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Following allegations in Mission Local that troubled students had beaten two Everett Middle School teachers, and parent complaints about the safety and education of their children, 10 current educators and staff came forward to defend the school and its principal — but acknowledged difficulties particular to Everett.
While insisting that the issues plaguing Everett, including limited resources, substitute shortages and teacher resignations, were far from unique, they also acknowledged that the middle school lacked sufficient resources from the district to cope with a high degree of high-needs students.
“It’s bigger than our school,” said Bridget Early, Everett’s social worker of 14 years. Students returning to the classroom after nearly two years cooped up at home have struggled to readjust, several teachers said, leading to behavioral issues and conflict. This, coupled with absent teachers, complicated matters further.
“We’ve been asking for support from the district; I think that the district is also spread thin,” Early said.
Under the San Francisco Unified School District’s tier system for behavioral needs, Everett ranks as a tier 3 school; that’s the highest level of need. With over 630 students enrolled, and more than 20 percent of students needing special education support, Early said Everett is the highest-needs middle school in the district.
The school employs rough 70 staff members, according to district spokesperson Laura Dudnick. It’s unclear how many are full-time teachers versus other staff.
Dudnick did not confirm the exact number of full-time teachers and supporting paraprofessionals at Everett but, over the course of this school year, Everett has reportedly lost at least nine teachers. Meanwhile, a district press release on Monday said teacher turnover rates across SFUSD are consistent with last year, and lower than before the pandemic.
At Everett, 70 percent of students are Latinx, 44 percent are English learners, 62 percent are “socio-economically disadvantaged,” and only about 30 percent met grade level standards in 2019.
But the support for this plethora of needs isn’t there.
Many disabled students at Everett require a paraprofessional educator, but go without the extra help because of lack of staff, Early said. “I don’t think the district is purposely not giving the support, but we don’t have it.”
And, during a year with more frequent incidents of violence than past years, science department head Traci Wrycza said more security is needed to help intervene when violence breaks out.
“There’s definitely a huge need for change,” she said. Wrycza has personally stepped in to de-escalate situations at the school, and has called for assistance when needed, but has noticed that the days when the district sends a Street Violence Intervention Program worker to the school, “everything just feels lighter.”
Since that additional help is often not available, and not every teacher feels comfortable getting involved in a physical altercation, some situations get out of control, resulting in situations where teachers are injured or leave the school.
Former computer science teacher Yesi Castro-Mitchell told Mission Local that she was struck so hard by a new student that she lost 75 percent of her hearing, and when she asked to have the student transferred, the school retaliated against her.
After last week’s article was published, an Everett employee told Mission Local that the district had failed to inform the school that the student in question had needs requiring additional attention. Castro-Mitchell didn’t know, either. The school district declined to comment on these claims.
Former music teacher Ethan Walker said he was physically and verbally assaulted by multiple students and received a gun threat, but that the follow-up from the school was inadequate. In at least one case, the school tried to cover up an assault.
While Walker was evidently disliked by other Everett teachers, and both Walker and Castro-Mitchell were seen by former colleagues as outlier cases that were appropriately handled by the administration, no one Mission Local spoke with denied their allegations of being physically abused, threatened and harassed in the classroom.
The school district, meanwhile, has declined to comment on these incidents, citing an obligation to protect student privacy.
The school follows SFUSD policy in its de-escalation and restorative practices, avoiding disciplinary suspensions whenever possible. The SFUSD handbook makes it clear that school administrators must be particularly careful about disciplining Black or other disproportionately disciplined groups of students, noting “that prior to suspension of an African American student [or any other group that District data identifies as the most disproportionately referred for discipline], the school must contact the Assistant Superintendent or designee, who will ensure that the Matrix interventions have been exhausted and documented.”
Early said that she gets involved when most violent incidents take place at the school, and has held “thousands of restorative circles” with students this year, bringing in therapists and violence intervention workers.
Sometimes they work, and sometimes students end up suspended. “And so, what do we do?” Early asked.
Currently, Everett is receiving a grant through a Health and Wellness Initiative to provide mental health and wellness services to various middle schools in the district. The initiative, funded by a private donation, is a partnership between the district and the Department of Children, Youth & Their Families.
Principal Esther Fensel, who announced her resignation last week, said that the school has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic “along lines of race, class and privilege,” and said the school or district alone could not solve Everett’s problems. “We also need community resources and support,” she said.
Student advisor and athletic director Ruben Urbina, who has been at Everett for 39 years, said that aid comes every now and then. The school was designated as a DREAM school in the mid-aughts, and in 2010 received a federal grant of $4.5 million, and the school improved. But it never lasts, Urbina said: “When test scores go up, they take it away.”
During the period of the federal grant and a three-year extension of additional assistance, Tracy Gallardo, who is now a legislative aide to District 10 Supervisor Shamann Walton, worked for Everett as the community school coordinator. Money, she said, made a huge difference in the number of programs and the assistance that could be offered: Teaching assistants, counselors, parent education and a rich array of after-school programs.
“We were, like, a lot of people’s number one choice, and then the administration started pushing out teachers of color and [the teachers] didn’t feel supported,” Gallardo said of the years after the extra money ran out. “I was one of the ones who left, too.”
“They lost their vision and path [to being a] community school,” she added, referring to the multiple services the extra money provided.
Gallardo blamed the administration at 555 Franklin St. for failing to support Everett’s administrators and teachers.
Parents say Everett has myriad problems
Rachel Pechter, an occupational therapist whose son has visited an Everett social worker on occasion, said that the support that is offered by the school is high quality.
But she agreed with Wrycza and Early that the school faces a multilayered set of challenges, including a relatively inexperienced principal and “completely inadequate” support from the school district.
Pechter noted the “age-old problem” of schools made up predominantly of students of color not getting resources or advocacy. She was aware that her son spends some days browsing YouTube at school.
“White schools tend to get what they want,” she said, adding that her other child who attends Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts sees teacher and substitute positions filled much more quickly.
This year, teachers and staff say Everett has lost at least nine teachers, and classes without a teacher or substitute are commonly split up and students would be dispersed to other classes. Mission Local has reached out to the district for comparisons of teacher and substitute shortages at Everett versus other schools.
But even if the dedicated employees of Everett are doing what they can to keep the school above water, many parents don’t end up seeing that effort, and instead only see another, darker side: Their children being bullied and lagging in the classroom, a lack of structure and an inaccessible administration.
“I bring [my son] here because I don’t have any other option. If I had the money obviously I wouldn’t have him here, I would take him to another school,” said a woman named Rosa, who showed Mission Local the gashes on her sixth grader’s arm on Monday morning as she dropped him off at school. Mission Local could not confirm that the student was hurt at school, but the parent clearly believed that to be the case.
Last week, two kids attacked Rosa’s son. Another day, schoolmates grabbed him by his neck, she said in Spanish. Rosa said she called the district, and has reached out to the school administration in the past, but was told that nothing could be done.
“They haven’t told me anything. They haven’t given me solutions. [They say], ‘Oh, we’re going to take care of him, we’re going to be looking out for him,’ but he says they’re never looking out for him,” Rosa said.
Adelaida, whose last name we have withheld out of caution for her son, said in Spanish that her boy had come home with a bloody nose. He said he had been beaten up by bigger kids. Although she was informed that a staff member was being placed at the bathroom entrances after that incident, Adelaida said she felt brushed off by the school administration, and was told that all the schools are going through similar issues.
Rosa and Adelaida were among several parents Mission Local met at Everett on Monday who are frustrated with the school for what they perceived as lawlessness. One father, named Demetrius, even insisted that the school should be shut down, and said the principal’s imminent resignation would make no difference if systemic issues aren’t addressed.
In a statement to Mission Local, Fensel wrote, “Our staff has shown tremendous dedication, heart, and creativity in the face of these challenges that we and other schools across San Francisco and our country are experiencing. We’re providing direct socio-emotional supports to students, connecting families with resources, and planning and facilitating instruction to students amidst challenges that are not unique to Everett or SFUSD, including daily staffing shortages, an increase in the volume of student needs, and incredibly strained resources.”
Farrell Johnson, another parent outside Everett on Monday acknowledged the teachers are doing their best, and as an English speaker said he did get regular communication from the school. But he worried that a cultural barrier prevented the teachers from working effectively with African American students like his seventh grade son.
He called the restorative justice process “a bad look,” and worried his son isn’t getting an effective education. “I guess it’s policy, but the teachers are too passive with the kids, too soft,” he said.
Farrell Johnson compared his son’s lack of structure, or any homework, to Stevisha Johnson’s daughter’s experience at Alice Fong Yu K-8 school. Stevisha Johnson, who was accompanying Farrell to Everett on Monday, told Mission Local that her seventh grader has a couple hours of homework each night, and the school takes a firm approach with its students. When issues like fights arise on occasion, she said the administration is “really responsive, and they nip it in the bud.”
Everett union representative and literacy coach Cris Garza said the school’s challenges have always existed, but “the difference this year is: The gravity, severity and intensity of the challenges is much more than it’s been before.” He hopes that next year, the school might have the experience under its belt to help navigate its way.
But it doesn’t appear that Everett, in its current state, has the capacity to do so, particularly with the school district facing budget cuts.
Let’s not forget this article is about staff defending the school/administration. There are several former Everett staff writing their contrary perspectives, which are appreciated, as is their time and effort dedicated while working at EMS. This has been a rugged year. One thing everyone seems to agree on is that the school is in crisis. It appears to me the #1 need is for more trained adults in the building. Funding will help that, but perhaps the biggest obstacle is finding the everyday heroes who will take on the job, which is an unbounded commitment to these children, and I know some teachers work 2nd jobs to make ends meet. On top of being cause for worry because my son (and next year his little brother) will be students there, the state of EMS makes me profoundly sad because it is a reflection of our city. It is the foreseeable outcome of poor decisions made by a long list of adults whose responsibility it was to fulfill the promise that all children be given an opportunity for a bright future. A promise unkept.
Poor Everett. Three generations of my family went to Everett, including myself. Everett has always been predominantly Latino but when I went there most Latinos we’re 2nd and 3rd generation Americans and didn’t speak Spanish (a lot understood Spanish because their parents spoke it but they didn’t speak Spanish themselves). In the mid seventies a large influx of Central Americans fleeing war arrived and many went to Everett and Horace Mann. Horace Mann was more Latino oriented than Everett so the transition was easier for the Horace Mann kids. Everett on the other hand had 2 Latino teachers on their staff (there was only 1 black staffer), with the balance of the staff being “white”, mainly Italian, a few that were openly racist, especially towards black students, but racist towards Latinos as well. I can remember one calling me a “hot tamale” and I’m not even Latino.
Only 10 teachers out of 70 staff means that a vast majority believe it is a violent place to work. The administration knowingly and intentionally refused to report violent acts to the police per contract 14.4.1: Teachers shall promptly report cases of attack, assault or physical threat by any pupil or any individual to the principal or immediate supervisor and to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. The principal or immediate supervisor who has knowledge of such an incident shall promptly report the same to the appropriate law enforcement authorities; the written report of the incident described in 14.4.2 shall also be filed with the Superintendent or designee. While said report is not grievable, a copy shall be provided to the teacher who may attach their own statement thereto. In all 6 teacher assaults, they NEVER contacted the authorities and prevented any teacher’s investigative efforts to do so despite being required by contract, and as mandatory reporters.
For professional development, the District spent more than $ 2500 an hour in hourly wages to talk about how the teachers “felt” about the article. That’s called damage control. They don’t want the teachers to jump ship. The administration along with the district is terrified. And they should be. They broke the law and obstructed justice and neglected great teachers.
Nice Mic drop Mr. Walker! 100% correct.
Sounds like a pretty standard outcome of yet another failed “progressive” policy. Obvious to anyone (except progressives, apparently) is that if a negative action has no consequences, it will continue.
Sending your kids to public school in this city feels like punishment. I’m so tired of feeling beaten down by the district.
If SFUSD was genuinely aiming for an equitable and inclusive model, there is no way that 20% of the student body should have identified learning needs.
Regular classroom teachers have neither the training nor resources to work with that many students with vastly diverse needs, and I can promise you the district isn’t throwing more resources at Everett.
Add second language learners, students who have other challenges outside of school, who live with poverty, who missed 18 months of in-person learning and did not thrive, who are just general young teenagers, and you have a recipe for disaster.
It is a well researched, proven method in many, many other districts all over the state and country to assure that the percentage of students with identified special needs be reflective of the general population.
This gigantic problem is one of many that I am sure the district will never remedy. Smaller classes, more supports, and better pay and respect for staff and teachers.
The article supposed that special needs studens were disabled. There are IEP students (maybe 20%), special ed, and disabled levels of students. Highly dubious if special ed is 20% of the school that would be catastrophic and a record. Usually it is less than 5% of a school population. Only a handful of disabled students attend Everett that I observed.
There are definitely schools where 20% of the population have IEPs. This doesn’t necessarily mean a disability or at least not in a visible way. IEPs don’t mean special education. A student with an IEP could have a conduct disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, emotional disturbance and be in general education classes. Students with IEPs can be in a special ed class for one academic period or all academic periods. They’re are varying levels of classification. Kids with IEPs can have them for behavior, speech impediment, being blind, Deaf and can academically handle general education classes all day to other disabilities that severely impact learning. But 20% of a population with an IEP is very likely. Special Education is not 20% of the school population. All kids in Special Education have IEPs but not all kids with an IEP are in Special Education.
This story is very similar to the SF Chronicle story about Aptos Middle School two years ago. Both middle schools were reported to have problems with violence. In both schools, some teachers had an natural inclination to defend their schools and attack the article. However, in the Chronicle story, the attack took an ugly turn. They claimed Heather Knight was racist simply for making observations about the demographic composition of the school and the surrounding area and even what they were eating: chicken. She didn’t realize the tinderbox she had entered.
In this story, the journalist was given more slack because she herself is a woman of color. However, the problem remains at both (or most middle schools) of violence committed by students without consequences. Schools want to keep their suspension rates down, especially for kids of color, and they tout “Restorative Justice” as a solution. However, I’ve yet to see restorative justice work at a middle school or read about its effectiveness in any study on middle school students. Teachers, parents, and students, and journalists shouldn’t hesitate to report violence because they fear being labeled “racist.” Students and teachers have a right to feel safe at the schools where they work. No ifs, ands, or buts.
@Noah That Aptos article was a mess. Aptos was (and presumably continues) to have it’s own issues. Heather Knight is racist, not only in that article but in many others she writes. She is not without controversy.
Teachers, particularly White, Middle Eastern,and Asian ones, do fear being labelled racist for disciplining, punishing, or even calling out BIPOC students for their behaviors. I have witnessed this and being one of the above-mentioned groups been accused of that simply for reminding a student to go to class who was in the hallway yelling, cussing, harassing other kids who had hall passes, and throwing trash. As an adult, I can explain to the kid, “hey racism is real but as a teacher me telling you to stop unsafe behavior is not inherently racist”. Bc racism is real but my act was not racist, I have to be the adult in that situation and know the student was just calling me that to get a reaction. But I will not deny that that you can get accused of that from admin staff, because it does happen.That is an entirely different situation.
There was so much guilt because of the disproportionately high expulsion and referrals to BIPOC students that there was a 180 to avoid them and replace them with RJ. I think intentions were good but we all know about good intentions.This didn’t help matters at all.RJ might work at a school maybe in some European country with a wealth of social services, very low poverty rates, universal healthcare,and quality education but not in a country rife with inequities such as the USA. Typically, counselors or similar support staff run the RJ circles bc teachers have to teach & use planning periods to plan and their lunches as a break or to run lunch clubs. There’s usually only 2 or 3 counselors for a school of 1,000 kids.
Deflecting the problem on to the district for your piss poor management and looking the other way while serious harm is happening under your nose… that’s what needs to change. Get off that train and focus on the community.
SAN FRANCISCO – A 13-year-old boy is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after an attack by another student in San Francisco.
KTVU has learned it’s just the latest violent incident to happen at Everett Middle School on Church Street.
Thank you for this follow up. It’s confirmed for me that the original article has a lot of merit. What I’m reading here is that restorative practices are not working, the principle(s) deflect responsibility by blaming the district (which is only part of the issue), and there is cover- up by the school’s admin on reporting violence at the school.
Of course they’re not working. It’s all just more posturing by the progressive orthodoxy. Kids need to be taught that their actions have consequences. They are smart enough to realize they can take advantage of such a system.
Restorative justice was started in prisons in the 70’s between feuding inmates. This doesn’t translate to teachers and students at all. RJ requires talking circles and “maori” style psychology to “restore the village”. Ok. It also requires the offenders to publicly apologize. Why were the students who assaulted me never made to publicly do that? I just got his initials signed on a piece of paper with an apology written by Ruben part of admin. It isn’t even RJ. It doesn’t work in violent cases. It breeds in school anarchy and empowers students to do more harm. There are no cases of RJ working and Oakland failed to show improvements in behavior. Less suspension yes, but worse behavior – that is the goal of RJ to protect so called disadvantaged races from being drowned in a so called CRT system of justice. I have 10 total black students out of about 100 total. Of those 10 students 3 were violent habitual offenders. That’s 3% of my total population. Statistically that’s less than the population that is on track to be prison bound for any race.
Just as with crime and drug sales in San Francisco, there are no consequences for antisocial behavior. The assaultive kids should get suspended, and the teachers should get combat pay.
Call them what they are… PREDATORS. Zeus help us when these kids become adults and have learned that they can get away with pretty much anything they want to do.
Great comments so far…. There are some parts of the article that hit hard. One part of the article that sticks with me….and bothers me the most Is that Ms.Castro Mitchell and Mr. Walker “were seen as outlier cases”. Specifically, they were not liked by some people, and so they were made to look like they were the only ones to have serious issues with threats or physical assaults. That is insulting to them and the many other students, staff, and families impacted by the toxic school culture and climate. There ARE other people… including me. There are teachers who were threatend or attacked every year they worked at EMS. That is a fact. I was there, so I know these things happened. The VP KC was attacked once or twice, and cursed out several times. LP was also cursed out, in the hallway as she tried to get kids to go to class (that’s just this year) The old Acceleration coordinator was threatened while she was pregnant, the October prior to covid. So, I’m not going to support my former colleagues’ ridiculous notion that “there are only two teachers who had a problem”. That’s Fiddle Fluff! Notwithstanding, there are some who will always come to the defense of the brick and mortar school, as they sing the same song about not enough money, resources, etc, what can we do? Um, Speak up,
Speak out, and support your former colleagues to start. I get it, no one wants their name in the news or people to think they work at a crappy school! Everett has great teachers in their respective content areas. But, people want results and transparency, not the appearance of! The fact of the matter is that Everett has been awarded lots of additional money from the P.I.T.C.H fund, PEEF fund and LCAP. PITCH is a grant given to schools to be used specifically to support African American students in order to help Close the achievement gap. Everett was one of the schools awarded those funds back in 2018 if my memory serves me correctly. $20,000 for the first year (half of which wasn’t even spent… so we lost it), then the grant doubled the next two years and beyond. Everett still receives these funds. So, where did that money go and how was its usage tracked. Mind you, that’s just one additional source of funding. There are several others, such as the Principals discretionary fund for instance (100k). So, as a former teacher at that site…. Im not buying that resources are limited, per say. Its public school…. There is always a need for more resources, funding, and support. That’s why the tech giants have been throwing money at the district. But, It’s all about what you do with the money you do have. Again, where are the invoices on how these funds were spent, where is the student data suggesting that these funds helped close the achievement gap….or didn’t, Or put extra bodies on campus to help mitigate/Prevent some of the major issues EMS has faced for years. How many instructional coaches did the school employ instead of use that money for other things? Worst of all, how can you pretend to be a school who wears a social/ restorative justice hat, but you can’t even be transparent enough to report the serious incidents of violence that do and have happened? Aren’t we supposed to be acknowledging the harm that was caused? If parents aren’t getting clear answers…. Why would the state or the board of ed get any? And, that’s not even the biggest point. The biggest point is that people need to be held accountable for these continued and egregious failures. When are the people in central office going to be held accountable for properly training and supporting a “young” admin team who clearly was out of their element when things really started to hit the fan. Where was the superintendent? His next in line was there on multiple occasions, so why haven’t things gotten better? Clearly, something doesn’t add up, and the story will continue to develop and hopefully shed some real light on what was really happening behind the scenes. Parents want to know, community organizations want to know, and the public at large should know what really happened. This has been going on for years. Stop with the status quo, folks…. Obviously it’s not working.
Exactly!! those are all my questions, as a parents that have been at absolutely all meetings PTSA, ELAC, SSC, BOE meetings. They claim there is no money or resources. I personally have been outreaching organizations looking for help with mental and emotional help, enrichment programs for our kids and I learned our school qualifies for FREE programs because we have a high% of low-income students. The principal and the staff members mentioned in the article have blocked Latinx parents and organizations that wanted to help. I have been advocating and fighting from day 1 not only this year but since last year. Yes, something weird is going on and the 10 staff members are the same that usually blocked me from speaking up.
Spot on. The school definitely had tremendous funding and wasn’t lacking. As a music teacher I had ample funding. I wasn’t an oulier. I was the f’ed up norm. Teachers there are terrified. The kids know it, the parents know it, the police reports know it, so why are students allowed to be violent by the admin? It is because there is monetary incentive to do so, and because there is district scrutiny and pressure to not report suspensions. They lose status and money if they were properly discipline the school. The safety of the other 97% that aren’t acting like they are prison bound is forgotten when the hand is in the cookie jar.
A big part of the problem is that the the union rep isn’t a classroom teacher – that’s always a recipe for disaster. In SFUSD literacy coaches are usually people who are total shills for the principal and central office, and in exchange the literacy coach gets a really easy job for the same and sometimes more money than classroom teachers. They need to get a real union rep in there if they’re going to stand a chance at any safety for teachers.
“While Walker was evidently disliked by other Everett teachers…” was it really necessary or relevant to say whether the victimized teacher was well liked by his colleagues? This alleged fact was hurtful and added nothing to the story. Does he need to be victimized again — this time by the journalist?
@Noah – I was thinking the same thing. What a cheap shot. And what exactly does “other Everett teachers” mean? That could be 3 people who happen to have way too much power at the school. Everett sounds like a vile culture that isn’t good for anybody.
What I took away from it was that he probably wasn’t well liked because he spoke out against the practices and the admin at the school. This places sounds so toxic, it’s no wonder that other schools replace teachers and substitutes quickly and Everett can’t.
I don’t understand why the admin won’t suspend/expel the students who are attacking and threatening their teachers and classmates in order to draw attention to the problems they are facing. Shouldn’t that be a signal that there is something not working here and they need intervention vs hiding/not reporting?
@Rose – A toxic principal can quickly get the teachers who are afraid of being targeted themselves to pile on to a whistleblower. We have a culture problem with principals in SFUSD.
Not only should the students be expelled, but if they commit assault, they should be put in prison, and their parents should be forced to pay restitution for any sustained injuries or trauma. The kids’ behavior would clean up real quick if policies like these were implemented. Teachers should not have to withstand assault in the classroom. Their jobs are hard enough.
That’s how it works in SFUSD. If a principal doesn’t like a teacher, that principal will abuse their power to isolate the teacher and get other teachers to join in on the bullying. Principals in SFUSD have a lot of unchecked power in a school and there can be a lot of social rewards attached to joining in on any principal-led groupthink. SFUSD principals are known to be ringleaders in abusing people who speak up. It really is an abusive workplace in many SFUSD schools.
You’re posting under multiple names. Cut it out.
I not only was liked but I found solace in several teachers that I became great friends with as I reached out for help throughout my 2 month ordeal. Those teachers and counselors are pivotal now as I grapple with the unjust reality that plagues Everett. While I can’t say if people “liked” me or not, it doesn’t matter. Supporting your colleagues towards a reasonable place to practice education does. No body “likes” the stinky smelly truth that something is fundamentally wrong in the workplace. Yet, every single teacher I came to know personally, about a dozen, said they were afraid to work there. It was unreal.
I was only there for 2 months and got to know about a dozen teachers personally. They ALL warned me of the admin. They all were horrified. They all knew it was or could happen to them around them. Not a single teacher denied the verbal and physical abuse including fights happen almost daily. I honestly didnt know most of the rest of the teachers in my very brief mid year step in, but i never felt disliked until after I resigned in fear of a gun threat student that went without consequence to stalk and harass me for 2 weeks. I dont think the wording here is literal and speaks to the idea that some teachers, normalized by violence and passive de escalation fear, resent that I am pointing out the obvious messy illegal truth about their working conditions.
Seems like the State needs to take over — SFUSD is a dysfunctional, mismanaged mess.
You think the people who are running the state are any less corrupt and incompetent ?
One of my children was bullied consistantly for 3 years at Everett, so much so that he will not even walk by the school now, and this was during the “glory years” of money that Rubin mentioned. “Restorative Justice” does nothing for victims when the bullies realize that there are zero consequences for their actions. If it is worse now than when my kids were there, I can’t imagine how bad it must be. The school has been reconstituted once, seems like it should happen again.
All of central office needs to be constituted. SFUSD is in dire circumstances.
There is VERY LITTLE ACCOUNTABILITY for bad student behavior, and they know it.
Seems irresponsible to me to publish that a child has gashes on his arm that might or might not have been received at school. Good journalism would require establishing the facts prior to publishing. This sounds gossipy.
There is a parent, there are gashes. We wrote that we could not confirm – an impossibility since the reporter was not there at the time of the incident. But what is most surprising as an editor, is how easy it was for our reporter to find parents whose children clearly had not had a comfortable experience. One morning at Everett and our reporter found multiple parents whose children had experienced confrontations that were disturbing. Can we absolutely say that everything parents reported happened? No. We were not there. But these parents were not the exception. We can visit any number of schools in the Mission – private and public – and we will not hear similar stories. Best, Lydia
Lydia, thank you and the team at Mission Local for writing a follow-up to the April 21st piece on Everett. This piece presents a far more nuanced picture of the momentous challenges facing the school and it is apparent that your reporter invested significantly more time and effort this time around.
However, I was triggered by your comment that “We can visit any number of schools in the Mission – private and public – and we will not hear similar stories.”
This reporting is solely focused on Everett and the unique challenges it faces as a public school within the SFUSD. Off-handedly comparing it with private schools – which are free to chose which kids NOT to serve – is without merit.
Furthermore, unless you and/or your reporter intend to invest an equal amount of time investigating the circumstances at other public middle schools that overwhelmingly serve kids from the south eastern quadrant of the city (e.g., Lick, Denman, Willie Brown, VV etc.), I fail to see how you can make an informed comparison about the number of parents at Everett “whose children clearly had not had a comfortable experience”.
I get it – things are far from where they need to be at Everett (and especially at SFUSD). But please, these stories – and your words – matter tremendously.
Michael: I’ve been reporting in the Mission since 2008 and Mission Local was the only news site to follow the money when Everett, and a handful of other schools, were deemed struggling and received additional federal funding. For a period of time, ML even offered a class at what was then Horace Mann and I personally spent time in a classroom trying to understand what teachers were up against. My personal experience is that parents – especially perhaps monolingual parents – tend not to seek out reporters to complain to. That was not the case with Everett. You suggest we investigate the circumstances at other public middle schools and you are right, we should. However, we do not have the resources to do so. I would love, absolutely love, to have even one full-time education reporter – several would be ideal – who could do this. In the meantime, we do the best we can, but yes, you are right in suggesting we should do more. Thank you for commenting, reading and being engaged. Lydia
We so desperately need this reporting. Thank you.