Joshua Bote, SFGATE April 7, 2021 (SFGate.com)
A San Francisco student made a stunning plea to the embattled city board of education during Tuesday’s Zoom meeting.
Zoe Simotas, a senior at Lowell High School, introduces herself in a cheery voice before getting down to brass tacks.
“I’m honestly here to just ask the board of education to pull it together,” she says during her 90-second public comment, recorded by HereSay Media.
“This honestly feels like a runaway train. All of the infighting and individual actions taken outside of board of education meetings are ridiculous.”
Here, Simotas is likely alluding to the lawsuit Allison Collins filed last week against her colleagues after she was ousted in March from her position as the board’s vice president. Her removal came after a series of controversial tweets from 2016 were re-circulated.
“I would really ask all of you to examine why you’re here and think back on why you chose to run for the board of education,” Simotas said. “And the only answer to that question is to fight for students.”
Take a moment to listen to this high school senior, who called into public comment during the San Francisco school board meeting on April 6.
“I’m honestly here to just ask the Board of Education to pull it together. Like, please.” pic.twitter.com/mY5qCjHbSg— HereSay Media (@HereSayMedia) April 7, 2021
“It feels like SFUSD is falling apart,” she added.Read More
The district has endured a slew of scandals over the past few months, including a notable lawsuit filed by the city attorney for the district’s failure to re-open schools in a timely manner. Another lawsuit was filed amid the school renaming controversy.
During her brief but resonant comment, Simotas, a reporter for the school’s student paper, expressed relief that she will be graduating in just under two months. But she said she worries for the future that holds for her younger brother — who is just about to enter sixth grade.
She also stood in support of the decision made to change Lowell’s merit system to a lottery system, a move that supporters say will improve diversity in the school and reduce inequities in the district.
During the meeting, the school board also made the decision to renege on its proposal to rename 44 schools in the district, a proposal that was met with severe criticism — in part due to its timing amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its failure to cite historians.
Joshua Bote is a news and features reporter for SFGATE. He grew up in the Los Angeles area, and has previously worked as a reporter at USA Today and a music writer at NPR. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org