Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board title=
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board
16 Comments
Reads 5931

Students and supporters protesting during the student-led march on Sunday

By edhat staff

Local students voice their support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) demands during Tuesday's Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) Board Meeting.

High school students gathered thousands of people around SBUSD offices on Sunday during a peaceful protest where a list of demands was presented to administrators.

The demands echoed those of the local Black Lives Matter movement geared more specifically towards the school system. They include: adopt a resolution declaring racism a public health emergency and allocate resources to implement restorative justice practices to deal with hate crimes, allocate funds to rehabilitation and mental health services for at-risk youth as an alternative to probation and/or juvenile hall, implement equitable hiring practices and recruit culturally competent teaches or color to teach ethnic studies courses, publicly condemn the school to prison pipeline, Ethnic Studies classes with culturally relevant curriculum, and defund any contracts with Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office and Santa Barbara Police Department. 

San Marcos High School senior and Black Student Union president Talia Hamilton was invited to speak during the virtual board meeting. 

"A lot of at-risk youth are black and brown minors and can be targeted by law enforcement, so instead of putting them in juvenile hall, use more rehabilitation and get them back on their feet instead of putting them in a place where it is hard to recover," said Hamilton.

Board member Wendy Sims-Moten expressed how proud she is of the students organizing and using their voices.

"We need our young voices to move us forward and to rise up because it takes a lot of bravery and a lot of courage to do that while you're also wondering if you're safe," said Sims-Moten. "I appreciate the peaceful protest yet it was screaming very loudly that enough is enough and we matter."

The SBUSD initially planned to implement a "Black Lives Matter at School Week" for the first week of February during Black History Month and received heavy pushback from students and supports. The Board decided not to move forward with the plan and will instead vote on the students' demands during the June 23 meeting.

During the meeting, the board also discussed the restructuring of classrooms to meet COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. Several options will be presented but it will most likely be organized by partial remote learning and partial in-classroom learning. This will also be voted on during the June 23 meeting. 

Login to add Comments

16 Comments

Show Comments
Basicinfo805 Jun 10, 2020 03:37 PM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

That's great to see, but the reality is the school board needs to be laser focused right now on getting ALL our kids back to school in August, or else none of this matters here locally. Kids of color will suffer disproportionally if that doesn't happen. The distrcit's efforts at remote learning are failing terribly.

lovesbalot Jun 10, 2020 04:01 PM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

The school to prison pipeline can be disrupted through literacy. ACLU defines it as a disturbing national trend where students are funneled out of public schools into the juvenile and criminal justice sys
tem. A large number of these children have learning differences, and also experience poverty. Our
district denies and delays appropriate interventions. So students fall behind, miss school and then the district flags them for truancy which actually pushes them out of the education system into the justice system. The CAASP score for literacy for Mckinley 4th graders show that only 9% are reading at grade level. LA Cuesta High School juniors and seniors only 4% are at grade level. No A-G , No 4 year college and sadly for some it may mean Los Prietos. 85 % of the juveniles who interact with courts are functionally illiterate according to the Huffington post."Basic literacy A crucial tool to stem school to prison pipeline. Our students deserve appropriate interventions and summer intensives one on one . Yes it is expensive but so is incarceration. And by law the district must meet individual needs despite the cost. It is morally reprehensible not to. Literacy is a human right and the only thing that makes students find their way out of poverty and struggle.

mattyboy Jun 10, 2020 06:53 PM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

I didn't say beyond help, but while I was specifically referring to high school age protesters, I would say with absolute certainty that there are 2nd, 3rd, & 4th grade students who have already been conditioned not to care by their friends & families. These are the types whose parents don't care (or, granted, are too busy working) and pacify their children with TV, video games, and general lack of supervision.

lovesbalot Jun 10, 2020 10:14 PM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

Mattboy I appreciate you expressing your opinion but I think you make a lot of assumptions. Many of the students who struggle with literacy also experience poverty. The district is responsible by law to offer a free and appropriate education FAPE and the IDEA Individual Disabilities Education Act requires district to do early assessments and offer appropriate interventions so that they can read by end of 3rd. Learning how to read by end of 3rd is so much more cost effective than allowing the needs to go unmet. Literacy is a human right and the district needs to step up. If we can spend 40 million on a football field and another 26.5 on the Armory we must find the will and capacity to have all reading by end of 3rd.

mm1970 Jun 12, 2020 08:56 AM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

One of my children is of that age (just finished 2nd) and my other is older. I never met a single 2nd or 3rd grader who was conditioned to "not care". They all cared. MANY struggled with homelessness, poverty, or English. But not one of them "didn't care".

Thomas John Jun 10, 2020 06:18 PM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

I agree with so much of your post. But in the end, parents must step up and take responsibility where and when they can. If kids are coming from homes where there is no adult interest or assistance, to a degree, the schools are just throwing money into the wind.

Babycakes Jun 11, 2020 11:22 AM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

The school to prison pipeline can be disrupted by.....not allowing a student to go to the next grade without having the skills. So what if it takes a person an extra year or two to "get there"....not everyone learns at the same speed or has the same skill set. For example, a "star" high-school athlete may not have the skills (speed, weight, height, etc) to compete at the college level, and that "star" college player may not have what it takes to become a professional. When we have students in SB who get to SBCC/UCSB/"Other" who graduated without the necessary skills. This is not true in ALL cases, but MOST cases: The more you learn, the more you earn.

Shame Jun 11, 2020 05:04 PM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

Seriously students have demands! These are kids. Do they contribute to anything No do they pay taxes No. should we listen to their demands ok listen but please do not give in to demands out of fear they will fight back. Look at Seattle that’s what we are raising. A group of people who feel they have entitlement to what they want but they don’t wanna work for it.And before you call me a racist I am of color I won’t say what color but I am of color and I worked hard for what I got and I’m not letting some anarchist take it from me. So think about what we’re raising here and we need to teach these children while they’re young right from wrong.

a-1591992290 Jun 12, 2020 01:04 PM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

And I fear that people like you are teaching our children. Doing everything you can to make sure their every whim is celebrated and every action condoned and justified. What we need to do is reduce class size and focus on reading and math...

sbdude Jun 12, 2020 09:29 AM
Students Voice Concerns to Santa Barbara Unified School Board

The school to prison pipeline is largely populated with students who a) have great problems at home, outside of what school can fix, and b) when they are at school, they actively resist every effort by teachers, counselors, and administrators to keep them out of that pipeline.

Please Login or Register to comment on this.