Tideline Magazine

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was really hard to cope” and
was ultimately unable to pass
the course. She explained, “It hit
hard because I couldn’t figure it
out and the teachers were still
trying to figure everything out.”
Hamilton resolved to re-
take the course during summer
of 2020 but encountered similar
issues as the format of the class
made it difficult for her to ask
for help. “If you ever needed
help from the teacher or any-
thing, you’d have to schedule
a time with her instead of just
raising your hand and being like
‘Hi, I need help,’” she explained.
This plea is being echoed
throughout Los Angeles.
A recent Los Angeles Uni-
fied School District (LAUSD)
study compared 15-week grades
from fall 2019 to fall 2020 across
the district and confirmed a
similar surge in the number of
Ds and Fs received by high-risk
students. The report stated that
“Latino, African American, En-
glish Learners, Students with
Disabilities, Foster Youth,
and those students experienc-
ing homelessness had higher
rates of Ds and Fs from the
previous year at the same time.”
With COVID-19 shut-
downs forcing schools to online

platforms, fail rates have risen
dramatically across the country
as well. The impact is signifi-
cant in large metropolitan areas.
“In Houston ISD, the
state’s largest district, admin-
istrators said 42 percent of
students failed one or more
classes in the first marking pe-

riod, up from about 11 percent
in a typical year,” according
to The Houston Chronicle.
A group of families and
community organizations sued
the state of California in Dec.
2020 over failure to provide ad-
equate support to low-income
Black and Latinx students
during the pandemic, The
New York Times reported.
In Hamilton’s case, virtu-
al learning exposed the unre-
liability of her family’s WiFi
connection, a crucial tool
for surviving online school.
“My mom’s on Zoom, my

sister’s on Zoom, and it’s just
not enough [bandwidth],” she
said. “It’s spacious but then, as
far as trying to find somewhere
that has some WiFi where you
can sit and focus is kind of hard.”
Additionally, utility work-
ers in her neighborhood cut
the power a few times this

year, leaving Hamilton unable
to get on Zoom or complete
any of her school work. She
said that her teachers were
not always understanding.
“I feel that there are a lot of
students that abuse the excuse,
‘Oh, my WiFi is cutting out,’
she explained. “So a lot of teach-
ers don’t take that seriously.”
Hamilton said that some
students’ parents have lost their
jobs during pandemic closures,
forcing the students to “help
their parents out and provide for
themselves and their siblings.”
Compounding these ob-

stacles, Black and Latinx stu-
dents are also dealing with
the same emotional hardship
COVID-19 has brought to
everyone in the community.
Considering this constant
series of hurdles, the Justice
Union is committed to work-
ing alongside Pali adminis-
tration to initiate discussions
about how the school can ad-
equately support all students.
However, according to
Campus Unification Direc-
tor Giovanni Stewart, finding
solutions isn’t about someone
having all of the answers. “It’s
more about people being will-
ing to sit down and listen to
each other and being able to
work together to communi-
cate, identify issues and then
create a solution,” he said.
“The goal here is for the cam-
pus to be able to work together
to make real systemic and rad-
ical change for black students
and Latinx students,” added
Stewart, who played an instru-
mental role in launching the
Justice Union four years ago.
“How do you center the needs
of Black and Latinx students on
a campus that is predominately
white, and how do you make
it a really safe space for that?”


““If you ever needed help from If you ever needed help from

the teacher or anything, you’d the teacher or anything, you’d

have to schedule a time with her, have to schedule a time with her,

instead of just raising your hand instead of just raising your hand

and being like, ‘Hi, I need helpand being like, ‘Hi, I need help.’”.’”



in number of Black freshman

receiving Ds and Fs in math

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