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Omar Campos is a high school counselor at Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco’s Sunset District. Many of his students commute from the Mission District and, as a Mission native himself, he’s deeply aware of the incredible challenges these students are facing due to the pandemic.

This project was supported by the Knight-Wallace Reporting Fellowship and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.

Molly Oleson

Molly is a multimedia journalist, editor, photographer and illustrator. She has contributed to dozens of publications, and most recently, served as Editor of the Pacific Sun. To view more of her work,...

Hélène Goupil

Hélène Goupil is a former editor at Mission Local who now works independently as a videographer and editor. She's the co-author of "San Francisco: The Unknown City" (Arsenal Pulp Press).

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8 Comments

  1. Thank you for this video.

    I am a former SFUSD teacher and a literacy tutor working on a sliding scale. It makes me so angry what immigrant families are coping with in educating their children, without any authentic support from SFUSD.

    Individual teachers and support staff are trying their level best, but as an institution, the district is failing miserably.

    The kids I work with have crap internet connections, their chrome books work so poorly, and they do not have access to books. For a second language learner, physical books are key to improving learning in deeply meaningful, well researched ways. It also gives them a break from being on a screen. SFPL has limited resources presently, and SFUSD has done next to nothing to help.

    SFUSD has no plans in place to help these students. What are they expecting? To blame someone else for their failings, I am sure.

    (Had the BOE waited until the school communities were back together, and given these communities control over the process, I believe the name-changing plans would have been met with more support.)

    1. Oh no, SFUSD is changing the names of schools so these kids don’t have to belong to a school community with schools named after such horrible past leaders as Abraham Lincoln. (Please note my complete sarcasm)

  2. Don’t worry. The BOE will jump on this as soon as they finish spending $420,000 on renaming schools (snicker at lowball cost estimate of $10,000 to rename a school). I’m sure we will have students back in the classroom by fall 2022. Maybe 2023 at the latest.

  3. Private schools have been open for months. Those that have money and who’s parents have wealth continue to get their education. People of color, black & brown & immigrant kids are being left behind. The ramifications of a invaluable, formative year of education lost, we don’t yet know. A whole generation of kids that are already disproportionately lacking in opportunities will be forever affected by the lack of support and willingness of the SFUSD to come up with a plan to reopen and get kids back into the classroom. For a school board that claims to be so progressive and advocates for POC, immigrants, and the low income, they sure aren’t concerned with making sure public school students have an equal playing field in education as private school kids. Why the money being spent on renaming schools isn’t being spent making schools safer to reopen instead is beyond comprehension. So disappointing.

  4. Thank you for bringing awareness to this issue, but still in a humbling and graceful way with the illustrations. I live in a small wealthy town where there is no diversity, and most of the children have full access to computers, have nannies, or a parent that can be at home full time. We need more stories like this to be heard so that people are aware, so that people start seeing the larger picture and help one another. Keep writing and creating art,keep sharing stories around this issues and you will be heard. THANK YOU.

  5. I commend my dear friend and former school mate Omar Campos for speaking truth. The system has failed our youth and unfortunately the net effect of this will not be even fully be realized for years. I thank guardian champions like Omar for their tireless work through unimaginable obstacles.

  6. Please consider writing to your officials and the BOE about their lack of true action. Renaming schools does not create equity. Opening schools does. They have their priorities screwed up.

  7. The game board visual in this story tells all – what a creative way to demonstrate both the barriers and inequities experienced by students of color, and particularly from immigrant families. The counselor’s explanation of the impact of COVID, exasperating an already challenged system was very helpful. I fear the loss children are experiencing by not being in school will impact their immediate and long term futures. We will have to find ways, as a larger community to help. We cannot expect teachers and parents to fill all these gaps.

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