Parents concerned over district's handling of Bubb incident


A pair of parents of students at Bubb Elementary School said that they thought the Mountain View Whisman School District could have alerted them sooner to the March 29 incident on the Bubb campus, where a man reportedly lunged at a 9-year-old female student.

The email, which ultimately alerted all district parents of the incident, was sent at about 12:15 p.m., about 20 minutes after all students at the school were dismissed at 11:50 a.m.

"It would have been nice to hear a little bit earlier," Amy Valencia, the mother of an 8-year-old girl who attends Bubb. She called the incident "unnerving," noting that the 9-year-old girl who was accosted by the man could have been her daughter.

Valencia wondered why the school and the district did not alert her and other parents sooner after the incident, which occurred at about 8:45 a.m. However, she added, "Other than that, I think they handled it well."

Craig Goldman, superintendent of the district, defended Mountain View Whisman's response, saying that the district wanted to make sure it had all the facts before reporting to parents.

"It would have been inappropriate to push out information that was potentially inaccurate or inflammatory," Goldman said. "We worked very closely and expeditiously with the police department to ensure that the information we shared was accurate and reflected the appropriate level of concern."

The district sent out the alert email within 15 minutes of concluding its meeting with the Mountain View Police Department, Goldman said. "We understand that in this day and age of instant communication, many parents expect instantaneous communication, but we still have a responsibility to do due diligence."

Goldman noted that many parents sent out mass emails ahead of the district's official notice, drawing connections between the incident at Bubb and another event involving a cyclist who stopped outside of the St. Simon private school in Los Altos.

While the man was initially deemed suspicious, Los Altos police later concluded that the man was not a threat to the children at that school, nor did he have any connection to the Bubb incident.

"We certainly did not want to feed into a sense of alarm that wasn't warranted," Goldman said.

Richard Haten, who also has a daughter at Bubb, said he would have liked to have been notified earlier. He said he never received any notice -- via email, or otherwise -- of the incident.

Even if he had received an email, Haten said he would have preferred a phone call.

Goldman said that a prerecorded mass phone call could have been put together, but that it would have taken even more time than the mass email.

Haten said he would like to see the school district install security cameras at all schools.

Goldman said the district has been planning to install security cameras at its campuses. "We're hoping that with the passage of the (Measure G) bond that we will be able to install surveillance cameras at all of our school sites," he said.


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Posted by Oh yeah!
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 30, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Yeah, and if you give me 198 million dollars, I will put CCtV in all the schools and classrooms so you can log on at work and track your child all day just like at doggy day care!

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Posted by Geez
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 30, 2012 at 2:36 pm

There's always a couple of parents who will never be happy with how the process was handled. They always have to over analyze everything after the fact.

Bubb, the school district, and police did the right thing as far as I'm concerned.

I have a kid at another elementary school and I got an email @ 12:21 yesterday from Craig Goldman, Superintendent Mountain View Whisman School District.

I'm not sure why Richard Haten didn't get one. Maybe he threw it away accidentally or it went into his spam folder? Maybe his wife got the email because she was registered and he's not?
Maybe he just needs to place blame on someone other than himself?

Like this comment
Posted by James
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 30, 2012 at 3:19 pm

I like the idea of CCTV in public areas. I don't mind big brother watching. Does anyone with a law enforcement background know how effective they are in catching bad guys?

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Posted by confused.
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm

they handled it well, im sure in lue of whats going on with the morgan hill case, and the attempeted one in san jose last week, a lot of parents are on edge. Also, i noticed they only reported about the bubb and the st simmons one but not about the lady in los altos hills that was approached or the report of someone at Springer School as well. I dont have any kids and i know im on edge! but I did notice a a major police presence yesterday in the area... I miss the old days, i grew up here and i remember walking down to my friends house, or biking to cuesta park, or walking to safeway without having to worry about anything.

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Posted by Grumpy
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Goldman said the district has been planning to install security cameras at its campuses. "We're hoping that with the passage of the (Measure G) bond that we will be able to install surveillance cameras at all of our school sites," he said.

This is just a blatant statement to push another bond measure on the taxpayers of this district to over come the mismanagement of the district funds and lack of foresight in projecting the capital needs of the district and focusing on the appeasing the Teachers Unions on pumping up bloated contracts to use all of the funds for their benefit at the expense of the education of the children in the district.

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Posted by ML student
a resident of Monta Loma
on Mar 30, 2012 at 4:52 pm

I did receive an email AND a phone call. Some people should also check their contact. It's hard to contact someone with wrong info. I think the district handle it well, better deal with the police before alerting all the parents (imagine the mess if all parents show up at once, it would have been more confusing...and easier for someone to snatch a kid IMHO )

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Posted by Not bad
a resident of Waverly Park
on Mar 30, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Let's see...

District website says there are 4,969 students in the District.
There are 2 complaining.

I would say that Craig Goldman did pretty well.

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Posted by Observer
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm

What ever happened to good old fashioned supervision? The district did alright, but the solution is not CCTV and more tax dollars wasted. You still need eyes on the CCTV monitors. CCTV could actually degrade good old fashioned supervision if every one is lulled in thinking that the kids are safe because of CCTV that no one is monitoring. And who would be monitoring them anyway?

I agree that Goldman's plug at the end for the bond was stooping pretty low.

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Posted by agree
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 30, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Not bad: exactly. This is a manufactured story. Kind of like 2 people who say "darn, it's sunny out...and I was hoping to not turn on my sprinklers today, " while the other 498 are happy to have a nice day.

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Posted by Steve
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 30, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I recieved my email about 12:20.. Don't know why Richard did not.

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Posted by Fences
a resident of Whisman Station
on Mar 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm

Why isn't this campus more secure with fencing and gates? The children have to walk outdoors to get to a bathroom? That seems very unsafe. The school sits next to a public park, much like the Walter Hayes school does in Palo Alto. The only difference is Walter Hayes is fenced and gated while Bubb is wide open to anyone to wander through.

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Posted by Annoyed Resident
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 31, 2012 at 7:59 am

I've lived in Mountain View my entire life (over 50 years) and attended Bubb School back in the day myself. I have to shake my head at people complaining they received notification 15 or 20 minutes after the incident and expected it sooner. In this age of high-tech and fast-paced living, people just expect everything at the snap of a finger. Everyone needs to chill out and realize just how fortunate they are that they're able to get information *that* quickly! Do the people who complain even realize there was a time it would have taken hours upon hours to be notified?

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Posted by Ned
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 31, 2012 at 11:12 am

Annoyed Resident:

Yeah, and that's when priests were abusing children with impunity. Those were great times back then when information was hard to get and easy to hide. Shall I go on?

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Posted by @ Annoyed Resident
a resident of The Crossings
on Mar 31, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thank you!!

I do like that the information went out but clearly it cannot go out immediately - they need to wait to assure accuracy and wait for the police.

I did not feel the statement by Craig Goldman was "stooping pretty low". He was answering a question about why we don't have cameras in all the schools. I personally think it unnecessary and bit over-excessive, but these parents who expect an email within moments of an incident want cameras. Craig does not have a money tree and the State's has certainly run dry! He has to get the money somewhere.

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Posted by Bubb dad
a resident of another community
on Apr 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm

- the CCTV system was a part of the bond-funded renovation prior to this incident, Goldman was asked a question about cameras and answered it accurately and appropriately.

- Recall just how well Goldman handled the Science Camp lockdown caused by the shooting at the Kaiser cement plant a while back. Goldman and his staff provided excellent and accurate information to the school community, just like they did in this case.

Thanks, Craig!

Like this comment
Posted by Jay
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Apr 2, 2012 at 9:12 am

Well, Goldman is far better than the con artist Ghysels ever was.

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Posted by Martin Omander
a resident of Rex Manor
on Apr 2, 2012 at 1:33 pm

My kids go to a school in the district, I was notified by email, and I am very happy with how the incident was handled by everyone.

We can have security cameras everywhere, force kids to wear GPS devices, build walls around all schools, park police cars at all schools at all times, etc. But who should pay, and do we really want to live in a Soviet-style paranoid police state?

And how much safer would it really make us? After all, 99% of all crimes against children are perpetrated by relatives and acquaintances.

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Posted by Tom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm

I too have kids at school in the district, and I thought they handled just fine.

Also, I think security camera's on the school grounds are an extremely cost effective measure that is long overdue. Look around people, every government building, 7-11, and red-light-green-light intersection you drive by have cameras. If they are essential for traffic control, they are essential for protecting our kids.

Very simple for you techno/tax-phobes: a camera at Bubb, and there is no perp on the tether ball court.

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Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Apr 3, 2012 at 8:39 am

Superintendent Goldman is perfectly within his duties to address video security in the Bond SFIP. But he should be truthful, rather than 'truthy". Video web based security system is WAY DOWN the priority list (Priority 3, discretionary). Priority 1 and 2 add up to $315 M, much over the $200 M that will come from the bond he mentioned.
Exactly what is the priority list - not determined - no document. Better fences are in the priority 1 list ($240 M) but is that before or after demolition/replacement of 47 permanent classrooms? (again - not determined - no document)
NO on June Bond Measure G

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Posted by Tom
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Apr 3, 2012 at 11:37 am

I hear you Steve. I am sure there are some big dollar upgrade items that need approval via a ballot measure.

Security cameras, however, should not be open to discussion, they should simply be installed. Period... just like new speed bumps in the parking lots. They should NOT be allowed to be part of some right-wing, phony anti-tax BS debate.

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Posted by Kari Lemons
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Apr 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I first heard about it on facebook, then I got the email and then a phone call. My child goes to Graham, and he told me that at Graham they started the buddy program and they talked about precautions in class. That he and his friends were pretty anxious the rest of the day.
I thought the notification was fine for us at the other schools. If I was a Bubb parent I can see not being happy that the first notification was at 12:15, and I can see the districts side of needing to confirm facts with the police before making a statement. It's a hard situation for everyone to deal with. Everyone involved is doing the best they can in a hard situation, with the first priority of keeping the kids safe.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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