At an Oakland school board meeting last night, while Jody London spoke of the need to strengthen ties with the city, it was announced that the new schools chief, Tony Smith, would join the city’s even newer police chief, Anthony Batts, and Mayor Dellums at a town hall meeting Monday night at Prescott school in West Oakland.
Given the number of shootings — fatal and non-fatal — that Oakland public schoolchildren have suffered since August, and the tragic death of 11-year-old Alana Williams, who was struck by a car Oct. 16 while she was in a crosswalk right by her school, it seemed like a good start.
Smith speaks often about the need for everyone to come together to solve Oakland’s seemingly intractable problems, including the perils facing children and families in some neighborhoods. So who better to work with — at least, outside of the district — than Batts?
Maybe that will eventually come to pass. I understand that Smith plans to attend the 6:30 p.m. town hall meeting at PLACE at Prescott (920 Campbell St.), but I’m not sure what his role will be, exactly. He’s not mentioned in the promotional flier put out by the mayor’s office about Chief Batts’ introduction to the community.
In any case, maybe I’ll see you at the meeting. There’s another one Nov. 9 at the Cesar Chavez Educational Complex, if you can’t make it on Monday.
In what ways do you think the city and school system can better work together, especially around public safety issues? Do you sense a divide?