We would like to begin by clarifying the cost of the investigation. The specific investigation regarding sexual harassment was only a portion of the $923,200 paid to Fagen, Friedman, and Fulfrost for the handling of all OCR and special education cases since 2012. In fact, the sexual harassment investigation has cost the district about $200,000. We apologize for this inaccuracy.
Additionally, we would like to comment on the misinterpretation of the analogy presented in our editorial. The metaphor of “within the family” was used to advocate solving issues within the district before spending valuable resources on seeking outside help. It was never intended to discourage punishment of any perpetrator of sexual assault. Some of the comments on Palo Alto Online Town Square improperly extended our words and much discussion was grossly misinterpreted. We suggested that the first line of action should be to work with staff in the district. Had that already been attempted, then we support the decision of notifying OCR, but comments made by Skelly suggest that notifying OCR was not warranted at the time.
Finally, the central point of our editorial — that we support transparency — has been obfuscated by harmful fixation on irrelevant facets of the article. The primary focus of our editorial was the transparency of Board Member Ken Dauber, and it remains the primary focus. We maintain that the correspondence between Dauber and OCR four days prior to the launch of the investigation should have been revealed publicly by Dauber during his campaign. We supported Dauber’s campaign in 2014 because he seemed to have had the best interests of the district and students at heart, but the revelation of his lack of transparency in this case makes it hard to uphold that belief.