Students in public high schools in San Francisco are already offered ethnic studies courses. But that’s no longer enough in a nation where police are systematically prejudiced against people of color. So to remedy this deficiency and promote social justice, the city’s Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution Dec. 9 that would expand the San Francisco Unified School District’s curriculum to include a unit titled “Black Lives Matter.”
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the district will also “enrich” middle school classrooms by focusing more on multiculturalism and multiethnic studies.
To meet the new goals, a group of five teacher librarians created an online compilation of resources related to the “black lives matter” movement that arose out of grand jury decisions not to indict the officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Chalida Anusasananan, a teacher librarian at Everett Middle School who helped launch the resource guide, said both incidents and the subsequent protests have hit home with many public-school students in San Francisco, where nearly 90 percent are nonwhite.
“We wanted to make sure that teachers had a means to teach what students were talking about with their families, or seeing on the news, or feeling every day,” Anusasananan said.
The resources, posted to the district’s LibGuide page, include the grand jury documents, videos and graphics, readings, poetry(?), and lesson plans and activities.
Karen Zapata, a humanities teacher at June Jordan High School and a co-founder of the grass-roots organization Teachers 4 Social Justice, is quoted as saying:
What has to happen first and foremost is to create a safe space in the classroom for young people to talk about these things. What’s happened affects young people on an emotional level.
Though the district has been on break for two weeks, the guide is already up and has been among the most-viewed materials at the site.