Concerns raised over lack of diversity in SF school election results
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - The principal of Everett Middle School in San Francisco tells KTVU that the results of the school election have been publicly announced.
The results had been withheld immediately after the election because the principal felt that the winners weren't diverse enough.
We've learned that the majority of the winners were white, despite the fact that the student body is 80% students of color.
The incident happened at Everett Middle School in San Francisco’s Mission District. The voting was held Oct. 10, but the principal sent an email to parents on Oct. 14 saying the results would not be released because the candidates that were elected as a whole do not represents the diversity that exists at the school.
The email went on to say they were thinking of ways to value the students who won, while increasing the diversity of the group.
Parent Bianca Gutierrez said the experience has made her son, a 7th grader, rethink his run for class representative. She said he is discouraged and does not want to be a part of the process anymore.
“That should have been something [discussed] prior to elections and prior to the campaigning process,” Gutierrez said.
According to Principal Lena Van Haren, Everett Middle School has a diverse student body. She said 80 percent of students are students of color and 20 percent are white, but the election results did not represent the entire study body.
“That is concerning to me because as principal I want to make sure all voices are heard from all backgrounds,” Van Haren said.
Van Haren said her vision for students for them to not only be academically successful, but to be agents of change. She called a meeting with all the student candidates and administration on Wednesday to talk about the best way to move forward.
“We’re not nullifying the election, we’re not cancelling the election and we’re not saying this didn’t count,” Van Haren said.
She said the school may possibly add positions in an effort to be more equal.
“I’m very hopeful this can be a learning experience and actually be something that embodied our vision which is to help students make positive change,” she added.
Gutierrez is all for diversity too, but feels there should be closure and respect for the electoral process.
“If we can’t teach them the right way it’s supposed to work, then we are really just letting our kids down,” Gutierrez said. “My heart goes out to the kids because they’re confused still about the issue.”