do you teach your students to name call? If he was black would you call him a nigor, or if he was mexican, would you call him a cholo? Come on Muriel.
What about David and Casey? They are the "White Boys" Watch what you say Muriel, some day they could be involved in a DUI, manslaughter case and what would you have to say.
Stop pointing fingers and do something constructive with your life. The viewers don't care what you have to say.
Posted by parent, a resident of another community, on Feb 8, 2008 at 10:13 am
Sivyer-Lee. Why did you write about Jacob DeWitt only and not George Oseida. I read George Oseida could be in for life. It seems to me you should have focused on him and not "Mr. White Boy". Lay off Jacob DeWitt as I personally know the family and they are a very nice caring family. You can't blame anyone Sivyer-Lee. Jacob is a responsible, dedicated family member, student and employee and friend and boyfriend. Perhaps he could have been manipulated. We will never know but I do know you need help.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2008 at 10:25 am
Why don't you run for Mayor since you have all the answers. Graham Middle School is an excellent school and the Mountain View Whisman School District is wonderful. My wife and I live in Mountain View because of the school system. Maybe you are not a candidate to teach in the middle schools. A good teacher can handle any type of situation, you just have to put a little effort into that age group. The teacher's forget middle schools are for the students. This is their time. Don't fight with them, relate with them. You don't need to name call either. "Mr. White Boy" doesn't reflect well with a substitute teacher.
Posted by Another Educated Hispanic, a resident of the Cuesta Park neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2008 at 11:21 am
Two hispanic gang-prevention counselors and the hispanic janitors cleaning up hardly amount to good role models for hispanics that make up 50% of Mountain View's school population. A role model is a teacher, a principal, or a senior administrator. Oh, but wait a minute... that's all they deserve since every one here seems to think things are just great for hispanic students and the middle schools are running just fine.
To say that, "The gangs are in the neighborhoods, not the schools" is irresponsible. You contradict yourself repeatedly. Why are there gang-prevention counselors in the schools if there are no gangs in the schools? Why don't they spend their time in the neighborhoods? Why does the school confiscate gang-related items if there are no gangs in the schools? Students don't check their culture at the classroom door. Gangs are part of urban, poor hispanic culture. And I am not saying this applies to all or even a large majority. Just do some research on the topic. Chances are very high that at least some gang culture is infiltrating the public schools. A student bringing it in might not even now it. It's a social phenomenon.
Lastly, your logic is flawed when you state, "the money [from the alleged retirement scandal revealed by the Voice last last] would have come from the state teacher's retirement fund, which has zero impact on any school district's general fund spending." So the fraud (read theft) is Ok as along as they're ripping off the state and not the district? Guess what? It's the taxpayers that are getting ripped off and potential money for schools is being wasted. Is this why there is a budget crisis coming for the schools as the Voice suggests? Due to your knowledge on the subject, it almost sounds like you work in or are very active in a public school, hopefully not one of Mountain View's. Either way, you need to have your moral compass checked. How's that for elevating the discussion? As if you were elected the moderator anyway.
And for the Parent that doesn't think gangs are in the schools, then consider last night's deadly shooting in Mountain View as being reported on the news today. Odds are it was gang-related. Odds are the relatives or neighbors of the perpetrators or victims have children in the public schools. And please don't split hairs regarding gang violence. You seem to suggest that as long as hispanic children are getting shot and stabbed close to, but not in, or having just graduated from a Mountain View middle school, then everything is fine for you and your children.
Posted by keep talking, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2008 at 1:10 pm
The good thing is, everyone is talking about the issue of gangs and our children. It doesn't matter whose "fault" it is. It is everybody's problem. The parents, the schools(elementary too),the communities, law enforcement and especially our youth all need to come together and find ways to keep our children and our city safer. It would be great if some students would write in and give their perspective-I believe we would learn a lot.
Posted by single asian man, a resident of the Shoreline West neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2008 at 2:17 pm
If Jacob DeWitt was asian, would you have called him "Asian Boy"? Keep your ignorant comments to yourself. If you knew the kid like you say, why do you call him Mr. White Boy?, His name is Jacob DeWitt. His crime is alleged. Keep your opinions to yourself until you know if he is guilty. Looks like no one cares what you have to say and you made a big fool out of yourself Muriel.
Posted by NewsAnalyst, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2008 at 3:43 pm
I noticed that in the original article by Daniel DeBolt, the lead sentence says, "Except for a few bumps in the road, Jacob DeWitt had a normal upbringing in Mountain View, say local residents who knew him." Although it mentions "local residents," the only local resident mentioned in the piece is Muriel Sivyer-Lee. Given the sensational nature of the the claims about DeWitt made by Sivyer-Lee, it would have been helpful to quote other sources to give the story more credibility.
I would suggest that the Voice do a follow up article on DeWitt that includes reporting from interviews with a number of people who know DeWitt or his family personally.
Posted by concerned citizen, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 8, 2008 at 7:13 pm
Don Francis- I would like to see more positive articles on the front page. Mountain View is such a wonderful city to live in. Let's keep it that way. Give Mountain View more credit and save those articles for another page.
Posted by Iree & Daughter, a resident of the Blossom Valley neighborhood, on Feb 11, 2008 at 12:54 pm
To all of you out there under the impression that Sivyer-Lee is a biggot, or had any feelings of ill will toward the DeWitt family, I would like to dispell that.
I personally know Sivyer-Lee and have read the initial letter she sent to the Mountain View Voice, where her "heart went out to Ms. DeWitt". This was a letter of compassion and shock. It was also a letter that was not published. She knew and volunteered with Ms. DeWitt at their childrens elementary school. That was why she felt compelled to let DeWitt know the sympathy she felt for her. As a mother she could only imagine what it would be like having a son in that situation.
Reading her letter and seeing that Sivyer-Lee had interactions with DeWitt the Editor chose to contact her. I feel that Sivyer-Lee is now being persicuted and unfairly judged by people who only have half of the story, and are taking things that she might have said out of context.
I do wish that all of the facts were on the table for everyone to see, but they are not. My friend was wearing her heart on her sleve when she sent that letter; truely shocked that young DeWitt had fallen into such trouble.
It is a shame that all of you have judged her without knowing her or her true intentions.
Posted by Enough!, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2008 at 11:28 am
Everybody needs to wake up and smell the coffee and stop trying to blame Ms. Sivyer-Lee for opening up the curtains and letting the light in on the issue of gangs in our schools. The last principal of Graham, who had a daughter at Landels, pulled her child out of Mountain View Schools all together and went for the private school option. Gee, I wonder why. Perhaps she saw where Mountain View Schools are going? Her experience as a parent at Landels, which has seen a huge influx of hispanic students, coupled with her experience at Graham as a principal must tell us something here.
Posted by If she new better, she do better, a resident of the Whisman Station neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2008 at 1:50 pm
I attended school with both Jacob and George, matter a fact George was one of my really good friends. First off, I completely disagree with the title of the article. Not only is it racist, it is also degrading and disrespectful. You can't go around blaming everyone for someones mistakes. Every person has their own head and choices what they do. No one put a gun to Jacobs head and said stab the dude.....he did it because he choose to do it. Mountain View is by far one of the safest cities to live in, if you guys haven’t look around and see what is exactly going on around other neighborhoods. As for Mrs.Lee, you need to tighten up and watch out for your own kids and stop butting in to things that don't concern you. Bottom line is,” IF you knew better, you do BETTER”!!!
Posted by Mountain View Resident, a resident of the Jackson Park neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2008 at 7:46 pm
To If she knew better, she do better:
It shows you went to school in Mountain View, because you never learned how to write and develop an argument. You display little knowledge of sentence structure. You have little grasp of the possessive. It's "matter of fact", not "matter a fact"; "chooses", not "choices". You should be mad... mad that you were the recipient of a poor education. But it's not your fault. If you knew better, you'd write better! And this perhaps is one of the messages to take away from this article and the discussion that has followed... poor performing schools more often than not propel troubled kids downward into trouble.
Posted by interested citizen, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Feb 12, 2008 at 10:37 pm
Ms. Sivyer-Lee deserves anything that's handed out here - she's been bad mouthing the district for as long as I can remember, never anything positive to offer. And I think The Voice deserves any criticism it gets for printing such a one sided article. Do you realize the panic you set off in the elementary schools with such accusations from one idiot parent/substitute? You don't have one reference in there with a comment from the school district - just one ridiculous cookie baking comment after the other. I raised three children through the MV-Whisman and MV-LA districts and was continuously amazed at the irresponsible parenting by both privileged and underprivileged families. Ms. Sivyer-Lee falls in this category with her older son - protect him from facing his actions at all cost - let's see, I believe that was Mountain View High Schools fault in some way wasn't it Ms. Sivyer-Lee? Mind your own business and deal with your own kid!
Posted by parent, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2008 at 2:17 am
To Iree and daughter -
Here is the whole story. Ms. Sivyer-Lee should have privately contacted Ms. DeWitt and not gone through the media. That was done in very bad taste and the editor was smart not to publish it. Why did Sivyer-Lee feel she needed to contact the media and then mislead them that she knew the family. You need to read "Setting the record straight on Jacob DeWitt".
"Volunteering" with Ms. DeWitt does not give Sivyer-Lee the clearance to involve herself with the media and Ms. DeWitt's personal matter.
Oh and just so you know the correct story, Ms. Sivyer-Lee physically went down to the Voice, and everything she was quoted as saying in the article turned out to be a bunch of B.S.
If Sivyer-Lee had minded her own business she would not be in this situation.
The damage is done, no need to defend her. She dug her own hole and now she is sitting in it. Now Sivyer-Lee's life is ruined.
From a disgusted parent in the MVWSD.
P.S. I am blessed not to know her and I don't ever want to know her.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2008 at 9:28 am
It's amazing how everyone is comfortable attacking Ms. Lee while maintaining anonymity. What is everyone afraid of, the same sort of treatment. As far as I can tell this story was about gangs in the schools. DeWitt stabbed another human being and you can be pretty sure he's going to jail for it. The rest is all about picking up the pieces of his ruined life, to try to make sense of it (as a community) and hopefully not see it repeated. If you find yourself injecting your own immediate experiences into the story and lashing out at Ms. Lee and the editor, then maybe you're subconsciously reacting to how this story threatens your view of a perfect world. And where's the sympathy for the stabbing victim--a victim of gang violence.
Posted by anonymity, a resident of another community, on Feb 13, 2008 at 1:21 pm
To the observer of North Whisman neighborhood:
Afraid to sign your name? Yah, I see.
"Ms. Lee is the one who opened the can of worms", so I am very comfortable attacking her and anyone else that tries to defend her. She deserves what she gets.
Hopefully she has learned a lesson and stays out of other people's business. If you read the article in last Friday's Voice regarding Setting the Record straight on Jacob DeWitt, you would have found out that Ms. Lee was not a credible source. The information she provided to the Voice was incorrect.
Enough of your ignorance please. DeWitt is an adult now, and he is not in school any longer. You are just another one of those people who like to point fingers.
Mountain View Schools are just fine. Stop blaming the schools. May I suggest, if you don't know the details, and you don't, then you should not focus your energy on this topic.
Did the crime occur on school grounds? No.
Did the teachers encourage gang activity 24/7? Absolutely not.
This is getting old and ridiculous. Show me proof that the schools are responsible for all gang activity 24/7. What an ignorant statement you have made.
In case you didn't know, DeWitt is innocent. Accept it.
If you know how to read, you would have read "alleged", the "KEY WORD".
Where is your proof that he committed a crime. Yah, I see. You are so knowledgeable.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2008 at 3:45 pm
To Just Another Concerned Citizen:
What goes on in my city, is my business, particularly as a business owner. If DeWitt is innocent, then he better have a good lawyer, since it seems like the MVPD have a pretty strong case. Explain the following to me:
"Police spokesperson Liz Wylie said DeWitt was a registered gang member, a status relatively difficult to attain but made possible by his record as a juvenile. She said he also has numerous tattoos on his arms and legs, some displaying his gang affiliation.
In fact, Wylie said, Mountain View police were so familiar with DeWitt that officers were able to guess his identity -- and quickly assemble the photo line-up -- based on his description. The victim, who is recovering from multiple stab wounds, identified DeWitt as the one who held the knife and Oseida, a San Jose resident, as his accomplice.
The two face charges of attempted murder, with a gang enhancement charge of up to 10 years each. DeWitt faces additional charges for allegedly using a deadly weapon to induce bodily harm. A court date in the case is scheduled for Feb. 13 at 9 a.m. in the Palo Alto courthouse."
Attempted murder is a serious charge. Gangs in schools is a serious issue. Schools don't operate in a vaccum. Denial gets us nowhere.
Your opinion on the issue is just that, an opinion.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Castro City neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2008 at 3:55 pm
The article I read had two photographs that identified the two alleged criminals, DeWitt and Oseida. Although I have not read anything regarding George Oseida, except that he could be in for life. Ms. Lee never mentioned this young man. Why? I would like to hear more information on George Oseida. I understand he also was in the Mountain View School District. Muriel Sivyer-Lee focused on DeWitt only and then blamed the schools. I feel that the editor did a poor job with the article.
Posted by concerned citizen, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2008 at 6:29 pm
You wasted your time typing your comment. Your comment is word for word right out of the paper. Don't you have any original input of your own to back you up?
I noticed you did not mention George Oseida either. His photo was on the front page also. He could be in for life. He is worse off than DeWitt. Why did you omit Oseida from your "word for word" comment?
I have to ask you: I question, Why are you focusing on DeWitt only? Do you realize there are two people involved. Because Muriel Sivyer-Lee did not mention George Oseida, nobody is. And Oseida grew up in Mtn. View.
Did Muriel Sivyer-Lee omit George Oseida because he is not a "White Boy"? Admit it, Muriel "ganged" up on DeWitt.
You have not released any details on the case, so yes you do need to mind your own business. You do have the right to be concerned though.
Posted by Observer, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 13, 2008 at 8:15 pm
I quoted the article to refocus everyone who seems to be sticking up for DeWitt as an innocent victim. Innocent until proven guilty, yes, but you're kidding yourself if you think he's going to walk away from this. My quote serves as a reminder that he's got gang and bad boy written all over him, and you'd better believe that he'll be charged and convicted with the history he's got.
Everyone's so keen on telling others to mind their own business while they spin out of control. This has nothing to do with minding one's business. This is a string of posts with opinions. State your opinion and move on. Why is it that all those standing up for DeWitt are so eager to attack the messenger, be it The Voice quoting Ms. Lee, or posts sympathetic to the original message of the article, which is a white boy got caught up in an hispanic gang and got himself into real trouble. Responsible parents be warned. Was it because of who he hung out with in school? There's a strong suggestion that it was. As for as Oseida, who cares, he's not the point of the article. Hello, he is hispanic in a hispanic gang. Not much new there. For him it's three strikes and you're out. Hopefully, he'll go to prison for life, like he deserves. If he was a product of Mountain View schools, all the worse and all the more relevant to the article's second message, that gangs are in schools influencing our children. Allow me to stoop to the level of some pro-DeWitt posters and say, first, attack Ms. Lee all you like, but I bet Jacob DeWitt wouldn't be where he is now (i.e., in jail), if she were his mother. Second, some people here need to learn how to read an article for comprehension. Ask yourself, what are the main points of the article?
Posted by citizen, a resident of the North Whisman neighborhood, on Feb 14, 2008 at 1:15 am
What is DeWitt's history?????? Let us know. Why are you calling names? Drop the "White Boy", that is a racist remark. He has a name and it is DeWitt. And for your information, DeWitt is half Latino. You definitely do not know what you are talking about, which is why I said, mind your own business. I would love to call you an idiot but I won't.
Regarding Oseida, you reply "who cares, he's not the point of the article". As a "Business Owner", I thought whatever goes on in YOUR city was YOUR business. You should care unless you want to contradict yourself. You also mentioned, "hello, he is Hispanic in a Hispanic gang. Not much new there". I think your racial views are distracting you from what the point of the article should be about. What do you feel the point of the article was? How can you "zero in" on one person when three people were involved? Don't be so narrow minded and don't worry what race they are. It is unfortunate Muriel Sivyer-Lee informed people that never knew DeWitt wrong information about him. DeWitt happens to be a great guy that got caught up with the wrong crowd. If you don't personally know him and you don't, you have no room to speak.
Posted by MVWSD employee, a resident of the Old Mountain View neighborhood, on Feb 14, 2008 at 9:01 am
You are lacking normal intelligence. You tried to make DeWitt out to be such a bad person. I thought you knew him as a boy. Apparently not if you don't even know what color eyes he has. You claim you know personal information about the family that you got all wrong. DeWitt's mother did not divorce, Muriel you are wacko. By the way, Muriel has two "white boys" (David and Casey)of her own. That is how I will refer to David and Casey from now on. "The White Boys". Watch what you say Muriel. Save your idiotic comments for another day.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Waverly Park neighborhood, on Feb 14, 2008 at 9:14 am
It is a shame you caused so much commotion in your residing town of 28 years. I feel sorry for you Muriel that you got yourself caught up in something you don't know anything about. You should be embarrassed that Mountain View knows how stupid you are.
You are not a candidate for teaching in middle school. I hope my children never experience you as their teacher. As for your future, I feel you need to return to college and get some positive education. And TRY to keep your name out of the media. Relocating to another city is highly recommended for yourself Muriel.
Posted by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor, on Feb 14, 2008 at 11:26 am Don Frances is a member (registered user) of Mountain View Online
As this thread is getting pointlessly acrimonious, I've decided to lock out further comments.
For the record: We decided to go with this story because it seemed to be a small but valuable window into a local tragedy -- and into the lives of a few people at the center of that tragedy. Yes, it focuses on the views of one person (Muriel Sivyer-Lee), but that person's views are relevant insofar as others agree with them or are stirred by them to *thoughtful* analysis of an important issue. In this respect, the story was a success in my opinion.
Sivyer-Lee's views don't necessarily represent the Voice's, but she's more than welcome to express them. She didn't comment on George Oseida because she didn't know George Oseida.
Finally, it seems possible that one person could get mixed up in gang violence without it being the direct fault of the parents, schools, third-party observers, comment-leavers on Town Square, or anybody else but the person himself.