San Francisco public school parents are spearheading a recall effort against three school board members in response to the board’s failure to allow students to return to in-person learning.
Schools closed across the U.S. in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing students to attend class via Zoom or other videoconference platforms. California guidelines on community spread of coronavirus have permitted public schools to open since September 2020, however the San Francisco teachers union has resisted reopening until community spread is lower or all teachers have been vaccinated.
Additionally, critics have chided the school board for focusing their efforts on a plan to rename 44 schools named after historical figures who ““engaged in the subjugation and enslavement” or oppression of other people. The board announced last week that it would delay the renaming process following backlash.
“Unfortunately, this board has failed to listen to parents, we made so many good faith efforts to reach out and communicate,” Parent Siva Raj told the Wall Street Journal. “Parents are just ready to roll up their sleeves and get involved in every aspect of reopenings.”
Raj and his partner Autumn Looijen are leading recall efforts against board President Gabriela López, Vice President Alison Collins, and Commissioner Faauuga Moliga. Other parents have started to form advocacy groups, including the Campaign for Better San Francisco Public Schools, which can accept donations for political activities.
Meanwhile, the city of San Francisco has taken the unusual step of suing its own school board in order to force schools to reopen.
“The Board of Education and the school district have had more than 10 months to roll out a concrete plan to get these kids back in school. So far they have earned an F,” City Attorney Daniel Herrera said when announcing the suit.
Frustrated parents across the state have also been instrumental in the effort to recall Governor Gavin Newsom.
“People are actually standing in front of schools with the petition getting people to sign it. Whatever people need to do — they’re just furious,” said Randy Economy, a former local journalist in Southern California who serves as a spokesman for the recall effort.