Truth to Power
April 14, 2021
Greetings and Good Day to all,
First and foremost, on behalf of the Education Committee, I would like to commend all students and families for their endurance during these tumultuous times. Additionally, we wish our Muslim students Ramadan Mubarak during the beginning of their fasting.
As more San Diego schools “physically” reopened on April 12th to offer students the option of hybrid learning (onsite instruction for a set number of days versus completely learning online), we know this journey has not been easy.
Furthermore, when it comes to equity, we are aware that all schools are still not created equal. It is up to our community to advocate for our children, youth, families, and educators, keeping in mind that when it comes to education, students must always come first.
For nearly a year, countless San Diego TK through 12 grade students endured the dual impact of COVID and racism, including Anti-Blackness and Anti-Asian hate. This on top of the toll our students, regardless of race, endured while learning online can be overwhelming and exhausting, and cause anxiety, stress, and depression.
Many of our students are not okay and unfortunately some will experience even more trauma when returning back to school.
Being mindful of the work ahead, we urge districts to ensure that each of your school sites are staffed with their own designated counselor that is not traveling to multiple school sites. Our schools and students need at least one full-time counselor at the elementary level and two to three counselors at the secondary level, to support the social-emotional well-being of our students, families, and teachers. Ideally, counselors should be trained/certified in trauma-informed care.
We also remind districts of the urgency of placing full-time nurses at each school site. While our teachers and other staff members are fully vaccinated, students under the age of 16 are currently not, which can cause even more anxiety in families. Having a nurse stationed at each site will help mitigate any issues that may arise as we all strive to keep everyone safe, including grandparents and caregivers at home.
With the recent incident involving an 11th Grade student and police at school that tragically ended in his death, it is time we place the mental health, social emotional support and safety of our students, families and staff as our top priority.
Thanks to federal funding from the CARES-ACT for COVID-19-related school districts and charter schools re-openings, California schools have received $15.3 Billion. It is exciting to know that in our reopening efforts in placing students first, San Diego School Districts can perhaps follow in Los Angeles Unified School District’s commendable efforts to divert school police funding to hire 35 full-time counselors as part of their Black Student Achievement Plan by:
Hiring the number of nurses needed to place one at every single school.
Hiring enough culturally responsive, trauma-informed counselors to have the proper student-to-counselor ratio at every school.
Reduce school police funding, as fewer police will be needed due to the presence of counselors!
The NAACP San Diego Branch along with our community partners, looks forward to working with districts like Grossmont Union High School, Cajon Valley Union Elementary, La Mesa-Spring Valley, Sweetwater Union High School and San Diego Unified who, as the second largest district in the state received $343M (largely in part to school demographics and needs, including our District E schools). We must work together to improve the outcomes of our children and youth who need us the most.
Katrina Hasan Hamilton, Education Committee Chair
NAACP San Diego Branch
PO Box 152086
San Diego CA 92195
Celebrating 102 years of civil rights advocacy in San Diego
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