Tension prompts Oakland school board to move meeting, keep public in separate room
OAKLAND, Calif. - More tension at the Oakland Unified School District board meeting Wednesday prompted the board to relocate from a large auditorium at La Escuelita Elementary School to a small committee room, after parents, teachers, and community members upset with the board raised their signs and voices during the public comment.
"I'm glad everyone's here to see this," said Mike Hutchinson of Oakland.
The board members continued with the meeting and informed protesters they would be able to observe and comment by closed circuit television from the auditorium.
Before the meeting, members with the Oakland Not For Sale Coalition held a protest. They are upset over the Oct. 23 board meeting, when
OUSD police officers clashed with people over a barrier as the people were protesting the relocation of Kaiser Elementary students to the Sankofa Academy. Oct. 23, 2019
"We just thought that we needed to step up and make our voice heard and let them know that it’s not okay to bring police violence against their own employees," said Alex Webster Guiney, an Oakland High School special education teacher.
"How violent could we be with our children, present and our song sheets and guitars. They showed up with 20 cops and metal batons and metal barricades, said Saru Jayaraman, an Oakland parent and coordinator with the Oakland Not for Sale Coalition.
Jayaraman showed up with crutches Wednesday night. She says she and other parents were injured in the clash and plan to sue the school district.
"I was severely injured. Four cops threw me to the ground, injured my knee, tore my ACL, injured my MC meniscus and bone and another parents' ribs were cracked," said Jayaraman.
The school district and OUSD police chief said Wednesday night they plan to have a third party review the officers' actions.
"We will be taking a second look at the police department and the role they play and how best to use them. So we're going to bring in outside auditor if you will and see how it's working and what best practices can be added," said John Sasaki, an Oakland Unified School District spokesman.
The OUSD school board will hold a special board meeting next Wednesday Nov. 20. Many protestors said they plan to attend and might also hold a rally Nov. 22.