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Proposal to fence off Mountain View Whisman schools sparks outcry over park access

Original post made on Oct 19, 2020

Residents are up in arms over a decision to install fences around Mountain View Whisman school campuses, criticizing a plan that they believe will block access to open space while doing little to improve campus safety.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 19, 2020, 2:01 PM

Comments (31)

Posted by Sloane P.
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 19, 2020 at 2:26 pm

Sloane P. is a registered user.

Thank you for this article. The way the district has handled this has been to strong-arm a proposal through without taking the needs of seniors and young children into account at all. During a pandemic, the district wants to erect a permanent and ugly metal barrier that would force anyone who wanted to use the park to crowd together in a narrow, chute-like passageway less than 6-feet apart. They want to wall off the tiny park space available to toddlers and preschoolers in Monta Loma so that it is totally unusable during the day. I'm furious at the district that I've supported for years. They run the risk of alienating a large part of the community that they rely on for volunteers.. and bond measures. Very disappointed and upset with the tactics Dr. Rudolph is displaying here.


Posted by Brian Glass
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 19, 2020 at 4:18 pm

Brian Glass is a registered user.

I live near Monta Loma Elementary, my three sons attended MVWSD schools, I pay District parcel tax assessments, and this is the first time I've heard of this terrible plan. The District has not asked for community inputs nor has it even made us aware of its plans until now. And Dr Rudolph, whether intentionally or not, comes off as arrogant and belittling of us.

I want the current school board candidates to state their positions!
Brian


Posted by Tal Shaya
a resident of another community
on Oct 19, 2020 at 5:59 pm

Tal Shaya is a registered user.

Two competing interests are student safety and community ease of access. 'Seems like a no-brainer. Use the gate.


Posted by Mikhail Ulinich
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 19, 2020 at 8:31 pm

Mikhail Ulinich is a registered user.

I see a few problems with this (mis)use of the measure T money:

1. The text of the measure, as it appeared on the ballot, did not mention fencing, or even campus (as opposed to classroom) safety: "To provide safe/modern classrooms, arts/science labs at neighborhood schools for quality education; relieve student overcrowding; replace aging roofs, inefficient heating/ventilation systems; upgrade, acquire, construct classrooms, facilities, sites/equipment; shall Mountain View Whisman School District's measure authorizing $259,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, levying $30/$100,000 assessed value ($18,600,000 annually) while bonds are outstanding, with independent oversight, audits, no funds for administrators, all funds controlled locally for Mountain View schools, be adopted?"

2. A fence, even one with an armed guard at the gate, would provide no protection against a school shooter. What it would do is potentially trap the kids in, limiting their escape routes. What it would also do is give some parents a false sense of security, which may be good for their psychological well-being, but is not what this money was meant for.

3. Changing the rationale from security to stopping "people using the track" seems like a disingenuous ex post facto justification.


Posted by SC Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 20, 2020 at 7:49 am

SC Parent is a registered user.

@Mikhail Ulinich - you have to read more than just the first paragraph of ballot measures (historical voter guides can be downloaded from the County web site). In the 3rd paragraph, the Project List states: "Make essential safety and security improvements, including security fencing, lighting, security cameras, access control, and intruder alert technology."

Seems pretty clear to me. Security fencing is actually an instance where the district has been very clear about their intentions.


Posted by Three Feet
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 20, 2020 at 9:16 am

Three Feet is a registered user.

The irony of the fencing is not lost on me - the schools are nearly empty, and may be far below capacity for a long time to come! Why aren’t we dealing with the pandemic issues to get kids and adults back into the schools in a healthful environment? Schools benefit most when they work with the communities in which they exist. Not including residents when considering major changes to a campus literally in the heart of a neighborhood is arrogant, thoughtless, and counterproductive.
The enforcement of the “rules” of park use surrounding Monta Loma Elementary has been lax to non-existent for the 25 years we have lived in this neighborhood. Why? Because neighbors and school staff and students respect each other. There are occasionally exceptions as in “real life happens”, but generally they are few and far between. Monta Loma already has a lot of fencing a much smaller addition of fencing could address concerns stated by the district. What is the status of all the other items upon which we voted - the items that appeared in the first two of the measure’s paragraphs? (Solar panels, more, safer classrooms - WiFi and computers or tablets for students, etc...) Where is the hard data justifying this action?


Posted by Who is in charge?
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 20, 2020 at 9:27 am

Who is in charge? is a registered user.

Short fences would only exclude short dogs with short legs. Lots of people need to be kept out of schools. Covid-19 carriers among them. The district should carefully consider where to add fencing. But it won't. Why? Because this district is run by one unelected man. The current school board is window dressing.


Posted by Accountability for MVWSD
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 20, 2020 at 10:12 am

Accountability for MVWSD is a registered user.

@ Brian Glass - you are correct Dr. Rudolph is arrogant and does belittle people who don't agree with him. This is how he treats staff members and community members.

The comment about him strong arming this fencing through is how he handles everything once he makes up his mind. No amount of data can convince him otherwise. Sounds familiar? - think of our current president.

Sandy Hook school had fencing all around it. Visitors coming to campus had to go through the office to gain access. That is exactly how the shooter got on the campus. Everyone in the office died and then he made his way to the classrooms where the students were sitting ducks. So fencing does not work to keep shooters out and can actually be a deterrent to people trying to flee campus if there is a shooter on campus.

Community members - let your voices be heard at the Board meetings, send emails and make phone calls.


Posted by smorr
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 20, 2020 at 11:43 am

smorr is a registered user.

There are 2 separate but related issues here: campus security and neighborhood access to parks. SECURITY MEASURES should be based on data as to what is effective. My understanding is that studies have shown that 6' fences are not a deterrent for people who are intent on doing harm, or for kids who want run away (another reason that was given.) COVID concerns can be addressed by temporary structures rather than a permanent fence. NEIGHBORHOOD ACCESS to parks is an issue because the City of MV has routinely short-changed neighborhoods, particularly east of El Camino, on public park space by accepting in-lieu fees from developers. They instead arranged with the school district to have public access to school park space in exchange for paying for maintenance of those fields. It's a raw deal for our communities when the school district has the right to limit park access in the ONLY public park space in a neighborhood. Are the decisions that MVWSD makes in the best interests of the students and teachers? Possibly. Are they in the best interest of the community? Not necessarily, and in this case clearly not. The situation that the city bought into is fraught with problems because of this.


Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 20, 2020 at 2:39 pm

Nora S. is a registered user.

This is not necessarily a case of community vs. parents. I'm a parent of kids in the MVWSD schools, and I'm against these fences. As far as I'm concerned, there is no problem with open campuses. They are, in fact, preferable in many ways. And there is absolutely no data showing that fences stop shooters.

Also, note to Rudolph: the fact that tech employees have to badge in and out of their buildings has zero to do with protecting the employees, it is all about protecting the IP of the company! Apple et al don't want industrial spies wandering around catching glimpses of their secret projects. But the education of our children isn't (yet) a state secret.


Posted by gretchen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Oct 20, 2020 at 3:02 pm

gretchen is a registered user.

I received a letter from Dr Rudolph and have cut and pasted many of the concerns in his letter with my Rebuttals. This was also sent to the Mayor and members of Parks and Rec. I have not received any answers.

Concern: Community access to the school campuses will be reduced.
Dr Rudolph's Answer: The District’s proposed fencing does not limit the amount of access that residents are allowed now. Currently, the public can use this area outside of school hours, and that will continue. Automatic unlocking gates are planned to ensure they are unlocked in the evenings and on weekends. There will be no reduction to the community access allowed now due to the fences.

My Rebuttal: What exactly is evening 3:30, the end of the school day, much later when for much of year it is dark? I would like a specific time and also to be sure that the gates will be opened at any time children are not literally in school. This includes holidays, teacher days, short days and does not include times the schools are used for after school or before school activities.
I should note that this week at 3 on a weekday I counted 37 people in Monta Loma Park as well as several dogs associated with these people. There were also at least nine wheeled vehicles in use, not to mention the city truck doing some type of maintenance. All of this would be moved into a narrow asphalt alley with only three exits each a block apart. Has anyone doe a use of the park and how the proposed fence will affect these activities and safety?

Concern: There is no need for the fences, and they won’t make the campuses more secure.
Dr. Rudolph's Answer: Parents, students and staff members have expressed worry about being able to secure our campuses. While many of us enjoy the open campus feel, the reality is our staff members regularly have to approach people on campus who are not authorized to be there. There have been issues with dog bites, bike thefts, and other safety concerns that would be mitigated by a more secure perimeter.

Concern: Community access to the school campuses will be reduced.
Dr. Rudolph's Answer: The District’s proposed fencing does not limit the amount of access that residents are allowed now. Currently, the public can use this area outside of school hours, and that will continue. Automatic unlocking gates are planned to ensure they are unlocked in the evenings and on weekends. There will be no reduction to the community access allowed now due to the fences.
My Rebuttal: What exactly is evening 3:30, the end of the school day, much later when for much of year it is dark? I would like a specific time and also to be sure that the gates will be opened at any time children are not literally in school. This includes holidays, teacher days, short days and does not include times the schools are used for after school or before school activities.
I should note that this week at 3 on a weekday I counted 37 people in Monta Loma Park as well as several dogs associated with these people. There were also at least nine wheeled vehicles in use, not to mention the city truck doing some type of maintenance. All of this would be moved into a narrow asphalt alley with only three exits each a block apart. Has anyone doe a use of the park and how the proposed fence will affect these activities and safety?

Concern: There is no need for the fences, and they won’t make the campuses more secure.
Dr. Rudolph's Answer: Parents, students and staff members have expressed worry about being able to secure our campuses. While many of us enjoy the open campus feel, the reality is our staff members regularly have to approach people on campus who are not authorized to be there. There have been issues with dog bites, bike thefts, and other safety concerns that would be mitigated by a more secure perimeter.
My Rebuttal: I understand the concern of parents but instead barring the community because of dogs not on leashes, enforce leash laws. Fence in the bikes, as do many businesses, do not fence out the public, I cannot respond to unexpressed “safety concerns”. During the town hall, there was some talk about school shooters. The fence will do nothing about this as the fence is within a few feet of the portables and playground.

Dr. Rudolph's Answer: Parents, students and staff members have expressed worry about being able to secure our campuses. Staff members regularly have to approach people on campus who are not authorized to be there. Safety of our students and staff members is our number one priority, and a secure perimeter is key to this effort. This has been an ongoing discussion for several years.

My Rebuttable: I found it interesting that at the town hall only one of about 40 people voiced this concern and this was someone from the school council. Parents were obviously not concerned enough to attend and express their own concerns.
As an older person I understand safety. School children riding bikes on the paths have knocked me down causing injury. Given that the public will now be given only a narrow asphalt alley, I see many more injuries as dogs, disabled, elders, preschool children on bicycles, skate boarders and the general public are all contained in a narrow corridor with little or no room to move out of the way. I hope that the district is prepared for the lawsuits that are sure to follow. The school children may or may not be safer and the public will definitely not be safer. Safety should be for the whole community not just for the school community.

Concern: How can the schools fence city parks?
Dr. Rudolph's Answer: The fields at the schools belong to MVWSD. MVWSD partners with the City to provide access to the City for community recreational leagues and activities on District-owned land, in return for help from the City in maintaining the grass. The district communicated with the City about potential perimeter controls as soon as it was determined what was needed. Conceptual drawings were then set for feedback and adjustments were made based on access needs.

My Rebuttal: I have no doubt what you write is true. It is also true that this is a 1000 house neighborhood of several thousand people with no real park except Monta Loma. Monta Loma Park has been shared land for more than 50 years. The proposed changes will probably make the neighborhood less safe. Because the corridor into which all the of the public will be force is just a few feet from many homes. Noise may well become a problem as will the usability of yards. To ignore and go against the wishes of this neighborhood is not being a good neighbor.


Concern: The community did not have a say in the fences.
Dr. Rudolph's Answer: The discussion about fencing has been ongoing for several years. The decision to include perimeter controls was informed by the MVWSD Master Facility Plan and the Safety Town Hall. Both of these efforts included community feedback.
The district communicated with the City about potential perimeter controls as soon as it was determined what was needed. Conceptual drawings were then set for feedback and adjustments were made based on access needs.
In the last several weeks, the district has had six community meetings specifically about fencing, one for each campus and a combined middle school meeting.

My Rebuttal: cannot speak about the other meetings, only Monta Loma. If you really wanted to involve the community, there would have been large signs in the park informing the community of the town hall. After much hunting I did find a notice on a bulletin board. I am 5 feet. This was typed in about 12 point font and posted well above my eye level. I had to ask someone to read it to me. I also asked a convenience sample of 10 people in the park at the same time I was there is they had seen the sign and none of them had. Half knew nothing about the fence. This is not a good a faith effort. At best it is an innocent obstruction and at worse a well thought out attempt to not inform the public.
If you are acting in good will, I suggest the following actions. 1) large signs in the park at least a week before any town halls, 2) articles and announcements in the Mt. View Voice, 3)Notices in every mail box within a mile of the park, 4)notices sent home with every school child, 5) notices on Nextdoor and the neighborhood list serves. I am very pleased that this now has a public forum in the Mountain View Voice,


Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 20, 2020 at 3:12 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.

Just because kids are home does not make this the wrong time for this. Construction is always disruptive, doing it when school is closed saves time and money. When school is open again, students will likely have to be screened. Most construction sites are currently doing health screenings with a table, a couple of chairs and an easy up for shade at A GATED ENTRANCE. As much of the community is at home, we have used the parks all summer. The district needs to reassert control during school hours when school starts again. Stanford fenced off the dish for similar reasons. If we all respected the rules, I'm sure the district has other bond needs to spend the fencing money on, BUT we don't all follow the rules, do we?


Posted by HighProof
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 20, 2020 at 3:14 pm

HighProof is a registered user.

interesting to see this article spill over from the nextdoor thread (where most of this has been discussed ad nauseum.

There is a common ground here if people (on both sides of the topic) can be reasonable

start with the end goals, and work backwards from there


Posted by Tal Shaya
a resident of another community
on Oct 20, 2020 at 3:35 pm

Tal Shaya is a registered user.

One common position is that a chainlink fence wouldn't do enough to discourage a shooter. There's little doubt an armed guard would not be approved so really they are saying, let's do nothing and hope for the best because a tragedy could never strike our little hamlet of Mountain View! They forget that just a few years ago, we put up a fence around the train tracks. It's better to be proactive because later will be too late. :(


Posted by Mikhail Ulinich
a resident of Martens-Carmelita
on Oct 20, 2020 at 5:07 pm

Mikhail Ulinich is a registered user.

@SC Parent - You're right about the full text of the measure. What I was quoting was the summary paragraph that appeared on the ballot itself. But even the "essential safety and security improvements, including security fencing" wording does not, to me, imply a ring fence around the entire facility.


Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 20, 2020 at 7:23 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

I was skeptical at first, yet hearing from staff and parents, I believe the outcome of fences to be the right conclusion, yet each campus should have a design that fits their community. A neighborhood bereft of open space, the fence could be limited to the building and asphalt perimeter. Key is not to seek uniformity but to co-design with each neighborhood. School systems fail when we do not see each child as unique, and we fail facility planning if we treat each of our different campuses the same, blind of any underlining differences and deficits in local open space.

What makes creative engagement hard is a false sense of urgency. The current school board approved the fencing and awarded the contract before public feedback. They are now seeking feedback. The order is subtle but matters.

One feels rushed the moment a firm is hired, and work with them is billable, and second, if the board has already approved it, the public has lost a valuable checkpoint with their elected representatives.

It's true this is district land, yet it doesn't belong to the superintendent or school board. It belongs to the public, so there is absolutely enough time to treat this as a community resource rather than the private property of the schools.

The board should take as much time as needed to co-design these with each neighborhood, which means, there is no need to build them at 11 schools all at once. The timeline of COVID and construction cost pressure to proceed all at once are false and unhelpful restraints. Treat the community member as equals, and an innovative solution of how to fence in a way that is both safe and workable for the neighborhoods will organically develop for every site, yet this takes time. Let's give it time.


Posted by Patrick Neschleba
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 20, 2020 at 10:15 pm

Patrick Neschleba is a registered user.

I was School Cite Council Chair at Monta Loma for two years, helped with many a Walk-a-thon, and have also had our kids play many soccer games on the main field. I certainly appreciate the role the field plays for the community, and also the challenges we’ve had with site safety.

In addition to the active shooter scenario, we’ve had very real problems with kids walking off campus (which has led parents to ask for a fence), strangers on campus (which has led to calls for more perimeter security), and more recently, attacks on students by off-leash dogs (which has also led to calls for a fence or some other type of security measure). I feel strongly that we need to solve those problems, and I would love to see a solution that doesn’t involve a fence - if that's possible. I think we're lucky we haven’t had someone seriously hurt, and I would expect the Board and the Superintendent to be ensuring that any legal exposure for a school district that _could_ solve the problem, but _chose not to_, is fully evaluated as part of any decision.

Right now though, I’m not sold on the need to fence the main field at Monta Loma. I think we need to take time to evaluate solutions in partnership with the community, and I'm hopeful that everyone who's in that discussion will muster up the patience for that. Securing the inner campus seems like something that could be done now - there's much less debate about that - and then explore alternatives for field security (especially the dog-related problems). If community members have ideas on how the neighborhood could be more helpful there, I think that would also help - perhaps some sort of education campaign about leash rules and school hours - because the school doesn’t seem to have many alternatives. We should also look at community benefits that could be added... if we do have to add secured entryways, can they at least not look like a jail entrance, etc. If we do need to add a fence, it should done in a way that doesn’t eliminate athletics usage of the field or the other uses it has today.

We need to ensure school facilities benefit the broader Mountain View community. That was the case when I pushed for the auditoriums to be built at the middle schools, and it's still the case as we look at this latest round of facilities improvements. I very much want a solution that addresses the real safety issues at the school sites, and which enables the community continued access to the fields when school is not in session. Would love to hear any ideas on how to do that without fencing.


Posted by Puzzled Parent
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2020 at 12:03 am

Puzzled Parent is a registered user.

I am constantly surprised at how Americans prioritize everything else except the kids.

Oh its ugly! Oh but my dog! Oh someone maybe, probably, likely will forget to open the gates after hours! Why do I think that? Cuz somewhere on the other side of town at Google field forget to open them once. Whaaaaaaa. No one consulted me with the exact detailed plans about this fence on school property with school funds approved by voters and I'm super important. Whaaaaaa.

Oh we love our teachers. What? You say they want to feel safe when they are working and taking care of our children? Naaah! Because, why? Because its ugly and someone will forget to unlock it on weekends! What? You say it will be timed? But someone will forget to set the timer! What? You say the timer is automatic? Well there might be a power outage! Whhaaaaa. But you are closing it off to the community! The community!! What? You say that it will be open to the community after school and weekends just like it was before? Yea, whatevs.

What, you say you will make them pretty? I don't believe you cuz the sup't is so arrogant! Why do I say that? Cuz he re-assigned my favorite principal and now I hate everything he does. Whhhaaaaa. What? You say district people and board trustees are good people who work work to take care of our kids every single day? Naaaah. You know, its us versus them, right? We can't actually be on the same side. And I'm pissed that they don't run everything by me first. And also that TTO thing 10,000 years ago.

Oh, you say that they told us about the fences last year and no one made a fuss? Well, maybe, but I wasn't really listening, so you need to do it all over again. And also, you know, no one wants this. Oh you say they polled the parents and this is what majority wanted? And what the teachers want and I wanted? Well...maybe I did at one time and did say yes. But I don't anymore, so there! Whhaaaaa.

You know, I have the absolute right to lock my doors to protect my 2 kids. Oh, you say the teachers should have that privilege too when they are watching 30 kids? Naaaaah. It's totally safe around here. That is why I keep my doors locked. And my doors are pretty unlike those fences.

You know, I'm super important, right? And I love my kids, and teachers and stuff. But not enough to have to put up with an ugly fence for god's sake! C'mon!

And you know, you reassigned my favorite principal 2 years ago and now I think I'm going to go and post about it on Facebook. I really do have other important things to do in life, I really do, but this one...I just couldn't help myself. And because its my god-given right. And look I have 6 likes from other people who think exactly like me! Oh you say, look we got more important things to worry about, like a ginormous health and economic crisis, and some people can't afford to put proper meal on the table for their little kids? Yeah, well, what about ME? And my grievances. No one cares about MY grievances. Oh, and did I mention the TTO fiasco?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why this country ranks amongst the bottom in almost everything that counts any more. Bub-bye.


Posted by SC Parent
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 21, 2020 at 8:31 am

SC Parent is a registered user.

@Kevin Forestieri - Now that you've fanned the flames with an inflammatory article and riled everyone up, how about doing some research and obtaining data from MVWSD regarding the number of "security incidents" at MVWSD campuses in the last 3 years. This could include actual information such as:
1) number of children who left campus during school hours,
2) number of unauthorized visitors using bathrooms or other facilities,
3) number of occurrences of dogs on campuses during school hours, etc.
(Note: I'll bet the District didn't study this problem with much rigor, so they wouldn't even HAVE this data, but that would be a useful information point, at least more-so than anecdotes from people who just learned about MVWSD's plans talking about how a fence makes them FEEL.)


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 21, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

This issue was discussed by parents at PTA meetings throughout the district back in 2013. At that time, for instance, there were less school shootings to make people scared for their child's safety. At Landels, the PTA informed then Superintendent Goldman and myself that they were (mainly) not interested in fences separating Stevens Creak Trail and permanent gating.

Seven years forward - the MAJORITY of parents, students and school site staff seem to want this. (District survey). It was mentioned on the School Bond language. These are MVWSD owned properties.

I support this entirely (now) because the District has gone out to all school neighborhoods and sent local residential properties NOTICES. We had a chance to participate (Bubb/Huff) like Monta Loma. We at Bubb and Huff are used to 90% chain link fences -BUT ALWAYS OPEN GATES. There seems to be little worry (IMO) because these permanent gates will Only Be Closed and Locked during school hours. Keeps out problem adult individuals (not one's with tanks or Hummers) and it keeps in the few 'runner kids'. The gates are UNLOCKED during all the hours that the general public is used to LEGALLY using this "shared community resource" (the field & playground property of the MVWSD).

I really believe the Administration of Dr. Rudolph understands This IMPORTANT COMMUNITY VALUE. And I commend Trustee Conley for reminding her Board colleagues and the administrative staff - pandemic or not - Community input forums are Necessary. {done, report available, and I too hope the administration has compiled 'incident report summaries'.}

Like - lock-down-in-place / Castro School / active shooter reported in the neighborhood!
2012 two 17 year old and a 23 year old man arrested in the rape of a 13-year-old on school grounds, late at night.

[preponderance of evidence and preponderance of parent/student/staff wishes]


Posted by @Puzzled
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 21, 2020 at 12:37 pm

@Puzzled is a registered user.

You are pretty hostile to people asking for some common-sense adjustments to a plan that will potentially remove (in Monta Loma's case) the only walkable park in the neighborhood for a good chunk of the week. Students aren't the only people who count, you know. Seniors and young kids are people too. We exist and we have the right to speak up.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 21, 2020 at 12:46 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Patrick N. unintended consequences - you pushed for MS auditoriums (cause they might be used by community?) The case is, how much rental time has the community requested for the MS auditoriums? How much income (helping defray cost-of-builds) did that generate for MVWSD? :O Oh, when U get on the Board, I hope U study those $ #s

But we agree - the fields are well used (thousands of person-hours per month) Community Resources and they have been in place, for more than half a century, legal sharing agreements. The City pays more than $2 Million per year for the terms of use neighbors now get. (in kind - all the park and playground equipment care and watering etc).
What's wonderful, wonderful!


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 21, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Not too late. Sometimes, just sometimes I have to give the Administration of Dr. Rudolph it's due. It is not too late to change some details! He HAS slowed and asked for extensive NEIGHBORHOOD input (to match the parent/student/staff work already done).

The best democracy is participatory (oh, Patrick N. is this 'delay' costing a quarter million in evaluation costs per month. :). Unanticipated results - sometimes a better democratic process COSTS MORE!

BTW - some Bubb/Huff former parents at the Zoom forum recognized that 'front kindergarten room street separation fences' would keep intruders away from the doors and windows of the front-facing unfenced K rooms. Add (a bit) more fencing!


Posted by Kevin Forestieri
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Oct 21, 2020 at 1:09 pm

Kevin Forestieri is a registered user.

@SC Parent

This was addressed at the Oct. 14 Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. The district does not keep a record of individual instances of reported bike thefts, intrusions and dog bites, the latter being typically handled by parents at the beginning or the end of the school day. Superintendent Ayinde Rudolph said while the district does not have the data, "there is more than enough qualitative data to say that this is an issue."

School fences has been the talk of the town for more than a month now, and has been the subject of multiple community meetings. Reporting on this does not strike me as inflammatory.


Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Oct 21, 2020 at 1:31 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

Too Bad - no numbers and no records (of dog bites? - yikes - certainly an issue of safety monitoring)
Voters, you know where the buck stops. (incumbent Trustee Blakely). And unfortunately we now have a quote from the administration "qualitative data". Like , truthiness, data with no numbers or recorded incidents? [ ah "It's VERY VERY BAD" I heard a US President say. ]


Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Oct 21, 2020 at 2:36 pm

Nora S. is a registered user.

Thanks for this article, Kevin. I'd call it informative rather than inflammatory. I think the proverb about not shooting the messenger is applicable here.


Posted by Jon Keeling
a resident of another community
on Oct 22, 2020 at 1:55 pm

Jon Keeling is a registered user.

As some readers may already be aware, three years ago I started offering to manage an umbrella School Safety Committee for all the school districts in Mountain View, Palo Alto and Los Altos, by which time I was already the parent representative on the LAHS committee and had worked on a variety of safety issues, both professionally and as a volunteer.

And I was offering to do this work -- basically a full-time position -- as a volunteer.

Many people in this area know me for my volunteer activities. But I got absolutely no response from anyone in any of these school districts when I offered 3 years ago, 2 years ago, 1 year ago... And then I was finally given some feedback from a couple of the local school districts earlier this year, when they said they had no interest in getting help from anyone outside of the school administrators, either volunteers or professionals.

Seriously.

So I am wondering whom they consulted regarding this latest proposal. I will admit that I have recently stepped out of the loop, as I have lost confidence in our school administrators. But I know enough about them and school safety to know that they MUST rely on outside advisors on this issue. The only person I know of working for the schools in this area who is qualified to make decisions on physical security is Mike Jacobs, whom PAUSD hired a year ago specifically to do that job (which I'd volunteered to do but I have no complaints about him - he's doing great). If MVWSD, LASD & MVLASD are not discussing these topics with him, they are simply not doing their job.

I have worked in disaster planning/prep, including school-specific issues, for many years. I teach Karate and self-defense as a profession (I started teaching both in the 1980s so it's not like I'm just now starting to think about this stuff).

My hometown is Newtown, CT. I had already worked on school safety issues from before the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school in 2012, where I used to roller skate on Friday nights as a child. Since 2012, I have stepped up my efforts to understand and prepare for school emergencies, as well as offering to help schools with this effort. I have gone through active shooter scenario training with local police personnel and other police & military groups (Mike Jacobs has also gone through extensive training and has developed a very cool app-based security system that I feel all our schools should be using). I have also designed scenario training and implemented some of it while training volunteers with Palo Alto's Office of Emergency Services, while I was volunteering with them.

A school shooting couldn't happen here. No way. This is a quiet place... Ummm....You've never been to Newtown. Nothing ever happened in Newtown. I used to joke that there were more cows in my town than there were people. But 26 people were killed there when someone opened fire on students and staff, most of them 6 and 7 year olds. Could it happen here? Definitely. Could fences prevent it? Possibly. This is a complex issue. There is no easy solution. It is not "build a fence and we're done" and it is not "don't do anything." And there is FAR more involved than just building (more) physical barriers. We MUST improve social-emotional learning (SEL), mental health support, reduce academic pressure... And I have significant experience in all of these topics. I have been pushing school administrators to embrace programs such as ChallengeDay (for middle schools and high schools) and Sandy Hook Promise's "Start with Hello" (which is free, by the way). But I received...let me check my notes....ZERO response on my suggestions to implement/expand these programs, apart from the occasional "I'll look into it" or "we've got things covered."

I am, quite frankly and understandably, tired of offering my services only to be given no response - not even a "thanks for offering" - from school administrators. And I am disheartened by school administrators telling me flat out that they heard my offers to help but don't want it.

If someone wants my help, it's pretty easy to find me. I'm the one offering to help everyone with all sorts of things, particularly dealing with keeping kids safe. ;-)


Posted by Christopher Chiang
a resident of North Bayshore
on Oct 22, 2020 at 5:24 pm

Christopher Chiang is a registered user.

I hope the school board has learned this is why you do not approve construction contracts of this public-facing kind before public input. Measure T should not be rushed. The construction contract was approved at the 10/01 board meeting as a consent agenda item, which means no formal public presentation or discussion.
Web Link

Question below written by the board members for tonight's meeting:
"Can we slow the timeline down for the implementation of perimeter controls at Monta Loma and instead implement temporary measures until we identify a more permanent resolution? Do we have a sense about what the anticipated extra expense be for delaying this project?"

Response below from the school district to the school board:
"We will bring the project to the board on November 5th. At that time the board will be asked to decide whether the project needs to move forward or halt. There are more dangers, with falling fences, from temporary fences, as opposed to simply using a permanent solution. We will look into the cost of cancelling the contract; the fencing contract was already awarded. Ultimately, the board will need to weigh the needs of teachers and staff vs. the needs of community members."
Web Link

The intentions of the district are the very best, but that last line is a false dichotomy. There is time and creativity to meet the safety needs of children and staff along with the needs of the community.


Posted by MVP
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2020 at 3:40 am

MVP is a registered user.

Former trustee chris chiang (who resigned) conveniently forgets his own role in what caused the last bond to do poorly under his watch.

Here's what this newspaper reported recently:
Chiang served on the school board from 2012 to 2015, during arguably one of the most challenging times for the Mountain View Whisman School District. Labor negotiations with the teachers' union had soured, the Measure G facilities bond had been precariously planned, the superintendent resigned and the district's achievement gap, data later revealed, was among the largest in the country."

Previous bond Measure G under his watch was "precariously planned"??? Don't know if chiang is the one who should be leading voice on this matter.


Posted by Steven Goldstein
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 27, 2020 at 6:19 am

Steven Goldstein is a registered user.

My god everything is so hyper polarized and hyper political.

I grew up next to a middle school, the baseball field was next to my house.

We never had any fencing, and the people would use the field quite often.

But I lived in a Suburb 10 miles away from the city of Boston.

So IDK what the best idea is for this situation. sorry.

Maybe a temporary hold so that people can work out an amicable arrangement?

In any case, please try to work together on this? Even if the fence is installed, this issue is not as severe or critical as so many others, is it?



Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 9, 2020 at 1:51 pm

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

And the comments for COMMUNITY/neighborhood talks first before "Consent CONTRACTS" IS WHY - I NOW REALIZE Chris Chiang will be IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS (Closed Sessions) and at the Dias where the Votes happen and are counted.

I could not think of a much better guy - to hold Dr. Rudolph (and many in the rest of the Board) accountable for the HOW of this district. Laura Blakely in particular, though reelected, has publicly in at least two candidate neighborhood forums, explained that she only governs the WHAT and not ever the HOW. Blakely will be, it seems, a continuing drag on good public governance of the HOW of public policy; oversight of the administrative operations.


@MVP: Chang's previous service came after the ACHIEVEMENT GAP had festered for at least 4 years if you bother to go back and look at the Stanford data. He was not responsible for the 6 month delay (before we both came on Board) in starting Priority One identified G bond facilities projects. We (Board collectively) took a measured approach to The Middle Schools facilities question. A measured approach can cost more (we rich?) and take longer but IMO the community receives a better product (more community support - why the HECK did the Next Facilities Bond get passed so darn easily ??????). We, the Board back then delivered a quality final product (that of course is just? a pat on my own back. :)


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