Oakland Unified security clashes with protesters at occupied school site
Videos circulating on social media show Oakland Unified security guards grabbing and shoving protesters at Parker Elementary School, which parents and students have occupied over the summer in protest of its closure.
Parker was one of 11 schools that Oakland Unified’s school board voted in February to either close, merge with another school or reduce the number of grades. Students, educators and families have pushed back against the board’s decision, saying the little if any savings Oakland Unified will see doesn’t outweigh the impact the closures will have on the community.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that two protesters were at the school late afternoon Thursday when security showed up to remove them. They posted on social media what was going on, prompting supporters to show up to the school as well.
Earlier that day, Oakland Unified staff had gone to the school and found that no one was inside the building, district spokesman John Sasaki said, so staff changed the locks and set the alarm. Sasaki said someone “picked, cut, or otherwise broke through a lock to get back inside the building.”
There was then a struggle between security and protesters, during which some of the protesters were injured, the Chronicle reported. One of the protesters was detained by security inside of the building while the others were shut out. Later on, security opened the doors to allow a police officer inside, and the protesters rushed the door to regain access to the building. Eventually, the security guards left.
Sasaki said the district is concerned about the protesters running an unlicensed child care program at the site, in possibly unsafe conditions. The district urges protesters to “find other ways to safely and peaceably express their concerns.”