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Mountain View Whisman school board agrees to move forward with campus fences

Original post made on Nov 11, 2020

The Mountain View Whisman School District is hitting the brakes on its plans to fence off schools, but trustees made clear last week that the plan is moving forward despite loud opposition to the proposal.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, November 11, 2020, 9:48 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by Surprise?
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 11, 2020 at 10:07 am

Surprise? is a registered user.

The "suprise pushback" from residents wouldn't have been nearly so surprising if the district had done *even a modicum of communication* with neighborhoods about the fact that our parks were going to be taken away.

To be clear, in Monta Loma at least, the latest district plan WILL take away park space, the only walkable park space in the neighborhood, during the day -- while people are home during a pandemic. It will put a playground that is heavily used by toddlers and preschoolers behind bars during the day. It will make a path that seniors use off limits. It will put an ugly, prison-like perimeter around our lovely park and for some reason they absoutely refuse to consider moving the fences close to the school as requested by the community. You can see why they tried to sneak this through without telling anyone.

Posted by Tal Shaya
a resident of another community
on Nov 11, 2020 at 4:47 pm

Tal Shaya is a registered user.

"Thanks to all who provided feedback on this issue that we already decided. Your opinion counts! Well, not really."

Posted by Landels Neighbor
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2020 at 4:56 pm

Landels Neighbor is a registered user.

A few thoughts / questions:

1. Have any children at Mountain View Public Schools been harmed by trespassers on school grounds?
2. How many complaints have been logged by school personnel or students in the prior two-three years? What are the costs (time / economic) of attending to those complaints?
3. Has the school board considered a fine program as an initial first step to see if another path is available? Levying fines on trespassers would be a de minimis source of revenue, but if some school official already has to talk to these (problematic) trespassers surely it would be possible to issue a ticket of some sort.
4. Has the board considered that there are substantial emotional benefits to children that arise from feeling like their school and grounds are safe and open, rather than another source of risk?
5. The Landels field is absolutely one of the most beautiful spots around in early morning - a fence would ruin it. Access to beauty matters in a community, for both adults and kids. Does beauty matter more than the safety of our kids? No, obviously and absolutely not. But I have not heard any person articulate a clear rationale for this program that weighs the costs (financial, community, aesthetic) of this proposal against the seemingly pretty nominal benefits (apparently avoiding nuisance disruptions?).

Posted by Puzzled
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 11, 2020 at 6:27 pm

Puzzled is a registered user.

I have to say, this is some impressively bad decision making and pathetic level of community engagement for such a major change to our schools. For no valid reason whatsoever, you want to turn the outdoors of our campuses, beloved (and paid for) by a huge portion of our community into an ugly, inaccessible ghetto.

Let's break down some specific claims.

"Especially important with Covid-19" -- so the concern here is people walk across the field, get right up next to our kids to cough in their faces or something? I know you've done a lot of research on the disease, so I am baffled how you think a fence around a field will help prevent the spread. Have you spent literally any time on any of these fields?

"More should be done to avoid a deadly shooting at Mountain View schools" -- Is there any basis for the theory that a fence will help keep kids safe from a shooter? If a shooter wants to get in, they will cut the fence with a pair of $5 wire cutters in about thirty seconds. On the other hand, you will be blocking off most of the egress for kids attempting to get away from the scene, making them worse than sitting ducks. I'm sorry, but that nightmare scenario would be on your hands.

Please do us all a favor and go solve some of the actual issues facing our district.

Posted by Gary
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Nov 11, 2020 at 6:42 pm

Gary is a registered user.

Fences would help block some intruders - certainly not terrorists. But most intruders would be deterred and potentially identified by cameras covering entrances. Indeed, if the schools had had cameras before the election, the school district could be viewing the racist(s) or civil rights activist(s) writing on school buildings. Even with masks, intruders on camera can be sized up - if not caught.

Posted by Why bother engaging?
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 11, 2020 at 8:44 pm

Why bother engaging? is a registered user.

The board has made abundantly clear that they already decided, and all of this "engagement" is for show. Does anyone have the power to stop them? Can the City Council intervene? Who has standing to sue the district?

One thing is for sure: since they don't care about me as a resident, I will return the favor. The next time the district submits a funding request, asks for donations or proposes bonds, I will vote a big, round NO!

Posted by Steven Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 12, 2020 at 11:43 am

Steven Nelson is a registered user.

The voters who endorsed Trustee Blakely returning to a 'decision making' position should realize she will not change her approach (let the District Office handle the "HOW"). So, like SAVECOOPERPARK.ORG this administration's way of handling the "HOW" of community involvement (don't have to bother so much / really) may just continue.

I live close to Bubb and I disagree on the particulars Trustee Wheeler mentioned (and agree with Principal Cyndee). Bubb has the directly adjacent pre-K and K sized CITY OWNED BUBB PARK! It completely solves the problem that both Monta Loma and Landels have.

Please Listen to 'The educator on this Board', Conley, who was the only one I heard - EARLY - asking that community/neigborhood input meetings Not Be Dropped by Westover. (Pandemic or not). If you are a neighbor - of any school I hope you realize that the purchase and BEST COMMUNITY use of school property is direct support of students. SCHOOL FIELDS as 'parkland' is just an extra "special" benefit that MV City and MV schools have negotiated since the 1950s.

Posted by Jeremy Hoffman
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Nov 12, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Jeremy Hoffman is a registered user.

I'm sympathetic to all points of view here. It's great to be able to walk with my toddler onto school grounds when school is closed. Chain link fences would feel unsightly and unwelcoming.

On the other hand, it sounds like people do trespass onto the open grounds of the schools. I myself once tried to take my baby on a walk along the track at Crittenden Middle School, and was politely informed that I couldn't do that during the school day. Lesson learned!

I'm optimistic that everyone can come together and work out a reasonable solution. And hey, fences can always be added or removed later.

Posted by Your job is to listen!
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 12, 2020 at 3:07 pm

Your job is to listen! is a registered user.

Anyone who attends school board meetings has seen how public comments have been reduced to almost nothing, so it is no surprise that these decisions were made with very little public input. Elected officials should be engaging with their constituents, not making decisions without considering or hearing about impact. With such huge decisions on the table such as school-reopenings and this fence issue, the current (and future board members) need to think clearly about what it means to be elected officials and do the work needed (meaning run meetings and public comments correctly and create time and space for feedback) to make informed decisions.

Posted by Bubb neightbor
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 13, 2020 at 10:19 am

Bubb neightbor is a registered user.

Fact based decisions are needed to support replacing the current fencing and none have been forthcoming with regards to the number of threatening incidents as well as whether or not fencing would actually protect staff and students from a shooter or hinder escape and/or police ability to render aid. Fencing to protect from Covid-19 is a non-starter - how about spending the funds (& this is mainly about how to allocate those funds) to purchase protective face shields, masks, filters, etc. for the kids and staff? Most neighbors know not to go on campus during school hours. Perhaps better signage around the perimeter (ie. back entrance of Bubb near the after-care driveway?) Ignoring your neighbors will incent us to stop voting for more school funding.

Posted by Privilege
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 13, 2020 at 10:36 am

Privilege is a registered user.

The entitlement of these posters is pretty potent stuff. You've already been told your lawful access to the school grounds - non school hours - will not change. But you're still throwing a tantrum?

"I should be able to go on campus any time I want, even though I'm not supposed to, and I'm mad that the school is not going to let me!"

Get over yourself, and let the school protect students and teachers and staff. Your hurt feelings are irrelevant.

Posted by @Privilege
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 13, 2020 at 11:59 am

@Privilege is a registered user.

I wish our access was not changing but that's not the case. In Monta Loma the district has proposed putting a fence around the entire park, even the part that is the "city" portion. This is Option 2, the most recent option, that they are presenting. Look it up.

Web Link

Posted by Privilege
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 13, 2020 at 12:34 pm

Privilege is a registered user.

Wrong. The school owns that land, there is no such thing as a "city" portion. Your "right" to be on their property was never a right, you just think it is.

Posted by Parks
a resident of Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Nov 13, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Parks is a registered user.

Perhaps people think Monta Loma is a city park because it is listed on the city's website as a city park. Oh, and also because of the signs from the City of Mountain View in the supposedly non-city park that's just for school kids. Who make up a small percentage of the city population, by the way.

Web Link

Monta Loma Park
Thompson Avenue & Laura Lane
Amenities include: Baseball field, basketball court, children's playground, passive areas, picnic area and restrooms

Posted by Old Steve
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 13, 2020 at 1:19 pm

Old Steve is a registered user.


County Property records on the Assessor's website show the entire site belonging to the School District. I believe signs at the site explain the school hours restrictions.

APN 147-29-046

Posted by Resident of MV
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 15, 2020 at 5:02 pm

Resident of MV is a registered user.

School fields are part of the schools, not public parks. No one is allowed on school grounds during school hours. It sounds like legal access during off hours to the school fields won't change. So why are people whining!?!

Posted by Nora S.
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 16, 2020 at 11:52 am

Nora S. is a registered user.

@ Privilege

It is disingenuous to frame this as a dispute between students/parents on one side and the community on the other. I'm a MVWSD parent (nine years in the district and counting), and I am against these fences. They will not deter shooters, but they will hinder escape, and as such, make the campuses less safe. They also change the feeling of the campus for the students. My kids don't want to go to school in a cage. They have always enjoyed the open campuses we have here in MV. The idea of fencing feels like it is out-of-step with local culture.

I have read that the district administration is claiming that parents were asked about their opinions on this, but I was never made aware of such a survey. And I fill out all of the surveys from the district! Even though it feels futile. The district has a history of asking for parental input and then ignoring it, proceeding with their own ideas regardless. This is just one more instance.

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