47 % of sixth graders said they were bullied at
least once a week, according to
Time Magazine,
April 18, 2005.
Of course, no
amount of
bullying is
acceptable.  
Does school
culture make it
worse?
Does School Culture
(and school-lawyer culture)
contribute to Bullying in Schools?
"It would be a holy day if you were shot dead by
a sniper."
Principal in Virginia indicted for perjury
Link: Article by Jay Matthews of Washington Post
No evidence?  Here's why: Shinoff keeps important
documents locked up in his files, and presents
perjured testimony.  Does he do it to benefit
children or to promote a
system that keeps dollars
flowing to school attorneys without solving school
problems?
Has bullying been ignored
before and after the Santana
High School Shooting in San
Diego County?
SDCOE lawyer Daniel Shinoff
denies that bullying
contributed to the meltdown
of Andy Williams, a small
15-year-old who shot two
fellow students to death at
Santana.  His fellow students
said he was bullied.  

The district says there is no
evidence that Williams was
bullied.  (It's strange that
reporters can find out
information that eludes the
district.  Maybe the district
should pay more attention to
kids.)
"What excuse would there
be for harming and shooting
others?" said Grossmont
High School District's
Superintendent. "There is no
excuse for that."

Of course not.
Nor is there any excuse for
tolerance of bullies and
covering up wrongdoing.  
Taxpayers should not be
spending millions of dollars
a year on lawyers like
Shinoff and Bresee who
seek to avoid responsibility,
not to solve problems.  The
money would be better
spent if different people
were in charge of our
schools.

And our children would be
safer.
When parents of two students shot to death at Santana
High School in 2001 offered to drop their lawsuit against
the school district in exchange for the district's holding a
conference on school violence,
the district refused!

The district would rather continue spending money on
litigation than accept his clients' offer to settle for no
money, said attorney Kenneth Hoyt.
(Associated Press report on September 9, 2005)

Daniel Shinoff called the shooting "unforeseeable" and
said the district WAS NOT CULPABLE.  (School attorneys
encourage districts to follow a policy of "no investigation,
no paper trail."  
Nothing is forseeable when you keep
your eyes closed!)

Link: Sept 6 2001 San Diego Union Tribune article
"Based on the district's own review last year and
information from the District Attorney's Office,
there is
no evidence that Williams was bullied at
school."

March 13, 2002
San Diego Union Tribune article
Link:
SDCOE lawyer Daniel Shinoff Loses Case

Poway High School students win
$300,000

Why didn't the SDCOE JPA settle this
case?

Neither taxpayers nor students benefited.  
How much did taxpayers pay Shinoff  for
a case he should have settled?
Joanne Jacobs writes,

"...Americans are seeing the sharpest decline in
teen crime in modern history. Schools today are as
safe as they were in the 1960s..."
(March 9, 2006 joannejacobs.com)
Do San Diego County lawyers instruct school
administrators and teachers to commit perjury in
order to cover up bullying by teachers and students?
Lots of people want a
bully for their lawyer.  
But should schools be
run by lawyer-bullies?
Schools and
Violence
School district was negligent in
Santana shootings, claim says

By Greg Moran
UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

March 13, 2002

EL CAJON – The families of two students killed during a
shooting rampage at Santana High School have sued
the school district, saying officials failed to detect
warning signs in the behavior of Charles "Andy"
Williams.

The lawsuit, filed last week by the families of Bryan
Zuckor and Randy Gordon, accuse the district of
negligence and wrongful death stemming from the
March 5, 2001, shootings.

Zuckor, 14, and Gordon, 17, were killed during a 10-
minute shooting rampage that began in a boys
bathroom on the Santee campus just before 9:30 a.m.
Williams, who had just turned 15, was arrested after he
was subdued by three police officers who rushed into
the bathroom.

Thirteen other people were wounded in the shooting
spree. Williams is facing charges of murder, attempted
murder and assault with a firearm. He has pleaded not
guilty and has been held at Juvenile Hall since his
arrest after the shootings.

The suit contends that the Grossmont Union High
School District did not observe that Williams was
having behavior problems and that it was
negligent in failing to intervene and address
those problems.

Kenneth Hoyt, the attorney representing the
families, said that in the weeks and months before
the shootings Williams was missing classes and
his grades were slipping.

"Andy Williams exhibited signs and symptoms of a
troubled person," Hoyt said. "When you have a
student who is missing excessive days and
whose grades have dropped remarkably, these
are red flags and there needs to be some
intervention. We believe that the school should
have procedures in place."

Williams, who was a freshman at the time, had just
moved to Santee and had been in school for only a few
months. His defense attorneys have said he was the
victim of frequent bullying by others at the school.

District Superintendent Granger Ward disputed those
claims, saying the attack was a criminal act by someone
who brought a gun to campus and shot students and
staffers, and that's where the ultimate responsibility lies.
"It is unfortunate that the perpetrator of this crime is not
the focus, and that's where the focus should be," said
Ward, adding that he was limited in commenting about
the allegations because of the lawsuit.

Based on the district's own review last year and
information from the District Attorney's Office,
there is no evidence that Williams was bullied at
school, he said.

"What excuse would there be for harming and shooting
others?" Ward added. "There is no excuse for that."

The lawsuit was filed one day after Hoyt filed a separate
suit against Williams and his father, Jeff Williams. That
suit also made wrongful-death and negligence
allegations.


Staff writer Jill Spielvogel contributed to this report.
Greg Moran: (619) 542-4586; greg.moran@uniontrib.
com
Daniel Shinoff denies that bullying contributed to the
meltdown of Andy Williams, a small 15-year-old who
shot two fellow students to death at Santana.  His
fellow students said he was bullied.  

The district says there is no evidence that Williams
was bullied.  (It's strange that reporters can find out
information that eludes the district.  Maybe they
should pay more attention.)

Dan Shinoff refused an offer by parents of  shooting
victims to settle for no money, if the school district
would hold a conference on school violence.  

"What excuse would there be for harming and
shooting others?" said Grossmont High School
District's Superintendent. "There is no excuse for
that."

Of course not.

Nor is there any excuse for tolerance of bullies.  And
the taxpayers should not be spending millions of
dollars a year on lawyers like Shinoff who seek only
to avoid responsibility, not to solve problems..
Concluded Massachusetts therapist and author
Lauren Slater: "We have to judge the
individuals who committed the horrible deeds,
but we
can't judge them through the lens of
saying, 'I would never have done that,' ...
because the Millgram experiments show that
under orders, most of us will do that."
Not according to San Diego County Office of
Education's Favorite Attorney Daniel Shinoff.
A Culture of Contempt?
Is your child safe from victims of
bullying who have acquired guns?

Absolutely not.
Who are the bullies?  

Studies show the bullies are likely to
be the popular kids.
The Bully Blight

The Bully Blight
Apr. 11, 2005
By MICHAEL D. LEMONICK  

Like most of her classmates at Washington High
School in Milwaukee, Wis., La Shanda Trimble, 18, is
attentive to fashion trends; it's the particular trend
she chooses that sets her apart. She's a Goth,
wearing black lipstick and nail polish, listening to
bands like Linkin Park and Rob Zombie rather than
rapper Nelly or R&B star Ciara. She likes to wear her
hair in pigtails instead of the more popularly
accepted braids. The other kids don't approve.
"They think I should act like them,'' says the
11th-grader. "They like me to listen to rap and pop
and wear, like, brand-new shoes."


For these stylistic transgressions, Trimble is routinely
punished. "I'd be walking down to a class, and I'd
hear murmuring, and somebody would say, 'She's
going to put a spell on you.'" One boy rode a broom
into class to mock her; another called her ugly and
crazy. Finally, one day last month, she couldn't take
it anymore. "I started crying uncontrollably," she
says. She's behind in her classwork now because
she avoids going to school whenever she can.

Bullies have lurked in hallways and on playgrounds
ever since history's first day of school, and until
recently, dealing with them was considered just
another painfully useful life lesson. But that attitude
is changing. In 2002 the American Medical
Association warned that bullying is a public-health
issue with long-term mental-health consequences for
both bullies and their victims. Just last month UCLA
researchers published two new studies showing that
bullying is much more widespread and harmful than
anyone knew.

During a two-week period at two ethnically diverse
Los Angeles middle schools, says Adrienne Nishina,
a post-doctoral scholar at the UCLA Graduate
School of Education and Information Studies, nearly
half the 192 kids she interviewed reported being
bullied at least once; even more said they had seen
others targeted. Also important, says Nishina: kids
are frequently as distressed by witnessing bullying
as by being bullied.

Why bullying exists isn't entirely clear, but another
study published last week in the Archives of Pediatric
and Adolescent Medicine attributes it at least in part
to excessive television viewing. (Perhaps time spent
in front of the tube is time spent not learning social
skills.) But bullying existed long before TV, and while
this may help explain the persistence of the problem,
it doesn't do much more.

Whatever the reason for bullying, the consequences
are clear. Nishina found that victims feel sick more
often than their classmates do, are absent more
often and tend to have lower grades. They are also
more depressed and withdrawn--a natural reaction,
says Nishina, but one that "can subsequently lead to
more victimization." The studies also indicate that
schools take too narrow a view of what constitutes
bullying. Physical aggression is forbidden, as are
such forms of verbal bullying as sexual harassment
and racial slurs. But the rules are generally silent
about less incendiary name calling. "You're probably
not going to get into trouble if you call someone fat
or stupid," Nishina says. "But our research suggests
victimized students felt equally bad."

She also classifies nonphysical, nonverbal
behaviors, including gestures and making faces, as
bullying. "They happen quite a bit and can have an
effect as well," Nishina says. "But they're very subtle
and very difficult for us to capture and assess well."
Even tougher to assess is the growing phenomenon
of cyberbullying--vicious text messages or e-mails, or
websites on which kids post degrading rumors. A
recent survey of more than 5,500 teens found that
72% of them said online bullying was just as
distressing as the face-to-face kind.


The damage from bullying doesn't stop after
graduation. According to Dr. William Coleman,
professor of pediatrics at the University of North
Carolina School of Medicine, bullies are four times as
likely as the average child to have engaged in
criminal behavior by age 24; they also grow up
deficient in social, coping and negotiating skills and
are more likely to engage in substance abuse.
Victims have similar problems; they also have fewer
friends and are more likely to be depressed.

Since most bullying takes place furtively--in hallways,
bathrooms, the back of the school bus--teachers
have a hard time controlling it. It's not impossible,
though: with the help of Nishina's UCLA adviser and
study co-author, Jaana Juvonen, a local elementary
school put together a program in which teachers,
parents and students review antibullying rules at the
start of each year. The students do role-playing
exercises and sign contracts promising not to bully.
Teachers incorporate lessons about bullying and
coping strategies into classwork. The school has
also hired extra staff to monitor places like
lunchrooms and playgrounds.

A program like that might have saved a lot of trouble
for the Darien, Ill., public-school system. Last
October an eighth-grader who was allegedly
harassing Joey Urban, now 14, wound up rupturing
Joey's eardrum with a poke from a lollipop stick. The
Urbans are suing, complaining that the attacker
received only a three-day suspension. The school
district says that the boys were friends and that the
injury was an accident that occurred while they were
roughhousing.

La Shanda Trimble won't have to resort to the
courts. Next year she'll be attending the Alliance
School, founded to create a safe atmosphere for
students who feel unwelcome in traditional settings.
Says co-founder Tina Owen, an English teacher: "A
lot of adults think 'Sticks and stones may break my
bones, but words will never hurt me.' But these
students seemed to be hurting really bad."
--Reported by Elizabeth Coady/ Chicago, Avery
Holton/Austin, Sora Song/New York and Sonja
Steptoe/Los Angeles

With reporting by Elizabeth Coady/ Chicago, Avery
Holton/Austin, Sora Song/New York, Sonja
Steptoe/Los Angeles
Education Reform Report
Should school districts protect kids
from bullies?
 
Why did Grossmont Union
High School District refuse to
have a conference on violence?
San Diego Source
(Online Daily Transcript)
News briefs from San Diego County
September 08, 2005
EL CAJON, Calif. (AP) -- The parents of the two
students killed in the Santana High School shooting in
2001 offered to drop their lawsuit against the school
district if it agreed to hold a conference on school
violence. The district has refused, saying it already
has held forums on the topic and beefed up campus
security. Kenneth Hoyt, an attorney representing the
parents, said the district would rather continue
spending money on litigation even as his clients
agree "to settle for no money."

Perhaps because the truth
might come out?
Grossmont School District failed its students in the
lead-up to the Santana High School shooting in
2001, says attorney Kenneth Hoyt.

"Andy Williams exhibited signs and symptoms of a
troubled person...When you have a student who is
missing excessive days and whose grades have
dropped remarkably, these are red flags and there
needs to be some intervention. We believe that the
school should have procedures in place."
A Few Bad Apples--
Or Normal Human
Behavior?
A 2nd victim's family files claim in
fatal Santana High shooting

By Jill Spielvogel
San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE
September 6, 2001

The family of a 17-year-old student killed during the
March shooting at Santana filed a legal claim against the
Grossmont district yesterday, saying it should have
taken measures to prevent the rampage.

Mari Gordon-Rayborn, the mother of slain senior Randy
Gordon, filed the claim for the "irreplaceable loss of a
son and brother." She seeks the maximum amount the
district's insurance will allow in damages.

The claim does not make specific allegations other than
the assertion that the district should have taken action to
prevent the accused student from opening fire on the
Santee campus. Charles "Andy" Williams, 15, is charged
with shooting and killing Randy Gordon and 14-year-old
Bryan Zuckor and wounding 13 others.

Gordon-Rayborn declined to comment.

Grossmont Superintendent Granger Ward said, "We had
an unfortunate incident this past March where a young
man was involved in a criminal act, and that's where the
responsibility lays." He declined to say more, citing
pending litigation.

On Aug. 22, trustees rejected a claim filed by the family
of Bryan Zuckor, which also asked for the maximum
amount allowed under the district's insurance and did
not make specific allegations of wrongdoing. With the
board's decision, the Zuckor family has six months to file
a lawsuit.

Trustees have 45 days to act on Gordon-Rayborn's
claim.

The school district's attorney, Dan Shinoff, could not be
reached for comment yesterday.

When the Zuckor family filed a claim, Shinoff called
the shooting an unforeseeable criminal act and
said the district was not culpable. There would
have to be evidence of liability for the district to
pay damages, he said.

The district must pay the first $100,000 on any
settlement or judgment from its own budget and has
insurance coverage of up to $14 million beyond that.

State law allows six months to file a claim, and yesterday
marked six months since the March 5 incident. So far in
the aftermath of the Santana shooting, the district has
only received claims from the families of the two students
who were killed.

The family of a Granite Hills freshman injured when a
student opened fire there March 22 filed a claim against
the district in May alleging the school was negligent in
allowing the shooter to come on campus with guns.
Trustees rejected the claim, which sought $250,000 in
damages.
Is your child safe from bullies?  
It could have turned out
differently if...adults hadn't
been ignorant about desperate
children
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HERE or here.
Parents Ask Forsyth County
School Board to Reinstate Sharon
Purdie
By Susan Rolfs
Sep 22, 2007,


On Thursday, September 20, 2007 the Forsyth County
school board heard five families share their stories of
how Sharon Purdie, former Special Education Director,
helped them to resolve the problems they were facing
with their children within the Forsyth County school
system's special education department.  These
families believe her willingness to help them is what led
to her removal as the Special Education Director.  The
Forsyth County school system is calling the change a
"lateral move"- The parents are calling it a demotion in
retaliation for her advocacy to parents of special
needs children.

...[A] mother and father who have filed a lawsuit
against the school system...spoke about their issue
regarding the school's abuse to their child. The father
stated that there are many good employees and
teachers in the Forsyth County school system.
However, there was concern over the teachers and
employees that do not follow the laws toward special
education students and therefore Forsyth County
School System should terminate them.  The mother
added that some of the punishments, such as
shoveling horse manure and dog feces are
horrendous for a child with special needs to endure..
She questioned the reasoning behind such a
punishment.  

The parents credit Purdie for helping them understand
the process of filing a complaint against the school
system for the mistreatment of their child.

Another Parent spoke on how her child has enjoyed
school and attributed the success to the highly ethical
Special Education Director. She went on to mention
that her child will be scarred for life after experiencing
unfair treatment by a principal of a middle school in the
Forsyth County school system.  In this case, Purdie
saved the school from a law suit...