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5 students expelled by Pleasanton school board, including 4 believed involved in Harvest Park break-in

Original post made on Jun 20, 2013

Four students involved in a late May vandalism at Harvest Park Middle School were likely among the five expelled by the school board Tuesday night. For legal reasons, the district cannot confirm they were the ones involved, but the expulsions were the first disciplinary actions taken by the board since the incident occurred.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, June 20, 2013, 6:39 AM

Comments (49)

Posted by Stan, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 20, 2013 at 7:44 am

I am glad there are youth appropriate consequences without criminal prosecution. Kids can be rebellious and stupid, it is a journey.


Posted by William Tell, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 8:48 am

Why weren't the children prosecuted? How can the police say that "the elements of vandalism weren't there"? There was willful breaking and entering and malicious damage of school property, and they even bragged about it. These children were old enough to know better. Are these "special" entitled children whose parents are in Pleasanton education or law enforcement? Something big is being left out of this story and more damage must have been done than indicated - unless PUSD janitorial staff work rules don't allow them to clean up feces and a special firm had to be hired for $25K. That would actually make sense in California...

Will their parents be forced to pay for the damage?

In California, any vandalism over $400 in damage can be charged as a felony. This is $25,000 of taxpayor money that these children stole from the community. I hope all the liberals in Pleasanton realize that there are urban minorities out there who are serving jail time for doing vandalism that caused less financial damage than this.

While expulsion is a good first step, it's not enough and doesn't send a message to other would-be student vandals. Also, if the school won't press charges or attempt to recover restitution - makes a lot of us not want to vote for another school bond or otherwise financially support Pleasanton schools.


Posted by anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 9:01 am

How does this expulsion work? Is it from all Pleasanton schools or just Harvest Park, which is sounds like if they are 8th graders is moot.
I hope when I purposly cause $25K in damage the police determine it is "Mid-Life Crisis" mischief


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

So how exactly does that work? School is out so they are expelled from what exactly? They will just be back in late summer after having the summer off to brag about how they got off with no charges.

But don't forget, the board voted themselves big raises for working 220 days per year in their part time jobs. Incompetence and theft at the same time. Aren't we lucky that the board is so very talented.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 20, 2013 at 9:46 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Taxpayer, Did you mean the board voted raises for administrators? The top four had amendments to their contracts on the agenda, but you can't tell if raises were involved because they don't post the full contract. There is, however, me too clauses in those contracts wherein they get whatever agreement is negotiated with the unions. So if there are automatic raises for satisfactory reviews in the administrative contracts and me too clauses, administrators are doing just fine.

Here is what I could find on expulsions in PUSD: Regulation 5150 (pgs. 29-30) Web Link


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 20, 2013 at 9:53 am

Thanks for the information Kathleen but my question stands -- expelled from what? School is out. Do they just show up next school year as if nothing happened? Where is the consequence in that? These kids should be banned from Pleasanton schools for the rest of their years. And their parents should be held accountable for all of the costs incurred including the PD investigation and the agenda time for the board to review this. Until they pay for what they did, no consequence has been given to them.

Regarding raises for the board and the teachers -- this district thinks we, the taxpayers, are made of money. They spend like drunken sailors and have no accountability for it. They should keep in mind the defeat of all recent parcel taxes and the likely defeat of those in the future. The people who pay the salaries are tired of these pro forma raises for part time work.


Posted by Dan, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 20, 2013 at 10:46 am

They should be charged, and they (and their parents) should pay for the damage.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 20, 2013 at 10:59 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Taxpayer, I'm saying I don't think the board got raises. Administrators and teachers did. I continue to be amazed at the lack of transparency from PUSD, like the one sentence narratives on a $115 million budget (there's likely a PowerPoint) or the fact the contracts for the administrators were not included in the packet. I have lobbied the superintendent and the board to change this, obviously without success.

I'm only guessing, but it is likely that restitution is part of the stipulated expulsion. The students may be expelled from PUSD altogether or through the end of 2013 (next semester) or they could be split up among the high schools or all at Village. As I recall, there are many options available to the decision makers.


Posted by Move On, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 20, 2013 at 11:05 am

I am sure they will be expelled from the school they attended. They will be placed into another school in the district. Have seen this MANY times. Child expelled from Hart ends up at PMS. Child expelled from HP and ends up at Hart. Some have made the rounds of all the middle schools.

Happens all the time.


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 20, 2013 at 11:39 am

May I strongly recommend that such cases also involve youth summer work involving conservation of city parks.


Posted by Pete , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Good idea! You roll with resistance so well...please, strongly consider supervising them.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Why would these kids do something like that? I hope they are expelled for good and sent to another district, so that they learn their lesson. This goes beyond juvenile mischief. Plus criminal charges should be filed. If they had done that to my house, I would have made sure to file charges, and imo the district should press charges. The parents should pay for all damages.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm

"May I strongly recommend that such cases also involve youth summer work involving conservation of city parks."

I would not want this kiind of kids working at the city parks....imagine the damage they can do!


Posted by wyw, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm

publish their names and charge the parents for all repairs and cleanup needed.


Posted by Guest, a resident of another community
on Jun 20, 2013 at 5:17 pm

So many "publish their names" comments (not just this article but previous ones). Educate yourself: it's illegal to publish a minor's name! Plus what does it matter what their names are?

I'm all for charging them, however. Their acts were disgusting and well beyond that of juvenile mischief.


Posted by Yet Another Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Any chance of banishing the families from the district? I've never heard of such a disgusting thing in all of my life. If the families were made to exit the state it would suit me fine. What disrespectful criminal thugs those kids must be. What possible value can they add to our economy when they do such things?


Posted by More of the Same, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 20, 2013 at 9:52 pm

I wouldn't assume the any of the Harvest Park VANDALS were expelled. Those expelled were probably other problem children in the district. We seem to have plenty here in Pleasanton. My money is on PUSD doing minimal punishment to these kids and all 4 will show up for classes at Amador in the fall. Shame on PUSD.


Posted by resident, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 21, 2013 at 12:41 am

This benign expulsion means nothing and encourages other students to go ahead and be "mischievous" as there are really no consequences. If no prosecution, then certainly payment for the damage by their parents and 25k worth of community service including the process of cleaning up the filth they scattered. We have beautiful facilities in town and an educated demographic. Don't tell me this is just "teenage stupidity"......this is lack of a moral compass and responsibility. Parents take notice and help prevent another random act of "teenage stupidity" that costs taxpayers a great sum of money, time and effort.


Posted by confidential is sometimes frustrating, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2013 at 8:01 am

Expelled is different from suspended. You may be suspended up to five days. Expulsion is from a school district and is part of the student's permanent record. Sometimes expulsion can be set aside for the student to attend another school in the district for reasons that are not public but follow the Education Code. It is unlikely that IF these expulsions are for students who acted together that they will be placed in the same environment next year.

There may be community service involved and the parents are likely being assessed for the damage but all of this is confidential because the students are minors. One can hope that the parents are mortified that their child was involved and will take appropriate action as a family. They are young enough that they may learn the lesson they need and come out a better person.


Posted by Another Pleasanton Neighbor, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 21, 2013 at 9:19 am

We have to stop hiding troublemakers. These kids need to own up to this. When school starts in the fall these kids (with their parents) should be made to stand up in front of the whole school including the parents and say their name, what they did (and maybe why), then they need to apologize, then they need to tell us what they are going to do to make up for it. Their parent/guardians must be right along with them.
Only then can they escape prosecution (unless they are repeat offenders).
We must be more serious in this country.


Posted by Victor, a resident of California Somerset
on Jun 21, 2013 at 9:59 am

Expulsion accomplishes nothing, The parents should be held responsible and have to pay for the damage, it is inexcusable behavior. Also they should spend their entire summer vacation doing graffiti removal, mowing lawns, sweeping basketball courts cleaning toilets at all the schools in their district and should be done under the supervision of the Pleasanton Schools Directors of school maintenance. They should have to show up for work on time, work an eight hour day and given a half hour lunch break. I will assure that the summer of 2013 would be summer to remember. Enough of this touchy feely mamsy pamsy stuff.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 21, 2013 at 10:27 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups." -George Carlin This is basically what happened to this group of young people; the IQ of the group lowers with each added person. Would one kid have done this--unlikely; two, maybe a 50/50 chance; three, just enough to tip the scales. So it is possible that none of these kids are really bad, but as a group a stupid idea took form and bad things happened.

The assumption is the parents will not impose consequences for the behavior of their child. $25,000 split over three or four families is still a lot of money. And there is the embarrassment (obviously there are people who know these families) and whatever consequences were imposed by the district. I would think these young people will have plenty to remember.


Posted by taxpayer, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 21, 2013 at 10:42 am

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)


Posted by honestly, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm

What they did was really horrible and true vandalism in every sense of the word. But there have and will be consequences and the best thing that can come out of this is that they learn a lesson and grow up to be responsible adults. There is no point at all in being awful to the families involved. They need all the support they can get from their community and their friends. Some of the comments above don't reflect the type of community we should be or the behavior we should model for our children.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Punishment should have been a DISTRICT wide expulsion and FULL repayment of damages. Simple and obvious. I can't imagine how anyone could have rationally argued any differently. To whatever extent the actual result fell short, it is a shameful reflection of justice.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

Further, I think the anger and frustration within this comment thread is largely misdirected. I suspect that most people are reacting to what appear to be inadequate consequences, and directing that frustration at the parents and kids - who now seem to have gotten away without notable disciplinary action and without covering expenses incurred by the school (and ultimately the school's financial sources - taxpayers, PTA, etc). Name calling and personal insults are not appropriate regardless, but if the resulting action by the authorities was appropriate, that frustration would not exist in the first place.


Posted by Upset, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)


Posted by Some Dude, a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jun 21, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Does this mean that they were "expelled" from Harvest Park only AFTER they had already graduated from the school?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

This is Ed Code on suspensions and expulsions Web Link

None of us know what the outcome was, and we shouldn't know. As much as I will advocate for transparency from this district, student files and personnel files do not fall under public records requests. It protects these young adults; it protects and protected your children.

Fine, be outraged by their ill advised actions. But suggesting they don't belong here or anywhere else is ludicrous. What happened to "it takes a village"? They are still children, and children of our community.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Good people of Pleasanton put down your torches and pitchforks! Children did something disgusting and stupid, no one was hurt, expulsion is a serious consequence. Kids always have and always will do dumb things.
Neurobiological evidence clearly explains impulsive and inappropriate behavior, often until girls and boys are in their mid twenties. No one was hurt and it is being delt with, move on.


Posted by PUSD sucks!, a resident of Harvest Park Middle School
on Jun 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Agree Diana!
The problem is the line this crossed and the action or should we say inaction of PUSD. This was a felony break-in! Come on! Also, we don't want our kids to see nothing big happens when you act this way. We don't care about these brats. We care about our own kids and the message it sends them by not pressing charges. This coupled with them being allowed at the regular ed high schools in this town. We ydon't want them around our kids next year in high school!


Posted by Mr. Geeeneyus, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2013 at 5:05 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)


Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Jun 21, 2013 at 5:13 pm

can we all get along?


Posted by Really?, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2013 at 5:39 pm

What is evident is that the adults posting about this topic incessantly will not be happy no matter what. They want law and punishment, but have no regard for privacy laws for minors. They want PUSD to punish, yet when expulsion, the highest form of punishment in ed code is used, it's still not good enough. The assumptions that nothing is being done are the most ludicrous. The outrage over assumptions is a problem.


Posted by Diana, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 21, 2013 at 5:40 pm

Mr. G,
You make me feel foolish for saying the kids are stupid. You are clearly the idiot. A combination of moron and hate makes a pathetic and frightening person. You do demonstrate that some brains never fully develop.

Kumbayah
Diana


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 21, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

" . . . inaction of PUSD. . . . This coupled with them being allowed at the regular ed high schools in this town." How do you know either of these things are true; and if you do, you shouldn't be posting it.


Posted by Marie, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm

A pair of gloves, bottle of bleach for each kid - 8 hrs. day all summer cleaning every book & inch of the library damaged! They will never want to damage anything again.....I heard they had to do 25 hrs. community service - NOT ENOUGH!!! HARD, HORRIBLE work cleaning up their disgusting mess should do it! Replacing the damaged items also paid for as well.


Posted by More of the Same, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 21, 2013 at 10:23 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff for containing unverified or personal information.)


Posted by Stan, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 22, 2013 at 12:17 am

Enough of the holier than thou Pleasantonians.


Posted by anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2013 at 9:10 am

Funny, I read all these comments last night and didn't see one that mentioned personal or unverified information, yet this morning many have been deleted.


Posted by anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2013 at 9:13 am

Funny, I read all these comments last night and didn't see one that mentioned personal or unverified information, yet this morning many have been deleted. As was my post for asking Jeb to fix the spelling of "school" (it was initially spelled "schol" in the headline.


Posted by fed up , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 22, 2013 at 9:59 am

for anon -- what Gina seems to have a problem with, if I remember correctly what was in most of those posts, is people saying that they have not heard anything about any repayment for the damages. The PW is also very quick to impose their ideas on us via deleting any posts that mentions the "other Pleasanton news source" (aka, the one that actually posts real information.)

So Gina -- if you have proof of these families being held financially accountable, speak up. Otherwise, why shut up those who simply say they think nothing has been resolved about that? The punks were expelled from school after it already let out for the summer. They will all be back in the PUSD in the fall to brag about how they got away with their vandalism. If anyone thinks these kind of families will feel remorse or shame from their peers, guess again. Sending the punks entirely out of the PUSD would have been far more appropriate. After making them spend their entire summer cleaning toilets in the park. Wanna play with human excrement? Here, have some more.


Posted by Max, a resident of Mohr Elementary School
on Jun 22, 2013 at 10:12 am

This is another good example of double standards in this city!

Destroying public property and vandalism is now considered by police as basically a mischief and no prosecution. WOW! It seems these 4 kids were all white and had very well connected parents.

If the kids were black, Hispanic, foreigner or Muslim, the outcome would have been quite different. They would have been in jail by now with long sentences.

These kids should be forced to do manual labor by cleaning and shining every inch of this school for the whole summer!


Posted by Johnny , a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff.)


Posted by Dawn, a resident of Foothill Knolls
on Jun 22, 2013 at 9:17 pm

To the people that are suggesting hard labor as restitution for these kids...c'mon, this is Pleasanton! If these boys don't make the baseball All Star Team the parents will have no social life and no summer parties to go to! They were back on the baseball field right after this incident happened. Probably doing hard labor by meeting with private batting coaches. But I do know they felt bad...bad that they got caught! One of the young lads didn't even learn that he shouldn't post incriminating pics on instagram like the bike ride with a friend after expulsion riding around town without a care in the world. Without a care in the world with no parental expectations other than to make the Elite Soccer Team and Baseball All Star team so the parents social life can stay intact. Pleasanton, what have you become?


Posted by Can't help myself, a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm

I hope all of you way up on your pedestal can hear me down here. Why is it you think the children haven't suffered consequences? Why do you think the damage hasn't been paid for? Why do you all think the famies aren't taking this seriously? Obviously for PPD and PUSD to do what they did it was because they know the facts. Every report out there hasnt been accurate, right down to the "quotes" from the department. If this editor can't even spell the word school correctly, why would all of you educated (I'm reaching) people assume the information you're being fed is accurate? God forbid any of your children step out of line. I'm embarrassed to say I'm a part of this judgmental community. Imagine for a moment someone you love made a thoughtless mistake. All of you with your pitchforks need a reality check.


Posted by Disgusted, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 23, 2013 at 12:49 am

To Dawn,

You need to get your facts straight before you spew your venomous lies! I know the family you are speaking of and my family was on the ridge that day the boys were seen riding. They were riding their bikes (on a very long ride uphill) with their fathers. Isn't that what you think should be happening... more parental guidance? Also, it was the other boys Instagram who posted the picture! This boy has not been seen around town and YOU need to take a good look at yourself and question why you feel the need to spread gossip and inaccurate accusations against these families! Just stop and worry about your own family and let these families deal without your input! As for the rest of you who continue to write horrible things about these families and your great concern that these boys will harm your precious innocent high schoolers, don't worry they will fit right in with probably more than 3/4 of the kids who drink or do drugs all while lying to their parents and you won't even know they are there! Get a grip people, kids are stupid and make mistakes, some greater than others but everyone deserves a second chance especially boys who really only hurt themselves with their poor choices. I can honestly say my kids have never been in real trouble before but I am more frightened of you bloggers than the boys who vandalized the library. You are teaching your children that you are never to forgive, and judge. To also believe that compassion is not an option if you make a terrible mistake. I personally wouldn't want my children around you and your holier than thou and unkind attitude. Take a good look in the mirror people!

BTW- I am a Catholic-Rebuplican so don't blame my post on me being a Berkeley, hippie Liberal just a Mom who hates seeing people treating good families badly on uneducated opinions.


Posted by Yep, a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 24, 2013 at 8:50 am

Couldn't agree more Dawn! Well said and all true!! I know a couple of these families and couldn't have stated it better myself.


Posted by Pleasanton Parent, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 25, 2013 at 7:00 am

Lets not forget that the juveniles are wrong. Not PUSD. Go to a board meeting and ask if the damage was covered by insurance, the district, or the families of the offenders. The juveniles should absolutely receive some sort of community service. This is not a conservative or liberal issue for those attempting to make it one. I'm liberal and proud. The juveniles should receive some form of criminal punishment and the school restitution.


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