Community members and two members of the Oakland school board asked for a one-year delay in the decision to close schools. The board turned down their request. The two board members who have valiantly opposed the closures are Mike Hutchinson and VanCedric Williams.

Zack Haber wrote at Medium about one school on the closure list that is indispensable. It is Community Day School, which takes in students who have been expelled from other schools and provides the support they need to believe in themselves.

Community Day’s mission statement says they use a “therapeutic approach” by supporting students “academically, socially, and emotionally” both individually and in small groups through “instruction, counseling and career exploration.” Enrollment depends on expulsion rates, and has been low lately. Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the school had 39 students. But during last school year, when OUSD students were almost entirely in distance learning, the district issued no expulsions, and the school now enrolls around 15 students, which allows for more individualized attention.

“You get more help here compared to a regular school,” said Luis Martinez, a Community Day student. “It’s calmer. You get away from big crowds of people and everyone gets along.”

The name “Luis Martinez” is a pseudonym as this reporter is granting this student anonymity due to his status as a minor navigating a school discipline process.

“Coming to Community Day and experiencing this small class size is sometimes the first step in our students seeing they can be successful in school,” said English Teacher Vernon ‘Trey’ Keeve III. “We’re also a staff that is constantly experimenting with new ways to get our students to express themselves.”

When the school is needed again, it won’t be there. That’s why parents, students, and educators continue to protest the school closures.

I wish I could explain why the board majority is so determined to lose schools in the face of enormous opposition. I don’t understand.