New Leadership at SMHS and Ethnic Studies District Wide

WHO: PODER, in support of SBUSD youth demanding change in their schools after recent dramatic events

WHEN: Tuesday, March 13, 2018, 5pm

WHERE: Marjorie Luke Theatre

WHAT: Regarding the SBUSD Board meeting tonight 3/13 and recent events at San Marcos High School, affecting the entire district and broader community.

PODER stands with student victims of the January death threats, who have been repeatedly terrorized throughout this month. We hear you and we believe you. We are so sorry you have been put through this terror and we are so sorry that some adults around you are not supporting you. We are sorry that some parents are choosing to make more of an effort to save Ed Behrens more than they are trying to listen to you when you say Ed Behrens has failed you.

PODER stands with the students organizing themselves to demand change in their schools. The students want Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement NOW! They recognize Ethnic Studies as a solution to deeply rooted social problems that have symptomatically erupted in their young lives, in the form of all types of violence, including racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, and the deterioration of humanity at this point in time.

PODER stands with SMHS students and alumni who have been utterly failed by Ed Behren’s leadership. As we hear stories of Behrens’ failures and stories of Behrens’ successes, we recognize the glaring pattern of racially based disparity in his treatment of students and parents. PODER stands behind the School Board’s decision to replace Ed Behrens. We do not believe this is an end-all solution. However, we want to see a replacement who is culturally competent, who demonstrates accountability and follow through, and who has the courage to be a leader in difficult times not just for himself but for our kids.

PODER stands firmly in solidarity with students, parent, and community members who oppose brining a dedicated School Resource Officer back to SMHS. The now-famous 17 year-old anti-gun violence activist from Parkland, Florida, David Hogg stated himself: “I don’t even want more school resource officers. Do you know the racial discrepancies they have against African-American and Latino students? We’re going to create a system where we widen the school-to-prison pipeline.” We urge the school district to really look at the faces of the people who are saying please don’t do this, don’t bring more cops into our lives. It matters that those faces are overwhelmingly Black and Brown. We hope more White allies will join us in educating themselves and each other about systemic racism within the criminal justice system, right here in Santa Barbara, CA.

Lastly, PODER is disappointed at the last minute decision to change tonight’s Board meeting to 5pm, as this time is inaccessible to many working class families while it is readily accessible to wealthier families with greater work schedule flexibility. Again, we recognize the racially based inequity that is operating here. These are constant barriers against the voices of people of color from being heard, preventing parents of color from engaging in their children’s education. We are willing to consider the fact that perhaps this is unintentional on the part of the District. However, ignorance is really not an excuse. Addressing privilege is about being open to the fact that we all have blind spots. We are pointing out this glaring blind spot, again, and again, and again.


Candice Perez (949) 527-0010

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