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‘A public education crisis;’ BUSD Parents Rally to Open School

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‘A public education crisis;’ BUSD Parents Rally to Open School

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Parents, students and doctors organized to show support for opening schools, despite some teachers’ direct opposition.

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By

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Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) Parents held its third Open Schools rally on Saturday, February 6, across from Berkeley High School (BHS) at MLK Jr. Civic Center Park. The event lasted from 12 PM to 1:30 PM. Its purpose was to call attention to an ongoing mental health crisis faced by students due to the continuation of online school. The rally promoted AB10, a bill introduced to the legislature to set a firm deadline by which all California schools must provide live in-person instruction. The demonstration hosted multiple medical health professionals to vouch for a swift reopening of schools with scientific claims. However, not all of the attendees had the same outlook on reopening.

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Mar 14
Student Arooj Saleem (Mar 14 2021 10:19PM) : Disagree more

I can understand that the parents are concerned about the mental health of their children. But it is also important to understand that we have to think about safety of all the students and teachers. All the teachers and students need to get vaccinated so that it would safe to open the school.

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Mar 15
Marlene Ortigoza (Mar 15 2021 2:04PM) : I found interesting how suddenly many parents are actually caring for their child's mental health.
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Mar 15
Edwin Odir Sol Aranda (Mar 15 2021 7:04PM) : opinion more

I think that what Katharine said is very true, but she has also understand that what schools district are worry about students and teachers heaths.

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Mar 11
Rafael Velazquez (Mar 11 2021 1:03PM) : I can corroborate this quote because I have experienced some mental health problems which have caused me to get lower grades at school.
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Over 100 people attended the event, the majority of the crowd being guardians of children who currently attend BUSD schools. The gathering was by far the largest compared to the past two protests. A line of around ten doctors formed at the top steps of the amphitheater shortly after the event began. They spread out near a cork board emblazoned with the prompt, “What’s Happening?” It had been pinned with pieces of fabric written on with words such as, “Zoom headaches,” “Stress,” and “I miss my friends.” Next to the board was a banner displaying the term, “Public Education.” A table below the steps was equipped with signs for attendees to hold up and take home.

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Mar 15
Marlene Ortigoza (Mar 15 2021 11:53PM) : I wonder if the people were protecting themselves, wearing their masks and social distancing. [Edited]
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Mar 19
E Camila Velasquez (Mar 19 2021 2:40PM) : Anxiety, stress and depression more

It is surprising for me to see how parents are taking seriously the mental health of their children. Being at home the whole day can cause anxiety, stress and depression therefore, I can understand how they feel being stuck at home everyday.

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Mar 11
Rafael Velazquez (Mar 11 2021 1:08PM) : I totally agree with this, is not easy to be in front of the computer for about 6 hours each day.
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BHS junior Chloe Freeling agreed with the statements on the board, explaining that some aspects of online schooling have been debilitating to her college-seeking process. “I need teachers to write me letters of recommendation. And I don’t know how they’re going to do that if they only know me through a computer screen,” Freeling said.

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Mar 11
Edwin Odir Sol Aranda (Mar 11 2021 1:07PM) : conecction more

I really can relate to this the same situation as well because sometimes I feel like is going to be harder to me to get involved into college. Sometimes I feel really frustrated when I start to think about my education after high school.

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Mar 19
E Camila Velasquez (Mar 19 2021 2:42PM) : Confusion [Edited] more

I can connect to this because sometimes I feel overwhelmed about my further education. I am really misinformed about how to get enroll into college and that frustrates me.

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BHS freshman Katharine Graham said, “We’re your future generation. Don’t you want us to be educated?” Maddalena Walsh, an 8th grader at Longfellow and friend of Grahams recounted times her friends had called her about suicidal thoughts and eating disorders. She addressed current business reopenings and said, “If you can do this for restaurants, you can do this for schools.”

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Mar 15
Marlene Ortigoza (Mar 15 2021 2:08PM) : I believe we should consider the privileged we have, by owning the opportunity to learn, while in some countries they aren't able to own a device to communicate or receive education.
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Mar 11
Rafael Velazquez (Mar 11 2021 1:23PM) : I don't think we can compare restaurants with schools because in the restaurants around 50-100 people attend per day, whereas there are 700 students attending school every day.
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Mar 14
Student Arooj Saleem (Mar 14 2021 10:23PM) : Agree more

I agree with Rafael because there are a lot students in the school. For example BHS has more than 3000 students.

Lei Levi, an organizer of the event, spoke into a microphone as she addressed the families that gathered. “This is a mental health crisis, as well as a public education crisis,” she said. “The science shows that we need to open our schools!” The crowd cheered as Levi introduced the first speaker of the event.

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Mar 14
Student Arooj Saleem (Mar 14 2021 10:26PM) : DISAGREE more

The scientist says COVID is serious, we need to keep social distance and stay home so that we can protect out family and other people from COVID and lower the spread of virus.

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Mar 15
Edwin Odir Sol Aranda (Mar 15 2021 7:08PM) : agree and disagree more

I agree with the part of “mental health crisis”, but I’m disagree with the part that says “BUDS have to open schools” because is not really safe yet, is true there is already the vaccine against the virus, but we don’t know how well it works. we can’t put the rest of people in danger opening school, when is not safe yet.

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Mar 19
E Camila Velasquez (Mar 19 2021 2:46PM) : Safety more

Even though I understand that many parents want they children coming back to school, we all have to understand that exposing our lives is not the best way to come back. Therefore, we have to be prepared and well-informed about the returning to school.

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Mar 19
E Camila Velasquez (Mar 19 2021 2:59PM) : feeling. [Edited] more

I know how it feels because I’ve had several mental health crisis. Sometimes, I feel I have a lot of homework and not enough time to finish all of them. Also being in a computer 24/7 could be overwhelming and stressing. I just hope the change won’t be so drastic when we go back to school.

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Dr. Shelene Stine, a medical educator at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, and community physician trained in internal medicine and Doctor Rohini Haar, an Oakland ER doctor, shared stories of mental health issues arising in students. Haar expressed her frustration with being unable to send children help “because the child psych beds are full.” Dr. Stine spoke for a pediatric colleague who had detailed an immense rise in suicidal ideation and mental health-related hospitalizations in children since the closing of schools.

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BHS math teacher Masha Albrecht walked her bike through the event as Levi began to introduce the next health professional. She gestured at the speakers, yelling, “You want us to die!”

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Mar 14
Student Arooj Saleem (Mar 14 2021 10:28PM) : Important Fact more

Everyone is scared and want to keep themselves safe so that they would not get COVID.

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Mar 15
Marlene Ortigoza (Mar 15 2021 2:03PM) : Surprised more

Ms. Albrecht is my math teacher, and I was surprised to see her speaking up for those who agree with her. I can understand how teachers can also be desperate to turn back to school such as us their students. I am glad to read that one of many of my amazing teachers care for the safety of their students and teachers.

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Mar 15
Edwin Odir Sol Aranda (Mar 15 2021 7:13PM) : reaction more

I mean from my point of view, this is funny and courage as well, because she was in the middle of the event and tell all of them “you want us to die” was really brave of her doing that, which is true tho. As I said before is not totally safe to get back to school.

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Mar 11
Rafael Velazquez (Mar 11 2021 1:13PM) : Although I want to come back to school, I feel empathy with the teachers who don't agree because they haven't get the vaccine.
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Mar 19
E Camila Velasquez (Mar 19 2021 2:51PM) : teachers [Edited] more

Forcing teachers to come back school doesn’t sound like a good plan. First of all, the government cannot comment on their personal decisions, more than teachers, they are humans and they should have the total control over their actions and to decide whether or not to come back. Last but not least, their health is just as important as the others, therefore if they don’t feel comfortable coming back, they shouldn’t.

Albrecht had been dropping off supplies to her English Learners students when she noticed the rally. “They’re treating us like idiots,” she said. “I’m especially upset with the doctors who are saying, listen to the science,” Albrecht said.

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“I’m a mathematician, I can read statistical studies. Nobody has shared anything with me that convinces me it’s safe for me to go back to that school with a whole bunch of kids.” Albrecht said she would feel safer returning to school after being vaccinated.

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Doctor Jeanne Noble, an emergency medicine physician who directs COVID-19 responses at UC San Francisco’s emergency medical department, confronted Albrecht and attempted to address her concerns. Later, Noble spoke for her colleagues, “We would really like [teachers] to know what the science shows, and to tell them that we would never ask them to [reopen] if it was unsafe. The science is there, and the data is there. We can do this safely.”

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Mar 15
Marlene Ortigoza (Mar 15 2021 11:57PM) : I agree, no student is prepared nor safe to return to school, unless we take precautions and we are all vaccinated to prevent the virus from being spread.
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Mar 11
Rafael Velazquez (Mar 11 2021 1:17PM) : I actually haven't read about this, I don't know if science honestly says that, but I thnik it would have been more helpful to bring that info to the protest so that the teachers could see the benefits of coming back to school.
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Bibliography

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https://berkeleyhighjacket.com/2021/news/a-public-education-crisis-busd-parents-rally-to-open-school/

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DMU Timestamp: February 12, 2021 19:33

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Mar 14
Student Arooj Saleem (Mar 14 2021 10:31PM) : Agree more

The classes are small with many students it would be hard to keep social distance.

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