THE FIASCO AT THURGOOD MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL
I could never understand how schools change names within a span of a few years. I cannot understand the mediocre standards in which the San Francisco Unified School District conducts itself. I cannot fathom how community leaders, parents, religious leaders, Community Based Organization, others are not totally involved with the youth who attend our schools in our neighborhoods - all over this great city - San Francisco.
Once where Thurgood Marshall High School stands, on the hill overlooking much of the Southeast part of the City and County of San Francisco stood Pelton Middle School. It was a very good school with good teachers and good students. Many of the students would come to shop and eat on San Bruno Avenue, the only commercial area close to the school crossing Bayshore and off Silver Avenue on to San Bruno Avenue. I got to meet the teachers and the students.
Then all of a sudden the same school was baptized and it was called Philip and Sala Burton. I could not believe that a good school with good students and caring teachers would allow this to happen. I was educated aboard in some of the finest schools and universities - a school, college, or university named once bore that name forever.
I met Philip and Sala Burton that was much before the crooked Nancy Pelosi or Diane Feinstein got to know me. I thought to myself well Philip and Sala have done so much for the City and more for the Southeast Sector of our City - Bayview Hunters Point, Visitation Valley, Potrero Hill, Portola, Dog Patch, Little Hollywood - well, may be they really deserve a nice school being named after them. But even then I felt for the students as if I went to that school and thought how funny they changed the name of that school - Pelton Middle School.
In 1994 lo and behold Philip and Sala Burton Academic High School the official name of the school was baptized Thurgood Marshall High School after the famous black Supreme Court Judge.
I could not fathom the stupidity and foolishness of changing names of schools that I knew and saw in this madness a sense of fleeting moments and no strong commitment to tradition and permanency. I saw a weakness in the San Francisco School District that has remained to this day.
The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) gets all its power from the State and so does it its money. A quick review of the SFUSD spells disaster - year after year and especially in the last 4 years.
San Francisco is a City and County that has a diverse population. There is some perception that it is fine to bus intelligent children from one area to another in the name of integration. Others like to cite laws that have links to bygone and outdated laws which do not reflect reality and the empirical data linked to socio-economics, culture, tradition, and most of all the high value of education parents invest in the children.
The San Francisco Unified School District saw nothing in shutting down McAteer High School and then without blinking an eye dispersing the students to Thurgood Marshall High School, Philip and Sala High School which now is shifted to the Portola District on Mansell to Lincoln High School and other schools too many to mention all over the City.
In my opinion seeing and meeting the students on San Bruno I saw the tragedy of the foolishness of the SFUSD. The students from the various schools come to shop, eat, and chill out on San Bruno Avenue. I have stopped 15 fights in the last 2 years - over 30 fights over the years. I know many of the youth when they were young and if I do not know them - I use my personality to calm down the situation. I have never ever had the occasion to call the San Francisco Police Department. Let me add I have access to the SFPD but I have never called them.
In my opinion it was wrong for the SFUSD not to consider the factor of "turfs" and the tragedy of uprooting students so familiar with their school and put them in harms way. Some good lawyer should sue the San Francisco Unified School District so that they learn a lesson for a long, long time. Send the crooks to jail.
Has the stupid SFUSD ever sat down with the Samoan community and asked them what really did the SFUSD do to destroy and adversely impact so many good students? Many of the Samoan students have not gone to school because of turf problems since MacAteer was closed .
Many students Samoan, African Americans, Asians, others went to jail instead of staying in school. Compounded Thurgood Marshall had very serious leadership problems - the teachers did not like the female principal who had replaced the principal who the teachers admired.
The female principal at the time the riot took place on October 11, 2002 was hated by the teachers at Thurgood High School. In fact many of the teachers on the day of the riot did not show up to school. There was real bad blood. As to how the students felt about this - one has just to picture two parents not talking and fighting and how the children at home would behave and react to this situation.
In the interim before and after the SFUSD made the stupid mistake of sending so many Asian Pacific Students to Thurgood Marshall High School there was very little facilitation among parents, community based organization, the over 56 church leaders, the dump, arrogant, and ignorant District 11 Supervisor Sophie Maxwell.
We now have a Police Commissioner Gayle Orr-Smith she never visited the school over which she was shedding crocodile tears at the Police Commission Meeting held July 14, 2004 at City Hall in Room 400.
Louise Renne and Joe Marshall recused themselves because they work for the SFUSD - conflict of interest.
Douglas Chan, Peter Keane, and Theresa Sparks had not read the report over which much of the discussion took place at the San Francisco Police Commission meeting - a report prepared by the Office of Citizens Complaints (OCC) and prepared by Investigator Donna Medley. The report was flawed and a joke.
Parents, students, victims, Community Based Organizations, Church Leaders, others were not contacted and interviewed. The OCC failed and failed so miserably that it should have a brand new investigation. And what was all that talk about San Jose? I thought Kevin Allen would do better and now that he screwed up so bad - he better pull up his socks, change his jocks, and come out with a report with fresh investigators and shelve Donna Medley and her fake OCC report. Really - Duh!
I admire the statements made by some of the students especially those who were not influenced by the inflammatory remarks that Bay Area Police Watch has a tendency to exaggerate. I was intimately involved with many incidents involving the San Francisco Police Department in the Southeast Sector. The beating of the children on Kiska Road. I wrote and appeared before the Police Commission and at several key community meetings. Before Bay Area Police Watch and at that time director Ishmael Tarikh was the director. Prior to that a woman director stayed for a few months and jumped ship.
I fought for Proposition H and did not like the outcome. I do not support the present San Francisco Police Commission. They must go.
This is San Francisco and let us not swing too much towards Oakland and bring their shit this way. I am for fair talk but it gets to me when facts are twisted to suit the whim and fancy of people who use unfounded hate from one situation and spread the shit around without any consideration. Oakland is Oakland and forever San Francisco will always be San Francisco.
Our youth can think for themselves. If any of them wrote and spoke what they believed to be true - more power to them. If they were coerced by anyone person or organization - I consider that a shameful act that needs some reckoning.
Let us not lump all African American students as one group that have some common ingredients much like a burrito or carne assada. The Asians as if they have the ingredients that of a menu that one African American restaurant sells like barbecue ribs. Let not the Chinese Students think there is are no many differences among themselves the Vietnamese, students from Cambodia, Burma, India, Pacific Islanders, it is not all Chow Mien. Whites come is all fashions - guys, like Rodney King said, "why can we not learn to live together?"
The SFUSD has failed to understand turf, our students and have put many of our treasured, intelligent, and loved students in harms way.
According to my subjective opinion the OCC report was flawed. The comments made by Deputy Chief Gregory Suhr on the OCC reports were minimal and the empirical data based on the facts of over 60 combative Sheriff and San Francisco Police Department will be revealed in the video tapes that were given to the Secretary of the San Francisco Police Commission Lt. Edward Geeter who can be contacted at (415) 553-1667 or Facsimile 553-1669. Enough said. Bring on the facts.
My qualified experience in the United States Park Police, my many years serving in the Sixth United States Army and Presidio of San Francisco, years as a Board of Director of many organization, and working in various community groups all over the City and County of San Francisco have led me to believe that the San Francisco Unified School District have to totally over hauled. They need a brain transplant and all a transfusion of new blood with a renewed vision, accountability and full transparency. Lots of love so that they can be trusted!
The female principal who started this mess should be investigated. Several incidents at Thurgood Marshall High School and other schools should be linked to this incident. Youth talk and share and act on what is hip and react when those in power cannot make the right decisions.
You do not use an AK-47 to shoot a fly? You do not use a cannon to blow up a matchbox - do you SFUSD? Bottom line the schools are run by SFUSD and not the Sheriff’s Department or the San Francisco Police Department.
We have qualified CBOs who can neutralize any situation. We could use the model of PeaceKeepers if they get paid and they will do a good job. Several speakers mentioned that. However the SFUSD Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has a long learning curve - she is not from the Bay Area and will not be accepted as one of us. She must go. Willie L. Brown Jr., the most corrupt Mayor ever to set foot in San Francisco City Hall played dirty politics in this case linked to the riot incident Oct 11, 2002. He is black but he did his sisters and brothers in. Corrupt cronies jumped in and stopped the investigation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation should be called in and the crooks sent to jail.
I am for the students first, the teachers, the community. I see something in this investigation and something stinks in Denmark! I have no faith in the San Francisco Police Commission and the crocodile tears and fake questions.
I see that no one is bothered about truancy and the sale of drugs in and around the schools. I see little extra curricula activities and very little progressive safety programs. I see women exploited and thugs ruling the scene in schools. I see inferior teachers because good teach have had it. I see talk a lot of it and little qualified action. I see parents left out in the cold. Community leaders forced to approach the school not the other way around. Students not loved, no one really listens to them, some hear but they do not listen. Wake up for the clarion call will not be sounded again.
Let us play the game and not play to the media. On this count the media has done a poor job. The Task Force set up has NO clout. There has been too much talk and little action. It has taken over 21 months to bring some sense to this debacle that could have been resolved with common sense, love, and sound leadership.
It will take another year before something is done. This time let us not GO to Spain to learn. We have the best experts in our backyard our youth. We have a Youth Commission, bright talented youth - smarter then the SF Police Commission, the OCC, and some of the loud mouths who really do not have the interests of the youth. Advocacy is fine but not at the expense of half-truths, lies, and exaggeration.
If you love the students, empower them to govern their situations, guide them and trust them - none of this shit would ever happen. If some of you disagree with me bring it on. When it comes to the youth I call a spade a spade.