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SFUSD students protest administrator response to sexual harassment allegations

Diamond Heights
Morgan Burke
San Francisco facing Diamond Heights near Ruth Asawa School for the Arts

Five hundred students from Ruth Asawa School of the Arts led a protest Tuesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Students from The Academy high school and Lowell High School also walked out. The walkout followed similar protests across the state this fall, in Humboldt and Alameda counties.

Student organizers in San Francisco charged that school administrators have done too little to address student concerns, leading to a climate in which they feel “unsupported and sometimes unsafe at school.”

District policy states that students may file a Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education if they feel school and district review procedures have been insufficient. However, new regulations, enacted under former Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, limit federal investigations to incidents occurring on-campus or during school-affiliated programs. This notably excludes parties and off-campus student events.

SFUSD has declared its support for a California lawsuit challenging these changes. There are currently no pending federal investigations of sexual assault in the district, according to the Chronicle.

As for today’s events, the district reaffirmed its duty to respond to student allegations in a statement, but it did not explicitly address the walkout or specific student concerns.

I am a researcher and writer from Oakland, CA. I cut my teeth in radio at my college station and since graduating, I’ve worked as a paralegal, arts administrator, maritime historian, and most recently, a fellow at WorldAffairs, a global politics radio show and podcast co-produced with KQED. In my work, I am interested in the intersections of race, climate, and labor rights as well as place-based narratives of marginalization and the relationship between local history, public space, and identity formation, especially among queer and BIPOC communities. I am also passionate about drawing on the performing arts—particularly theater and music—to develop interview/storytelling practices grounded in mutual repair and community-building.