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Wilcox Bullying Incident Addressed, Buchser Mural Outcry

Though short, the Santa Clara Unified School District’s Oct. 24 Board of Trustees meeting covered quite a bit of ground. From bullying, to enrollment data, to murals, they covered it all.

 

Wilcox Bullying Incident

Hours prior to the meeting, the Santa Clara Unified School District (SCUSD) and Wilcox High School released a statement regarding the Oct. 18 bullying incident. SCUSD received reports that varsity football players harassed a male cheerleader with homophobic slurs. The District has closed their investigation and handed down punishments — ranging from removal from athletics to suspension from school. The District also involved the Santa Clara Police Department, but their criminal investigation is ongoing.

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Superintendent Dr. Stella Kemp acknowledged the students who came forward with the reports and the school administrators for the support, as well as the police and the District community.

Vincent Kloes, Wilcox High School’s student board representative, read a powerful statement where he expressed disappointment in the Wilcox community.

“This is not the Wilcox we know,” said Kloes. “Wilcox prides itself on being ‘Charger Strong.’ We treat others with respect, even when we may disagree…

“The apparent actions of some members of this sports team suggest that there exists a major discrepancy between the values of a few Chargers and the rest of the Wilcox community,” he continued. “I am deeply concerned that the standards of conduct to which athletes are held is insufficient. I also fear that this behavior is tolerated and allowed to perpetuate within certain communities at Wilcox.”

Kloes said that the actions of a few reflect badly on the Wilcox community as a whole.

“Athletes must act appropriately,” said Kloes. “Many athletes brought up how not all of the said sports team was involved in the incident. While this is inequitably true and punishment should not be given to those not involved, all members of the team should understand that, when they’re seated as a team, the actions of just one member reflect the entire group. Furthermore, they must understand that enabling peers to conduct themselves in an offensive manner also contributes to the problem.”

He continued to say he was glad that the police were involved, that proper actions are being taken, and that healing for the Wilcox community has been coordinated. He applauded Principal Kristin Gonzalez and the Wilcox administration.

“I await a public apology from those involved in the incident in an appropriate amount of time,” Kloes concluded.

 

District Enrollment

The School Board heard a report prepared by Andrew C. Lucia, Assistant Superintendent of School Support and District Development, on the current enrollment by school.

Eric Dill, Chief Business Official, said that enrollment continues the trend to be relatively flat, with not much change year to year. He also said that projections for future enrollment will be updated once they get new information in February 2020, but as of now, it seems like it will remain pretty flat.

Kathie Kanavel, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, reported on the District’s elementary combo classes. The District currently has six combo classes, plus a couple of bilingual combo classes. Kavavel collected information from school principals regarding the support that combo teachers receive — including extra planning time.

 

Petition Regarding Buchser Historical Mural

It wasn’t on the agenda, but Buchser Middle School staff members presented a petition regarding a mural in process at the school. The mural was gifted and commissioned by the school’s PTA.

Many speakers came to express their thoughts on the mural which is currently in progress. They collectively asked for their voices to be heard and not ignored — they want the mural’s painting to be paused so feedback can be gathered. They say that not enough input was gathered during the design process and they say that the mural is bringing up “strong feelings in our community. Among those feels are both joy and hurt.”

“The principal is in agreement with the staff input process,” said Dr. Kemp. “And she agrees that she missed a step in the design and is actively trying to engage with staff to slow this process down and allow time to review and make adjustments to the mural.”

Dr. Kemp went on to say that the District is trying to put together a formal process for future murals.

 

Other Business

The committee in charge of helping name the new Agnews Campus schools has narrowed down the list from almost 70 names to 13 names. The community can now provide their input on the District’s website until Nov. 5. The final names will be announced on Dec. 13.

The Board approved a resolution signaling the District’s support of California Assembly Bill 48 Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020. The Governor has signed it and it will be placed on a future election ballot. If the ballot measure is approved by voters, the District may receive construction funding reimbursements for Bond Projects.

Trustees Vickie Fairchild and Albert Gonzalez were absent.

The School Board meets next on Thursday, Nov. 14 — staff said that the much-awaited Usage Fee report will probably be presented at the next meeting. And then their last meeting of the year is on Thursday, Dec. 12.

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