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SRVHS parents criticize district for punishment in bullying case

Parents say school did not take appropriate action after video of daughter urinating was posted on social media

A recent case of bullying in Danville has gained national attention, as parents of a San Ramon Valley High School sophomore are accusing the school district of not taking appropriate actions after their daughter was harassed on social media, including a video of her urinating getting posted online.

According to Denise and Sean Lynch, their 16-year-old daughter was video-recorded removing her pants and urinating while a locked bathroom stall on campus during sports practice by an upperclassman varsity athlete.

This first happened in November, they said, but the couple found out about the incident in April, when the other girl in question repeated the act, posting the video of their daughter on social media and "bragging about it and using language I can't repeat in public," said Sean Lynch at last week's school board meeting.

The Lynches said they alerted the school, the Danville Police Department was notified and the student who had posted the video was arrested.

According to Geoff Gillette, public information coordinator for the town of Danville, the student was charged with invasion of privacy and the case will now move on to the Contra Costa County Juvenile Probation.

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But when the student in question returned not only to school, but to the sports program, the Lynches said they became irate.

"We expected the offending student to have been immediately dismissed from the sports program, and transferred to another school, to protect our daughter," Sean Lynch said during public input on non-agenda items at the May 23 board meeting. "It's not about punishing this other girl. It's about protecting our daughter, the victim."

Immediately following her husband at the school board meeting, Denise Lynch took to the lectern and gave an emotional account of how the incident had affected her daughter, while also accusing the school board members of not taking their complaints seriously.

"I don't know how much more I have to tell you," she said. "That the sheer presence of this individual who committed this unspeakable crime towards her -- every single day she's on campus brings up unnecessary feelings for her, that she's reliving this over and over and over again." She said her daughter's grades had fallen and there had been emotional meltdowns.

"It is crimes she committed, not one, multiple crimes against my daughter," said Denise Lynch of the alleged bully, "and you still allow her to be on campus." She ended by asking that the school board hold the perpetrator accountable. "I don't care if they're juvenile," she said. "They need to be held accountable for their actions."

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The school board members said they could not directly respond to any of the speakers because the item was not on their posted agenda.

After Denise Lynch spoke, however, board vice president Ken Mintz spoke up, asking her to continue to work with the superintendent's office on the matter. "I understand it's a legal issue," he said, and expressed an appreciation for her bringing it up. To which she replied, "We don't have to go there. If you removed this individual from the school."

This Tuesday, the school board released a statement to SRVHS students and staff about the bullying incident in question, signed by all board members and superintendent Rick Schmitt and stating that the district is committed to transparency and they would share all available information that did not violate student privacy.

"There has been widespread press and social media coverage regarding this incident," the statement reads. "Due to the ease with which information spreads via social media, it is important to know that not all of the information that has appeared is factual or accurate."

The story has been picked up by media outlets in the Bay Area and nationwide, including the Associated Press and Business Insider.

The district's statement said San Ramon Valley High School administration partnered with the Danville Police Department to investigate the bullying incident as soon as the report was made in April. Disciplinary action took place, according to officials, and the results of the DPD investigation were passed on to the juvenile justice system. The law enforcement matter is still in process, further limiting the information that the district can share with the school community, the officials said.

The statement encourages all members of the community to report any suspected incidents of bullying to the district's online form and safe schools tip-line, and emphasized the policies and programs district schools have in place to prevent bullying.

"We are very fortunate to have a community of students, staff and parents who partner with us as we continue to create an environment where all students and staff feel safe and accepted," the statement concludes. "Thank you for your support of SRVUSD and its schools."

The controversy comes as school set to let out for summer break on Friday and as SRVHS is going through a time of change. Principal Ruth Steele is stepping down at the end of June, and Jason Krolikowski from Pleasanton's Foothill High School will take the reins July 1.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included incorrect information about the status of the juvenile case. Town spokesman Geoff Gillette later clarified the case has been referred to Contra Costa County Juvenile Probation.

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SRVHS parents criticize district for punishment in bullying case

Parents say school did not take appropriate action after video of daughter urinating was posted on social media

by Erika Alvero /

Uploaded: Wed, May 31, 2017, 4:16 pm
Updated: Thu, Jun 1, 2017, 2:19 pm

A recent case of bullying in Danville has gained national attention, as parents of a San Ramon Valley High School sophomore are accusing the school district of not taking appropriate actions after their daughter was harassed on social media, including a video of her urinating getting posted online.

According to Denise and Sean Lynch, their 16-year-old daughter was video-recorded removing her pants and urinating while a locked bathroom stall on campus during sports practice by an upperclassman varsity athlete.

This first happened in November, they said, but the couple found out about the incident in April, when the other girl in question repeated the act, posting the video of their daughter on social media and "bragging about it and using language I can't repeat in public," said Sean Lynch at last week's school board meeting.

The Lynches said they alerted the school, the Danville Police Department was notified and the student who had posted the video was arrested.

According to Geoff Gillette, public information coordinator for the town of Danville, the student was charged with invasion of privacy and the case will now move on to the Contra Costa County Juvenile Probation.

But when the student in question returned not only to school, but to the sports program, the Lynches said they became irate.

"We expected the offending student to have been immediately dismissed from the sports program, and transferred to another school, to protect our daughter," Sean Lynch said during public input on non-agenda items at the May 23 board meeting. "It's not about punishing this other girl. It's about protecting our daughter, the victim."

Immediately following her husband at the school board meeting, Denise Lynch took to the lectern and gave an emotional account of how the incident had affected her daughter, while also accusing the school board members of not taking their complaints seriously.

"I don't know how much more I have to tell you," she said. "That the sheer presence of this individual who committed this unspeakable crime towards her -- every single day she's on campus brings up unnecessary feelings for her, that she's reliving this over and over and over again." She said her daughter's grades had fallen and there had been emotional meltdowns.

"It is crimes she committed, not one, multiple crimes against my daughter," said Denise Lynch of the alleged bully, "and you still allow her to be on campus." She ended by asking that the school board hold the perpetrator accountable. "I don't care if they're juvenile," she said. "They need to be held accountable for their actions."

The school board members said they could not directly respond to any of the speakers because the item was not on their posted agenda.

After Denise Lynch spoke, however, board vice president Ken Mintz spoke up, asking her to continue to work with the superintendent's office on the matter. "I understand it's a legal issue," he said, and expressed an appreciation for her bringing it up. To which she replied, "We don't have to go there. If you removed this individual from the school."

This Tuesday, the school board released a statement to SRVHS students and staff about the bullying incident in question, signed by all board members and superintendent Rick Schmitt and stating that the district is committed to transparency and they would share all available information that did not violate student privacy.

"There has been widespread press and social media coverage regarding this incident," the statement reads. "Due to the ease with which information spreads via social media, it is important to know that not all of the information that has appeared is factual or accurate."

The story has been picked up by media outlets in the Bay Area and nationwide, including the Associated Press and Business Insider.

The district's statement said San Ramon Valley High School administration partnered with the Danville Police Department to investigate the bullying incident as soon as the report was made in April. Disciplinary action took place, according to officials, and the results of the DPD investigation were passed on to the juvenile justice system. The law enforcement matter is still in process, further limiting the information that the district can share with the school community, the officials said.

The statement encourages all members of the community to report any suspected incidents of bullying to the district's online form and safe schools tip-line, and emphasized the policies and programs district schools have in place to prevent bullying.

"We are very fortunate to have a community of students, staff and parents who partner with us as we continue to create an environment where all students and staff feel safe and accepted," the statement concludes. "Thank you for your support of SRVUSD and its schools."

The controversy comes as school set to let out for summer break on Friday and as SRVHS is going through a time of change. Principal Ruth Steele is stepping down at the end of June, and Jason Krolikowski from Pleasanton's Foothill High School will take the reins July 1.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story included incorrect information about the status of the juvenile case. Town spokesman Geoff Gillette later clarified the case has been referred to Contra Costa County Juvenile Probation.

Comments

Carl
San Ramon Valley High School
on May 31, 2017 at 9:02 pm
Carl, San Ramon Valley High School
on May 31, 2017 at 9:02 pm

It's outrageous that SRV Administrators dragged their heels and didn't appropriately address the situation. Time for a change. Paying lip service to bullying is a great disservice to the entire student body and parents.

Fully behind you Mr and Mrs Lynch!!


SRV Alum
San Ramon
on May 31, 2017 at 10:34 pm
SRV Alum, San Ramon
on May 31, 2017 at 10:34 pm

There have been so many mishandled incidents this year in our schools. From racially insensitive graffiti to senior pranks to endless examples of bullying the "policies" are clearly not working. Paying lip service and not digging deeper into the root causes is not working. Bringing a civil rights leader in for a keynote speech during a staff development day and calling it handled is just one of many examples of how ill equipped our school leaders are. Time to wake up and tackle the hard stuff. Our children are counting on you. Do not let them down.


Hostile environment
another community
on May 31, 2017 at 11:17 pm
Hostile environment, another community
on May 31, 2017 at 11:17 pm

What occurred is that I believe SRVUSD failed to protect the victim who was without her consent filmed in a method usually classified as video voyeurism (a crime), and not only that, the District probably even failed to perform what is required by law, which is to conduct a Title IX investigation. Where is the Title IX investigation?


Laurie
San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 6:43 am
Laurie , San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 6:43 am

Typical response of SRVHS. I'm sure the bully's parents threw money at the school in the form of a donation so the administration would go easy on their student. The unfortunate lesson I learned from sending three of my children to that school is money will smooth over anything. I'm glad the Lynch's are seeking legal recourse as it is the only thing that will shake up the status quo at that school.


Concerned
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 6:50 am
Concerned , Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 6:50 am

Shame on you SRVUSD. Step up and do the right thing. Kids follow by example. How about being the adults for a change. We fully support the Lynch family!


Tony
Diablo
on Jun 1, 2017 at 7:11 am
Tony, Diablo
on Jun 1, 2017 at 7:11 am

I presume the perpetrator of this horrific act was permitted to go back to school because they needed her for some allegedly important athletic event. The fact that the video was in addition to the malicious trashing of the victim's family's yard shows there was a sustained pattern of antisocial conduct. I find it kind of ironic that the public is aware of the unfortunate victim's name, but the person who committed this egrigious behavior has her name hidden to protect her identity since she is a minor. If a complete investigation corroborates the seriousness of the incident, then anything less than expulsion would be a cosmetic "there, there," and would fortify a sense of entitlement for the perp. We shouldn't rush to judgment, but the District should be more forceful if warranted.


American
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 7:33 am
American, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 7:33 am

Absolutely horrible the way the District handled this, and I have complete empathy for the Lynch family.

Cell phones have in my opinion caused more problems for society than helped. I would support banning them from all public school campuses from K thru 12. Every teacher I know complains how students are always distracted by their phones, and the bullying and inappropriate use of them while at school is a huge problem. Kids are forgetting how to actually orally speak and listen to each other, as all communication is now thru cell phones. Enough is enough. Go to school and be receptive to learning without checking your phone every 5 seconds, and start following the Golden Rule of treating everyone the way you would want to be treated.


Bill
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:14 am
Bill, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:14 am

Someone with direct knowledge of the incident should fill out a child abuse report form and send it to the County and the local police naming SRVUSD as the abuser and demand that CPS look into this and show how they will oversee the district and how they put into place changes to protect all students from this happening again. This is due to bureaucratic timidity and incompetence.


Peter
San Ramon
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:22 am
Peter, San Ramon
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:22 am

The behavior of the SRVUSD board and the responsible principal at SRVHS is outrageous!
Great to have people like the Lynch Family in our community who have the courage to confront the school regarding this criminal incident. The victim is clearly the person who has to be protected and one can only hope that the SRVUSD board finally comes to terms and takes appropriate actions.


Sigh...
San Ramon
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:27 am
Sigh..., San Ramon
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:27 am

This statement:Seriously?? "We are very fortunate to have a community of students, staff and parents who partner with us as we continue to create an environment where all students and staff feel safe and accepted..."

No you are not fortunate. You have not cultivated a culture of acceptance and kindness. In the process of your indifference, children are hurt and traumatized. Is it going to take another suicide by a Danville student? A lawsuit? At what point does SRVHS step UP?

@American - there are a multitude of reasons why cell phones are not the issue. First of all, students have access to immediate research when they have their cell phones. The students who use their cell phones to aide their studies need not be punished by those who abuse the privilege. Secondly, bullying has been a school issue long before the invention of cell phones/technology. I spent a solid year being harassed, taunted, and terrorized by a 7th grade bully and her little circle of friends/followers. I remember vividly the day they stole my purse and drenched it in the urinated toilet. The anxiety of going to school haunts me like yesterday. My dad put me in karate - 7 days a week through sweat and many, many tears. The District, the teachers, the parents, the police could not stop the madness. It was only until the bully pushed me, and in self-defense I was forced to take care of the situation myself...never to be bothered again...by anyone. But cell phones aren't the issue.


Bonnie
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:33 am
Bonnie, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:33 am

Sad state of school administration not understanding the gravity of this incident. Permitting the young person who posted the incident back to school with little reprimand? allowing the athlete to play in a game? Which school administrator agreed to that stupid decision? Who forgot about the young lady offended and shamed by this cell phone video?


Parent
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:58 am
Parent, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 8:58 am

My two kids recently graduated from this school. What the hell is going on? All school board members need to be removed immediately for incompetence. The excuses they provided to the family is a slap to their face and to the faces of past, present, and future students/parents.


former counselor and teacher
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 9:42 am
former counselor and teacher, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 9:42 am

Since when does a student who commits an extreme bullying act remain in the school?
The poor student who has to face her fellow students and this sick bully is so sad.
Why do you think young people commit suicide or have thoughts of it?
Is San Ramon Valley oblivious to what the real world is about?
Do they care?


Tom
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 10:15 am
Tom, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 10:15 am

School administrators at all levels and most states refuse to step up and do the right thing, their talk is cheap just like politicians. Actions speak louder than words and bullying is never acceptable.
This girl will carry this around for a very long time. Her parents are so brave to go public with this bullying.
I have the feeling Danville citizens will not let this one go away.


Raider Nation
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 10:47 am
Raider Nation, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 10:47 am

I agree whole heartedly with all these posts. Yes, CPS should be notified with names. What is the name of the sociopathic perp? Let's see it posted in writing. Lock her up in juvie and sue the parents.

Anti-bullying campaigns? What a crock. What a joke.


LanceM
Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 11:15 am
LanceM, Charlotte Wood Middle School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 11:15 am

This is not just bullying, this is a sex crime.


DV
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 11:20 am
DV, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 11:20 am

It is so nice to read the responses of everyone here. Our community is coming together to support the Lynches and this WILL get resolved but the scars WILL run deep too and I am sad about that.

"Sigh" you have posted many times with excellent comments and thank you for sharing your experience with all of us who take the time to be concerned about issues in our community. Many children, kids and teenagers have endured similar experiences and I am thankful that the "bullying" issue is in the limelight in all parts of our society. It is time to wake up and be respectful of all our fellow man! It starts at home, it starts at school and it starts with you...with me..and with everyone. Stick to the basics in life and we will all better for it!!


So Glad to Be Gone
San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 11:46 am
So Glad to Be Gone, San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 1, 2017 at 11:46 am

We recently moved away from the Alamo/Danville area in part to escape this attitude which runs rampant across the SRVUSD. As Mrs. Lynch highlighted at the end of her Facebook post, why is it that Concord can get it right, but wealthier Danville/Alamo/San Ramon can't?!? Someone at SRVHS or in district management made a mistake in handling this situation, and now the reaction is to circle the wagons. Publishing that statement was a sham, "we continue to create an environment where all students and staff feel safe and accepted..."

I am a Republican and am horrified at the lack of accountability and moral backbone shown by the people responsible for mentoring our children. The racial slurs that have been happening at schools across the district are another symptom of the administration's weakness and unwillingness to confront horrific behavior. We all know that you judge people by what they do and not what they say.

Where are the parents of the perpetrator? It all begins with the behaviors you learn at home. If my daughter had done something like that, I could not allow her to go back and confront her victim every day. How about we own the behaviors and actions of our children!

I'm so glad that we have left those double standards and empty promises of the SRVUSD in the rear view mirror


Just sad
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm
Just sad, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 1:33 pm

The school and the district need to be held accountable for this. I have a sister who teaches in Stockton and if a phone is even brought out in the locker room/bathroom it's immediate suspension and possible expulsion. This is a crime, distributing child porn?


Disgusted
Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm
Disgusted, Danville
on Jun 1, 2017 at 6:01 pm

This story makes me literally sick to My stomach. Not only can't I imagine raising a daughter who could even think about committing this kind of offense, But I certainly cannot imagine having one of my daughters be the victim of such thoughtless and malicious behavior. There is plenty of blame to go around here, but let's not lose sight of the fact, as was mentioned above, that this is a criminal offense and should be treated as such. Invasion of privacy? Posting such an image of a minor online is, by definition, distribution of child pornography. Danville has had two cases in recent years where adult males were sentenced to no less than 5 years in prison and forced to register as sex offenders. Expulsion and dismissal from the team (not to mention proscribing the perp from playing in her league championship--she WAS allowed to play) should be a no-brainer! I hope the prosecution takes this case seriously and files appropriate charges. I also hope a civil suit, while it certainly cannot undo the emotional trauma, will award the victim substantial damages against the perp and SRVUSD. The message needs to be loud and clear. We cannot tolerate this behavior in our schools. Our children deserve so much better.


Brad
San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2017 at 1:26 am
Brad, San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2017 at 1:26 am

If what I am reading is true, the SRVSD is is in violation of Title IX. Read on...

While Title IX is a very short statute, Supreme Court decisions and guidance from the U.S. Department of Education have given it a broad scope covering sexual harassment and sexual violence. Under Title IX, schools are legally required to respond and remedy hostile educational environments and failure to do so is a violation that means a school could risk losing its federal funding.

Title IX will be a civil lawsuit's best friend. A bathroom is a public place, but people have an expectation of privacy in the bathroom.


SRV Parent
Danville
on Jun 2, 2017 at 6:36 am
SRV Parent, Danville
on Jun 2, 2017 at 6:36 am

I am happy to see everyone is so disgusted by what happened, but what would really make a difference is to write the school board, the superintendent, and the athletic director demanding a more appropriate response to the issue. This is our community and this represents our values. When rules and laws are broken we need to demand those we have voted into office uphold our standards. A crime has been committed and needs a proper consequence. I have sent all of these people an email and waiting for a response. Change happens when we pressure those in charge.


Quail Run Parent
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2017 at 7:50 am
Quail Run Parent, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jun 2, 2017 at 7:50 am

@srv parent
I believe you forgot the principal, who could have handled this by either expelling or giving the max suspension with loss of all after school activities. Kinda wonder why that didn't happen. And why transferring the culprit didn't occur. Would of, could of, didn't. Glad my child isn't near HS yet.....and we live in the newer area of SRVUSD.


SRV Parent
Danville
on Jun 2, 2017 at 7:58 am
SRV Parent, Danville
on Jun 2, 2017 at 7:58 am

Quail Run Parent,
The principal is leaving, so she is a lame duck and it isn't worth the effort. The other people can do something and she can't-it is too late to have her deal with this.


Tom
San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 2, 2017 at 11:58 am
Tom, San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 2, 2017 at 11:58 am

This story has gone national now, it is on the Fox News website. Hopefully this will improve community awareness and lead to the proper punishment of the perpetrator, she should be made to miss graduation at school.
Here is a quote from Elizabeth Graswich of SRVUSD, "The district uses progressive discipline, meaning that the type of discipline may in part depend on a student's past behavioral history. We are also increasingly using restorative practices when possible".
Doesn't that make you feel better about SRVHS policies? Me too.
Restorative justice policies are why Costco has been robbed twice in the last month.
We must contact the SRVUSD in writing to protect these kids and the DA to punish the offender, she deserves to have her HS diploma rescinded/revoked.


Quail Run Parent
Registered user
San Ramon
on Jun 2, 2017 at 1:12 pm
Quail Run Parent, San Ramon
Registered user
on Jun 2, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Seems latest district email blast says the 2 students won't be enrolled at the same HS. Something that should have been handled way up stream me thinks...in the least...
As to the principal 'leaving', it was their job to handle day one and should not have rolled up to the district. Max suspension, expulsion, should have been on the table of options.....


Title IX - OCR Complaint
another community
on Jun 2, 2017 at 2:39 pm
Title IX - OCR Complaint, another community
on Jun 2, 2017 at 2:39 pm

The parents of the victim need to file an immediate OCR complaint with the Department of Education. The OCR form is on the internet.

Who knows how many other victims of video voyeurism has SRVUSD been hiding? How many other victims have had to put up with student athletes abusing them?

I believe student athletes abusing younger student athletes or other students, sometimes under the euphemism of 'hazing,' has become epidemic in the area. It could be that SRVUSD could be as bad as Palo Alto Unified. The Feds need to come in to SRVUSD and do a complete investigation.


Tom
San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 2, 2017 at 2:56 pm
Tom, San Ramon Valley High School
on Jun 2, 2017 at 2:56 pm

Can someone post the names and contact information for those SRVUSD officials we should write to?
This may be a good way to increase the pressure on them and among those posting here.


Unveil
Danville
on Jun 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm
Unveil, Danville
on Jun 2, 2017 at 5:52 pm

[Post removed due to unverified information and a violation of terms of use]



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