A week after the shooting outside June Jordan School for Equity, students at the Excelsior district school have bounced back from the violence that abruptly entered their school community, showing their strength in a new video.
June Jordan teacher Marcus Hung and a handful of students took a video camera around campus and documented the feelings of students and staff in the wake of the shooting that left four students suffering from gunshot wounds.
The video appears to be a reaction to negative news articles written about the shooting. It begins with a Google search for “JJSE” and the headlines it yields, like “San Francisco police say shooting outside high school that injured four was gang-related, targeted.”
“We wanted to tell the truth about who we are and what we stand for as a community,” Hung said. “The violence that occurred at our school doesn’t reflect us.”
Marisol Benavides was one of the students who helped make the video.
“We didn’t really like how people were saying really negative things about us like calling us ‘ghetto,’” Benavides said. “They weren’t on the inside to experience how things are here.”
June Jordan is a small high school in The City’s southeast that is focused on social justice.
In the days since the shooting, students from various schools in the San Francisco Unified School District have sent letters of support.
Lyndsey Schlax, a teacher at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, said her LGBT Studies students emailed “notes of solidarity and support to the students” and in particular members of the Queer Students Alliance at June Jordan.
“They encouraged the students at JJSE to tell their story, and said they hoped they could help their voices be heard by the larger San Francisco Community, rather than to just be talked about by adults,” Schlax said in a text message.
And with the video, the students at June Jordan are telling their stories.
In the video, student Marlen Suastegui says that June Jordan helped her become more outgoing and express her voice.
“I got a lot of encouragement from the teachers and the students here,” Suastegui told the San Francisco Examiner. “They said that what I say is important.”