Letters | February 1, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |


Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - February 1, 2013


Lunch period promotes bullying

Dear Editor,

In the Jan. 11 article "Bullying ... A Priority for PUSD," school board member Jamie Hintzke is quoted as saying it " is not just doing stuff when it happens, it's how you create an environment where it doesn't happen."

I agree, Ms. Hintzke. Expensive speakers and student handbooks will do nothing in an environment that provides bullying opportunities, like Foothill High School's lunch period.

At Foothill there's one 30-minute lunch period for 2,400 students and seating for 1,000. Students who want a hot lunch realize there is no chance of everyone getting through the line so they, not administration, remedy this by skipping lunch, eating in class, or bringing a cold lunch. However, with less than half the population able to sit down, finding a seat is distressing.

This crowded environment invokes bullying and a student culture conducive to hierarchy, status, class, caste -- feel free to choose the word. Children regularly get bullied at lunch. When I asked an administrator about this he told me that kids don't mind the lack of seating-- many enjoy sitting in the grass. I wonder if he would enjoy eating on the cold ground every day because someone older, bigger or cooler told him he couldn't have a table?

How can we stop bullying with a lunch environment ripe for it? I challenge parents to ask the district why we don't have enough lunch tables or the wherewithal to have two lunch periods. Maybe we're waiting for something serious to happen before we consider this a priority.

Ann Angst

Clean up dog poop

Dear Editor,

What is going on with people and their dogs' poop in our parks? Val Vista Park is littered with dog poop. It makes it very difficult to walk or play in the grass without constantly looking down. My young son had the unfortunate mishap of stepping in a dog poop while playing in the grass.

Dog owners, please pick up your dog's excrement, it is disgusting!

Can we not designate an area for a dog park, and leave the rest of the grass to kids and adults who want to enjoy outdoor fun?

Nathalie Yingling


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 1, 2013 at 10:16 am

"Dog owners, please pick up your dog's excrement, it is disgusting!"

I agree, and it is not just in Val Vista park. It happens everywhere in Pleasanton. I even caught a woman letting her dog poop in my front yard, and she walked away without picking it up! I let it go because she was old and could barely walk, but come on, if you are that unable to look after your dog, don't have one OR get one of your kids or neighbors to help you!

Posted by Suzy, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Feb 1, 2013 at 12:03 pm

I don't believe in walking my dogs. Instead, I just put them in my backyard at 6:30AM and let them bark and howl and other things to keep themselves happy until I bring them in at night.

Posted by frank, a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

No sure how these two topics merged into one but here goes:

I agree with Jamie Hintzke's comment that it is better to create an enviorment before bullying happens. I want to give you an example of the type of students we have in our schools. At Foothill a recently graduated senior used to buy up the last remaining gatorades (especially on HOT days)at lunch. Others, including his friends mind you, would ask for one or to buy one from him, and he would say "you want this gatorade? fine". Then he would proceed to oopen it and dump it out in front of them. He would do the same thing with potato chips. Said "he had to feed the garbage can".

Who raises a kid like that? Is that how his parents treat people? This was one of the "cool" kids.

I too think it is hard for 2400+ to all have lunch at the same time.

Posted by Heather Fleming Fordham, a resident of Downtown
on Feb 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with Ms. Angst. I am a Foothill teacher, and I spend almost every lunch period in my classroom so that students have an alternative to searching for a place to sit and eat outside. I miss the brief opportunity to interact with my colleagues, but I never eat alone! I am happy to provide a safe, comfortable, and welcoming place for students to relax while they eat.

Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 1, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Hey Heather, long time no see.

There's lots of Foothill teachers who give up their own lunch periods so the kids have a place to eat. On warm, sunny days, a lot of the kids do enjoy sitting on the grass, but in January and February? Not so much.

Go ask the new Foothill librarian how *she* likes patrolling the library at lunch. It's very difficult to keep kids from eating in the library, and the library is always packed wall to wall at lunchtime (or at least was when I was there). FYI, the Foothill librarian does not have the option of having lunch with her/her colleagues. But, as people keep reminding me, a school librarian is not a real teacher, never mind what that bossy California Commission on Teacher Credentialing says.

I partly solved the "food problem" by designating a certain number of tables directly in front of the circulation desk where we permitted students to eat, with the understanding they wouldn't eat elsewhere. (I understand that my successor as librarian took away the food table privileges.) That helped keep the kids from eating elsewhere in the library, but really, the problem isn't the kids' behavior, it's the failure of the district and site administration to provide a proper place and time for their lunch.

I did feel sorry for the kids, especially on rainy days, when the Foothill administration often didn't open the gym so the kids could have a place to eat indoors.

One suggestion I made when I was a member of Foothill faculty was to add 15 minutes to the school day and extend lunch from 30 to 45 minutes. I thought having 45 minutes to eat would make things less frenetic and ending the school day 15 minutes later wouldn't really disrupt anybody's schedule that much.

But really, the solution is obvious: Foothill and Amador are overcrowded. Pleasanton needs a third high school. What is the current PUSD Superintendent and her new right-hand, Luz Cazares, doing to make that happen? Students come first at PUSD, right? That's what they keep telling me, anyway.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 1, 2013 at 8:15 pm

I think that Daniel Bradford SHOULD volunteer for only 15 minutes everYday of the school year to see if his plan works!

way cool for you to volunteer for the kids!

Posted by Daniel Bradford, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Dear anonymous person:

The average teacher donates $1500 a year in supplies to his/her classroom.

The average teacher works a 50 hour week.

You may want to have this quote tattooed on some visible part of your body for future reference.

"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt."--Mark Twain

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm

I don't know any teachers that want to work for free. Students have a right to understand that teachers are educated professionals who work for a living in exchange for their professional services. There is no reason not to pay them for their professional services. Like other citizens, they expect to receive benefits so that they and their families can remain healthy and productive Americans. The teachers that I know want to participate in the American dream.

Teachers contribute in multiple ways to a vibrant economy. They pay taxes, purchase goods and services in their communities, and greatly value the future leaders of our country. They teach children and adults how to read, write, cooperate, and learn about being responsible citizens so that someday they will become responsible Americans.

There is so much that teacher's provide that it's simply not possible
to explain it all. Actually, teachers are the best folks to explain to you why they don't have a pressing need to work for free!

I think that if Daniel Bradford believes that if put to a vote, the American way, that the majority of teachers will work for an additional 15 minutes a day for free,DB is WRONG!


Cholo Mololo...the GREAT! HOORAY!

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 2, 2013 at 8:13 pm

ps I like teachers! VIVA! Teachers taught me how to read and write English! VIVA!

Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 2, 2013 at 8:20 pm

In the private sector, workers often work beyond specified work hours. They're not tenured and they know that the people they work for can fire them without cause whenever they want, which is their right to do and that's the beauty of capitalism, to work for others in fear. Teachers, on the other hand, are spoiled and corrupt because they have the union thugs telling the administration that the teachers don't have to work beyond what is specified in the contract.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 2, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Contracts are to be respected. That's the American way.

It seems to be that many Americans don't respect American laws.

Work to change Americans if you are dissatisfied.

tee hee hee...

If you want to work for free, move to Madrid.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm

It seems to me that many Americans don't respect American laws.

I think it's possible to find a place where you can work for free.

Ever thought of moving to Cuba?

I always enjoyed working for a salary. I made a decent salary.

You can blame me for having appreciated that I could work for a living!

tee hee hee...

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 2, 2013 at 9:16 pm

What I find funny is that Stevie Wonder who is BLACK and BLIND makes more money that you Steve...tee hee hee...

plus...he's cool!

Posted by Steve, a resident of Parkside
on Feb 2, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Just because we have a half-black president shouldn't mean everyone should throw race into the mix. I pay my taxes and then I watch our Holiness in Office Obama give it all away to Stevee Wonder fans.

Posted by Foothill Parent, a resident of Foothill High School
on Feb 3, 2013 at 8:11 am

I'm not sure how the haters turned an excellent point my Mrs. Angst into a dialogue about teacher work days and salaries. It's true that many Foothill teachers open their classrooms to students at lunch. However, lunchtime is the only break in the day and students should be able to get outside and soak in a little vitamin D while socializing with friends. With the recent closing of the "dangerous" parking lots, the problem has only been made worse. The plan was supposed to include added tables for students and plans for rainy days beyond sitting on the filthy floor of the gym but those details were skipped over in the rush to close the lots that have been open to students since time began. As for the recently graduated senior described by Frank, Pleasanton's entitlement culture raised that kid. Karma will help him overcome that disability when he enters the real world.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore
on Feb 3, 2013 at 8:24 am

Would you say that you make more or less mooola than Stevie Wonder? If your guess is that you earn less, then lets shake hands and call it a day! tee hee hee...

just because you're a jealous bug doesn't mean you're a nerd or even a bad person...