Thursday, October 29, 2009


Over 53,000 votes cast! Fabulous showing of school spirit and pride in MDUSD Sports!

Congratulations to both schools! Good luck at the game!

Richmond Homecoming: Could it Happen Here?

Who else is absolutely sickened by the news continuing to come out of Richmond? And for me, as a parent of a high school student, it is not just the horrific nature of the crime, and the bystanders who did nothing.... it is the school that is worrying me too.

From the CNN article ,

She had come alone to the Richmond High School homecoming dance, gorgeous in a sparkling purple dress and faux diamond baubles. The DJ played salsa, meringue, rap. When the teenager disappeared, her friends thought she had gone home early.

But we all know now, she didn't go home early, she was outside, ON SCHOOL GROUNDS being brutally beaten and raped for over 2 hours. I won't even go into all the nuances of the case as I've learned them, as you all have probably read the stories and heard the news too. But what scares me is the question, SHOULDN'T WE BE ABLE TO COUNT ON OUR CHILDREN BEING SAFE AT A SCHOOL EVENT?

What happened to the days when once you checked into a dance you could not leave. What happened to student safety being #1 priority. Why is it now being noted that there were chaperones, at least one asst principal and security officers there and not one was patrolling the grounds? It is also noted that strangers (non students) were seen on campus and as quoted from one of the victim's friends, "I looked outside of the gym and I saw 12 to 15 guys, sitting there, with no IDs," Baker said at the hearing. "The officers -- not only did they not check the IDs of those students or men sitting outside of of our campus, but the security officers who are employed here did no ... checking either. The assistant principal looked outside and actually saw those men, and did nothing about it."

In addition, how could it be ok that a school board member was seen on the news a few days ago acknowledging that school security cameras do not work? Yes, it's a big campus as he said, but you have security officers, chaperones, and school personnel and no one is monitoring the grounds during a big dance? In an area known for drugs, gangs and crime - no one is watching what is going on, or as stated above, questioning those who do not belong?

And unfortunately, this brings up so many other larger questions, like WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE that not only allow a crime like this to be committed, but who seemingly turned a blind eye to the signs something was amiss (strangers/non students on campus).

Could this happen here? How are our dances monitored? Are kids allowed to come and go? Do they allow non students on campus? Is there security or school personnel patrolling?

What about the unthinkable moral trainwreck? Could kids in our own schools just stand and watch something like this happen and do nothing? Could kids in our own schools do such a thing? I want to think no way. But ?? Why is Richmond different? What was the "perfect storm" that made this happen there, on that night, to that girl?

This was a school sponsored event. And as a parent , it makes me angry. Maybe I'll make some of you angry with my opinions here, but I think that school , the school officials, security and the district needs to be held accountable for doing nothing to prevent an unsafe environment for children. Children who just wanted to fit in, go to a dance, have fun, hang with their friends. There is no excuse. School officials didn't make this happen, but did they do enough to prevent it? I say no based on the information I have now... your thoughts?

Prayers go out to this girl , her friends and her family. I hope for speedy recovery and that she can rise above this horror. I can't even imagine..... it's too hard to even wrap my brain around all this....

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

VOTE now for MDUSD Sports!

I was notified there is a very important vote going on today in support of some local sports!!! No, not JUST the school board meeting tonight whereas the board will be voting whether or not to continue sports... but for KTVU's Game of the Week! Ygnacio Valley High vs. Clayton Valley High is competing against other local teams for the honor. As of 10am this morning only about 30 votes separate 1st and 2nd place, and that is out of over 8000 total votes so far...

Vote for YVHS vs CVHS as KTVU's game of the week and each school could earn $500. Here's the link:

The local game is TIED with another game so vote early and often as they say!

And, if you'd like to see the board meeting discussion tonight where fundraising efforts will be recapped and the continuation of sports will be voted on, see the links on the right sidebar where you can be routed to tonight's agenda, and link to where you can watch it all happen live. Or go to


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Drugs & Alcohol - Do local schools have a problem?

Does MDUSD have a problem with drugs and alcohol ON campus? Does it seem the drug and alcohol problem is worse in any one particular high school than another? I received an email recently, and it quite simply was very disturbing. But I think it needs to be talked about, and I want to hear from YOU! Is this an ongoing problem being swept under the rug? Is it the problem of just a particular school, or many? I've left the name of the high school out as I fear this will get into a clash of "who's better than who" or elicit specific criticisms of certain groups of kids, towns or other irrelevant issues.

More to the point, I want to address the problem overall, as it appears to be a serious problem and I'm not sure what is being done about it.

". . . parents have no clue what they’re getting themselves into at (certain) HS. I feel that there should be a “wake-up call” meeting to alert and prepare parents in a very realistic way. There is a TON of drug and alcohol use outside of and during school. Its more than what I could’ve imagined. The school doesn’t seem to be hard enough on the kids. There’s very low school spirit and it’s seen as “nerdy” if you don’t drink or smoke. Maybe I’m being biased because my child goes there, but I’ve talked to other parents and its not like that in other schools. Most of us are totally blind to it, really. I know I was. Oh, and did you know that there’s no smell when they drink Vodka?"


"There are always fights and I’m telling you.. kids are popping pills IN class, stoned during school, and drinking – some kids come to school with vodka in their backpacks! Ecstasy is the big thing right now. I don’t know… I feel like my blinders have been taken off and in talking to other parents, they’re experiencing a lot of the same stuff."

So, is it worse over the last few years, than in years past?

Are drugs and alcohol issues LESS prominent in some schools than others, or are they actually used less by students of some schools? How about in the schools known for more of a college track? This parent continued,

"At the (other local schools) high-achiever/popular type kids aren’t the ones coming to school buzzed/high… it’s the losers or the kids in the “middle”, but at (this school) EVERYONE does it… it’s the popular, high achiever kids that think it’s cool and they can function high and its looked down upon if you don’t do that…. "

So, I turn to google:

In the Clayton Pioneer dating back to 2006, drugs were mentioned by the Student Reporter: A Hyphy Movement 'Thizzing, or using the drug Ecstasy, is popular within they Hyphy culture.'

Earlier this year, another Clayton Valley High student, as Student Reporter for the Pioneer, wrote in her article, "Ecstasy is New Epidemic..." . The article sparked outrage from many sectors, fellow students, parents and educators alike. But is it really new? Clearly not when it was mentioned 3 years ago related to the same Clayton Valley High School.

And as I said, not to focus on just one school, and so you don't think it's just Clayton Valley, we found an article chronicling the recovery of "Sam," a Walnut Creek teen's road from meth. During this multi part series, it asked where Sam got her drugs:

During the nine months of turmoil, Sam never had any problems getting meth. It was cheap - the going rate for one night's worth for two was $40 - if she had to pay at all. Sam says friends at Northgate High School often just gave it to her.

"It's everywhere," she says. "You can't escape from it."

In a recent Times article, this article profiles a former, now recovering, DLS athlete / student who came back to visit De La Salle in hopes that his story will keep the students on right path:

A 1988 graduate of De La Salle and the baseball team's MVP as a senior, Curran has traveled a different and much more dangerous road than many of the athletes who have attended the school — a harrowing 20-year journey to the depths of nowhere and back.

Curran became an alcoholic. Heavy beer consumption began while he was at De La Salle.

In doing a simple google Internet search I found dozens of references of local drug and alcohol use among local teens, and at teen parties. This article from 2008 notes:

"Most high school parties in Martinez feature booze, weed, Ecstasy and acid," one Alhambra High senior said. Just some parties?

"No, most of them," said Greg Kearney, an 18-year-old Alhambra High School senior.
"Parents don't really know about them. When parents go out of town is when they usually happen," he said.

Of course we know of the tragedy in Orinda. Joseph Loudon (a Miramonte HS student) died during an unsupervised teen party, and in this article originally in the Oakland Tribune in 2007, it is noted that:

Correlating state Healthy Kids Survey results for school districts in Alameda and Contra Costa counties with data on free lunches that indicates relative levels of wealth in school districts, reveals youthful substance abuse is more common in the East Bay's richer areas.

More-affluent districts generally had higher rates of juniors who admitted to binge drinking or consumed alcohol within 30 days of the survey. They also had higher rates of juniors who admitted having been high from drugs.

Parents in the Lamorinda area united in 2006 after an out of control New Years eve party in Moraga. This was profiled in Diablo Magazine, Teenage Wasteland.

The parent who originally sent this information to me asked, are we , as parents, sticking our heads in the sand? Are we ignoring what is under our nose? What to do?

What is being done? Anything? Are school administrators ignoring the problems? Are parents? Are all schools facing these issues? Please be honest. As parents, we need to create solutions and not create divides by thinking this does not happen to your school, or in your community, because it does.


For more information:
Tonight, Sunday, October 18th, Nick News with Linda Ellerbee will be airing "Rehab, a sobering look at kids and addiction." The show will air on Nick at 8pm Pacific time. See more at This is a show aimed at kids. So, watch it with them. It may be "too young" for the group we're talking about here (high school), but it's never too early to start talking about it. Believe me, if you've got middle school students or older, they've heard it before.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Save Our Sports 5k and Campus Clean Up Day at CVHS

Looking for a couple of great ways to get involved in your local school community this weekend? For supporters of Clayton Valley High School, they are inviting students, parents, neighbors, everyone to come take part in the Campus Clean-Up Day this Sunday, October 18th starting at noon. Check out CVHS's website for more details HERE.

And, if you have atheletes in your home, even if they're not in high school yet, did you know that the District sports program is in very real jeopardy? Please come out and support Sports in our district, also on Sunday, October 18th for the UMDAF (United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation), 5k Walk/Run at Newhall Park in Concord. Details can be found on the UMDAF website HERE.