A Response to Mr. Guikema's Message
Yesterday our principal sent out a statement regarding the events at last Wednesday's school board meeting. This statement is also in the Pink Panther. We feel it is important that we share with you our feelings about this statement.
We are very disappointed that Mr. Guikema initially chose to phrase his concern with the statement that people from our community were "in physical conflict with school district police and school security officers." We were there, and many of you were too, and many of you who were not there have seen footage. Members of our community, in coalition with others throughout the district who are fighting against school closures, have been protesting peacefully, and have never said or done anything to suggest that we would ever protest with violence. What happened Wednesday evening can only be described as an attack on parents, teachers, and children by the police. The district's decision to have such a large police presence and to erect barriers was unnecessary and intimidating, and when we made it clear that we expected to be heard by the board and the central administration regardless of these measures, we were met with violence.
After reading Mr. Guikema's Konstella message, teachers were frustrated by the inaccuracy and misrepresentation and asked him to revise his statement. His revised statement reads: "I was deeply troubled by the videos and images I later saw emerging from the board meeting." However, he refused to acknowledge the fact that this was an attack on members of our community. We hope you can appreciate why we are sharing with you how troubled we are by his statement. We are troubled that he is using Konstella as a platform for his message when he knows that the message he is putting out is not supportive of his staff and his community. We are troubled that he has repeatedly chosen to toe the district line rather than standing behind his community, and that he continues to put out statements that are not accurate representations of what happened last week. Please feel free to reach out to us with questions, concerns, or comments. As always, we are here in support of students all across Oakland, who have been affected, are being affected, and will continue to be affected by these school closures. That is our only priority.
The Kaiser Teachers