News


Speakers protest reinstatement of SRVHS student leader at center of video controversy

Board meeting flooded with speakers who disagree with district's decision

It was standing-room-only with students and parents spilling out into the hallway at the school board meeting on Tuesday night as speakers protested a student body leader at San Ramon Valley High School who was elected despite creating a campaign video criticized as Islamophobic.

The SRVHS junior -- who remained unnamed throughout the entirety of the meeting due to privacy concerns -- in February produced a campaign video as part of his bid for student body president. It was taken off Twitter shortly after being posted, meaning that few people actually saw the video, but according to students and parents who spoke Tuesday, the video depicted a teen being abducted by Islamic terrorists.

The student, who would go on to garner the most votes in the associated student body (ASB) president election but was initially disqualified from holding the post because of the video, was reinstated as next year's student body president. Some speakers contended the district made that decision only after his parents threatened legal action, citing their son's punishment as a violation of his right to free speech.

Parents and students who attended the meeting Tuesday expressed outrage that the school district had moved to reinstate the student in question, as SRVHS student body president for the 2017-18 school year.

Samantha Pearlstein, a SRVHS senior who was serving as the school board's student member Tuesday, expressed disappointment at the district's decision, arguing that it ran contrary to the school's "ultimate goal of creating an inclusive and welcoming campus no matter one’s race or ethnicity."

Others agreed. More than 50 audience members spoke to the board on the topic, offering their comments during public input on non-agenda items for nearly three hours. Board members said they could not directly respond to any of the speakers Tuesday because the item was not on their posted agenda.

Several Muslim students and community members stepped up to the podium to voice their discontent at the lack of accountability for the student and to recount stories of discrimination they too had faced in the district.

"The Islam that I know, and that 1.7 billion other Muslims know, preaches love and compassion," said senior Sheerin Khan, who served as student body president at Dougherty Valley High School this year. "And I find it absolutely abhorrent that someone would use my faith for their political gain through stereotypes that were disrespectful to the Muslim community."

The student and his family weren't present Tuesday, but their lawyer, Gill Sperlein, attended part of the meeting, though he didn't speak. He said he felt that many speakers were misinformed about the events that had transpired, especially since very few people had actually seen the video.

In particular, Sperlein said, one of the most egregious mischaracterizations voiced by multiple speakers was the idea that the candidate was not remorseful about his actions.

Upon receiving a call from a friend that the video he had posted was offensive, the student had immediately taken it down. And later on, after the video had come to the attention of school officials, the student wrote an unprompted apology letter that was "from the heart," that unfortunately could not be circulated amongst students due to privacy concerns, according to Sperlein.

The attorney argued that the school's since-overturned initial punishment for his client was a violation of the First Amendment.

"There are limited situations where schools or school districts can regulate speech between students," he said. "And it's our position that the circumstances here did not meet any of those special conditions, in which schools are allowed to regulate speech."

Nearly all of the speakers Tuesday night disagreed, arguing the student should be removed from office because of the video.

Spojmie Nasiri from the San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations urged the board to follow up on the incident.

"We encourage the district to conduct a thorough investigation regarding this matter and not to rub it under the carpet stating it was just a joke," she said. "Jokes have consequences and words have consequences for those individuals that are involved."

Others from the school's ASB were upset that a student who had created a racially insensitive campaign video in what they saw as a violation of the leadership group's code of conduct would return as a student leader the following year.

Brianna Relucio, a SRVHS senior and current member of the ASB, stated that she and other student body leaders had supported the disqualification of the student in question. "How can the candidate claim that he wants to represent the whole when he targets a part?" she asked.

Although the board members didn't directly speak to the issue at the meeting, Monday Superintendent Rick Schmitt sent out a communication to the school community addressing the issue. Schmitt affirmed that the campaign video didn't reflect the views of the district and stressed their commitment to take seriously "allegations of hate speech, harassment and bullying."

He added, though, that they "never perceived the contents of the video to rise to the level of 'hate speech,'" and asked members of the public who hadn't seen the video's contents not to jump to conclusions.

Citing student privacy laws, Schmitt said the district was unable to share further specifics on the case, but he suggested that this could be used as a learning opportunity, writing in the communication. "Such incidents can be an opportunity to educate our students about the importance of tolerance, equity and inclusion, as well as protected free speech," he wrote.

Comments

69 people like this
Posted by Gomez
a resident of Diablo
on May 25, 2017 at 7:05 am

If one hasn't seen the video, how can one comment. The rush to judgement is appalling. Clearly the rest of the student body at SRVHS had no problem with the kid. Apparently free speech only covers those that under under the guise of "inclusion", only want to hear their own views and when something goes against that, it becomes hate speech.
On another topic, Islamic Terrorism is real. Putting you head in the sand isn't going to make it go away.


11 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on May 25, 2017 at 7:27 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Jokes are not a laughing matter.


49 people like this
Posted by Greg T
a resident of Alamo
on May 25, 2017 at 7:45 am

I applaud the school district's decision, it was the correct one and they did not cave in to the extreme political correctness of the times.
I find it so interesting, and disappointing that Hollywood, the media and pop culture and even the art world has taken potshots at Christians and their traditional beliefs for decades now. When they say they're offended, Christian people are just told to suck it up,that this is a diverse country..etc. even President Obama would take potshots at Christians. But for some unexplained reason everyone tiptoes around the Islamic faith, and refuses to give it some needed criticism for its activities going on in the world now. Anyone who does criticize Islam is a melee labeled as a hateful racist person. I don't know if this started under the Obama Administration because he was raised as a Muslim? But this sure seems one-sided to me. Frankly right now Islam deserves some scrutiny because the activities that are going on in the world. Cress Americans here you better not keep your head in the sand but rather just look over towards Europe and see what's going on there. I have relatives & friends there. Trust me, the American Media is only reporting on a little of what's going on there. There are daily Islamic terrorists killings in Germany and France.
Of course we should be kind two people of all faiths, but let's not be hypocritical and openly criticize and make fun of one main faith, while overly protecting and even covering up for another.


46 people like this
Posted by SRVHS long time parent
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on May 25, 2017 at 8:05 am

We are Soooo glad to have graduated 5 kids from this district/SRVHS, and no longer have to deal with the growing, politically charged administrative overreaching. Like most matters involving children - once adults get involved, all sanity and logic goes out the window. The Students PEERS made the decision, and the Adults in the room didn't like it. Over those years our kids were in the district, it was a continual degradation of rights, freedoms, fun, and true education. When comparing the experience from our first to our last, the contrast of education and social enjoyment is staggering. SRVUSD isn't a shadow of what it was when we first came to this community. Very sad. All that said, whats really crazy, compared to other PUBLIC education districts, it's still one of the best. That's what makes it so sad.


25 people like this
Posted by Rob U
a resident of San Ramon
on May 25, 2017 at 9:02 am

The 3 posters above (# 1,3 & 4) have said it well. I agree with their sentiment.


9 people like this
Posted by Stop the rhetoric
a resident of Danville
on May 25, 2017 at 9:40 am

I'm blown away by some of the comments here and sadly, am
not surprised. My husband graduated from SRVHS as did his older brother. I am grateful our child is now in college and out of this district that sweeps things under the rug or overreacts without much balance.
I'm looking at this as a teaching opportunity yet again about how the internet/apps, etc. work. Once it's out there, it doesn't just disappear. It doesn't just "go away" and since the video was put out on Twitter, there is no and should be no expectation of privacy, period. This is what we all need to keep in mind.
I wouldn't be surprised to find out this isn't going to be the last we've heard of this.


Like this comment
Posted by Quail Run Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on May 25, 2017 at 9:43 am

Quail Run Parent is a registered user.

and yet, even tho is a nit at one school this district is still the lead reason people MOVE to San Ramon, well at least the eastern portion. and gee, whiz a barely year old new superintendent.
And if y'all think private school is any better; well, u might be surprised.


24 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of San Ramon
on May 25, 2017 at 10:35 am

One speaker at the board meeting put it best - this isn't a first amendment issue, this is a contractual issue. The student broke the ASB code of conduct contract that he signed, and thus his position should be revoked. The parents argument that their son's first amendment rights have been trampled on is straw man.

That being said, it is evident to me that there has been a marked increase in the amount of negative interactions between students not only on my campus but across the district this year. These interactions are often labeled as "just joking" but involve racism, sexism, and/or stereotypes. Kids see this going on more and more both in politics and daily adult life now, and it's an issue that has to be dealt with and not taken lightly.


15 people like this
Posted by Saddened
a resident of Danville
on May 25, 2017 at 10:38 am

Missing from this article is mention of the audience member who yelled out during the public comment period that "MAYBE WE SHOULD SAY A PRAYER FOR MANCHESTER!" while Muslim students were speaking from the heart about experiences they have had at their schools.

Clear proof that this discussion is warranted and needed in our area and district right now.


18 people like this
Posted by Talk about rights
a resident of Blackhawk
on May 25, 2017 at 11:34 am

What about a student's 1st amendment rights to freedom of religion? Shouldn't we protect Muslim students from feeling unsafe at school. This is white privilege at it's finest and is another example of Trump era beliefs.

Disgusting - I am so glad my children will not attend this school. School Board - step up and do your job. Protect ALL students.


28 people like this
Posted by C. R. Mudgeon
a resident of Danville
on May 25, 2017 at 12:01 pm

Not having seen the video, I can only go by the description given in the article, that "the video depicted a teen being abducted by Islamic terrorists".

Did the video say, or imply, that all Muslims are terrorists?

Did the video say or imply that Muslim students at SRVHS support terrorism, or condone it?

If either of the above is true, then there would be reason for overriding the election, and perhaps disciplining the student.

But there is no indication that the student made such statements, or even implied them, in his video. So I tend to believe that the school board made the right decision in re-instating the results of the student election, etc.

"Teacher" states in his/her post, above, that this isn't a 1st amendment issue, and that the student violated the ASB "contract" they signed in order to run for the office. I don't know what that contract specifically said, but presumably it was something along the lines of agreeing not to disparage others, in some way, during the campaign.

How is the mere depicting of Islamic terrorists (or, "Islamist" terrorists, if you prefer) disparaging anyone, other than Islamic terrorists? In particular, why would anyone (including "Teacher") assume that a depiction of Islamic terrorists is representative of other Muslims, at SRVHS, or elsewhere? Islamic terrorists are real, as we are all too aware. But as long as the video didn't try to ascribe terrorist behavior or motivations to Muslims in general, then I don't think it violated any school code of conduct. If so, then perhaps the watching of TV news programs at school, or during school hours, should also be banned. Because there are certainly plenty of instances (far too many) of actual Islamic terrorists and their acts being shown on TV news programs....


34 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on May 25, 2017 at 12:05 pm

Herman Glates is a registered user.

Good points Crumudgen.

A person of color would not be reprimanded for making a joke involving another person of color.

White privilege indeed.

Also ,why is this racist? Is Islam a race? Seems anyone from any race can join Islam, right?

Isn’t Islam just opinions and ideas?

Why shouldn’t all ideas be subject to the same level of scrutiny? Is it against the rules to joke about certain sacred ideas now?


12 people like this
Posted by DR
a resident of Danville
on May 25, 2017 at 12:35 pm

There have been many excellent comments made about this issue.

The one thing I remember my father telling me:

"Together we stand, Divided we fall".

That phrase should be remembered in all parts of our lives as we continue to move in the direction of division and hate. We must stand together and live amongst each other peacefully so our enemy will not see our weaknesses.

Remember the "enemy" believes in divide and conquer! And we are ripe for the taking!


10 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of San Ramon
on May 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Mr. Glates,

You frequently reprimand others for not knowing all the facts. You clearly do not either. The student in question is Chinese. So your statement that "A person of color would not be reprimanded for making a joke involving another person of color" is patently false.


8 people like this
Posted by Contract?
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on May 25, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Children are minors. If SRVUSD is having children, minors, signing some sort of legally binding contract for 'conduct,' it is completely null and void because of course children cannot be be forced to sign contracts. They are not adults.

Children on their own free time should be able to make any sort of video they want and post it as long as it does not violate the terms of whatever site they are posting the video to and as long as it does not violate any laws. The video was not filmed on campus and the children in it were not employees of the district. The video was a parody. As far as I know, it was not made using school district equipment. Also, the people who were in the video knew they were being filmed; therefore, it was not any sort of situation regarding video voyeurism or wiretapping where people were filmed without their knowledge.

On the other hand, in this video that was filmed by students on a campus at school and which starred a PUSD district employee (former administrator at the high school) Web Link who was an employee at the high school and shows the administrator yanking a student off of fence to the ground and also depicts the administrator appearing to be mocking/parodying some sort of a rap or hip hop star (MC Hammer perhaps?). This video was apparently made using school equipment, using school district facilities and locations, and included a PUSD employee.

The bottom line is that the 1st amendment protects the student's right to produce, star and direct their own videos as long as no laws are broken, and should not be bound by a null and void contract that minors are supposed to sign regarding supposed 'conduct.'

On the other hand, district employees who make videos using taxpayer-provided equipment while being employed during the school day by the district are bound by their employment contracts and job description and thus should be disciplined using the routine HR process.

SRVUSD needs to cease and desist having minors sign so-called "contracts" since that is against the law.


19 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Danville
on May 25, 2017 at 7:09 pm

I have a few questions:

What would happen if this student made a video making fun of stereotypes surrounding followers another religion? There was a lamentable time, in the not so distant past, when it was widely acceptable to mock adherents of the Jewish faith. People came to their senses and realized that this is unacceptable behavior.

What if the student tapped into stereotypes about ethnic and racial minorities in his video? Again, there was a time, not so long ago, when it was acceptable to draw upon disparaging stereotypes of ethnic and racial groups. Again, people came to their senses and stopped this unacceptable behavior.

What if this student made a video mocking women or students who were gay/lesbian/transgender? I think most reasonable people would be up-in-arms about such a flagrant disregard for the values of inclusion that have developed after the hard-earned struggles of the civil rights and women's rights movements.

As reprehensible as mocking adherents of any faith, any ethnicity, any race, any gender, and any sexual orientation was (and is!), no one argues such speech is *not* squarely protected under the 1st Amendment.

But is it the language one hopes to hear from a student body president? Is it behavior that should be excused or overlooked. Do we reward such behavior by dismissing it as legally permissible?

Furthermore, while it is legally protected behavior, is it the morally correct? Is it morally correct to mock the adherents of a religious minority -- regardless of what that religious minority is?

What is legally permissible must be separated from what is morally correct. What kind of leaders do we wish to set before our children? Does it matter that this student be a morally upstanding leader? Is "morally upstanding" a quaint, antiquated notion that no longer applies to anyone seeking some type of public office? And, sadly, do any of the events within this story suggest the type of leadership qualities we would hope for from the student body president of such a top-rate school in such a community as ours?


4 people like this
Posted by Irish lass
a resident of San Ramon
on May 25, 2017 at 7:13 pm

I think it is most probably a statement of accountability rather than a contract. Most public and private schools use these for students seeking leadership positions. My oldest daughter had to sign one when she tried out for cheerleader back in the '80's..it was a small private school. Students in leadership are and should be held to a higher standard.


29 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of San Ramon
on May 25, 2017 at 7:41 pm

What the school officials are "teaching" is mindless political correctness.


Like this comment
Posted by Irish Lass
a resident of San Ramon
on May 25, 2017 at 7:53 pm

I think it would be helpful to try to sort the facts. There seem to be many issues at play here.

1. Student Body President contender makes a video depicting defending students from ISIS.
2. Video is perceived as (a) racist, (b) terrorist
3. Student is remived from being Junior class president and is remived from being a contender for Student Body President.
4. Parents get involved and decide to get legal representation and sue the school board
5. Parents lose lawsuit.
6. Parents decide to sue again using freedom of speech.
7. School board caves to parents demands and removes student who was told she would be president
8. Student who created video and whose parents sued the school board is reinstated as junior class president .
9..Above student is also named Student Body President for the class if 2018
10. There is an uproar in the community. The community is divided.
11. This is gettting nasty. That is the way things stand right now.


15 people like this
Posted by 21 savage
a resident of another community
on May 25, 2017 at 10:45 pm

why are people overreacting so much. He didn't call out any of the studetns unless they themselves are islamic terrorists. In that case I think that there is a bigger problem on your hands


24 people like this
Posted by Herman Glates
a resident of Danville
on May 26, 2017 at 7:38 am

Herman Glates is a registered user.

The kid made a James Bond movie for cripes sakes.

You make him sound like he’s gob dam Joseph Goebbels.

Knock it off.


7 people like this
Posted by Fritz
a resident of Blackhawk
on May 26, 2017 at 8:38 am

Oh you better be careful, Herman. The PC thought police may come after you for your "insensitive " Nazi reference. Otherwise all of our German American friends may start rioting in the streets of Danville and demand sensitivity training. See how lop-sided this is, folks?


8 people like this
Posted by Quail Run Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on May 26, 2017 at 8:53 am

Quail Run Parent is a registered user.

I wonder how many comments would be posted here if only those who saw the actual video posted? I suspect most of them would be gone. Of those remaining remove those who have no children in SRVUSD currently. What is left, a few, one?
What we have is a single video, perhaps bad taste and not a lot of forethought and perhaps not enough adult supervision to suggest perhaps doing something a bit different.
A lot of you need to take a chill pill and move on.


10 people like this
Posted by Danville resident
a resident of San Ramon
on May 26, 2017 at 12:50 pm

So very unfortunate. Putting aside the legality, the lawyers, the politics, let's talk about our community. For a community that has access to some of the best public schools in California, whose students graduate academically superior to many, who have opportunities to attend some of the best colleges in the Country, who have an entitlement beyond most others...there is such a sad deep void of integrity and sensitivity. It's a KKK mentality at best, and while perhaps in this Country we have freedom of speech that allows us the absolute right to destroy another's spirit and sense of belonging with mere words, those who abuse that right, as a means to flex and hurt and shame, are a sad indication of what our money and schools cannot buy. But go ahead, support his right to freedom of speech because he has every right to that, but remember that in the process of dismissing his abhorrent lack of sensitivity, you've also supported this boy's inability to grow as a human who values integrity, community, and humanity. And that, is the true sense of poverty.


7 people like this
Posted by Quail Run Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on May 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Quail Run Parent is a registered user.

@Renae: Afraid KKK doesn't allow Asians into their ranks; you know, the whole 'whites only' thing? A detail, but one that matters.
A bit a wide brush you are using, no? Over reach?
Did you interview the students in question? Did you interview the student body? I suspect you don't know anybody at this school and have no idea who the players are, at all.
Just curious: what would you do if elected to the school board? Expel him/them?


6 people like this
Posted by Danville resident
a resident of San Ramon
on May 26, 2017 at 1:31 pm

@QuailRunParent, as I am aware you enjoy playing devil's advocate and constant debate...you will just have to accept your opinion of my "wide brush" as my own freedom of speech. The detail that matters, that I referenced as the KKK mentality is that of not only enjoying but in exercising that right to perpetuate hatred and division among the masses, as does a student who lacks empathy toward others; a student who has thoughtless disregard for the oppression of many, yet professes to represent all. Censorship is a slippery slope which does not honor our right to intellectual freedom, but self-censorship in and of itself is a tool only enjoyed by those who honor and respect their own integrity -- and only those without that honor would disagree. A video which creates a divide of humanity rather than unity and humanity, is nothing more than a cheap shot to win an election or round up uneducated followers. It doesn't take an education to flex at the expense of others; just a person void of integrity.


4 people like this
Posted by Contract?
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on May 26, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Saturday Night Live (SNL) constantly did and does sketches that air on NBC regarding terrorists. Gee whiz, people.

Did you all begin to flood the FCC with complaints when Jimmy Fallon and Will Ferrell imitated members of the Taliban here? Here it is in case you missed it - Web Link

Likewise, I don't recall faux outrage directed to NBC regarding so-called "phobias" about terrorists when they did sketches concerning when the Iranians kidnapped and held an entire embassy full of our citizens hostage back in the 1970s.

However, what you are doing instead is picking on a kid who happened to make a brief video and making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Also, if any of you don't like the First Amendment, you could move to a country that doesn't have free speech. That's always an option.


15 people like this
Posted by Danville resident
a resident of San Ramon
on May 26, 2017 at 1:56 pm

@Contract When hypocrites speak:

"What you are doing is picking on a kid..."

"If you don't like the First Amendment you could move to a Country that doesn't have free speech."

Let that sink in.


10 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Danville
on May 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm

@ Contract?

I wish you and your ilk would go back wherever you came from before you and those that *look like you* or *professed your religion* STOLE this land, decimated it's rightful population, KIDNAPPED African Americans, SOLD them into slavery, tortured and murdered with until fairly recently. Not all of us are as uneducated as you'd like to think. This land didn't belong to you and somehow after stealing it you have the nerve to tell anyone who disagrees with you to "go back where *we* came from!" Did you and your ilk even enter the US with a visa? Such presumptions!

Why don't you crawl back wherever you came from with your oh-so-illustrious history of state-sponsored terrorism against Native People and African American people.

Trump effect wins again.


2 people like this
Posted by Quail Run Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on May 26, 2017 at 8:12 pm

Quail Run Parent is a registered user.

I see you didn't answer the question: what would you do if A) you were the principal B) on the board or C) a parent of an actual child who goes to THAT school?
Very easy to paint with wide brush and complain. Much harder to supply a solution.


6 people like this
Posted by Danville resident
a resident of San Ramon
on May 26, 2017 at 9:23 pm

@QuailRunParent - Not obligated to answer your questions. However, if you read my replies, I believe I answered them thoroughly. My issues with this situation are much greater than what the school does, the principal, the board, the politics, or the legalities at hand. My issues are of the lack of integrity in having made the video in the first place. If this were my child, I can tell you I...well wait a minute, this would not be my child, because my children are rich in sensitivity for the humanity of others, they believe in the promotion of unity, not the perpetuation of mockery at the expense of another. QuailRunParent - Did I make myself clear??


10 people like this
Posted by Danville resident
a resident of San Ramon
on May 26, 2017 at 9:52 pm

WISHING OUR MUSLIM NEIGHBORS AND FRIENDS A BEAUTIFUL RAMADAN, FILLED WITH FAMILY, JOY, REFLECTION, LOVE, HOPE, AND PEACE.


14 people like this
Posted by Alamo Parent
a resident of Alamo
on May 26, 2017 at 10:36 pm

I find some of these comments frankly appalling. I had no idea this area was so racist. Anytime some blowhard drivels on about people being 'Too PC", its usually code for, "just a few years back I could offend and make any anti semitic racist comment I wanted...."

I don't feel it's 'overreaching" to have a student disqualified for an offensive video. If the idiot parents want to sue the school district so be it. The culture in this country has become toxic with the last election.
Suddenly it's ok to make offensive videos (and worse their parents defend it), bully and blurt racist insults. No accountability for these kids. How about teaching kids to be kind and just doing the right thing?
I can name dozens of kids in this district that would of never thought to do something this offensive. But yea, let's reward the one's that scream the loudest and his parents sue.


7 people like this
Posted by Danville resident
a resident of San Ramon
on May 27, 2017 at 12:19 am

Thank you Alamo Parent. You have expressed my own sentiments, and hopefully the sentiment of others, perfectly. I hope others will use their voices also to counter this repugnant mentality of exclusion and hatred.


8 people like this
Posted by Quail Run Parent
a resident of San Ramon
on May 27, 2017 at 8:15 am

Quail Run Parent is a registered user.

@Renae
So you reserve the right to complain and yell at the world, but do no provide any solutions or what YOU would do in the shoes of those who were directly involved. YOU WERE NOT. We await what you think the school board should do, in your opinion, of course.
The kids who made this video certainly did not have the intent y'all have assigned to them. Nor are they the trolls you would like everybody believe. If something is to 'happen' let the school deal with it; not people who weren't involved and just like to vent, spew at all. Nuff said


3 people like this
Posted by
a resident of San Ramon
on May 27, 2017 at 9:15 am

@QuailRunParent - Please bare with me while I enjoy my right to free speech, as you hail another's but want to shame me for mine. (Hypocrisy at its finest). Seems to be a trend here. No one knows what to do -- and that in and of itself is the issue. Was this a "Freedom of Speech" issue? Was this a "Hate Speech" issue? No parent, no School Board member gets to interpret the law. It would take a room full of attorneys, both citing different case law, different statues, and a non-biased judge to get to the absolute bottom of the situation, and only then could the school act accordingly without fear of retribution from parents who want to coddle their child. It seems you are likely the parent here. I am sorry for you if this is the case. The community needs to...deserves to have these conversations, whether they are comfortable for you or not. This is how we grow. This is how we voice our concerns. This is where we get to practice our own right to free speech. This seems to be a situation where legal rights and integrity meet at the cross-roads. This boy...this "Student Body President" will go down in history to the community as the boy who gained popularity by making fun of an oppressed culture. While that may be acceptable to some, that is not acceptable to all. It is at best, uncivilized behavior. Certainly not the culture of a progressive community. Now, please go away. I will not continue responding to your plea for rationalization of this offensive behavior, and you will continue to scream and shout and rationalize, and I will continue to attempt to open your closed mind. If this "kid" did not have such intent because he has a lack of sensitivity to others...I have to ponder the question as to how he felt he could represent ALL of his classmates with equal integrity. In the event that this "kid" is extremely remorseful, he could start with making a video that reflects a community where everyone is respectful of one another, regardless of their differences. My guess is that he is not capable of reflecting Muslims and others in a manner they deserve. That would be a good start...


4 people like this
Posted by R
a resident of San Ramon
on May 27, 2017 at 9:27 am

Yes @Danville, you are correct. Over twelve years ago one of my daughter's friends attempted to steal a beer from Lucky's. It was a wonderful lesson. "You are the company you keep." They were all guilty of "attempt to steal a beer" under the circumstances. Fortunately, I didn't coddle her. She is a delight, a compassionate darling woman now whose mother simply refused to coddle her one dark pubescent eve in San Ramon. Unlike the parents who hired an attorney to support their son's lack of integrity, and those who continue to back his hatred. Funny, who's the liberal here?


15 people like this
Posted by Beersteeler
a resident of Danville
on May 27, 2017 at 9:59 am

We are all guilty of exercising poor judgement in our youth. Let the kid alone. He admits his mistake. Adults need to stop perpetuating the situation. Don't any of you have hobbies or is living online your hobby?


7 people like this
Posted by Dis G. Usted
a resident of Diablo
on May 27, 2017 at 10:05 am

@ Danville:

Pathetic ad hominem attack against Renae. Cowardly method used by those who have no strength in their substantive arguments and instead lower the level of discourse to mud slinging.

Bravo. With "civilized" adults such as yourself, it is no wonder that our student leaders are neck deep in an ethical morass.




17 people like this
Posted by Bill of Rights
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on May 27, 2017 at 10:48 am

I commend the school board and district upholding the original election by the students and not bending to the irrational voices from outside the school and community that have their own political agendas. The school board clearly understands the value and importance of the 1st amendment and freedom of expression. The outside forces and those within our community that do not understand the 1st amendment are clearly trying to divide the community and further engage us in neighbor vs neighbor arguments.

It is time for us to move forward from this issue and enjoy the weekend and let the kids of SRVHS enjoy the summer.


4 people like this
Posted by Sigh...
a resident of San Ramon
on May 27, 2017 at 2:03 pm

@BillofRights -

The division within the community has little to do with understanding Freedom of Speech and more to do with abusing that right while assuming said freedom bears no consequence. While Muslim students are continuously harassed, and ignorantly grouped together as ISIS, you state: "It is time for us to move forward from this issue and enjoy the weekend and let the kids of SRVHS enjoy the summer."

What kids would that be? The kids who aren't harassed because of their religious beliefs? How about this "It is time for people to stop assuming they can attack others with their speech, and expect little to no consequence." This outrage, IS the consequence. And by the way, it is time for you to stop attempting to silence others. Freedom works both ways.

May his summer be spent volunteering with Muslims, so he can truly grasp the depth of his ignorance and learn to appreciate the richness of cultures that are not his own. Talk is cheap.




9 people like this
Posted by BillofRights
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on May 27, 2017 at 2:38 pm

@ Sigh

I am not stopping you rights, and you miss the point of my comment.

I am, however, very pleased you enjoy the right to free speech in this nation and I will not denigrate your views, like you do of others.


16 people like this
Posted by SRV Student
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on May 27, 2017 at 5:03 pm

SRV student here:

People, stop being experts on a video almost no one has seen.

Many people in this comment thread are talking about how racist this video is but I bet that none of them have actually seen the video. From my friends who had actually watched the video, I was told that it was not that bad, and that person was just trying to say that he would protect you from ISIS.

One of the things I'm really annoyed at though is since they took down the video, people do not know if it was actually a racist video or just a joke that people are taking wildly out of control. All we have are these rumors of how "racist" and "evil" this video was. I wish they could show the video again so people could figure out for themselves if the video was bad or not.

Yes, technically ISIS is a Muslim denomination. However, let me remind you that technical the KKK is a christian denomination. If you make a video saying that the KKK is bad, that does not mean you are saying all Christians are bad. This because the KKK has many different values than other Christians. This is the same thing with ISIS. They are technically Muslims but boy do they have different values than other Muslims. (ex: Chopping peoples heads off.) So if they release the video and it shows them imitating ISIS, that would not be so bad. However, if the video is released and it shows them stereotyping all Muslims, that would be pretty bad.

Anyway, I guess my main point is that they should release the video so people could decide for themselves if it was bad or not. That is because right now, all the news stories are basing the video off of diluted gossip, and I think everyone knows how crazy gossip can get.


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Posted by Sigh...
a resident of San Ramon
on May 27, 2017 at 9:01 pm

SRV Student: I absolutely agree with you. However, since the video was taken down, we can only presume it was offensive. I too wish we could see the video. I think all of your points are valid but that this conversation was much needed within our community. I also wish we could have heard the rumored apology from the student who posted the video.


19 people like this
Posted by Horserider
a resident of Danville
on May 27, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Sigh - Link below to the apology statement written by the boy. It was originally on Facebook.

The parents and their son have already been publicly humiliated and condemned by people in this community. Many have not seen the video nor know the details about the case. The parents posted their side of the story, but unfortunately it appears that it has not gained much traction because the popular opinion is against this family.

I found their story here (link below). It was originally posted as a reply on the social media site, Facebook, belonging to the parent of the current ASB president who went into great lengths to initiate a smear campaign against the boy and his parents. But later, all the posts were removed, including the reply from the boy's parents. It appears that the current ASB president's parent doesn't want anybody to know the other side of the story. Interesting read. A written apology from the boy is also in the link - written the same day he was pulled into Admin's office. Quite a remarkable apology letter if you ask me. My point is - don't be too quick to judge this family until all the facts are known.

You may have to cut/paste this link.

Web Link





6 people like this
Posted by Cholo
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2017 at 9:32 am

The good news about students is that they are expressing opinions that matter.

It takes time to grow into responsible/reasonable adults. I would strongly encourage young Americans expressing their opinions as long as they do not engage in criminal activity.

Free Speech is rare in today's world. Have faith that young folks are doing their best to become responsible Amercans!

VIVA AMERICA!


4 people like this
Posted by Cholo
a resident of another community
on May 28, 2017 at 9:54 am

Teen brain:

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by DiabloRoad
a resident of San Ramon Valley High School
on May 28, 2017 at 10:27 am

I agree with the comments of Horserider on the smear campaign initiated by the parent of the current SVRHS student body president.

[Portion removed for potentially identifying student involved].


13 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on May 28, 2017 at 1:23 pm

I am so embarrassed that my town has been in the news so much in the last few years; and even more annoyed that the liberal media twists and exaggerates stories.

Everyone has their own opinion about this subject, but most people have not seen the video. They rely on news media and social media to give them information. But let's all remember, social media platforms are just opinions, and news media manipulates the truth. I've seen headline titles saying "terror video" and "racist video".

The truth is, it was just a teenage boy imitating what he sees in movies and videogames trying to be funny and win an election. There is no reason to call this boy any names for the fact that he is only 17 years old, which explains his actions; and lets all try to be good neighbors and not publicly shame his family for trying to protect their child.


13 people like this
Posted by really!?!
a resident of Danville
on May 28, 2017 at 5:03 pm

@marie
maybe our town in is the news so much (racist graffiti in high schools, etc) because danville is a town inhabited by more than a few latent and privileged racists. those views trickle down to the kids. i don't think people here think they are racists (or want to be racists) but they are subconsciously racist and whenever something they hear doesn't jive with their world order they dismiss it as a liberal agenda and insist that the person questioning the behavior go back where they came from or suck it up. saying you are not a racist does not make it so. prove it in action and deed.


5 people like this
Posted by Hitpiece
a resident of San Ramon
on May 28, 2017 at 7:49 pm

Hey really!?!, Just out of curiosity, have you viewed the video?


7 people like this
Posted by Marir
a resident of Danville
on May 29, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Really!?!: Obviously we are very different. You choose to call me and others racist, I choose to pick my battles. I treat everyone with respect until they don't deserve it, then I just stay away or ignore them. What makes America so great, is that we are all so different, and in the past we respected that difference.

We are blessed to live in a country where we have freedom. Although many times I don't like what people have to say, I do respect and appreciate that people can say what they want. So to summarize, leave the name calling out, stop being loud and obnoxious, mind your own business, and let people live their own lives. Again, leave this boy and family alone!

Happy Memorial Day!


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Posted by Cholo
a resident of another community
on May 29, 2017 at 2:02 pm

Teen brains, hopefully, more helpful info:

Web Link

Teens present various challenges!


6 people like this
Posted by Sigh...
a resident of San Ramon
on May 29, 2017 at 5:01 pm

@Marie: You declare: "What makes America so great, is that we are all so different, and in the past we respected that difference." Obviously, you know little about the history of oppression in this Country. You do know that "in the past" this Country was built on the back of slaves...railroads in the Gold Country were built on the back of the Chinese...civil rights laws weren't put on the book because we were a respectful Country. People aren't marching in the streets because we are a respectful Nation. Every enslaved race, every murdered gay/lesbian, every abused Muslim or oppressed Jew, every raped Native American, every damn black person every single day lives with disrespect in this Country...my God, educate yourself before spouting your ignorance. THIS IS A TIME TO STAND AGAINST INJUSTICE...not to pretend it does not exist. Beginning with OUR community.


3 people like this
Posted by Marie
a resident of Danville
on May 29, 2017 at 8:25 pm

Sigh...: I think you misunderstood me, I was not talking about our history, just simply stating the fact that we used to respect each other more than we do now; or maybe it's just California, before moving here I did not see the problems I see now. You do make some valid points, which in turn also makes my point. You are condemning me and stating that I am ignorant and need an education without even knowing me. In my opinion, that's one of the differences between a liberal and a conservative. Conservatives respect each other. Liberals go out of their way to hurt other people's feelings, try to make them feel bad, and make fun of them. Thank you for proving me right.


4 people like this
Posted by Sigh...
a resident of San Ramon
on May 29, 2017 at 9:35 pm

Who used to respect each other??? You did not see the problems or you were able to pretend they did not exist??...says the person who just condemned ALL liberals.

You see my dear, the problems have always been there - of hatred, of ignorance, of cruelty, only now we cannot hide from them, lest we turn off our computers and keep the television forever on Fox News. Good try though.


6 people like this
Posted by Brad
a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2017 at 12:44 pm

The actual first "comment" serves as a reminder that some people keep and offer a narrow perspective about racism. He refers to "the rest of the student body" at San Ramon Valley high "not having a problem" with this kid. I actually offer this -- One, these are kids that live in a predominately white community where there is no diversity, and it lacks a multi racial environment. To say that the majority of those kids "didn't have a problem with this action" perpetuate this issue/stereotype that already exist about Danville. Two, I will assume that the first person is white, and has never had to get outside of the box ( Danville), and observe how people really integrate and socialize with each other. Three, much of this is real, however, one is likely to get struck by a lightning bolt than to every experience a face-to-face international threat per the students video gesture ( this includes that first person who comment too).

Danville -- wake-up ( racial slurs, graffiti, gestures, etc, etc) are always happening in this community. Talk with your schools and ask. I can give you several cases in 2017. I can provide multiple cases within both SRHS and MV. I'll share one three weeks ago in our local middle school. PEOPLE - THIS IS REAL! THERE IS A REAL PROBLEM HERE!

This was an opportunity to provide a lesson for the kid, kids, community. The board and school fell short. As a resident, I'm happy that most of the people I have spoken to within Danville view this as disgusting. I've also notice and have talked with many people outside of this community that are lending voice in discussion about this, and Danville continues to uphold the image that prevents openminded educate diverse people to want to move here. I can't blame them.

yes. I've seen the video.


6 people like this
Posted by really!?!
a resident of Danville
on May 30, 2017 at 1:06 pm

@marie
i wouldn't presume to label you, in particular, as a racist because i don't know you & have never interacted with you. i was speaking to the collective "you" and let me be more precise to protect everyone's sensibilities:

i suggest that by reflexively excusing ("teens will be teens!") or justifying ("he had every right to denigrate Muslims -- they are all terrorists!"), folks here are implicitly supporting behavior that defames and belittles an entire minority group.

when such a hypothetical person happens to be a member of the privileged majority (white WASP, living in a white conservative enclave such as danville), such behavior could be inferred to be latently racist. that hypothetical person might not be a racist, per se. however, it lends itself to the inference that the behavior they support is.

furthermore, saying it isn't so and silencing dissent by saying "don't call anyone names" doesn't help the situation either. show some humble curiosity and empathy: "hmmm, i wonder what it is like to be a young muslim kid at SRVHS?" "i wonder how it feels to be in a muslim in trump's america?"

anecdotally, i've lived here for some years and have been the unhappy recipient of micro-aggression and racist behavior. if one can't imagine what that is like because one forms part of the white majority and is blind to the looks, words, and abusive behavior others in this community do experience, i don't know what to say to that hypothetical person.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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