Homeroom is the final film in Peter Nicks’ trilogy examining social institutions in the U.S. city of Oakland. After his previous films The Waiting Room (2012) about the care sector and The Force (2017) about the police, Homeroom follows the graduating class at Oakland High School over the 2019-2020 academic year. It’s a year of great upheavals—including the pandemic.
In part, the film focuses on the student council who want to abolish the school police, a special force that causes students of color in particular to live in constant fear of being arrested for the smallest violation. When in May 2020 the African-American George Floyd is murdered by a police officer, strained relations escalate between the students, school directors, and local authorities.
This film about a typical American high school owes its urgency to the drive of those involved and the intensity of the events taking place. It is in this climate that the young adults attending Oakland High School not only have to pass their final exams, but also make their voices count—and discover their power.