Everett Middle School. Photo by Lydia Chavez

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Teachers and parents of Everett Middle School students are speaking out against an administration they say isn’t supporting the children and doesn’t communicate about serious issues at the school. Multiple teachers say they have been assaulted by students, and punished when seeking aid in addressing the situation. 

Parent Dheyanira Calahorrano said her seventh grade son reports doing nothing in multiple classes that are often staffed by substitute teachers. For months, physical education, for example, has often involved students shut in the cafeteria with a video to watch, she said. 

As a result of the poor supervision, or unengaged substitutes, teachers and parents say students wander the halls and in and out of other classrooms, and fights break out frequently — between students and, on several occasions, involving teachers. Calahorrano said the administration often failed to notify her about violent incidents.

“The science teacher was out for four months, and I didn’t even know,” she said. “The principal never told us that.” It turned out the same thing was happening in three of her son’s other classes. Her son, bored, would complain, and ask about transferring to a better school. 

More than the academics, Olga Reyes said she worries about her two sixth-graders’ safety when she sends them to Everett. With reports of violence and oversized classes due to missing teachers, Reyes said she’s afraid, and her children are, too. 

“In fact, my daughter told me yesterday, ‘Mami, I left and the substitute didn’t notice,’” Reyes said in Spanish. “That worries me as a mother, because I expect my children to be in the classroom learning and not trying to get out of the classroom, right?” 

Reyes said four of her children’s teachers have left during this school year, and her children’s friends are transferring to other schools. 

Reyes said she doesn’t want to abandon the school or send her children across town; she just wants them to have a safe space and decent education. And, as a monolingual Spanish speaker, she wants the ability to communicate with the administration. 

Everett is 70 percent Latino, with an immersion program hosting many non-English speakers. But Reyes said the principal, Esther Fensel, doesn’t speak Spanish. 

Therefore, Reyes said, there are no parent conferences to discuss the school’s issues with the principal, causing frustration among Latinx families. Most teachers don’t speak Spanish either, so Calahorrano said her son ends up translating what the teacher says to his Spanish-speaking friend. 

Both Reyes and Calahorrano said they have reached out to the district, and received minimal responses, if any. 

It’s not only parents who are fed up: Music teacher Ethan Walker just resigned this week. He started in February, taking over for a monthslong vacancy. 

He said he was hit by students in front of his classes, prompting him to wear a padded bike suit to work. He also said he received a gun threat, and was followed off campus by the same student that threatened him. 

“The whole school is under a de-escalation policy, so no matter what happens, none of the kids are yelled at or told they absolutely must do this or they’re going to get suspended,” Walker said. 

Though Walker said he agreed with the restorative justice policy in principle, he said when situations grew violent or dangerous, more was needed. 

But the administration instead often tried to blame him, Walker said. And instead of reporting the assaults or allowing him to contact the police, “They completely covered it up,” Walker said, and avoided reporting the assault as a reason for a student’s temporary suspension. 

Walker said he was barred from reporting violent incidents to the police. 

Behavioral issues and a lack of support made it nearly impossible for him to teach effectively, especially in earlier days when he wasn’t allowed to close his classroom door due to Covid-19 concerns. One of the students who assaulted him was an unknown student from another class, Walker said. 

After two months on the job, taking as much as a day off each week for PTSD and anxiety, Walker resigned on Tuesday. “I’m literally running to my next job,” he wrote in an email to members of the Everett community. 

On Wednesday, Fensel, Everett’s principal, announced her resignation at the end of the semester. When Mission Local called the school’s main phone line on Thursday, the person answering declined to connect us with her and hung up. 

The San Francisco Unified School District’s spokesperson Laura Dudnick said she was aware of the principal’s resignation, but declined to comment on the allegations in this story.

“SFUSD takes every report of a violent incident extremely seriously and has policies in place to investigate and respond when an incident occurs at schools, including Everett,” Dudnick wrote in a statement. “School staff are responsible for respecting the confidentiality of students and staff. Therefore, administrators are limited in their ability to communicate publicly about anything that may identify personal information about a student or staff member.”

Walker speculated that the Everett administration might have simply been “young and incompentent,” or was attempting to get more funding by showing a dire environment. 

“They gave me several indications that they didn’t know what they were doing. So when I pointed out ed code and the breach of contract, they kind of looked at me blankly,” Walker said. “My heart tells me that they believe that what they are doing is the right thing. But they showed clear indications that they are doing the wrong thing.” 

Yesi Castro-Mitchell, a computer science teacher and department lead who left Everett earlier this year after being severely assaulted, said she believed the administration avoided reporting incidents out of fear of having the school shut down for poor performance or high suspension rates. 

At the start of the school year, she said, teachers were instructed not to officially document incidents in the classroom. “Instead, they asked us to text in Google chat if anything was going wrong.” 

When she was introducing herself on the first day of school, a student got up and beat her so badly she was concussed, and now wears a hearing aid because she lost 75 percent of her hearing. 

Castro-Mitchell said nobody warned her of the student’s special needs or history of behavioral issues. After the incident, she was encouraged to finish her classes for the day, and when the nurse said she had a concussion, Castro-Mitchell said the principal brushed it off. 

Later, she said her doctor reported the incident to the police.

The school adopted what Castro-Mitchell called a theatrically antiracist approach, with good intentions, but she couldn’t imagine the district approved of the school not documenting harmful incidents. Leaving the school after five years broke her heart, she said, but after she was assaulted — and, she says, was retaliated against by the administration — Castro-Mitchell felt she had no choice. 

When Castro-Mitchell pushed to have the student removed from the workshop classroom full of potential weapons like drills and saws, and eventually started trying to apply to other jobs, she said the principal threatened to report her and come after her teaching credential. 

“The day that I left there were eight teachers out, almost a third of the teachers,” Walker told Mission Local. On Wednesday, the day the principal announced her resignation, an Everett teacher posted on social media that 13 teachers were out that day. 

After remote learning during two years of a pandemic, and the academic and behavioral issues that resulted, many schools across San Francisco Unified are facing similar staffing shortages. But parents and teachers agree that the situation at Everett is on another level.  

Parent Dheyanira Calahorrano said that when her seventh-grader’s classmates skip class, she tells him: “Yes, please go out, because you are safer outside than being in the [class]room.” 

When there is a substitute or no teacher, like much of the time in her son’s music and physical education classes, she takes him out of school.

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REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim nearly 10 years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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  1. My son went to public schools in SF except middle school. We sent him to private for that because the middle schools were problematic. I remember hearing about Everett 15 years ago – students throwing chairs in science class. The thing that makes these issues impossible is a lack of truth telling. No matter that it makes people upset, the truth must come out for solutions to be found.

  2. Why are you using the made-up word “Latinx” that is preferred by literally 1% of the people it covers?

  3. GMS is a sh*tshow, for lack of a better term. The administration doesn’t communicate about safety issues, the “restorative Justice” policy is a load of bull, doing nothing but giving students/families the freedom to act up and throw teachers under the bus. Teaching is a thankless job at that school, and it’s really unfortunate for the students who genuinely want an enjoyable middle school experience. That school needs extreme reform, expeditiously.

  4. So nothing changes with SF public schools

    For younger people or those new to SF the Public School system in SF was already a catastrophe back in the 1980’s. It was a given even in the 1980’s that once your kids reached school age and you cared about their education and safety it was either private school or move out of the City to somewhere with good safe schools. Because you would not find them in SF. When the time came in the 1990’s my kids went to private school. Sending kids to SF Public Schools qualified as child abuse to my mind if you could afford private schools.

    The administration is utterly corrupt. And has been since at least the 1970’s. Large parts of the budget just disappear. The school unions more so. The one time in the last 30 years the school district made a genuine attempt at reform and hired someone to do it the unions soon ran her out of town. Fire everyone, shut it down, give the money to the parents so they can send their kids to good schools. Private schools.

    Or failing that, shutdown the teachers unions, end collective bargaining, and after a cooling off period let unions reorganizing the few employees will to join voluntarily. Even more than the administrations, the unions dont give a damn about the students quality of education. The students, and the many good teachers, are little more than a irritating nuisance to the unions.

    As for the small percentage of trouble maker kids. There is a place to put dangerous, out of control or feral kids. Juvenile Hall. Why should the majority of kids be put a risk just because of the facile ideology of affluent white do-gooders. Who never have to suffer with the consequences of their “principals”. Restorative Justice? – utter garbage thought up by rich white folk who grew up (and mostly live) in very safe affluent suburbs.

    Money has nothing to do with. Adjusted per student spending on public school students in CA has more than doubled in the last three decades. And the quality of public school education has just slid further into mediocrity. Prop 13 has nothing to do with it. Public school spending was actually gutted by Serrano v Priest in the 1970’s due to the classic unintended consequences of “equity” lawsuits. Prop 13 just made a political “fix” to hide the results of that lawsuit a lot more difficult. Thats all

    Shut it down and start again. Its expensive, its dangerous, and the results are terrible.

  5. I’m a parent who’s child attended Everette recently and the staff is full of crap and they even bully kids I know me and my child went thru it. She would get picked on and hit by boys also girls that were twice her size and as soon as she took up for herself she was in trouble and as soon as I ask to set up a meeting with parents I was told they don’t do that to solve the problem. Thanks MS.Santi you really were such help by always pointing the finger at my child and getting her put out of all public schools for defending herself and me as a parent trying to solve the issues at hand I hope they fire you because you don’t deserve that position. I’m going to make sure I expose you without the lies and with the help of others that stood up about this insane issue. And I want to say thanks to the parent that stood up and put the issue on the news because I was doing the same thing trying to solve the issue and I was told lies and no help and all my kid was going was defending herself.

  6. Everett might have some problems, but every school has a fight every now and then, it’s just the way kids are. You shouldn’t just blame it all on the school, but rather blame it on the district it’s happening in, it’s not our fault we can’t control this kind of stuff.

  7. If you are or know a teacher who is a victim of district neglect to report assaults threats or harm please contact me at ethanawalker1@yahoo.com regarding a multi person mass lawsuit currently underway against sfusd.

  8. Thank you for writing this. With the current corruption that has made very deep inroads at SFUSD, there is no way for SFUSD to clean itself up – no way. Any claim that those people at 555 are acting with good intent is not true. I don’t even think the state can clean up SFUSD because much of the state employees are in bed with the same people. I used to have hope that the feds would clean up SFUSD but I don’t even see that happening given who is currently in the VP seat. I just feel sorry for the kids and families who can’t get out of SFUSD.

  9. A couple years ago I worked at Paul Revere Middle School and it was mayhem. Students cussed me out every chance they could. They’d walk in class and rearrange the desks as if they were in the cafeteria. They’d get incredibly violent if you tried to say anything to them. The principal would hide in his office with lights off. He left early in the year because he was from out of state and didn’t have the proper credentials. A teacher was also beat. I had a student pretend shoot kids in the forehead and tell everyone he would shoot up the school. I reported it to the admin and the district and no one did anything. The neglect for schools with brown kids in SFUSD is not new. I have many horror stories. I cried so many times, and missed work when totally burned out but I made it through. Every day I wanted to quit. I just needed the money but it was traumatic. I still get chills thinking about it. I don’t think I can convey the level of violence from the students and toxicity from the admin.

  10. As someone who has a kid in the SFUSD school system but grew up (and had another kid) in Europe, let me give you a bit of an international perspective: it’s okay to ask for more money (I fully support that,) but the US is already spending more per student than almost every other industrialized country, and California is among the leading states in the US. Somehow other countries are able to make “more school” with a smaller amount of money – and that although they pay their teachers more! (In Germany or France, teachers are well respected and well paid professions with long time job security etc.)

    I have asked education experts who couldn’t really give me an answer why this is so, I see two reasons: the gigantic overhead (of 9,199 SFUSD employees, a whopping 1125 work in the central administration.) And the fact that the US has a de facto two class educational system so the public schools have by design a higher percentage of “problematic” students.

    1. This is off topic for this post, but is health insurance for staff—a huge, huge expense—a factor in how large budgets are here?

      1. Correct. The information you find online regarding teachers salary is misleading as it includes their full benefits, extended coverage, sick days/ leaves. These numbers are the Gross not Net cost for a teacher at SFUSD, additionally but important to note the information posted is all from previous years and pre-pandemic information. Thank you for asking. So yup, teachers with a master’s degree/PhD + fully credentialed make less than 72K as their starting salary.

    2. The US segregation system is creating the “problematic” students. The oppression and extreme discrimination are the main causes of violence. As a community health worker, I have had the opportunity to see the deplorable and inhumane conditions that black and brown people live. Violent is the system we have in place creating the class society and maintaining the white privilege/white supremacy. The “problematic” students need help, they don’t need to be criminalized or punished. They need help. Politicians and bureaucrats are the cancer of our society, the system is totally rotten. When there is more money, there are more hands on it and this money never gets to the classrooms/kids.

  11. I have so much to say… where to start?

    I am an SFUSD parent, long time supporter of public schooling (both of my parents, my aunt and my grandmother were NYC public school teachers during some pretty crazy times — often in “rough” schools. My brother in law actually was “disabilitied out” after being assaulted by a student when he was an ELEMENTARY school teacher)

    SFUSD has really tied teachers’ and principals’ hands around discipline and consequences. Principals are incentivized not to report serious events and not to suspend kids. There are reports each year about suspension rates, and if they’re high or rising, the school is scrutinized. Fewer reports = less scrutiny.

    Poorly behaved kids (as in climbing on desks, throwing things, shouting to drown out teacher) cannot be sent out of the room — because those kids are also entitled to education. While I support the theory behind this, no consequences means no peace in the classroom. It was so difficult in my son’s middle school (not Everett) math class that the agreement was if there was a sub, as soon as a kid stood on a desk (which happened every time there was a sub) my son was allowed to leave the room and go to another teacher’s room. On a middle school field trip *on a boat* I attended, kids with issues with impulse control were able to attend w/o special aides or supervision — so as a parent chaperone I had to watch to make sure one of the kids “didn’t jump into the bay.” One thing my son liked about remote learning is that the teacher “could mute kids who were misbehaving.”

    When my son was assaulted by a student at his middle school, he was offered the option of transferring schools. He declined, as he didn’t do anything wrong. The theory was that if the assailant (alleged assailant?) changed schools, his friends might then target my son. As it was, the assailant targeted my son’s friends when he wasn’t around to be bullied. The student was not suspended until he shoved ME to get to my kid to knock him down. (And this took place right in front of the school, with the assistant principal <20 feet away from us.) I told the principal I thought there was a safety issue in her school, she felt it was a personal issue between the 2 boys. We were strongly advised to do "restorative justice," but my son was terrified of the other kid so we pushed back. Restorative justice is not meant for this type of situation. The school was supportive of my son, making sure he wasn't in classes with this student or his friends (who were often menacing to my son). But it was a sh*t show.

    Problems like this have been going on for many many years — when my mom taught at a middle school in Brooklyn in the early 1970s it was well known that if one particular girl was wearing long sleeves or knee socks, she had a knife.

    I don't necessarily know what the answer is — but letting teachers, students, and parents be terrorized by kids who are impulsive and violent is not a solution. Discouraging reporting of problems is not a solution.

    When my older one (now a college graduate) was touring middle schools, we briefly considered Everett. Except that when I asked the principal how they handled violence, or kids from gang affiliated families (which the James Lick principal had talked about openly) he said "we don't have those problems."

    We owe our kids and our teachers much more than this.

    1. I’m curious what happens if the state takes over this district? I understand it happened in Oakland.

      These issues are overwhelming and it’s a very, very difficult problem from top to bottom and a complete assessment/overhaul seems to be needed. But as others have noted this is not new and so what’s the right course of action here?

      The public education systems are a direct reflection of our society and after 25+ years in the city I’m ready to call it quits. I came here because of the diversity and open-mindedness but in the recent years it really has become this close minded bubble and I have this overwhelming sense of dread that “wokeism” is ruining this city. You see this happening day after day in schools where there is absolutely no accountability and basic expectation of what it means to be a student. Our teachers are asked to do the impossible here.

    2. This reply 100% accurately describes the fundamental problem with Everett . Get your child and run to another school. The system will devour the good students and teachers and favor the violent 3 to 7% that comprise our statistically verified society of violent prison bound-acting offenders. Why do we keep violent offenders in the “society” of school when we don’t with adults in the real world? Restorative justice is meant for prisoners not kids.

  12. Why are you disparaging my culture like this? Do you have any idea how important masculine and feminine nomenclature is in the Latino community? Transgender Hispanics do not even call themselves latinx… Why do you, a white person, take it upon yourself to change my culture?

    1. Javier: We have had other complaints about this – and a lot who like it. It was my decision to embrace Latinx as it somehow felt right. In my time as a reporter/editor, I’ve watched the nomenclature change from Mexican-American to Chicano to Hispanic to Latino/Latina and now Latinx. You’re right in that Latinx ignores gender, but to me it feels inclusive and natural. Oddly, it was the least difficult change I have made. Languages evolve, but I do understand those who are upset. I guess it is true – not everyone is ever going to be happy.

  13. An article like this needs to be written about Gateway MS. No…teachers are not getting assaulted BUT! they are getting threatened constantly and not told by administrators that guns have been on campus. Principal needs to go. We are finding another school for 7th grade.

  14. I graduated from one of the HS in west side SF 10 years ago and I’m totally not surprised given how SFUSD runs the shitshow and ruining the education system. Lowell, Lincoln, Washington all used to be pretty good HS, and they have become more mediocre each time I visited in recent years.

    Lowell is next on the chopping block. To be honest I benefited a lot from the public school system, from eating free school lunch to now making $300k a year. It’s just sad SFUSD is no longer churning out qualified graduates, and instead let mediocracy takes over.

      1. @ Lola, is the only contribution you can make is correcting people’s spelling? Or do you have more meaningful commentary?

      2. Mediocre is the correct word, an adjective meaning ‘of only moderate quality; not very good.’

        So, “Washington all used to be pretty good HS, and they have become more mediocre each time I visited in recent years.” would be correct.

        Meanwhile, mediocrity is a noun meaning the quality or state of being mediocre. So “Washington all used to be pretty good HS, and they have become more mediocrity each time I visited in recent years” would be incorrect.

        Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

  15. This is a sad situation; being that, students, teachers, and families are caught in the middle of an ideological shift/battle. Remember, a perceived slight can be worse than an actual one. It is obvious that there are plenty of things wrong with SFUSD, public schools in general, and this school specifically. And, yes….sources should be checked and vetted. However, I completely believe the accounts and narratives, because I have witnessed the same, first hand, at the school in question. Nonetheless, the blame doesn’t need to placed squarely on any group, or at anyone’s feet. This is a group effort, so therefore the group is responsible as a whole. Namely, parents are responsible for their kids’ actions and or inaction (minors don’t know any better). Teachers cant teach kids if they aren’t allowed to do so in a safe environment, and some of those same kids are allowed to bully and intimidate at will, without reproach. Clearly, EMS was not… and is not safe! If you dont have first hand experience….Shhhhhhh! The district is responsible for enabling the admin to act in ways that resemble fraternity style hazing…, the admin “team” is responsible for not providing the proper amount of basic leadership, guidance, and support for educators, and responsible for enabling students to act in these extreme ways…. due to the lack of significant consequences, accountability, or follow through on their end. Furthermore, Some educators are responsible for not supporting their colleagues, or understanding/believing those real struggles that happen in other spaces outside the limited spheres of awareness, as are some of you! These narratives are too specific and detailed to be made up or fabricated, and it is about time that people realize….teachers shouldn’t be the punching bags for virtual lookie loos or political pundits. What about #me too? How many of you are willing to put your name in the news for the moment and risk your lively hood, career, or place your family in potential harms way to get this story out there. #Crickets! How many of you have actually taught, as a profession, in a public school or urban setting? Right! I can’t actually verify how many; nonetheless, stay in your corner if you don’t have any positive solutions to the problem. Im tired of seeing teachers victimized by outside commentators. Two teachers and two parents are enough for me (particularly since I have inside knowledge of the situation). This isn’t about recalls…or finger pointing per say….they serve no real purpose, other than appeasing the masses. Mumia Abu Jamal writes…and I paraphrase, “understanding history keeps activists from accepting cheap reforms that act as covers for the growing repressive powers of major institutions in an era of mass surveillance and open authoritarianism. (Have Black Lives Ever Mattered…2017). My point is, this isnt that hard to believe at all! I stand with educators, as I stand with students, and families. Specifically, I stand with the two teachers, Ms. Reyes, and DC. Everyone has to bare some responsibility for where the public schools are as a whole today. Support your local teachers and be more open to actually hearing people’s stories and struggles. Just because there aren’t twenty whistle blowers doesn’t mean none of this actually happened. Wake up!

  16. Eleni,

    I have a Masters in Special Ed. from Clemson.

    Came to Potrero Hill 25 years ago and it was like Everett now.

    Social Studies teacher named John Voorhees and I got together and he registered all of the students in the school to vote in his classes.

    I created a Student Police Force (Monitors) made up of my ‘Gangstah’ students whom everyone was afraid of but who respected me.

    Put em in the halls with little clip boards to write up students cutting classes and w/out passes.

    Ran em to Student Court in old Shop in Basement (OJ went there) …

    Asked for volunteers for Monitors and over 300 of students out of 500 volunteered.

    It was a rousing success.

    SFUSD dumped me at closed meeting I did not know about.

    Forced John out too.

    Maybe God wants it thataway.

    District certainly kills every decent alternative programs.

    Check out the Wilderness Program we had w/SFPD which they killed.

    Geez, I’d forgotten about that.

    Go Warriors!

    h.

  17. @Insider
    You said this so well. I was trying to find the way to say just this but you did such a good job of it.They are so fully intrenched in the anti racist philosophy they cannot think critically. I think some of this lies in “white guilt”. I’ve actually been to the SFUSD restorative practices training as a rep from after school programs. The first few slides are stats about referrals of BIPOC kids making up something like 75% of referrals , suspensions, expulsions,etc but only 30% or so of the student population and White & Asian kids are the rest of the population but only account for 25 % of these punishments. This is not acceptable BUT it doesn’t change the fact that acts of violence, verbal assaults, theft and even sexual assault occur. We were no longer able to give these punishments or really any type of punishment because of this. Which lead to having no expectations for behavior or accountability for actions. I honestly am not sure if there is a real solution. The problem is so much bigger than this school , other schools , and the entire district.

    1. Without consequences, students don’t learn or reform. A violent act by an immature student is not an emotional one necessarily – it’s often a thrill-seeking one based on a lack of prefrontal cortex development. For hundreds of years society and cultures have known about the importance of structure and discipline with teens. Now in a few years time, some have undone this biological fact – a misbehaving teen will escalate and increase bad or even violent behaviors without the fear of consequence. Fear of consequence is a humanistic teacher of citizenship. And it is the most empathetic thing a principal can do to protect and nurture the citizenry of the well behaving students in a school.

  18. Why is everyone acting like this is a new problem? This is a common issue in public schools because some of us are better than others at connecting with kids of color and kids in poverty. You can go into any inner city public middle school with kids of color and poverty and you see the same thing – A very small handful of teachers who are very effective at connecting with the students, understanding that they have to show respect to the students in order to receive respect (and they’re not offended by that idea as most of you reading this will be), and they know how to balance authority and friendship which is an ongoing tight rope for any effective teacher. But these teachers never have to send out a student from the classroom. If you have that kind of teacher in every classroom, you can create a climate of respect and order (with the principal as a team) but it’s rare to have that many effective teachers in these types of schools. It’s not about blaming the teachers, it is simply reality – some people are very effective at working with young kids of color and others are much less effective (although they don’t usually realize that and they blame the students or their families) and in fact throw kids out of their rooms all the time regularly because they think that’s the solution.

    It’s a lot easier for people to blame the district or to blame a principal as if one person or some organization can solve this issue.

    It comes down to having a extremely effective teacher in every classroom and that’s just simply very very difficult.

    1. Yes, and that means the teacher spendsthe majority of their time with these situations versus actually teaching to the broader class. Teachers send students out if the classroom because they need support from the main office (principle, asst. principle, etc.). It is clear that you have never managed a large class and also that you are willing to chose one over the majority – that is a strategy but leaves then so many neglected.

    2. Being “friends” with students of color or any student doesn’t work, never works, and never will. Being friendly and being compassionate towards all students is encumbant on the teacher. Much like a doctor, or dentist, or a psychotherapist, teachers work to serve a working goal, not a personal relationship beyond that goal. The teacher student relationship is not based on equality it is based on mutual respect. If the student refuses to develop that respect or relationship for whatever personal reason, they will not and cannot effectively learn or engage with the teacher in processes of learning.

    3. Why is the principal claiming “empathy” and “humanistic community ideals”? What is empathetic about allowing dangerously violent students of the most highest level roam around the halls to torment, attack, and destroy the community – targeting not only other students, but teachers, parents, property and more. An empathetic principal would consider the needs of the many over the needs of a few and exercise the law entrusted to them to suspend, report, and hold violent students ultimately accountable – not just talk it through with them about how they felt when they were assaulting the music teacher during orchestra for a false rumor.

    4. @”Educator” – You sound like you live in a delusional world. I suspect your students learn very little real skills or content from you. You should NEVER be “friends” with students. I hope someone calls CPS and they have a look at your methods of being “effective” cause it’s sounding rather creepy.

  19. I agree with the parent who said sending their child to Everett was the worst parenting decision they ever made. I made the same mistake. It informed my decision to leave SFUSD altogether. Open drug use in classrooms, extremely poor teaching quality and low academic standards. It sounds like things have spiraled downward even further in the past several years. Serious reform across the district is needed for this district to survive.

    1. How CAN there be quality teaching when every 5 minutes a child interrupts the class by wandering in to have full on conversations with their friends and dance and joke around? How can there be quality education when the staff does not feel safe enough to go to school , so substitutes teach the classes? Do you realize how many teachers quit before Christmas break? There was a mass exodus because they were DONE. No protections, no support. And parents who cannot teach their kids right from wrong and blame it on the school. There are kids there that have never shown up a day to class. Yet the teacher cannot fail them. They wander the halls, they sit with their friends ds in other classes. The kids know that they own that school. Restorative justice works for small infractions. It works for infractions from kid to kid. It however, does not work for major things that require suspension and detention such as fighting and assaulting and threatening others. I feel honestly bad for the children there that WANT to learn and want to succeed, because they are the ones hurting in all of this along with the teachers. During this pandemic, teachers and healthcare workers have taken the brunt of aggravation and criticism from the general public when instead the public should have come to realize from homeschooling just how valuable teachers are and how little they get paid for what they are worth. Do you know that teachers here in the bay area usually have to have like 3 jobs to sustain life here? As someone who holds our future leaders in their hands, they should be paid a lot more and protected so much more than SFUSD does.

  20. A little homework would be in order: your principal parent witness, Dheyanira Calahorrano, was an activist in the group “Decrease the Distance” and an early organizer for the BOE recall. Readers should be entitled to know the organizational backgrounds of the sources you use, especially for such an inflammatory piece.

    1. Just curious- did Dheyanira Calahorrano pitch this story to Mission Local?

      Here she is in October 2020 speaking for Mission Latino families demanding schools be reopened https://recallsfschoolboard.medium.com/how-the-san-francisco-school-board-silenced-latino-families-21eec2aa71aa

      And here she is described as Mission Lead of “Decreasing the Distance”:
      https://engardio.com/blog/school-board-reform-update-7

      It’s heartbreaking to read these stories, but I wonder why skilled media operatives such as Calahorrano are framing the narrative in a way that could deprive our public school students of even more resources by motivating more families to leave SFUSD- as the comments section here shows.

      Maybe you could reach out to “Parents for Public Schools” or the school’s PTA for some balance? Thanks for covering this!

  21. The Parkland shooter was a result of that school district failing to hold Nikolas Cruz accountable for violent behavior. The Washington Post characterized him as being “entrenched in the process for getting students help rather than referring them to law enforcement.”

  22. oh no! I support ML, and Eleni’s reporting, but this piece is disappointing. It’s gossipy, sensationalist, reminds me of Chronicle anti- public ed pieces. It ignores the realities that the post-pandemic teacher shortage is national and even universal, which has exacerbated the systemic inequities already endured for lack of resources, of underfunding. We know that kids are confused and angry — normal, especially for pre-adolescents in middle school — and I believe we should know [and be reminded by our community media] that there aren’t staff to handle it. Instead, the sneaky references to “de-escalation” “restorative justice” and the topper: “theatrically anti-racist” serve to disqualify these important approaches, and are akin to media articles blaming car break-ins on the district attorney’s pledge for equal justice for all. Responsible journalism would not create a monster based on assertions by just two parents and two teachers, with no staff or on-site administrators providing another perspective. I hope ML will give more depth, and other voices from Everett in a future article.

    1. You’re not wrong.But the article still has merit. A teacher was very seriously harmed by the act of a student, the school was negligent. You’re right in that this is part of a systemic inequities like race and class. But the naivety and idealism that restorative practices is a viable solution is off. There are many things wrong with more old school style corporal punishment but restorative practices are woefully inadequate for the reality of the environment of an urban school.

      1. I am in contact with at least 6 teachers who were all assaulted and seriously harmed last year and very recently. The article didn’t even come close to reporting all the abuse. I was gun threatened, stalked, racially abused, pushed, assaulted and the admin broke the law and contract by not reporting it to police as required by Ed code and contract 14.4.1.1. in the teacher contract. The only thing that happened for being assaulted was that another teacher made an apology note, and the student signed it – with only his initials. It is like a backwards prison system where the guards are put in classroom jail cells and the inmates (3-5% of the Everett student population) harm them, abuse them, and the warden (admin) denies the event to not have to report suspensions to the district.

    2. LoL. Everett’s own website clearly state that their staff offers “Restorative Justice/Alternatives to Suspension”.

      1. I was called out once by admin for racist complaints by students and parents (none of which were true) using this line in one of 15 major incident reports where a student banged a $500 clarinet against a stand, destroyed the music book, and wandered around the classroom during band laughing about her rebellion all the while. I stated – “I feel that {her} laughter at getting into trouble represents a major attitude and character problem to band that causes catastrophic emotional harm in other students working hard to achieve great things”. I was told by Kamaria Carnes and Esther Fensel that this was a racist remark. 1. Can you tell the race of the student? 2. Even if you could isolate the race, which words are “racist”? 3. Would anyone, any professional in the world be able to claim that only a “white” teacher would wright this based on racist mindset? They claimed that a student laughing and enjoying getting into trouble was a racially protected one for which ethnic culture? This was their version of “restorative justice” conjured up the day after I told them I had a grievance for not calling the police on students who assault me and gun threat. Restorative Justice has never been proven by any study and actually shows increases in bad behavior even though suspensions on paper go down.

    3. I politely disagree here. This article is pretty accurate, and actually shows what has been happening at Everett for the past 5 + years. I have talked to multiple parents, students, and teachers that have experienced the same trauma (yes, trauma) at the hands of the principle and assistant principles at this school. It’s the belief that they are so entrenched in anti-racist rhetoric, they refuse to apply critically thinking and actually investigate issues that are brought forward. There is also no strategy, protocol or discipline applied. The students and teachers unfortunately have to pay the price. I have personally seen a girl being jumped by a group of girls and pushed down a staircase at Everett and no discipline was given to the attackers. A teacher has told me how they had been physically threatened by their students, and the assistant principle goes and tells those students “oh he’s just being racist”. The admins are there to push their own agenda and refuse to address any of the issues plaguing this school.

    4. Agreed.
      But with the music teacher experiencing such violence, the kids not being held accountable, the parents defending those kids… it hit the fan. The schools admin needs intervention and support from SFUSD. PERIOD

    5. I strongly agree with Gloria. I wonder what the Author’s intention was in writing this piece basically trashing a struggling institution with only a few voices and no deeper research on systemic causes, context from leadership (principals are VERY busy right now) or teachers who actually teach there now.

      As a middle school teacher in an east side SF school myself, I have never experienced a year like this on record. I am watching our district leadership and our country fail our youth by consistently neglecting to fund and organize for our success. I can usually trust mission local to represent an even-keeled perspective of the voices of the people. What we need is not sensationalist article about how bad the situation is, but a call for support and solutions and change from higher ups. Don’t gossip, advocate.

    6. You are being offensive to parents, students and teachers who are suffering due to the negligence and corruption of this principal and the SFUSD administration. The system of segregation and corruption is real.

  23. No teacher should ever be physically attacked. Obviously. And no student should ever be attacked by their teacher. Sadly, both happen more often than we would like.

    This article could very well have been written about Herbert Hoover middle school in San Francisco, where I went to middle school from 2001 to 2004. It was pretty much the same.

    We’ve all seen the occasional article that pop up every few years about this same kind of thing. The language is often recycled and the same coded phrases are employed again and again, nothing new under the sun, … as has been well documented.

    Socio-Cultural theorists have a word, a term, for this. Did you know that? That’s because it’s nothing new. It’s called “oh dear”ism. It’s when the news shows you something so bad, all you can say is “oh dear.” And then you give up. This is by design. And it’s been going on for *decades*. When a story is so bad that all you can say is oh dear, or, like a lot of commenters these days, attempt to decipher it to fit your commentary into the confines of your agenda..,,. You should immediately stop, pause, think, and reflect. Something to keep in mind.

  24. Trash reporting. Trash article. Totally ignores the deep rooted concerns facing our students and schools and tries to reduce all of it to errors and control of individual humans. There is real harm happening – but it is happening across the board to those in our schools. Our students AND educators did not get what was needed to return and heal after so much time with shelter-in-place, so things are getting worse in many places. Stopping my monthly payments. Do research. Talk to multiple sides. Report the post-covid and racial unrest context uprooting our schools systemically. Bah! Trash.

    1. I’m confused by this comment. Isn’t this article saying there is real harm happening impacting students and educators? The pandemic has indeed heightened poor behavior and lack of support, but these issues have been going on at Everett long before covid.

  25. It’s a huge problem at this school, my kid who attends Everett reported a video of a transgender student being thrown to the ground while play fighting.

  26. I wonder if the new boe members understand how difficult the task ahead of them is. It’s easy to be against something but what is the plan to deal with these sorts of issues? Covid has unleaded hell on society so all the things that were formally held together with spit, grit and love pre-Covid are simply falling apart. The school district is a mess in many ways but anyone who thinks the mayor will allow a full accounting of the many years of Sfusd mismanagement to see the light of day is naive. None of these problems are new. Parents who respond to these sorts of news articles have no solutions to the many ills of the district other than private school. That has been pretty consistent in SF for the past 25 years.

    1. I will be the first to admit that I’m not qualified to answer this, but I wonder if accountability from students to admin is what’s lacking? The concerns here seems to note that students (and probably their guardians) are not being held to even the basic standards of non-violence. Then admin aren’t being measured by the right metrics.

      1. I agree with you.
        I would not let me child behave that way, I will manage my kid. Education starts at home. The parents and child’s needs to be brought out to light.
        There are so many laws that prevents anyone to discipline here, the SFUSD should be at this school every day at the core of this issues.

  27. This is extremely disturbing and spot on. My husband taught at Everett Middle School and the administration refused to acknowledge the violence, never supported their staff, and went as far as accusing teachers of being racist (and told this to students) when they brought forward concerns forward. It was disheartening for my partner who eventually left and was retaliated against because he documented every incident.

    The kids who want to learn suffer because there is no bandwidth to actually teach and provide them with support.

    1. What you are describing happens at pretty much every school in SFUSD. SFUSD principals are famously retaliatory, dirty, unethical and most are incredibly thin-skinned and can’t handle what they perceive as criticism. If there were legitimate psych evaluations distributed to SFUSD principals, I suspect they would be almost universally malignant narcissists. SFUSD has deep systemic issues that won’t change anytime soon if ever. The kids suffer and that’s the tragedy, but there is nothing teachers can do about it other than escape.

    2. Wow!! Sounds exactly like my husband when he pushed for protection. They came forward with a ridiculous and unfounded claim of racism. Luckily, he has a lawyer mind and was able to quickly shut that down and show them they had no leg to stand on there but that they had broken the law in the lack of protecting the teachers.

  28. Issues like this (lack of transparency, lack of accountability, lack of resources primarily to students, and a top heavy administration) are why we are leaving SFUSD and not enrolling our kids in any SFUSD high schools. (The lottery system is another reason – we literally can’t get either of our kids into an SFUSD high school 8 blocks from our home but instead have been assigned schools across town both times). Both our kids have gone through/are finishing up at Everett, and I have never felt completely confident in Everett’s ability to keep my kids safe, and give them a good education. We are products of public schools ourselves, and want to believe it is a good thing, and support it. But… there comes a time when we need to cut ties and this is the year to finally do so.

    1. Get out of SFUSD and watch you kids’ lives change for the better. We did and our only regret is not doing it sooner. SFUSD leadership is so nasty and corrupt it will take decades to clean it up. Just get your kids out.

    2. You will never regret getting out of SFUSD. You will only regret not getting out sooner. SFUSD has bad people at central office and no amount of money can fix that. There has to be a state takeover.

  29. We have had very positive experiences at Gateway in both the middle and high school. I was quite shocked to read this and haven’t found other families with major issues that have gone unaddressed and without a plan to help support students and communicate with families. When there have been issues with classroom management and bullying, staff has always been supportive in working on solutions.

  30. I guess everyone figured out that this is how we treat Brown kids with issues ranging from behavior to developmental impairments once more. Then we are somehow appalled. Come on people. It’s been like this it’s just the pandemic and decades of choices made a breaking point.

    This isn’t about money. Americans are xenophobic, racist, ableist, and will do anything to maintain the status quo. SF is about optics and meaning well but when it comes to competency and basic means of respect we lack just as any other school would. This is about society. This is about exactly who is left behind and how Americans generally don’t care or understand anything about the people left behind out of handpicked private and parochial schools.

    Every teacher and principal works hard. But sorry to say there is a cohort of principals that are negligent of kids and are narcissistic enough to never care who they hurt because they are incapable. I’ve worked for them, they need a psych eval.

    There are admins above them that are criminals. There are families marred by war, racism, poverty and its not pretty to see that in a family structure. Once a pandemic hits everything is impacted. Our education system is purposely failing so we can maintain class division and fill up jail beds for profit. All y’all are seeing is a massive system of self serving white supremacy taking advantages of weakness and human short sightedness. Then the Latinx population overall loses as well as the staff that pours their hearts into their jobs. Those staff should walk away en masse. We shouldn’t keep this structure going but we know it isn’t possible to live like this. So people suffer. The bad people get theirs. Then everyone moves into the next outrage cycle as if there aren’t human lives to speak of.

    Teachers, workers, parents protect yourselves.

  31. There should be a Class -Action Lawsuit filed.
    SFUSD needs a Class-Action Lawsuit.
    Maybe SFUSD will realize how much damage they have done to the staff and others.

    They will get the message clearly with a lawsuit.

    1. I graduated from Everett in 95’. Sounds like literally nothing has changed. Although i did see guns and knives wielded by kids back then. And the biggest kids locking Mr. Grider in the ball room while there was forced games of “suicide”. No reports of that yet. So that’s cool lol.

  32. Yesi is incredible- and so rare to find female, poc STEM teachers. Huge loss.

    Also – not sure Everett has a workshop with saws. Author may be conflating other challenges at Aptos. Both sound like, well, less than ideal situations.

  33. not the first time Everett has been written up for complete incompetence at the administrative level, google “Everett student elections” to see what has happened before with Teach for America teachers and a principal way over her head. I had two childen attend Everett and view it as one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made as a parent

    1. 1) fenshel is a decent person and relatively talented. Young. Would make Sense to retain her in some capacity. She’ll learn and do better next time.

      2) her stance was a) school has a legal responsibility to keep the kid in class (questionable) which led to b) teacher had to file police report to keep kid away from her.

      There’s a lot going on here- perhaps biggest issue is admin don’t have ability/agency to suspend/remove student.

      That is where focus of conversation should be: a) what is school districts responsibility to serve high needs students b) are the resources available c) who decides on how to serve/remove high needs students from gen population

      1. Fenshel is a disaster. Often reprimanded teachers who tried to hold kids accountable for their behavior, ignored pleas from teaching staff to address violent behaviors, looks the other way when kids are running around the hallways disrupting classrooms and assaulting each other. Good riddance – we do not need admin like her.

      2. Per the Ed code, and the contracts that the teachers sign, the administration has an obligation as mandated reporters to report the assaults and abuse. They were asked several times to do so and refused. They refused to give the teacher the information about the kids who did the assaults and the gun threats, so the teacher could not make a police report.

  34. SFUSD is way too top heavy. They are cutting para’s and staff from schools while there’s a bunch of Assistant Sup’s, directors, supervisors, HR Staff treating Central Office like a day at the beach. Mismanaged starting from the top.

  35. Hrm, why aren’t VCs, crypto swindlers and charter school ghouls rustling up a recall campaign to help Latino families in the Mission?

    1. Recall whom and why? Is there anything in the city you actually do know anything about, Marc? Why don’t you spend your energy making it better rather than trolling all comments about our schools.

  36. SFUSD admin is vile and many of them are probably happy when a kid physically abuses a teacher – especially if it’s an older teacher that the principal doesn’t like.

    1. Almost all middle school principals are decent- I can think of one exception and it’s a high performing school.

      Everett is an especially political place, for whatever reason

      1. @Insider – “Almost all middle school principals are decent”
        Sorry but I hurt myself laughing at that. There isn’t one single principal in SFUSD that I would trust with even the most basic of integral decency. There is no way to advance in SFUSD admin if you aren’t willing to do some pretty nasty stuff. SFUSD is corrupt and toxic from the top down and decent principals don’t last more than two years ever. It’s a complete cess pool of lies, cover-ups, bullying, abuse, falsification of documents, theft and so much more.

        1. Let’s not go overboard. I had a MS principal who remembered me and my kid by name as we walked by after over a year of remote learning. We were all wearing masks too. There is no doubt in my mind that he is devoted to his job, even though my kid was bullied also.

      2. Most middle school admin aren’t “decent”. Because of their lousy contract and poor union organizing, the once-respected positions of Principal and Vice-Principal are now nothing more than corporate middle-managers. Their job is to do whatever their bosses say, or they’re fired at will after their 3-year contracts. They can be nice people, but when push comes to shove, they’ll kow tow to their bosses and screw over everyone – students, parents, teachers – to get their checks.

  37. We left Everett for Gateway because of concerns about safety. Our experience at Gateway has been nothing short of amazing. Truly EXCEPTIONAL staff and administrators that are intentional and responsive in every situation. Particularly around helping students return to classroom norms after the havoc that the pandemic has wreaked on students’ emotional and social wellbeing.

  38. Sadly Everett MS has been neglected and in the throes of a power struggle between Parents, Staff and multiple turnovers on the Admin Team; outnumbered by the few real advocates for the Students. The funding per Student classification structure promotes school admin teams to make decisions based on how to get more money. It’s not necessarily that all admins are bad at their job. The funding structure needs to be changed!

  39. Kids need to be held accountable at a young age. Otherwise they get worse as they grow. If they aren’t taught what’s wrong or right, they will not grow up with good morals. Sadly, many lack a moral compass nowadays. We need to change this at all levels.

  40. I worked there as a fully credentialed teacher, along with many other highly qualified individuals. Around 2015 many of us credentialed teachers were pushed out and replaced by Teach for America ‘teachers’. The admin then is long gone and this is their doing.

    1. Completely agree! That was when it started… and they’re holding on dearly to keep the status quo. It’s time for these anti-racist theatrics to stop! The main reason why these people are protected to date is because those same administrators are now working at the top in school district. Please look into this! 🆘 There is a child in the hospital right now fighting for their lives while the principles and the administration tries to cover it up. Is this another outlier scenario?! Who are the liars now? https://www.ktvu.com/news/attack-by-student-at-san-francisco-school-leaves-middle-schooler-with-life-threatening-injuries

  41. Thank you for this article. I came on as support staff in January and could not believe how toxic and dysfunctional it was. I spoke out as much as I could to the administration, who were nowhere to be found may I add, to timid responses. It broke my heart to see the trauma the majority of the student body and teachers were being subjected to by clans of wandering bullies. The struggling, unsupported staff that were there heroically remained even though many of them had not even paid for the first few months of the year because of payroll issues.

  42. Aptos middle school has a lot of problems and a really bad principal too. This is all coming down to SFSUD having a large swath of really bad principals. I can’t think of one good one.

    1. I’ve heard Aptos has it’s own problems. It’s not necessary the admin, it’s the lack of support staff, substitutes, and vacancies plus the effects of pandemic and a racist, patriarchal, homophobic,xenophobic,ableist, sexist culture and the trickle down of those systems. It’s bigger than the principal. It’s bigger than all the principal. But Aptos’ principal is hardworking and has lots of passion.

      1. What does passion have to do with anything? Lot’s people have passion for things they’re bad at – we call those things “hobbies” and “special interests.” If the principal can’t do his job , which I hear from everyone I know that is affiliated with Aptos that he’s horrible at his job, then he needs to step aside a let someone else lead.

      2. We went to Aptos before the pandemic and the violence my son experienced there had nothing to do with any “isms” or “ists.” I’m so tired of this excuse. It was just out of control kids who use violence to solve every little transgression, such as accidentally bumping into someone. And the two worst incidences were by kids of two different races. There are plenty of kids of all races who don’t act violently. Violence becomes a way life for some people, and peers and family culture put pressure on each next generation to use violence to show they are not weak. We just went through this again at HS Kids who think they are going to be successful using this path need to go to some kind of Buddhist boarding school if we hope to break this cycle. Their trauma and violence is contagious, and even 10 kids at this level of violent dysfunction, at a school of 1,000, can spread and derail hundreds of other kids. Most aren’t participating in academics anyway, so diverting violent students into a mental-health focused therapeutic alternative school would help them and save others from PTSD.

        1. @JP you say you are tired of “isms” but you list the effects of them!

          “Violence becomes a way life for some people, and peers and family culture put pressure on each next generation to use violence to show they are not weak…. Their trauma and violence is contagious, and even 10 kids at this level of violent dysfunction, at a school of 1,000, can spread and derail hundreds of other kids.”
          What is up with that? All the “isms” are very real and have huge impacts. Just because you are tired of them (and presumably “social justice warriors” )doesn’t mean they aren’t real or have an impact or society as a whole. Trauma, violence, etc are the results of the isms. Not everyone is on the same playing field in life.
          Also the principal prior to covid closure left. There is a new principal now.

        2. When I went to school in the East Bay there was a school for those that had behavioral or simply could not stay on path to graduate. Sorry if that is culling the herd but it was not as if those kids were given numerous chances. My kids were lucky, going through SF Catholic schools from kindergarten through HS graduation. Best experience ever. Sorry to hear the public schools have gone downhill so far. I was shocked in my one experience with SF public schools (other than the lottery). Was waiting in the Principals lobby of SOTA meeting the head of athletics and an alert came through about a student physically threatening students in a class, and everyone shrugged, and one said, “Oh it’s just Will again.” What???? And that was SOTA, SFUSD’s selective art and performance school. I walked out of there and thanked god my daughter was not selected for her acting.

  43. Why doesn’t your reporter say where Everett is, what kind of neighborhood? History of school and interaction with area and the district. Trouble before? School board reaction.

    1. Everett MS is on Church Street between 16th and 17th and sort of between the Mission and the Castro districts (a block or so west of Mission Dolores). It’s kind of a good-looking building from the outside…..

  44. It is all very sad that schools in San Francisco are out of control.
    Teachers and students are no longer Safe in their classrooms.
    In the Southeast, Teachers and
    ADMINISTRATORS run the schools not the students and parents. Teachers need to be allowed to do their job and unruly students need to be dealt with and given the help they need.
    Let’s not pull the “Race or “Discrimination Card” here and take this problem at Face Value WE NEED HELP. ALL STUDENTS and TEACHERS need to be safe and allow teachers to do their job – to teach our students. ALL students DESERVE AN EDUCATION!

  45. Yeah. Cuz your stupid, pointless,expensive recall accomplished SO much. You own this rabid recallers. Its all yours.

  46. Sounds like good time for a change – dysfunction starts at the top. Can’t wait for the “Restorative justice” era to end, sometimes people just need clear signals to learn right from wrong.

  47. Jesus, I feel so bad for the teachers and the students

    I’d very much like to see a comparison of how the school would have handled this in the past, prior to implementing their “antiracist approach” and I’d like to see just what that “antiracist approach” entails

  48. I witnessed and fell victim to many incidents like these at all three SFUSD schools where I taught successfully for 12 years. I was often reprimanded for holding students accountable, being strict and expecting appropriate behaviors. Many teachers are called out on their minor flaws, (raising ones voice) while being slapped with major false accusations, (pushing a child). Making it difficult to defend oneself. I had to hire a lawyer to save my credential. Im not alone.

    SFUSD has been corrupt for a very long time. There is a teacher shortage because they lie about their staff, they’re afraid to deal with the parents and largely they are incompetent humans in leader positions being dictated to by the top of the food chain. These folks are running schools right into the ground. Teachers are working overtime to save the kids from an institution that’s trying to kill them, while having their characters defamed with lies. When the institutions that raises our children are corrupt, it’s over! No wonder so many are jumping ship!! Duh!! Teachers aren’t stupid, but treating them so, is!

    1. Yep! The admin in SFUSD is rotten to the core. They lie the faces off and everyone can know they’e lying and they keep on lying cause they can. Just really bad people in SFUSD leadership. Either the public helps us get rid of every principal and admin or there is no hope.

    2. I worked as a substitute at SF unified School district. I ended up quitting when I asked three boys there were just three boys in the class to get to work and told them that even a janitor would need to know simple math to do his work his or her work it’s called a racist I was my nearly lost my credential my ability to get a credential and I came to the conclusion that the union that San Francisco unified School district exists for its Union it does not exist for the students i. I’m I’m voice texting this is going to sound weird but I just saw so many incidences where kids weren’t learning and they were next to kids they were so disruptive that even if they wanted to learn they couldn’t. I was constantly faulted for not knowing how to handle violent classrooms. At one point I had to call the police to come to the classroom at James lick because the security guards weren’t doing anything. I had one class a computer class of 50 children 50 students. But it’s not money it’s attitude the principles unfortunately are I don’t they’re just people who who want to blame someone else for things that they should be dealing with themselves and there’s and you know there’s when certain kids act bad and you send them out or you kick them out you get in trouble and you get called to racist based on their race and your own. I think and no one is learning in San Francisco unified School district even out by the beach even in the Chinese neighborhoods they were there were there were classes of kids that specialized kids and when I would ask for help for the kids and the special ed because the age just just messed around they did nothing with these kids they’d have them trace letters with a with a highlighter over and over and over again all day I mean they weren’t learning anything and when I brought this up to somebody in school I was kicked out of the school in the position and I feel like there’s so much dishonesty and there’s just so much dishonesty at San Francisco unified School district and until you are honest about what is happening what’s going on then you can’t you can’t change anything.

      1. I meant to say AIDS a i d s they would do nothing and they had these special education kids but the administration of that school would never come to that class to see what was going on and I spoke up about it and I was told that I couldn’t come back and it’s so horribly dishonest and in some way we’re teaching children the worst thing which is that the things that create our life and our environments they’re based on principles as in p r i n c p l e s. And when we ignore these things to protect ourselves or further our cause it creates such a sense of Injustice and a distraction from the whole purpose of education which is that knowledge has power. I personally think that Paras also known as AIDS are a waste of money in 90% of the classes

  49. I worked at Everett 65 years ago as a teacher aide. One day we had a fire drill, and at the end of the drill, there were teachers and students still left in the building. There was no way everyone could even get out. Why is that place still standing?

  50. If you are a teacher, especially a civics or social studies teacher, or know of any teachers who would like guest speakers to come in and talk to their classes about things like freedom, democracy, and politics, I’m more than happy to do this as an activist who is familiar with the issues (email me at RealReform@earthlink.net).

    Sadly the SFUSD does little to facilitate guest speakers from the community even though they are short of teachers. When I tried to volunteer to come in and present to a class at Mission H.S., the principal left me a voicemail message threatening to report me to the police if I kept contacting them! This is how they treat community members who aren’t part of the educational establishment but want to help?! 🙁

    It’s no wonder that more and more families are choosing to get out of the poorly run government schools, and migrating to independent schools or homeschooling instead.

  51. Knowing teachers at the school and hearing their stories over the last several years has left many of us appalled with the administrations lack of leadership. I am glad to see it all hit the press.
    Maybe somehow the powers that be will rise up and help fix the problems our schools face.
    Please give the administrator some power and autonomy without repercussions regarding funding or job stability. Develop a culture within the schools that reflects the teachers desires to be there, assisting our kids to learn and become contributing adults. Our middle schools lay the foundation of successful high school years or the opposite of which can lead to high dropout rates or criminal activities.
    Kudos to the teachers that came forward to the press for the betterment of Everett.
    Better days ahead!!

  52. My child complains of the same thing. Out of control kids. Teachers calling in sick and the exits all being chained up to prevent cutting class I guess? It’s a mess.

  53. So sad. The state of a general decline in respect and discipline in society reflected in SF public schools. How are the parents dealing with the behaviors of their children? Restorative justice is B.S. and SFUSD needs to start kicking ass, expelling these kids and holding their parents responsible. School should be considered a privilege like in other countries.

    1. If I were a child hating bigot who wanted to destroy their lives I can think of no better way to do so than teaching them at middle school age that there are no consequences for bad behavior.

  54. Who would ever want to become a teacher in SFUSD?? Low salary, unsafe work conditions, some employees not receiving full payment on time. Sounds awful

  55. What’s needed is cleaning from the top. SFUSD employs too many admins and their wages force consolidation and layoffs with teachers.
    Teachers get no support and all the blame. Students can get away with murder at SFUSD… My colleague was beaten in public by a student and instead they fired her.

  56. Wow a student beat up a teacher to the point of hearing loss and a concussion and there were no consequences? Crazy

    What was the line about anti-racist teaching about in the article? Seemed out of place

    1. It’s amazing how the commenters here will mention absolutely everything but money. This is a direct result of Prop 13 and de-funding the public schools. Overly large class sizes, one adult in the room, lack of support personnel, nowhere to divert behavioral problems. It’s all money.
      We saw this in our time in the public schools. Administrators, teachers, parents would discuss everything but the obvious. Lack of money is the disease. The rest are symptoms.

      1. A ridiculous take. I attended Seattle school district. We had no fewer than 35 students per class in the 70s and 80s, things like this didn’t happen. But you clearly haven’t reached your conclusion through reason, therefore I can’t help you reason it out.

      2. Absolutely not true!
        The State of California has a 31 BILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS !
        Your incorrect – your Prop 13 rant would only apply if a piece of real estate never changed hands. The second biggest SF revenue generator is the Assessment Tax which denotes new (extremely high) property tax reassessment. California is the 6th largest economy IN THE WORLD, where 50% of our tax base goes to education (probably time to check in with the mob mentality teachers union shaking parents down!).
        Prop 13 protects retiree’s and working class families. Our dysfunctional government would rip off every tax dollar they can, and waste it on bloated school bullshit like ; dual principles and several assistant principles, personal assistant per non functioning administrator and so on……

      3. Even with reduced classroom sizes – lack of structure, little student supervision, and no security/behavioral staff for middle school students – creates a chaotic, unsustainable classroom environment. Student engagement is up to the individual. That looks like – some on task while others are on phones, socializing being inappropriate or walking around – in and out of class.

  57. Nice reporting, again. Thank you. This has been an issue for years and years, but its especially bad now, in many schools, for many reasons. To me, this is an issue where ideology and reality clash really badly. We want full, democratic inclusion, on all levels – and I agree with that in principle – but all that’s been happening is an increase in (illegally unreported) disciplinary issues and degradation of academics. Ideology is trumping reason. The district’s stats on educational outcomes are blatantly false (why that’s not a bigger story, I don’t know), the district leadership is in shambles, our paychecks are a mess, a majority of us paid thousands more in taxes this year, and, sadly, faith in our union leadership is crumbling. That, in itself, is another story. What happens when teachers, paras, and substitute teachers can’t rely on admins, their support staff, district administration, and their own union leadership? They leave, but not before they’ve been beaten, apparently.

  58. Man, this is eerie. We saw similar things at Rooftop 8 years ago. Principal got fired for not reporting properly. Restorative justice, bless its well meaning heart, is largely an excuse to just not do anything (it needs a lot of people to work). Fights. Kids wandering around around outside class.
    Thankfully they were elementary kids, so punching the teachers (happened a lot) wasn’t as dangerous.

    Similar behavior problems, usually undiagnosed and not enough adults in any given classroom. It all comes down to the money. This is the fruit of the tree of Prop 13.

    1. There are many more underfunded schools that don’t have these issues.
      Parochial schools in SF teach with half the money and twice the students per class without these issues.
      Prop 13?
      Got to blame it on something I guess.

      1. People always say its about the money… they are right but lets get more specific.

        SFUSD has HUNDREDS of vacancies for para-educators (class aids) and classroom teachers. Many para-educators work second and third jobs which conflict with their work schedule but pay more which means the absence rate for these positions is astronomical.

        SFUSD also pays teachers and staff less money than surrounding districts even though its cheaper to live in other parts of the Bay Area. This creates a revolving door for teachers. They cut their teeth is SFUSD for the first 2-5 years in the city and when they have gained some experience and its time to buy a house or have kids they move out of the city and find a higher paying teaching job they might not have competed for in their first year. We have a glut of inexperienced (albeit amazing and dedicated) teachers. We cant hold onto them because the pay and cost of living don’t make it possible to stay. We are literally doing the training for all our surrounding school districts and getting nothing in return.

        Stop blaming site administrators and villainizing them. The vast majority of them are dedicated to persevering in a highly politicized, underpaid, understaffed system for the sake of the children they serve.

        If you want to see real positive changes and academic results for our kids push the school board to increase the salary for teachers, para-educators, security staff, counselors, and everyone else that works in school buildings. At the moment its just not a monetarily competitive workplace and as a result we have a district that is understaffed and inexperienced.

        Oh and stop talking comparing private schools. Public school takes every kid that enrolls. Period. Private school pick and choose. They are not the same.

        1. Charter schools seem to have better outcomes for the same population with even harder funding constraints.

          1. That’s because they can choose their students. They have no obligation to keep a kid enrolled. You act up, you’re out. You have a mile long discipline record, you don’t get admitted.

      2. Twice the students? You realize public schools can have 40 kids in a class, right?

      3. Parochial schools can kick kids out for even minor disruptive behavior, so that is why they don’t have these issues.

      4. Half the money? Twice the students? I guess with half the money (by which you must mean per student, so about $5-6 k) you would need twice the students just to barely cover the basic costs. I believe it is also true that the pope sends money to subsidize parochial schools.

    2. Restorative justice is why tax money moves out of any district. Its BS and nobody with any brains wants anything to do with it.

  59. More sensational so-called reporting from an inconsequential rag. Don’t believe a word of it. The Principal is very hard working and doing their level best under extreme conditions.

    1. The principal’s best isn’t good enough and she should never have been in the job. A teacher lost 75% of her hearing for God Sake. The principal should be escorted out and brought up on criminal negligence. SFUSD Bully Principals have had too much power to be corrupt for too long. Party is over SFUSD Bully Principals!

    2. The principal is actively harming teachers and other students if she doesn’t report violence to the police which appears to have been happening all year and certainly did for me with an assault, a gun threat, and stalking. It breaks contract, ed code, penal code, and mandatory reporting laws.

    3. seems you know her personally!! you might be one of the 10 Everett staff who defend the school (her)
      Mediocre hard working for sure.

    1. The recall was pointless. The district needs a lot more money. Everything else is a waste of time.

      1. For a district in such dire need for money, it sure seems to have budget for a lot of distractions like painting murals and funding legal fees for board members to sue each other.

      2. I live right next to Everett Middle school and right now the city has spent tons of $$$ cleaning the whole street and sidewalk for a dog and pony show that is supposed to happen here in the next day. In a drought year they must have spent 100s of gallons of water cleaning the streets.

  60. This has been our experience at Gateway Middle School. Out of control bullying and an administration unable to hold students accountable. Teachers are understandably burned out and leaving the profession. Not sure if we’ll stay for high school.

    1. I have a child at Gateway MS too and I agree — it’s not as bad as what’s going on at Everett but it will eventually get there if they don’t get it together soon. I don’t think we’re staying for 7th/8th grade.

    2. I substituted at Everett Middle School 1 day months before the pandemic. When leaving the school that afternoon, I told myself that I would never substitute there again. I was shocked by the violence, racism and lack of support I experienced in 1 day. These issues have been happening for years at EMS. I have substituted at nearby high schools. I did not experience these issues at the High Schools. But check out the high schools yourself. See if you can attend a class or two during a school day.

        1. You just need to call the school and set it up like an appointment. I would talk to the teacher who’s class you’d like to sit in too first and let them know you’re intentions as well. Maybe ask if there is anything you should know before you attend.

    3. Gateway has a really high turn over of teachers . Even though we have UESF as a union they do nothing to help. They just take our money. UESF is just a responsible for all this as the fools at Central Office in SFUSD.

      1. How many union committee meetings have you been to? Do you know who your rep and/or shop stewards are?

        1. So you’re blaming the teacher for the union’s negligence. We pay UESF way too much money and we shouldn’t have to go to your cronistic meetings to be given the protection we pay for. UESF isn’t doing their job and you know it. You show up for the racist Alison Collins and you need to start showing up for us bullied teachers or stop taking our money.

          1. The union rep, Garza at Everett was not only ill informed about video laws and the contract, he delayed information about the illegal activities that Everett Admin is doing as neglect in reporting abuse, assault, and more. Teachers will continue to be abused as long as they are marginalized by the rest of the system of education.

          2. Garza is part of the whole “middle school redesign” cult. He, like our union leadership, was asleep at the wheel, dreaming of being social justice warriors, while doing nothing to improve the lives of teachers, paras, and substitute teachers miserable. He literally did nothing except deflect criticism and make snide comments. Let’s vote him out asap. MS deserves better.

        2. @Sigh. You’re deflecting cause you know UESF’s continued gross negligence in so many areas is very possibly getting into criminal territory and you know you’re being called out on it. We aren’t taking UESF’s bullying and stealing our money to hurt us any longer.

        3. @sigh….you need to step back with your comments. UESF has not only been “negligent.” I can introduce you to a lot of people who will be happy to tell stories about how @UESF was WILLFULLY allowing teachers and paras to be abused on a regular basis. There needs to be massive widespread investigations into this culture of covering up and bullying and in many cases firing whistleblowers. UESF is not innocent here. You can’t take money and control people’s contracts and control they rights to grievances and abuse them. This has to stop. So many innocent people are being hurt by the actions of those at UESF and SFUSD leadership. Enough is enough.

      2. UESF represents only the special education teachers and paraeducators at Gateway. (SFUSD is required by law to provide special education services to charter, private,
        and parochial school students.) The general education teachers at Gateway are not members of UESF.

        1. @Susan Solomon – Since we’re talking about a culture of retaliation, system racism, financial fraud and general abuse of vulnerable people, lets get you to tell us all how your 2018 Lead PAR Coach who is now a AP at Carver, miraculously got an extra $32K+ dropped into her already very high (for a teacher) salary when she was also making money at USF that year. Tell us what that payment was for Susan. We’ve been waiting a long time for you to come clean on all this.

      3. Not true. Several top notch teachers have been at Gateway for years. Some of the newer teachers move on but they have an incredibly deep group of teachers that have been there and make that school great. Sfusd is loosing teachers daily.

    4. Hey! I to Gateway High School and even though I was bullied at the Middle School, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s middle school. The High School is incredible! I feel so safe and happy here!

    5. We have kids at gateway HS and MS. I have not heard of anything close to this. Yes it’s been a hard year for many returning students and student behaviors at Gateway middle are on par to what I have heard elsewhere. The Gateway teachers and staff have been exceptionally present and responsive to these students and all the students from our experience.
      I have heard nothing of any sort at the HS and our child definitely feels safe at that school. Our MS child also feels safe.
      Gateway is a charter and they do not “choose” their students. It is a lottery like other schools in the district.

    6. Gateway Middle School is out of control. Arguably, what’s happening there is WORSE then Everett. My kid said two boys are suspended for bringing a loaded gun to school and threatening other students. administration hasn’t even told parents. ridiculous. i’ll be calling the board soon

    7. I am a parent of two SFUSD kids, one at Denman Middle School and although I have not yet heard that the situation is as dire as Everett, I think we are headed the same direction. Teacher absenteeism, unqualified substitutes, and Tons of Youtube and movies being played to entertain the kids instead of teaching. My 6th grader never has homework and is getting straight As. So discouraging!!