SAN FRANCISCO – Students in San Francisco’s public schools are learning that “Black Lives Matter” after several school employees developed materials for teachers to embrace the anti-police movement.
The San Francisco Examiner reports that five teacher librarians recently developed teaching resources centered on the “Black Lives Matter” movement spawned by recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers in the deaths of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Missouri.
School board member Matt Hanley told the news site the materials align with the district’s efforts to promote social justice, and he anticipates the classroom resources will be widely used.
“I think this is going to be used by a lot of teachers, and there’s going to be a lot of excitement about this resource,” he said. “I’m not sure if there are many other school districts that openly talk about social justice and equality as much as ours.”
The Black Lives Matter lessons dovetail with a unanimously approved school board resolution Dec. 9 to expand current ethnic studies courses to all high schools, and to incorporate multiethnic studies into middle schools, the Examiner reports.
Chalida Anusasananan, an Everett Middle School librarian who helped develop the Black Lives Matter materials, said she did so to help students make sense of the protests and anti-police marches that have taken place in the Bay Area in recent months.
“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.
Karen Zapata, co-founder of Teachers 4 Social Justice and teacher at June Jordan High School, believes students need “a safe space in the classroom for young people to talk about these things.”
“What’s happened affects young people on an emotional level,” she said.
The Black Lives Matter materials include grand jury documents, poetry, videos, reading and activities for a wide range of students posted on the district’s LibGuide page. The Black Lives Matter teaching guide was among the most viewed resources on the LibGuide site over the last couple of weeks, the Examiner reports.
The Black Lives Matter movement has gained a lot of momentum in the Bay Area.
In December, public defenders, LGBT activists and even preschoolers participated in rallies to protest against police brutality, and some of the demonstrations have turned violent.
During a Christmas protest in Oakland, participants attacked a journalist, smashed shopfront windows, threw bottles and chanted “F**k the police,” RT.com reports.
The demonstrations have also cost San Francisco, Oakland and other cities a lot of money to keep protesters in line.
Public protests on November 24 and 28 cost San Francisco $19,402.37 and $87,337.11 in police overtime, and another on Dec. 5 cost an additional $54,982.20 in overtime. During the Nov. 28 demonstration, San Francisco police arrested 79 people and five officers were injured, the San Francisco Appeal reports.
In Oakland, the city has paid city employees, mostly cops, a total of $1.3 million to control the anti-police protesters, according to the news site.