13 Mar When Separate Isn’t Equal
By Brooklynne Haylock, SCYEA Youth Leader
Last summer, we took a trip over to the Westside and Beverly Hills to check out the conditions at those schools. We heard that Beverly Hills High School offers 180 courses, including European Studies and all the A.P. classes. Over here at Fremont High School in South LA, where I’m a senior, we barely have world history.
The purpose of the trip to the Westside schools was for us to learn not to normalize the conditions in South LA. We know our schools lack enough funding, but when you compare our schools’ conditions to those in white neighborhoods, it puts that lack of resources into perspective. The outside and recreation areas were so well kept and most of the equipment looked new. I will never forget how strongly I felt that I was being cheated that day.
The vibe was pretty low during our car ride back, and no one was talking much. It made me sad thinking of me, my friends and classmates who have to walk by piles of trash in our “Wellness Center.” Or going to our 4th-period class only to find a locked door and no teacher insight–that class that is supposed to be a college prep class for public health and speech.
Most days, my friends and I show up, and the school staff tells us, “your teacher is coming tomorrow, don’t worry.” The next day, it’s the same thing. So they tell us to go to our guidance counselor, who then tells us to go sit in the library. When we get to the library, the librarian says we can’t sit there during class time. When we go into the hallway, a security guard asks why we’re not in class. Where are we supposed to go?
My school doesn’t have a nurse. When kids get sick, they go to the attendance office and their parents are called to pick them up. The nurse’s office is literally empty. When there is someone there, they only hand out ice packs to people who aren’t feeling well. I had a stomach ache, went there, and got handed an ice pack. Like, what? How does that help me?
I’m the youngest of seven brothers and a sister. All but two have gone to public school. My siblings all have their own stories about the same things I’m experiencing. This has been going on for years and years.
I didn’t choose these school conditions I have described. I don’t know anyone who would. But I’m choosing to change it.
Through South Central Youth Empowered thru Action (SCYEA), I learned about Schools & Communities First. It will help with the staff and resources issues Fremont and other schools in South LA need. This initiative will bring in $12 billion for schools, and $3.75 billion goes to L.A. County.
As a SCYEA member, I want my school to change for the better by helping Schools & Communities First pass in November. I’m asking all of you who are reading this to vote for Schools & Communities First. I don’t have younger siblings who will come after me, but my friends do, and they deserve better.