San Francisco sues own school district for not reopening, amid increasing youth suicides

The city attorney says the school district is violating the California Constitution.
San Francisco

The city of San Francisco this week took additional action against its school district for failing to have a plan to reopen schools, as directed by the state.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced last week he was taking the dramatic step of suing the city’s own school district, which has kept its classrooms closed nearly a year.

In the motion filed Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court, Herrera included alarming testimony from hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area, doctors and parents on the emotional and mental harms of extended distance learning.

Roughly 52,000 students in the San Francisco public school system have been learning at home since the beginning of the pandemic, and the district just announced that they are considering a transition to in-person instruction twice a week through the entire next school year.

“Distance learning is a form of instruction; it is not school,” the lawsuit says, according to the Associated Press, arguing that there's more to school than just the academics. Keeping kids out of schools "constitutes a substantial violation of their constitutional rights."

The emergency court order challenging the distance learning mode will be heard in court March 22, according to a recent tweet from the Democrat attorney. 

"The medical evidence is clear that keeping public schools closed is catalyzing a mental health crisis among school-aged children in San Francisco," Dr. Jeanne Noble, director of COVID Response for the UCSF Emergency Department.

The challenge comes as 114 private, parochial and charter schools around the city have been open for their 15,831 students with less than five transmission cases reported.