FUHSD board recall campaign

On Feb. 21st, 2021 there was a protest outside of Fremont High School. The protestors aimed to get schools in the Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) to open for in-person classes. A speaker at the protest was quick to voice their opinion on the matter — the FUHSD board’s plans for returning to in-person learning.

“I think I know a thing or two about education, and about our community, in the case of both Cupertino and Sunnyvale, school districts are way off. Our board members don’t care for our children, they don’t mind about how many are falling behind, how many are unable to properly learn,” an anonymous speaker said “When I was a teacher I would do anything to help the children I was in charge of, help them become better people, go above and beyond to make sure they were heard, thought of, seen. This is the basis for working with people, with children, but I guess that is not true for the board, what do they care for children, all they care about is getting reelected and not pushing the union. Cupertino and Sunnyvale board members you are not educators, you are poor managers, you should be ashamed. This is just the beginning, we will do everything we legally can to change this.”

Due to county health restrictions, none of the FUHSD schools have held in-person learning since last March — not including special cases. Plans are in the works to transition from online school to hybrid school in mid-April for FHS. 

The recall organizers think that opening schools for hybrid learning will not be the end of their campaign.

“[The goal is not] to open up before April 19th, but to have the board work to make a much higher priority of reopening the schools, which we think has been severely lacking throughout the school year. And it seems that for many in the board, there were few plans developed to reopen. [there were] none that we could see,” recall organizer and parent to two FUHSD students David Cohen said. 

In Cohen’s opinion, what is extremely important to the parents who started the recall and what in their opinion should be the end goal for the Board is a full reopening in August, and hybrid reopening in April should be just a step towards that goal. 

Keren Boiman, one of the protest organizers took to Nextdoor, a social media site that connects people who live in the same area, to announce that there was an effort to recall members of the FUHSD board. She asked community members to sign a petition to recall the board at an in person event held at Las Palmas park in Sunnyvale.

In the conversation thread of Boiman’s Nextdoor post, many parents expressed their belief that the recall is harsh, and that it could hinder the move over to hybrid-learning, which is very close to being fully decided upon. With that being said, other parents feel that the negative effects of online learning on children were caused by the inability of the FUHSD board to come up with a solution to return to in-person learning. 

The post also stated that the board has not even had anything about the reopening prospects for schools on their agenda since schools went remote about a year ago. FUHSD board president Bill Wilson said, while there has not been an item labeled as school re-opening of the board meeting agendas on the FUHSD website, the board members have gotten regular updates at their meetings on the state of the pandemic and what the outlook for reopening was in a section marked on the agenda as the Superintendent’s report.

Wilson who has served on the board for over 14 years, thinks that the recall has stemmed from parents, understandably in his mind, frustrated at the postponement of in-person learning, but also partly because most parents aren’t aware of all the progress that have been made by the FUHSD towards in-person learning.

“I think when some of the parents get more information about the amazing work people in the district have been doing throughout the last year: adapt to the ever-changing pandemic and the ever-changing rules, and get ready for the reopening which is now on the horizon they are appreciative and impressed with the work the district is doing.” Wilson said, “I think it really has to do with getting information out there.” 

The FUHSD board has been considering a possible return to in-person schooling and has been working towards it in many ways, including installing new ventilation and filtering systems to make sure that schools are safe for students and staff when they return. And while the recall organizers have said that the board does not care about the students in the district, Wilson did not seem to agree with that sentiment.

“[Our goal has been] to keep our students safe and to keep educating our students and meet the needs of all students, and what that has meant precisely has changed regularly during the last year,” Wilson said.