Medical Responders Referred to as In To Help Ailing Oakland Faculties Starvation Strikers – CBS San Francisco
OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A medical response team was called on Tuesday morning to treat a pair of Oakland teachers who were in the eighth day of a hunger strike, protesting at an Oakland Unified School District plan to close or merge more than a dozen schools.
In a statement, supporters of Moses Omolade and André San-Chez said the pair were suffering from failing health.
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“Convocation hunger strikers, Moses Omolade and André San-Chez are having health difficulties this morning,” the release stated. “Medical teams are on the way to Westlake Middle School now to support.”
A statement was included in the update, San-Chez told the board — “If I die, I want the board to know my death was at your hands.”
A heated battle has been waged by teachers, students and parents for several weeks over the plan which comes up for a vote on Tuesday night.
The proposed closure list was released to the public at the end of January. Six schools — Brookfield, Carl Munck, Prescott, Grass Valley, Parker, Community Day School — are recommended for closure at the end of this academic year. Two other schools — Horace Mann Elementary and Korematsu Discovery Academy — would close after next year, with their students then being reassigned to other schools.
Additionally, three schools would merge onto other campuses after this school year with Manzanita Community School moving to join Fruitvale Elementary the following year.
OUSD says for the amount of students in the district, there are far too many campuses and the budget is blown. OUSD has 33,000 students and 80 campuses. Fremont has 34,000 students and 42 schools. In Stockton, 48 schools serve 35,000.
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OUSD parent of four Vanessa Gutierrez says if Brookfield and Grass Valley close, the move will cost her close to $100 a day in Uber fees to get her kids to class, because she doesn’t drive.
“They’re not thinking about the people that are less fortunate than them,” Gutierrez told KPIX5. She’s also worried about losing the Brookfield special ed teacher her son relies on.
“For him to get sent to another school with different teachers, that’s honestly something that I will always try to fight for my kids,” she said. “I don’t like them being switched from one teacher to another.”
Corrin Haskell, a teacher at Brookfield for the past 25 years, says this is about losing a valuable community school and resource and putting kids in danger.
“There’s not really a school that’s within safe walking distance from here if you’ve ever been to the Brookfield/Sobrany Park area. It’s not really a place where people walk around freely for miles,” said Haskell. “Taking these kids and making them walk another one and a half, two miles to get to another school on top of that is really unfair.”
In a statement, OUSD said this about the hunger strikes and protest:
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“We support everyone’s right to protest, including protesting possible decisions by the Board of Education. Of course, the District cares deeply about the health and well-being of our staff, and hopes that any staff member engaging in a hunger strike explores other means of protest that don’t involve harming themselves. We know that our students, staff, and families all agree that we need a district of thriving schools, yet not everyone necessarily agrees on how best to get there.”