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Palo Alto Unified to Address Violence on Campus After Student Attacks 2 Teachers – NBC Bay Area | #schoolsaftey


The Palo Alto Unified School District is accelerating plans to address issues such as violence on campus after a student with special needs, who is under 12 years old, attacked two teachers at Jane Lathrop Middle School on May 5.

The district actually formed a committee in January to address the stressed behavior of students recovering from two years of  COVID restrictions. But after the attacks, the committee quickly laid out its goals at a May 23 school board meeting, creating a multi-tiered approach to develop programs geared to students’ emotional and social needs, as well as help teachers who complained to committee.

Amanda Boyce said they want strategies to deal with all of this.

“Behavior dysregulation, students that are having a challenging time acclimating to the group learning environment. That’s not what’s typically taught in our teacher accreditation programs,” said Boyce, who is the committee lead. 

At the meeting, one community member pointed out the assessment didn’t address that a small number of special needs students make up the majority of school suspensions.

“When we’re not addressing that issue as part of our discussion about behavior, we’re not addressing the crux of the issue,” he said.

Boyce pointed out that part of the district approach does focus on special education students, but the goal is to reach out further.

“We look at this as a wonderful opportunity to respond to the unusual period we went through in COVID and broaden our resources, broaden our support to students,” said Boyce.

The superintendent said he and teacher groups agreed a yet-to-be-determined third party will keep an eye on what happens. 

“The intent of the third party is to look at every part of the system. Not to find fault or blame. But to make us better,” said Superintendent Don Austin.

The school board is expected to approve some recommendations at its next meeting on June 6, including adapting a student emotional and social curriculum.

But as the superintendent pointed out, these are issues all districts must deal with on an ongoing basis.



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