School board candidates debate — Jordan questioned about her criticism of student press

School board candidate debate
Palo Alto school board candidate Stacey Ashlund answers a question as, from left, Ken Dauber, Shounak Dharap, Kathy Jordan and Alex Scharf listen in a debate at the Palo Alto Art Center. Post photo by Allison Levitsky.

BY ALLISON LEVITSKY
Daily Post Staff Writer

At a Palo Alto school board candidate debate tonight (Sept. 20), a high school journalist took the opportunity to confront a candidate about her criticism of the student press.

Paly Voice reporter Nisha McNealis brought up Kathy Jordan’s criticism of the Campanile, another Palo Alto High School publication.

Previously, Jordan has criticized an Oct. 2, 2017, article in the Campanile that said a 2016 on-campus sexual assault between two students was later “determined to be consensual.” The 14-year-old victim has told Channel 2 and the Mercury News that the boy forced her to have oral sex in a school bathroom.

“This was a fellow student. How would you feel to have been allegedly assaulted and then have your fellow students disavow you in such a manner?” Jordan asked in an email to Campanile journalists on Oct. 22.

At tonight’s debate, McNealis cited the California Student Free Expression Law of 1977 in asking Jordan about how she would interact with student journalists if elected to the school board. Jordan responded that she’d like to have a good relationship with the student press, but stuck to her guns in criticizing the Campanile.

“That code also says that student publications and teacher advisors are required to maintain professional standards of journalism,” Jordan said.

Jordan said the Campanile’s coverage of the October 2016 sex assault didn’t meet that standard.

Jordan went on to tell McNealis that “press freedom is not absolute” and that the press is “not permitted to libel someone.”

The debate provided an opportunity for the public to hear from Jordan, three other newcomers, Stacey Ashlund, Shounak Dharap and Alex Scharf, and incumbent Ken Dauber.

Dauber, who is running for his second term, has served on the board during a tumultuous four years for the district, including high administrative turnover, investigations by the Office for Civil Rights and documented mishandling of campus sexual assaults. But Dauber said he felt the board had made “tremendous progress” during his term in hiring strong leaders and in making strides to bolster resources for student mental health.

Dauber also said he rejected the notion that student wellness and academic achievement are at odds, stating that healthy, well-rested, happy students are good learners. He touted the elimination of zero period at Gunn High School so that students have a chance to sleep in and said that he wants to see homework loads reduced in order to manage student stress.

Ashlund, a software consultant, special education advocate and leader on the district-wide PTA council and Partners in Education, said that the campus wellness centers that have been touted as a response to the district’s high school suicide clusters in 2009 were just a start.

Ashlund also said the high turnover in district administrators over the last few years was both necessary and unfortunate, and that she would make sure that parents, volunteers, school board members, teachers and administrators were “supporting one another to prevent this amount of turnover.”

Dharap, a 28-year-old attorney and Gunn High School graduate, said he would bring a fresh voice to the board backed by his professional experience. Dharap, who graduated just before Gunn’s suicide clusters in 2009, raised concerns about the mental health impact of weighted GPAs last year.

He also said he thinks the district’s new comprehensive sex education will be a positive step in preventing future incidents of sexual harassment and assault. He praised the board’s recent decision to hire an in-house attorney.

Scharf, a 21-year-old Palo Alto High School graduate and Foothill College student, said he wanted to see more vocational classes in high schools and more resources provided to disabled and low-income students.

Jordan is a former professional tennis player and Stanford graduate who began attending board meetings last year, after it became known that the district had mishandled two campus sexual assaults.

Jordan said that if elected, she would fight to protect tax dollars, work toward transparency and accountability and make sure students come first.
A sixth candidate on the ballot, Christopher Boyd, did not appear at the debate and has not granted an interview with the Post or any other news outlet.

78 Comments

  1. Good to see Jordan stood by her beliefs. She was standing up for a student who was being discredited by the school paper. It’s more proof that she won’t back down facing the tough topics that might come up in the district. We’ve had enough of the blaming lawyers or auditors, as Dauber did last night, for the district’s issues. We’ve had enough of the administrators saying they didn’t have enough training or it was someone else’s fault as Diorio et al did with the assaults and Cathy Mak and Scott Bowers did with the $6M “oversight”. It’s time for someone to stand up for the students and not let them be mistreated. Ashlund mostly restated the company rhetoric of, “we’ve made great progress but need to do more.” without trying to commit to anything. Scharf and Dharap made some good common sense points, as did Jordan. Having Jordan and Dharap might be a good pair to push the district into getting back on track and offset the current board’s policy of protecting their own.

    • Since when did it become OK for school board members to critique student publications? I don’t want the board to become a censor of these publications. It’s not hard to imagine Jordan nit-picking each issue of the Oracle or Campanile, as if it were her job to enforce whatever law pops into her head.

      • PALY’s journalists were backed up by people who were trying to cover up all the sex assault cases. Shame of them! If the victims were your daughters, would you act differently?! Can’t believe this is PA!

      • Are you implying that school board members (or candidates) must suspend their judgement and by definition compliment student newspapers? It was a student journalist, after all, who asked that question.

        Really?

  2. Kathy Jordan’s position is a classic American “Freedom of the Press” position — you are free to publish anything you want, but if you publish libelous material you are liable for damages.

    In contrast, Alex Sharf’s position seems more like “you are free to publish anything you want as long as it will pass my censorship.” Sharf didn’t like student newspapers publishing a list of where graduates are going to college, arguing that it creases stress on other students. Consequently, he used it as an example where he said would would consider it inappropriate for school newspapers to publish it.

    Whether he is right or wrong about the impact of that list — and I consider this a wrong-headed idea — it is not for him to call it, but for the newspapers’ editors. What he exhibited is the un-American approach of prior restraint and censorship of the press by authority — the school board in this case.

    • The issue is that nothing the Campanile published was libelous. If you read into the comments section of this article, you can find explanations of the situation from both an editor of the Campanile at the time this article was published and from one of the teachers of the class. Jordan’s eagerness to throw the word ‘libel’ around and accuse students of smearing one of their classmates shows a profound lack of maturity and respect for the students she’s trying to govern. Five minutes of searching online can verify that nothing in that article was remotely libelous. Jordan’s conduct surrounding this article has demonstrated that she is utterly unfit for this position.

      • Dear Highly Concerned: Do you have access to the judge’s determination? If so, please cite and present. Else, please tell us how you know Campanile was correct in presenting the incident as consensual per the judge.
        Kathy was supporting the victim. Something none of the publications or the administration have done until this thread, where suddenly, a more nuanced view has appeared.

      • Highly Concerned,

        You seem concerned about the wrong thing. As far as I recall, the question at the forum was along the lines of “as a member of the board what kind of relationship will you have with student press.” Jordan affirmed that she supports freedom of the press, but pointed out that having that freedom also implies responsibility, such as professional standards and not publishing libel. Which, I assume, we all agree on. Such decisions are *always* made by media editors and we all can, AFTER THE FACT, argue whether they were right or wrong decision.

        In contrast, in response to a simpler question “will you pledge to support student press freedom” Sharf indicated that he would be interested in reviewing and eliminating articles he considers damaging in some way. He implied that is the role of the board. In other words, he thinks this should be done BEFORE THE (publishing) FACT. That is called “prior restraint” and censorship.

        My point here has little to do whether Cammpanile actually followed professional standards with its publications in 2017 — that’s a separate question that I didn’t touch.

  3. The world is going mad!!! I can’t believe we have two candidates for school board in Palo Alto who speaking out against a free press. If Jordan and Sharf are so concerned about what these student publications print, maybe they ought to apply to become journalism teachers. God help us if either is elected!!!

  4. Journalists are expected to be especially sensitive when reporting on sexual harassment and sexual assault. They must be careful to avoid discouraging people from reporting these crimes. What Kathy Jordan was complaining about was an article in the Campanile that characterized a sexual assault as consensual without any evidence, despite all available evidence indicating that it was in fact forced. This article harmed the victim. Kathy is just standing up for the victim who was thrown under the bus by the school district. She has advocated for other victims as well, out of the goodness of her heart.

  5. Journalists are expected to be especially sensitive when reporting on sexual harassment and sexual assault. They must be careful to avoid discouraging people from reporting these crimes. What Kathy Jordan was complaining about was an article in the Campanile that characterized a sexual assault as consensual without any evidence, despite all available evidence indicating that it was in fact forced. This article harmed the victim. Kathy is just standing up for the victim who was thrown under the bus by the school district. She has advocated for other victims as well, out of the goodness of her heart.

  6. School board members and candidates are naturally going to disagree with what’s said in the press from time to time. In the past, board members have had a hands-off approach to the student press. Ms. Jordan’s comments concern me. If she’s elected, will she become involved in pre-screening articles the student newspapers wish to publish? What role will she play to ensure that the Education Code section that she cites above is enforced to her satisfaction.

    I realize there’s a temptation to dismiss Ms. Jordan as a fringe candidate who could never get elected. But that’s what they said about Trump. Sadly, the public doesn’t stand up for the First Amendment (free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and freedom of religion) as much as in the past. Attempts to silence people because of their beliefs are much more common today than they were, say, five or ten years ago. So I’m worried that her attack on the Campanile is just the beginning.

    • What would you be saying if it were your daughter? Or, if this was a Fox News article defending Trump or Kavanaugh? The female student has been quoted as saying that she told the boy that she didn’t want to do it. The Campanile continues to publish that it was consensual even though that cannot be verified. Jordan was asking that they remove that part of the article. Seems like a reasonable request, not censorship. It’s something the adult advisors should have done when editing the article.
      Jordan is far from a fringe candidate. She has as much or more integrity than any current or potential candidate.

    • That settles it! When Jordan is elected, we need to start a censorship committee to screen student publications before they’re printed. This works well in China and North Korea.

  7. When reporting legal issues, no matter who runs a newspaper, he or she needs to be as accurate as possible.
    Cannot imagine Fox News or NY Time to call Catholic priests had consensual sex relationship with young children. Do we call this “free press”? Come on, you must be kidding me.

    I think this discussion and debate will alert students and PAUSD people to think about what is the real journalism, what is compassion, and what should be the responsible way to treat your classmates, and your colleagues, and more importantly how to fight against crimes and protect your buddies.

    We do not want our community to provide and spread “alternative facts”.

    Two thumbs up to Kathy and everyone who’s stands up and protect our students, the most valuable assets of PAUSD.

  8. The Campanile did not retract the article as Kathy Jordan demanded. It was because that article was based on the original police report. She wanted a retraction and an apology. Additional Juvenile Court findings could not be confirmed because of sealed records. Students have the right to make these decision and the responsibility to get the official facts. They did just that. The state code EDC 48907 gives students the right to freedom of the press without censorship from the administration or adviser. The students got the facts from the police and stood by their original story. Kathy Jordan harassed the students to such a degree, emailing them repeatedly, calling students repeatedly, threatening to sue them, that we had to hire a law firm — Thomas Burke — who specializes in Media Law to craft a letter that the Vice Principal Janice Chen sent to Kathy asking her to stop harassing minors. The kids were traumatized by Kathy’s inappropriate behavior. Is that the kind of person we want for the school board? Who does she think she is that she can force the kids to change a story based on the police report by harassing them? She showed serious lack of judgment.

  9. As a former member of The Campanile staff and an editor who closely oversaw the publication of the story in question, I would like to offer some insight into this story. My staff worked very closely with several victims of assault to ensure that their stories were heard. We interviewed every side of the story, including victims, the perpetrator, parents, administrators and community members. Unfortunately, I think a lot of our trouble stemmed from the fact that a *judge* ruled the action consensual. Although this decree in no way means that an assault did not occur, it does mean that we *legally* can’t refer to the incident as an assault without breaking libel laws.

    I believe the victims. I know that every person who worked on this story believed the victims. However, there are more complicated aspects to this case, and to any sexual assault case that is reported in the media.

    The issues with this story stem from the fact that we are a society that fails women in every step of the judicial process when they report sexual assault. The fact that sexual assault is chronically underreported and under sentenced is a symptom of a culture that doesn’t take women’s safety seriously. One result of this under sentencing is that we as a publication can’t continue to label someone as a sexual predator after they have been acquitted. Even if we disagree with the ruling, there are journalistic ethics that we must abide by.

    This was by no means a perfect article, and I truly apologize that it hurt other survivors of sexual assault. Our aim was never to discredit you. But until our society starts adequately addressing sexual assault, by creating an environment in which survivors can come forward, and by appointing judges who sentence and punish sexual offenders appropriately, the media alone won’t be able to fix this.

  10. Ms Wojciki, I am a neutral observer and interested in this issue for reasons of fair and responsible journalism.

    If I read you right you are saying the Campanile did not retract the article because it was based on the original police report and the facts in the article were straight out of the police. Were there subsequent police reports and findings (that apparently contradicted what was stated by the PD earlier)? Why were they not made available to Campanile? Did Campanile report subsequent statements (to the PD, etc which are not made available to the Campanile) apparently contradict the original?
    What in your opinion and experience would make for fair and responsible journalism in this “he said, she said, he later amended, she later amended…” situation?

  11. @Esther Wojcicki:
    The Campanile reported and suggested in five different articles that the Oct. 2016 incident was “consensual”. The victim was 14; the age of legal consent in California is 18. She could not legally give consent. (See Campanile articles of 5/11/17, 5/19/17, 6/2/17, 10/2/17 original and revised, and 9/7/18)

    Police gather evidence; they don’t make determinations. They gather evidence and make referrals to district attorneys, who take further action. Juvenile court records are normally sealed. And so are police reports about juveniles. And student records are private.

    The boy now has three public convictions, despite being a juvenile. Two are for the same offense the Paly victim alleged, forced oral copulation. The third is for rape.

    I did email Campanile staffers to ask that the Campanile retract statements saying the Oct. 2016 incident was “consensual” — as the victim alleged sexual assault.

    The Campanile staffers’ email addresses were published on the Campanile website. I emailed them because I couldn’t email you, Ms. Wojcicki, their teacher advisor, as public records showed you working in concert with Ms. Diorio, whom the Cozen report said did not follow laws in response to the Oct. 2016 incident.

    I didn’t call any Campanile staffers; I only had one cell number for a staffer, who gave me her number.

    No one need open an email I send; and the senders name is clearly shown on emails.

    Emails that no one need open is not harassment.

    Correcting inaccuracies is part of being a journalist.

    Journalists are not immune; they must follow the law too. Student publications are required to adhere to professional journalism standards, and teacher advisors are supposed to ensure that. (EDC 48907)

    The Paly victim had just turned 14 when this incident happened. What trauma did she suffer from this erroneous reporting?

  12. As a former member of The Campanile staff and an editor who closely oversaw the publication of the story in question, I would like to offer some insight into this story. My staff worked very closely with several victims of assault to ensure that their stories were heard. We interviewed every side of the story, including victims, the perpetrator, parents, administrators and community members. Unfortunately, I think a lot of our trouble stemmed from the fact that a judge ruled the action consensual. Although this decree in no way means that an assault did not occur, it does mean that we legally can’t refer to the incident as an assault without breaking libel laws.

    I believe the victims. I know that every person who worked on this story believed the victims. However, there are more complicated aspects to this case, and to any sexual assault case that is reported in the media.

    The issues with this story stem from the fact that we are a society that fails women in every step of the judicial process when they report sexual assault. The fact that sexual assault is chronically underreported and under sentenced is a symptom of a culture that doesn’t take women’s safety seriously. One result of this under sentencing is that we as a publication can’t continue to label someone as a sexual predator after they have been acquitted. Even if we disagree with the ruling, there are journalistic ethics that we must abide by.

    This was by no means a perfect article, and I truly apologize that it hurt other survivors of sexual assault. Our aim was never to discredit you. But until our society starts adequately addressing sexual assault, by creating an environment in which survivors can come forward, and by appointing judges who sentence and punish sexual offenders appropriately, the media alone won’t be able to fix this.

    • Dear Maya:
      1. You mention multiple victims? How many victims did you work with?
      2. You mention that a judge deemed the action consensual. Is it possible for you to cite the date when the judge deemed it so?

      3. In addition, explain: my impression was that all records were sealed. If so, how were you able to access these?

      4. According to the October 2017 Campanile article “This story, also published in the Sept. 29, 2017 issue of The Campanile, “Title IX Misconduct,” includes the line: “The incident was subsequently determined to be consensual.” This line was based on conversations with Principal Kim Diorio and an interview conducted by The Mercury News with attorney Stephanie Rickard, who represented a former Paly student who left the district following accusations of sexual assault.”
      So did you actually see the sealed documents, or was the story based on conversations with Ms. Diorio and the perpetrator’s lawyer? If you could interview these two, why could you not also publish a statement from the victim’s lawyer?

      5. Finally, thank you for saying that you and the reporters believed the victims. Nowhere in the Campanile publishing was the above more nuanced view taken, is that not true? If so, why not?

    • @Former Campanile Editor Maya Homan
      To my knowledge, no judgement had been made at the time the initial article was published. In any case, judgements in juvenile cases are generally sealed. For that matter, the initial police report shouldn’t have been shown to a journalist unless it was made public. If it was made public, please show it to us.

      @Esther Wojcicki
      You claimed that Kathy Jordan harassed the student when she merely requested a retraction or correction. Asking a student to follow professional standards, as required by law, is not harassment. Why are you so against Kathy Jordan? Is this really about journalism or are you upset that Kathy Jordan exposed Kim Diorio’s failings resulting in her departure? It is disappointing to see someone who comes to the aid of a victim be attacked so vehemently.

      What’s clearly lacking here is empathy for the victim of the assault. It is irresponsible to report that a sexual assault of a minor was consensual. You should never have let this happen, but I appreciate that this is a student publication and mistakes do sometimes happen. However, you really should have corrected the situation as soon as you became aware of it. As a result, a 14 year old girl was bullied and forced to leave the school.

      @Confused
      Kathy is a good samaritan trying to help the recent victims of sexual assault. Shouldn’t ordinary citizens be encouraged to help others in need? Are you saying that no one should help others unless they’re getting paid? By your logic, you must be getting paid to post your comment.

  13. My comment is to support the students and their research on this story. They consulted the official report by the police. It is not an attack by the PAUSD administration. I not an administrator; I am a teacher. My role as a teacher/adviser is to protect the rights of my students as provided by EDC 48907. A more effective path for Kathy Jordan would have been to have an open discussion with the students. Also, she was not the official representative of the victim.

  14. Dear Esther: Now you are tying yourself up into knots. You say “A more effective path for Kathy Jordan would have been to have an open discussion with the students” Well — she did try. Didn’t you say in the previous post that Kathy sent them more than one mail with her position? What stopped them from meeting with her?
    Which is true, that Kathy did open a discussion with the students, or she did not?

  15. When I first read Ms. Wojciki’s comments I was confused. She said that “The student article on Campanile report was based on the original police report.” Then why the student was sentenced in juvenile court where the judge presumably read the same police report and additional reports? How about those subsequent reports or evidences published on Campanile? Any follow-up? Or amendment? I believe this is a very good exercise for student reporters to be fair and balanced.

    • Please see the above reply from one of the Campanile editors who oversaw the entire. They say “Unfortunately, I think a lot of our trouble stemmed from the fact that a *judge* ruled the action consensual. Although this decree in no way means that an assault did not occur, it does mean that we *legally* can’t refer to the incident as an assault without breaking libel laws.” The students were very conscientious about their reporting and were very sympathetic to the victim but they had to go with the official story from the police and the courts. Please note in their response above that they “truly apologize that it hurt other survivors of sexual assault,” but they were following press law. We were all sympathetic to the victim.

      • Dear Esther: Please explain how sealed court documents were visible to you and/or to the students. If you were sympathetic to the victim, why did you or the students not present the more nuanced view that you now seem to take.

      • Esther,
        The editors don’t have anything from the judge and the police could not comment on it either. The only person who claims it was consensual was the boy’s attorney. If there is information out there in the public, that states the act was consensual, please provide it. According to quotes from the victim, it was NOT consensual. Why not give her side of the story???

  16. Having followed this issue for a while, I always assumed that Kathy Jordan was the legal representative of the girl who was sexually assaulted or maybe her relative. I get the impression that’s not so. Kathy, were you asked to represent the girl? Is she paying you? Do you have her permission to speak for her? Or is this just something you decided to do on your own? You seem kind of obsessive about it (i.e. harassing the student journalists over a story printed last year). If you don’t have her permission (or her parents), why are you doing this?

  17. @Former Campanile Editor Maya Homan
    To my knowledge, no judgement had been made at the time the initial article was published. In any case, judgements in juvenile cases are generally sealed. For that matter, the initial police report shouldn’t have been shown to a journalist unless it was made public. If it was made public, please show it to us.

    @Esther Wojcicki
    You claimed that Kathy Jordan harassed the student when she merely requested a retraction or correction. Asking a student to follow professional standards, as required by law, is not harassment. Why are you so against Kathy Jordan? Is this really about journalism or are you upset that Kathy Jordan exposed Kim Diorio’s failings resulting in her departure? It is disappointing to see someone who comes to the aid of a victim be attacked so vehemently.

    What’s clearly lacking here is empathy for the victim of the assault. It is irresponsible to report that a sexual assault of a minor was consensual. You should never have let this happen, but I appreciate that this is a student publication and mistakes do sometimes happen. However, you really should have corrected the situation as soon as you became aware of it. As a result, a 14 year old girl was bullied and forced to leave the school.

    @Confused
    Kathy is a good samaritan trying to help the recent victims of sexual assault. Shouldn’t ordinary citizens be encouraged to help others in need? Are you saying that no one should help others unless they’re getting paid? By your logic, you must be getting paid to post your comment.

    • As a former Campanile editor, we, and presumably Mrs. Wojcicki, are upset about this situation because of the way Kathy Jordan handled this case. After we published the article, she sent us multiple emails every day, used unnecessarily harsh tones and threatened to sue us. We did not see this as respectful dialogue, but rather immoral behavior and a form of cyber harassment; we are a student-run publication, and our younger staff writers (15- and 16-year-old minors) were receiving these hostile emails almost everyday, which made them feel unsafe and attacked. I cannot fully speak for Mrs. Wojcicki, but I know that a reason why Mrs. Wojcicki is against Kathy Jordan is because of her desire to protect her journalism students. Although we made a mistake in what we published, Kathy Jordan acted in an extremely hostile behavior to our staff writers that cannot be excused.

  18. Scharf was not suggesting censorship. He was responding to a question that one of the school newspaper reporters asked about how kids post on social media how many AP classes and this adds to stress of competitiveness and what could be done.

    One of the things that can be done is change the culture by encouraging getting rid of the wall of shame where students post their college rejection letters. Another is suggesting the school newspaper not print the names and colleges upon graduation. Kids know this will be printed and for those going to Foothill college for example, they are seen as less than their peers.

    When has a suggestion about what is and isn’t published become press censorship? I know the kids can opt out of having their destination published but has the newspaper ever questioned whether this is a good idea? This continues to support the culture that ivy league schools are the goal.

    I support getting rid of the published list. Does that mean I want to censor what is published? But the writers might want to think about what purpose does it serve to publish it and it is helpful or harmful?

  19. We are waiting to hear from Kathy as to why she was doing this? Who authorized her? Why did she refuse to meet with me or my co advisor? She claims I was working with Kim Diorio. All teachers work with the principal. I am a teacher along with 130 others at Paly who were all working with Kim Diorio. She was the principal and that is what teachers do; they work with the principal Kathy Jordan was emailing the students multiple times a week for weeks, threatening to sue them. That is not a request. That is harassment. She was not a good samaritan. She created unnecessary stress for students and did not represent the family. The victim did not ask for her help. The Campanile students all empathized with the victim as stated by Maya Homan. They care about a fellow student. They did what they could within the constraints of press law.

  20. Scharf was not suggesting censorship. He was responding to a question that one of the school newspaper reporters asked about how kids post on social media how many AP classes and this adds to stress of competitiveness and what could be done.

    One of the things that can be done is change the culture by encouraging getting rid of the wall of shame where students post their college rejection letters. Another is suggesting the school newspaper not print the names and colleges upon graduation. Kids know this will be printed and for those going to Foothill college for example, they are seen as less than their peers.

    I know the kids can opt out of having their destination published but has the newspaper ever questioned whether this is a good idea? This continues to support the culture that ivy league schools are the goal.

    I support getting rid of the published list. My kids didn’t like the pressure of knowing this was going to be published when they graduated. Was it Paly or Gunn who did away with putting where you are going to college on the graduation caps for a similar reason? Does it mean I want to censor what is published? No, ultimately it is up to the paper. But the writers might want to think about what purpose does it serve to publish it and it is helpful or harmful? Making a suggestion for change does not constitute censorship.

    • “When has a suggestion about what is and isn’t published become press censorship?”

      When the suggester happens to be overseeing the journalist. Like being on a school board overseeing a student journalist. Which is the position Mr. Sharf is running for.

      If neither you nor Mr. Sharf see the problem with this, we have a bigger problem here.

  21. The Campanile staff will consider the suggestion to get rid of the college map. They welcome suggestions. It is a decision decision they can make next spring.. I understand how it can be difficult for some kids. Thanks for your input. I think it was Gunn who did away with the map. As for the competitiveness promoted by social media posts, teachers try to educate kids about the negative impact of those posts on other kids, and also how to withstand the peer pressure they cause. The Campanile has written about it. We try to encourage all kids to pursue their dreams.

  22. Dear Former Campanile Editor:

    1.Thank you for saying that you made a mistake. Did you ever acknowledge it, or were you ever advised to acknowledge it?

    2. If you made a mistake, why did you not merely acknowledge it as such, and end the conversation? Why double down on your reporting and ignore Ms. Jordan?

    3. It is easy to feel that something is “hostile” when one is feeling defensive about having made a mistake. It takes great maturity to look past one’s irrational emotions, to understand what is actually being presented.

    4. It is quite amazing that you call Ms. Jordan’s behavior immoral — in particular when she was defending a victim whom you believed. Perhaps you should look at the behavior of the Campanile staff in not presenting a nuanced view, doubling down on your story, not presenting concrete evidence for what you say?

    5. Your mistake is excusable but Ms. Jordan’s asking you to acknowledge your mistake is cyber-bullying?

    5. We are still waiting for the evidence you saw in the PD and the Judge’s decision. I hope you don’t forget to present it.

    6. Thank you so much for engaging in this conversation, and bringing up your feelings.

  23. Let me see if I have this straight.

    We have a person, Kathy Jordan, who disagrees with something published in a student newspaper in 2017, so she sends multiple emails a day to the young staffers of the paper, threatening to sue them?

    The journalism adviser and the vice principal, concerned about the threats, hire outside counsel to advise them on a response.

    Ms. Jordan doesn’t have standing to sue anybody for libel under these circumstances. If the paper printed a libelous statement (and I don’t know if it was or wasn’t libelous), the statement wasn’t about Ms. Jordan.

    These emails are received by minors who feel threatened by them. Even the adults (the adviser and vice principal) feel threatened enough to hire outside counsel.

    Maybe Ms. Jordan doesn’t think she was threatening these people, but that’s obviously the way the recipients of her emails took it.

    A year after the publication of this disputed article in a student newspaper, Ms. Jordan continues to make an issue of it at a candidates’ forum.

    Seems fair to say that there’s something seriously wrong with Ms. Jordan. She is hung up on something printed in a student newspaper a year ago and has time to send threatening emails all day. She doesn’t understand the effect these emails have on their recipients.

    In no way should this woman be elected to the school board.

  24. Dear Observer:
    1. If you watched the candidate’s forum, it was not Ms. Jordan who made an issue of it, it was the Campanile staff who made it an issue by posing a question on it to Ms. Jordan.

    2. As the former Campanile Editor acknowledges now, they made a mistake. The “adults” did not advise them to acknowledge the mistake. They advised the students to not retract, instead to keep reporting the story, unmindful of the harm it caused the victim. A victim, who, as per the former Campanile Editor, the reporters believed.

    3. Do not make this to be a story about Ms. Jordan. This is a story of one assault victim being reported as having had consensual sex, 15 year old reporters mis-reporting the assault, getting seriously bad advice from their supposed “adult” advisor, and therefore getting caught in the “adult” advisor’s mission to gainsay the truth. My heart goes out to the student reporters, as well as the victim.

    4. Ms. Jordan is incredibly brave to have stood up for the victim and called out mis-reporting. Yes, she is not a relation of the victim. Kudos to her for being an upstander and not a bystander. Isn’t that what we all want our students to learn? This is a real life role model and lesson. This is absolutely the type of courageous person we want on the board.

    5. The reporters and the advisors could have easily put a stop to Ms. Jordan’s emails by admitting their mistake. Saying sorry is all that was needed. But who can blame them? Their “adult” advisors aren’t saying sorry either.

  25. @Get your facts straight says “reporters and the advisors could have easily put a stop to Ms. Jordan’s emails by admitting their mistake”.

    In other words, you have to admit that you agree with Ms. Jordan in order to get her to stop harassing you.

    You can’t simply tell Ms. Jordan “I disagree and I prefer to end this conversation.” She won’t let it drop until you submit to her will. Wow!

    As I said previously, there’s something seriously wrong with Ms. Jordan. Thank you for buttressing my statement.

  26. It seems clear that the staff of the Campanile had their hearts in the right place and tried their hardest to follow the rules as they understood them. Probably that understanding wasn’t perfect, but that’s a high expectation for students who have presumably never reported on a situation like this before! What worries me is how antagonistic the relationship between Jordan and the staff sounded. My kids are still toddlers, so at their age we’re all about growth mindset, understanding why they lost it and teaching them how to do better next time. Granted, Jordan isn’t running to be an educator, and high school students aren’t toddlers, but it seems like there must have been a more productive way to accomplish the result she wanted and to make it a learning experience, versus a conflict that ended up feeling like intimidation tactics to a teenage staff. Of course, Jordan’s heart was in the right place too, to stand up for the victim, but I worry somewhat about how effective she might be as a school board member with this communication style.

    Also, on the topic of freedom of the press, high schools publications don’t always have that. See the Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier Supreme Court ruling.

  27. So, Ms. Wojcicki said “Additional Juvenile Court findings could not be confirmed because of sealed records.”, but the Campanile ex-staff Maya Homan said “Unfortunately, I think a lot of our trouble stemmed from the fact that a judge ruled the action consensual. ”

    Since the records are sealed, how does Maya and other staffs know the fact that a judge ruled the action consensual?

    Someone must be lying here!

    Did Maya Homan or any staff writer really see the court ruling? (How could they get it since it’s sealed?) Or was she just “told” by school admin (Diorio) or advisor teacher (Wojcicki) that “a judge ruled the action consensual”? Maybe Ms. Homan can clarify this point?

  28. To clear up one inaccuracy in many of the comments above, the records of the perpetrator were opened to public view by the Juvenile Court due to the seriousness of the offenses. Forced oral copulation is on a list of several crimes that, if committed by a minor, are public record in California. In fact, the August 27, 2018 sentencing hearing for the perpetrator was open to the public, and several media outlets covered it.

    • The records that were made available were for the victim in Redwood City, the one where he was convicted of rape.
      The records of the case regarding the Paly bathroom have not been released and therefore cannot be confirmed. All the paper has is the word of the boys lawyer.

  29. One thing that should be blatantly clear to all readers of these comments is that Kathy Jordan does not know how to effectively interact with teenagers. Her continued harassment of the Campanile staff–kids between the ages of 15-18—caused serious stress. Just read her comment on this feed and you can see the tone which she addressed the students. She did not request a change; she commanded them to publish a retraction and even wrote it for them. She harassed them on a daily basis. She seems to forget that these kids are OUR Palo Alto kids, our children who we are educating. They are not the enemy. These students did their best; they were within the law; they work hard; they care; they are smart and we as a community need to support their outstanding efforts. If there is a problem, we need to TALK with them. To attack them like they are the enemy is unconscionable. The Campanile repeatedly wins Gold Crown Awards from Columbia; we are at the top of the nation. While the paper looks professional, these are still our kids working hard to provide the best for our community. Kathy Jordan does not have the necessary conflict resolution skills to be on the Palo Alto School Board. She does not have the confidence of the students or the faculty. Her presence will cause serious problems for the faculty and for the students at all our schools. We need someone who not only says they care about our kids, but shows it through their actions. While she might have tried to protect the rights of the victim, in the process she hurt so many of our kids and repeatedly upset the faculty and as you can see, she continues to do this. Kathy Jordan does not belong on the PAUSD School Board.

  30. @Wojcicki, present your evidence.
    You continue to try and make this a story about Ms. Jordan when it is not.

    It is a story of your not encouraging the reporters to write a nuanced story, take a look at all evidence instead of just the school administrator’s verbal evidence, and all in all treat the victim of the assault really really poorly. In addition, you refuse to present the Police Report and Judge Determination which you say you have examined. You keep trying to change the subject!

    Did Kathy insult, berate, character bash the students? I don’t think so. Something you are doing very well @Wojcicki. She presented the victim’s point of view, which you knew did not present Ms. Diorio well. So, you stopped the reporters from talking with Ms. Jordan, encouraged them to not retract, and gave them really poor advice.
    Kathy’s caring and concern comes through very well in all the help she has given the many many victims of harassment and bullying at Paly and other schools.

    I feel so bad for the reporters and their families for having placed their trust in you. Citing your awards does not erase the insensitive reporting that occurred in an era where we should be realizing how hard it is for victims of assault.

  31. Amazing the Esther Wojcicki has waged an all out war on someone who has spoken up for victims consistently. From the emails this weekend, she doesn’t seem to have any boundaries. The truth is that the students on the newspaper staff needed adults around them who would help them know right from wrong. She didn’t do that, given there has been such an ongoing series of mistakes by the student newspaper. As I read this, the victim involved was 14, and in California you can’t give consent until you’re 18. Esther Wojcicki has no credibility on this issue — she’s just defending herself for her inaction, which I send a message to all victims that they should not come forward. Let’s not shoot the messenger, in this case Ms. Jordan, and let’s objectively read the stories. From the many posts this weekend by a “teacher” at Paly, it raises serious questions about her judgment and style. How can students stand up to her, when she seems to just attack any criticism. I’m sure the students learned a valuable lesson, just not Esther Wojcicki.

  32. @Ms. Wojcicki,

    Ms. Jordan just replied to your first post once here. She was clarifying the mis-information that you posted before. I did not see any harassment to the student reporters, nor any issue in the tone she addressed the students journalism. All she said was “Correcting inaccuracies is part of being a journalist. Journalists are not immune; they must follow the law too. Student publications are required to adhere to professional journalism standards, and teacher advisors are supposed to ensure that. (EDC 48907).”

    On the other hand, most of your post above contained personal attacks to Ms. Jordan, based on simply your own opinions. Do you have any proof how many faculty have the same opinions with you? Did they sign a power of attorney for you to speak up for them?

    PALY’s journalism got national attention in 2009 when Verde magazine published the famous ‘Rape culture’ article and won so many awards. What is “Rape Culture”? The culture to blame the victims of sexual assaults and rationalize the behavior for the predators. Ironically, the Campanile’s recent reports about these sexual assaults cases are encouraging the “Rape Culture”. No victims will want to come out if their reports of sexual assaults will be determined “consensual”. And, anyone supports the victims will be attacked by staffs with all kinds of false accusations.

    I am glad we still have someone like Ms. Kathy Jordan who is not afraid of these accusations, and has the courage and integrity to still stand up for the victims. We need someone like Ms. Jordan on the board to end the “Rape culture” and provide a safe environment for all students!

    By the way, you still did not clarify how Ms. Homan or other student reporters were able to get the “sealed” court records to report that “a judge ruled it is consensual.” Or maybe they did not see the report but were simply told by admin and staffs to write so?

    • @Paly Mom, the poster “For the record” explained how the students were able to get the records you claimed were “sealed”

      “To clear up one inaccuracy in many of the comments above, the records of the perpetrator were opened to public view by the Juvenile Court due to the seriousness of the offenses. Forced oral copulation is on a list of several crimes that, if committed by a minor, are public record in California.”

  33. From “Get your facts straight” …

    “3. It is easy to feel that something is “hostile” when one is feeling defensive about having made a mistake. It takes great maturity to look past one’s irrational emotions, to understand what is actually being presented.”

    Do you think you could be any more condescending?

  34. @ Get your facts straight
    This story is about Kathy Jordan. She is running for the Board, otherwise, there would be no story. She is the one who harassed the students. Harassment is not an effective way to deal with problems. It is her ability to work out compromises, her ability to problem solve, her ability to build community that we need to worry about as a candidate for the School Board.. Those were not personal attacks; those are qualities we look for in a school board candidate. If she weren’t running for the Board, no one would care. Yes, this is a story about Kathy Jordan and the concerns we have about her in that role.

  35. @For the Record,
    The records that were made available were for the victim in Redwood City, the one where he was convicted of rape.
    The records of the case regarding the Paly bathroom have not been released and therefore cannot be confirmed. All the paper has is the word of the boys lawyer.

  36. From a victim’s perspective:

    PAUSD schools do not have a good track record of supporting sexual assault victims who report. If we report, we’d get the same non-stop attacks as Ms. Jordan is receiving now. The PAUSD strategy seems to be to shame us until we leave the district. And now that we have a board candidate who actually stands up for victims, we witness a never-ending stream of attacks towards her.

  37. Thank you to the courageous victim who spoke out today. It seems like PAUSD attacks first, and creates a culture that tries to make victims stay quiet. As a Dad who would do anything to protect his daughter, my heart goes out to the courageous people standing up for all of our children today. Please continue to do so, and don’t let establishment forces like Ester Wojcicki stop you — ever.

  38. @Esther Wojcicki

    After watching your shows on this message board , I believe many PAUSD parents and I are happy to see Jordan to run the Board. We need more courageous people like Jordan to help parents and students, rebuild PAUSD for better future. Repeat: Jordan, please continue to do so, and don’t let establishment forces like Ester Wojcicki stop you — ever

  39. After watching the video and reading this thread, I know for sure that I won’t be voting for Kathy Jordan. Can you imagine what she would be like on the board? She’d be going into Esther Wojcicki’s classroom and editing the Paly publications, to make sure the students were following the law, of course. What a loon!

    And who appointed Jordan as the representative of this girl who was assaulted at Paly? It’s my understanding that the girl’s parents never authorized Jordan to advocate on their behalf. Jordan just appointed herself. I guess she has a lot of time on her hands. If the girl or her parents had asked for help, that would be one thing. But a self-appointed avenger like Jordan???

    Jordan shouldn’t be elected to the school board. Vote for anybody else.

    • Oh please! Overreact much? I wonder how you would feel if it were your daughter and the paper was smearing her reputation. I’d bet you’d love to have Jordan on your side.

      Jordan made a simple request of the Campanile, that they retract the statement that the act was consensual since they had no verifiable proof of that fact. Pretty simple. If Wojcicki is a true journalist and not merely a puppet for the administration, she would have never let the comment printed. She even posts here defending the position that the paper printed unverifiable information. What is that teaching the student journalists?

      Where do you get your understanding that the girl’s parents never authorized her to advocate on her behalf? Please give your proof that Jordan was self-appointed. More to the point, Jordan shows that she will stand up for ANY student who is being smeared or mistreated. I see that as a board member that actually stands up for what they believe in. We need more of those on the board.

  40. @I vote in every election
    Many others also vote in every election and many who wouldn’t normally bother will be moved to vote in this election because they care about students and are will to stand up for them. I encourage everyone to attend debates or watch the videos on YouTube. Kathy isn’t at all how you portray her. The school board is required to ensure that the district follows the law, including the student press. What’s crazy about wanting people to obey the law? You aren’t the first person to say that Kathy Jordan shouldn’t represent the victim because she isn’t her lawyer. You appear to have lost your faith in humanity. There is good in this world.

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