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Madi Logan
Madi Logan holds a sign during a rally against racial inequality in schools at San Dieguito Academy on August 18 in Encinitas. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg
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Students, parents and teachers protest racial insensitivity in schools

ENCINITAS — Standing on Santa Fe Drive during rush hour, approximately 80 students, parents and teachers held hand-painted signs and chanted “No justice, no peace” during a protest against racial inequality in schools on August 14 near San Dieguito Academy in Encinitas.

Organized by the local civil rights group, Encinitas 4 Equality (E4E), protesters are demanding San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) Board of Trustees publicly discuss racial inequalities in local school systems during the board’s upcoming August 27 meeting.

Madi Logan, a 19-year-old Black alumna of San Dieguito Academy (SDA), said she saw the event advertised on Instagram and having experienced racism while attending high school — both overt and implicit — decided to attend.

“Everyone thinks that San Dieguito Academy doesn’t have any racial issues but I went there for four years and that is pretty much the most false thing I’ve ever heard,” Logan said. “Once, someone blatantly called me the N-word. I reported it to the admin but they did nothing about it, probably because they didn’t care enough, which is why we’re here.”

San Dieguito Academy students are demanding the SDUHSD board include an agenda item to discuss racial inequalities during its upcoming August 27 meeting. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg

Logan said some of the comments and questions about her hair and appearance while attending SDA were due to genuine ignorance, not necessarily outright racism.

“Some people have never seen someone like me before and they’re curious, but they [ask questions] in the totally wrong, offensive way,” Logan said.

Logan and other students were accompanied by adults and teachers in support of inserting an agenda item onto the school board budget to talk about racial inequalities.

Kathy Stenger, a mother of an SDA student and local middle school teacher, also attended the protest.

“One of the organizers of this event is a past student,” Stenger said. “I always made an intention for several years to teach an anti-racism curriculum and I just feel so proud that she’s taken some seeds from those classes, grown into a strong person as an Arab American and is making a difference.”

“There’s a lack of educational topics on racism — that’s not happening, to my knowledge, at SDA. I can’t speak to the BIPOC experience, but today I can say that the curriculum needs to be different.”

SDA protest
A student holds a sign reading, “White Silence = Compliance” during a protest at San Dieguito Academy on August 18 in Encinitas. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg

E4E’s protest is just the latest event following a string of communications between the group and SDUHSD with the hopes of implementing racial sensitivity training and curriculum into local schools. In response to the Coast News’ request for comment, the SDUHSD shared a series of email correspondences illustrating the ongoing conversation between the two groups starting mid-July.

According to SDUHSD, in light of COVID-19, the district primarily focused on developing a learning plan for the 2020 school year. Furthermore, the requested social justice topics have not been formally added to the agenda as such paperwork isn’t written until 9-10 days prior to board meetings.

In a statement to the media, SDUHSD Superintendent Robert Haley said, “I appreciate Board President (Beth) Hergesheimer connecting with E4E in a respectful manner… We developed a series of professional development opportunities for our teachers and staff that included a specific course ‘Culturally Responsive Teaching’ that  included a module ‘Guiding words to help educators connect with their students and peers in support of Racial Justice.’ Our Distance Learning Model for fall 2020 includes student-connectedness time at all of our sites so there is time for teachers to address issues with students and to ensure all voices are being heard.”

At the time of print, SDUHSD had not released the agenda for the August 27 board meeting nor confirmed whether topics of racial injustice and curriculum in school systems will be addressed.

3 comments

concerned August 25, 2020 at 6:58 pm

Encinitas4Equality is an offshoot of the Black Lives Matters group that Encinitas Deputy Mayor Kellie Hinze helped organize in Encinitas during the George Floyd rioting protests and in the midst of covid-19.
Mayor Blakespear and other politicians spoke at the BLM protest. BLM are an extreme Marxist violent group formed to overthrow all systems of a civil society. Marxists/commies win. Now associated groups with the same goal. Encinitas was fortunate that rioters and looters didn’t destroy Encinitas downtown as they did in La Mesa with the protests.

Philip Donohue August 20, 2020 at 3:59 pm

I am a white American, and I respect all Americans and others, but this Black Lives Matter movement is going way too far in the direction opposite of equal and fair treatment. I think most everyone wants to see everyone treated equally and fairly, but to burn, loot and destroy in order to accomplish racial justice is a contradiction of its purpose. This protest by students, teachers and parents did not result in physical or personal damage to our city like we have seen in La Mesa, San Diego and other cities around the country, but why can’t they propose a written request to the school board first, and if they are ignored or dismissed out of hand, then protest. It seems to me that you don’t need a protest or demonstration to request a legitimate agenda item on the school board’s agenda. These simple protests encourage the “professional” and criminal protestors to use the guise of a peaceful protest to wreak havoc on communities, such as we have witnessed around the state and the country. Even downtown Encinitas was boarded up to protect itself from “peaceful protestors” a couple of months ago. I think it would be great for teachers, students and their parents to resume classroom activities, and give these folks a chance to reclaim their lives in a productive light.

Toby August 22, 2020 at 2:08 pm

Amen

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