Violent bullying alleged at Gunn – Black student called the n-word

Gunn High School
This story originally appeared Nov. 5 in the print edition of the Daily Post. To get local news first, pick up the Daily Post in the mornings at 1,000 mid-Peninsula locations.
Daily Post Staff Writer

Six boys at Gunn High School have been attacked on campus, called the n-word and bullied repeatedly and viciously by other students this school year, according to legal claims filed against the Palo Alto Unified School District by six families.

The school’s principal and assistant principal have failed to stop the abuse, which is ongoing, the parents say in the claims.

The six identical claims by six parents, filed by attorney Seth Rosenberg, are a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit.

The bullying began on the first day of school when one student threw fruit at the back of another student’s head, the parents’ claims say. A black student was called the n-word, and another student was called gay, the claim says.

When the bullied students went to the principal with their concerns, the bullies responded by jumping them in the bathroom and the locker room, the claim says. The school board reviewed the claims on Tuesday but took no action. If the district denies the claims, the parents can sue the district in court.

Principal Wendy Stratton said she is unable comment on the allegations because of an active investigation.

The parents are named in the claims, which are a public record. But the Post has decided not to name the parents because it might identify the alleged victims.

One boy ended up in the ER

One student says two other students attacked him in the bathroom before school on Oct. 5 because he snitched. He screamed for help, but none came, the claim says. He later went to the emergency room with a bleeding ear, the claim says.

Another student says four or five other students ambushed him in the locker room, leading to headaches, back pain, cuts on his lip and his head and a hematoma.

“These students not only pummeled (the student) with fists and kicks, but recorded it on video and shared it on social media far and wide,” the claim says.

The bullies also slapped the rear ends of girls and “verbally harassed them with sexual advances,” the claim says.

Three of the boys went to Assistant Principal Leonel Argumedo to report the bully in September, but they said the issue wasn’t addressed. They then went to Stratton, and the parents got involved.

“At this time, parents of these students were called and GHS administration members provided verbal assurances that the students were safe and that the situation was being properly managed,” the claim says. “Sadly, the incessant bullying and harassment continued.”

Boys called snitches

The bullies called the boys snitches in text messages and taunted them at school, followed by the assaults, the claim says. The bullies were suspended, but they continued to threaten and insult the students.

Gunn’s response was to have the boys who were being bullied “check in” with the school when they went to certain school events and only used certain designated bathrooms, the claim says.

“The plans were not designed to solve the problem, but to try and avoid the problem,” the claim says.

The boys, fearing for their safety, stayed home from school and returned on Oct. 20, the claim says.

“The problems caused by GHS’s staff’s negligent supervision are ongoing and pervasive,” the claim says.

8 Comments

  1. This kind of thing has been going on at Gunn for years and the administration just turns a blind eye to it. The attitude is “boys will be boys” and they don’t do anything about it. It doesn’t pay to complain because you’ll just get beaten up. Nothing is going to change, so I don’t see the point of this lawsuit. Same old, same old.

  2. If this claim is the truth — and I realize it will all have to be sorted out in court — this is pretty extreme, kids being called the n-word, getting physically beaten up on campus. Wasn’t PAUSD promoting strategies to stop bullying? What happened to that?

  3. @Curtis – This kind of thing…blind eye..

    Keeping up appearances/ minding public relations/ silencing inconveniences has been going on for years.
    Examples?
    -HS principal left due to life threatening health concerns. Placed as a teacher in middle school’s special ed. Only months later it turned out that change to teaching special ed wasn’t due to health concerns but to inappropriate behavior as HS’ principal.
    -Sexual assault on campus mishandled. Understatement.
    -Parents were compelled to address lawyers and/or the Office of civil rights (OCR) quite a few times. That is not to say that parents were always correct.
    -Many more were out there. Who knows how many were kept silent.

    Ms. Gaona Mendoza said back on Oct 2013: “This is the way they work. If they do not talk about it, maybe people will think that the problem does not exist.”
    Tragically you seem to agree. Same old, you wrote. After all those years her words seem to be totally relevant. You seem to think that raising concerns is a waste of time.
    I remember her words… I quoted in my post:
    https://villagefoolopenboard.wordpress.com/2013/10/29/this-is-the-way-they-work-if-they-do-not-talk-about-it-maybe-people-will-think-that-the-problem-does-not-exist-ms-mendoza-101913-here-is-my-take/

    I addressed Ms. Gaona Menodoza back on Oct 2013 after she talked to the board about bullying:
    https://villagefoolopenboard.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/open-address-to-ms-mendoza-the-lady-who-brought-the-office-of-civil-rights-ocr-to-pausd-and-few-related-thoughts/

    “Same old”, you wrote. Tragically. I wish my words above, recalling past “samples”, will turn out to be totally irrelevant.

  4. Sounds a lot like high school back in the 1960’s. How exactly can the administration prevent it? If the behavior is not observed, I would be wary about relying on the unprovable claims of kids, as the accused kids have parents who can also hire lawyers.

  5. Given that this is Palo Alto I’m surprised one of boys didn’t threaten to have his limo driver beat up the limo driver of the other boy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.