THURGOOD MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL IN SAN FRANCISCO
Thurgood Marshall High School in San Francisco has always been upheld in certain important scholastic circles and will continue to be so in the future. Thurgood Marshall High School students are loved by San Francisco and more so by the constituents of the Bayview Hunters Point. You are our pride.
On October 11, 2002 there was an incident that caused many of the students to be traumatized. San Francisco is a City that prides itself as being the City of Saint Francis Assisi and a City of Compassion. On that day it seemed most everything went completely wrong. While many of us hope and wish that we not beat the horse to death - some do not want to move forward. The time has come to move forward and take the necessary measures at all levels - never ever to repeat this horrid incident. Never again.
Pandemonium reigned with over 100 San Francisco Police Officers using riot gear surrounding the school. The Principal of the School knowing what to do called the police. Added, the alarm system was blaring and the students were confused as they rushed in the narrow corridors only to the barricaded by the San Francisco Police Department Police Officers who were arriving on the scene.
At hindsight we can put the blame on the San Francisco Unified School District for not having a School Site Safety Plan in place and having no drills to implement this plan.
Lack of Safety Officers at the school who failed to respond and bring calm at the appropriate time.
At hindsight we can blame the Principal at the time of the incident for being incompetent and being too confused. Lacking leadership qualities and causing division among the teachers.
At hindsight we can fault the teachers for lack of very sound leadership and not discussing Health and Safety issues on a constant basis. Lacking a vision about an incident no one could ever prophesied.
At hindsight we can fault the San Francisco Police Department for over acting and not thinking about the consequences. Failing to think about the scars they would leave on the youth forever.
We could even fault the sitting Police Commissioners at the time of the incident for being lethargy and failing to adjudicate this very serious incident that continues to haunt the children of Thurgood Marshall High School.
Mayor Willie L. Brown Jr. did not react as a compassionate Mayor. The Police Chief Earl Sanders too let the issue fester for too long. Both these men failed and harmed the youth and the teachers in the short and long run.
Local church leaders and we have over 60 churches in the area talk the talk but do not walk the walk. They did not respond before the incident and after the incident. Even today most of them remain silent.
The community at large bears responsibility for not participating and trying to improve relations on various levels at Thurgood Marshall High School. Inter acting with the students and listening to the students who are mostly talked down to.
Parents now complain that so much happened on that fateful day. If parents had got involved in a positive manner they could have helped put in place many meaningful structures for the good of everyone. No one is blaming the parents but parents do have a role to play.
It took over 21 months for the San Francisco Police Commissioners to bring the event of 10/11 and another month before apologizing to the students for what happened. The sole act by Commissioner King was magnanimous and will be placed on the agenda as an item at the next regular meeting - the Police Commissioners as a whole will apologize for the deeds of 10/11. This act will make the incident whole.
In the mean time San Francisco and the Police Officers who serve this City and County of San Francisco should move forward and not let another such incident tarnish the good name of this City. We have competent leadership in Deputy Chief Gregory Suhr and Chief Heather Fong - I know both of them very well and hence mention their names because they will make good stuff happen.
Some weeks ago Dr. York the owner of the 49ers was at Thurgood Marshall High School and so was I. The 49ers promised to help heal the wounds and move forward. Mayor Gavin Newsom is a compassionate person and my good friend - he will do all in this power to help the youth and has before.
To the teachers and principal of Thurgood Marshall you have an important role to play and please do not fail to ask for help for the good of our children.
I work with many sound organizations and we can bring sunshine even as the teachers, student leaders, and principal and Safety Officers do everyday.
To the students of Thurgood Marshall I say: be the best you can be. Hold your heads high and always remember we the community are with you all. Most of all as Jesse Sopoulo the 49er said so eloquently and loudly and you all cheered - "remember we love you all".
Thurgood Marshall is named after a Judge who over came and it is not easy to overcome obstacles. I know what it means personally. I have watched the youth from Thurgood Marshall for many years and I say to you all - be the best you can be and we all will support you all one million percent.
Dr. York wants some healing and so do we.
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