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June 04, 2023


Jennifer Pfaff

One day during the Fall of 1977 when I entered San Mateo High School, there was a big riot on campus. General mayhem--desks thrown out of second-story windows, screaming, etc. etc. Everyone was ushered away to what became an extended weekend; even now, it's just all a blur.

Anyhow, it was several days later before we finally learned that it began as an off-campus altercation on between kids, that spilled over into another day (at school).

But I do not recall there ever having been talk of any weapons involved--or maybe they just didn't tell us.

The stuff going on now seems way more frequent, and with weapons. Though our school had a reputation for being rough around the edges, it wasn't anything like what is happening these days here and around the country.

How can anyone expect the general population to become more educated if our kids have to fear a calamity happening on their campus by the time they are in middle-school?

Jennifer Pfaff

Typo--mea culpa...the SMHS campus mayhem happened in 1973, not 1977.

hollyroller@ gmail.com

Hi Jennifer. I always enjoy reading your thoughtful posts. When I entered HS, there were so many Race Riots the San Mateo County Sherrif Dept. deployed Officers with Dogs to Patrol the entire Campus. AM, Lunch time, and end of day. I was in HS 1974-1977. There were Guns, Knives, and severe beatings everyday. It was a Black on White event until parents got involved. The White Parents Stopped it. Guns, Weapons, Racism, Bullys, Sexual Abuse has always been a part of HS. There is nothing new under the Sun. It still happens "Today." The ONLY reason the subject keeps coming up "Now" is "Social Media." There was NONE of that "back in the day." We also had Police Cars following our School Buses to and from School due to the Zodiac Killer (Halloween was canceled for a few years) and The Zebra Killings. There were most likely a few other "Maniacs" running around back then too. Maybe it is just "Basic Human Nature" that has created "Horrible People." For Certain, nothing has changed. Just "Re packaged."

Jennifer Pfaff

Well, you could be on to something with the social media angle, because nobody had sort of devices to relay information within seconds (be it correct information, or completely false)...


From yesterday's WSJ. For comparison, Washoe County's population is about 500,000--two-thirds the size of San Mateo County.

So far this school year, students in the Washoe County (NV) district have committed more than three dozen acts of criminal battery against staff, according to school police. District officials call both the frequency and nature of the incidents alarming.

“Most minutes of the school day everything is fine, but then there are these flashpoints of violence,” Washoe County school board president Beth Smith said.

Across the U.S., violence against teachers has ratcheted up since the widespread return to in-person learning in 2021, and in some areas the problem is worse than it was prepandemic. The data are limited, because many states don’t specifically track teacher assaults, or use the same methodology to make the data comparable.

From September through May of the current school year, the number of assault-related workers’ compensation claims filed at some 2,000 schools in different regions of the U.S. topped 1,350, a five-year high, according to claims and risk-management services firm Gallagher Bassett.

The average cost of those claims has increased 26% to around $6,700 compared with the same period in 2018-19.

In the first 110 days of the school year, the district recorded 7,418 violent events, a category that includes fighting and bullying. That is the most in five years and an 8% increase from 2018-19, officials said.

District officials said privacy laws bar them from commenting on specific consequences for students. Typically, students in middle and high school face one-to-three day suspensions for fighting. Students who injure staff can be temporarily transferred to an alternative school that emphasizes social-emotional learning and behavior support, and they can be prosecuted through the juvenile court system.

Over the past decade, many U.S. school districts have begun relying less on out-of-school suspensions in favor of so-called restorative practices, which can include group-based social-skills training sessions and conferences where those affected by an incident jointly discuss how to resolve the situation, said Anne Gregory, a professor in Rutgers University’s school psychology program.


I too heard the helicopters flying around for at least an hour that day! To put into perspective and compare I would like to share my experiences at SMHS. I started my freshman year at San Mateo High back in the fall of 1968 after spending 7 years at St. Catherine's, Burlingame. Boy, was that a culture shock! It also was an open campus back then as was Burlingame High at the time.
The year I started there girls were allowed to wear pants to school, imagine that!!

I witnessed a few black girls behave so disrespectful to an older male math teacher they made him literally cry! I will never forget that! One day there was also a fight on the football field and the Hells Angels showed up and again knives were involved. Pretty sure it made the papers the next day! It was Major news! After that first year my mom pulled me out of SMHS and sent me to Mercy Burlingame. She left my two older brothers at SMHS and my younger sister and brother went to Burlingame. To this day I still hear about it from them.

Fast forward to the mid to late 90's and both of my daughters attended SMHS and never had any issues. The year my oldest daughter graduated, 1997 the valedictorian was accepted at Harvard. I will add they did have a wonderful drama dept. during those years. My son ended up going to Burlingame and no issues there except getting really drunk at his first school dance. Never got drunk again after that one episode!

It is interesting to hear other people's experiences at SMHS and I feel for the parents and kids today.

Jennifer Pfaff

Thank you for that, Joanne:) The drama department was always top notch, and from what I hear, it still is. I remember the non-drama general student population would get to see the dress rehearsals during school, at least in abbreviated form. I was really in awe of the talent the kids had, and the performing arts center was a terrific facility. Big school, big issues, but at the end of the day, it was still a very good high school, (mostly) excellent teachers, too.

hollyroller@ gmail.com

One Day. A long time from now," all of us" will realize that human nature is what it is.
Wolves & Sheep.


Something insightful for a change. Even a blind squirrel....

Board-Closed Sessions and Contracts- Transparency is needed

The Board scheduled TWO extremely last minute CLOSED SESSION Special Meetings on May 22 and June 12 2023.

Each meeting had a single item agenda-

1. ( * ) Public Employee Evaluation pursuant to Government Code Section 54957 - Title: Superintendent

This is the process for the Board to have a private conversation with its only employee.

The lies and negligence of the prior administration continue to hamper the operations of the SMUHSD. The public demands ethics and transparency in the operation of its public schools.

The report that hundreds of thousands of public tax dollars have been squandered and the power of the administration used to direct retaliation against those who "speak up," are documented and in the hands of the Board.

The silence of the Board and specifically the Burlingame Trustee is troubling.

There are far deeper problems than those on the surface.

June 30, 2023 is the last day of 2022-2023 Administrative contracts.

The 2023-2024 contracts are required to be published and accessible to the public prior to the Board's June 27, 2023 meeting. The public has a right to comment on these contracts and the behavior of those being awarded additional employment.

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