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Washington Post: The controversy began as soon as the Oct. 9 election results rolled in. Everett’s 36-year-old principal, Lena Van Haren, was disturbed by the lack of diversity among the winners, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The school sits in San Francisco’s Mission District, a historically diverse neighborhood that has recently struggled with both gentrification and gang violence. Everett is as much a melting pot as the community, with 80 percent of its population comprised of students of color. Only 20 percent of students are white, Van Haren told KTVU.
Students weren’t exactly expecting real-time streaming results, but they were surprised not to learn who had won when they showed up to school the following Monday. By Wednesday, the situation was getting weird. On Thursday, nearly a week after the election, Van Haren sent out an e-mail to parents explaining her decision to withhold the election results.
“This is complex, but as a parent and a principal, I truly believe it behooves us to be thoughtful about our next steps here so that we can have a diverse student council that is truly representative of all voices at Everett,” she wrote, according to the Chronicle. Van Haren then suggested the school “add positions” to improve diversity, KTVU reported.
And that’s when the civics hit the fan. Students who had run for office were left in limbo, wondering if they had won or lost and if it even mattered anymore. Parents were equally confused. Eventually, that confusion turned into annoyance, then anger.
“I wanted to get more involved and change some things,” Kaplan, the seventh-grader running for class representative, told KRON 4, practically quoting Chelsea Clinton verbatim. “I feel like it is disrespectful to all the people who were running,” he said of the strange silence over election results.
“While there was some diversity among the 10 winners, no English learners were elected, even though they make up about a third of enrollment,” the Chronicle reported. “African American and Latino students were underrepresented, while white, Asian and mixed-race students, who are in the minority at the school, took the top four spots.”
Van Haren declined to comment to The Post when reached by phone on Monday night. But she hasn’t backed down from her belief that a diverse population should translate to equally diverse representatives.
“It’s not okay for a school that is really, really diverse to have the student representatives majority white,” she told the Chronicle. “The easy thing would have been to announce the results and move on. I intentionally did not choose the easy way because this is so import.
This seems about right. San Francisco is the west coast version of Cambridge after all. This principal is just another in a long list of white people trying to prove to the world that they’re one of the “good ones.” But the problem is she fucked up the execution. I mean, how dumb does she look? Hey kids, we’re gonna teach you all about the democratic process and hold an election. But then when we don’t like the results we’re canceling it because too many of you honky kids got elected. That can’t happen.
My favorite part is that the winners were mostly Jewish and Korean kids. Why should they be allowed to win? Everyone knows the Jews and Koreans have had everything handed to them in life. No genocides or wars or refugees in the bunch. They’ve literally had everything handed to them their entire history.
Here’s my question – why didn’t the principal just have separate elections for white and black kids? If she insists that the representatives be proportional to the student body they represent, then she should’ve declared before hand that only one out of every five spots was for white kids. White kids can have their election, black kids can have their election, Mexican kids can have their election, Korean kids can have their’s and Arabic students can have theirs.
This is what she wants right? Mandatory diversity in an election. It’s the only way to do it. Just come out and say it Mrs. Van Haren – you want to separate the races because you learned in Cultural Competency 101 that this is what you have to do to avoid being color-blind.
This quote says it all:
“It’s not okay for a school that is really, really diverse to have the student representatives majority white.”
Only a fascist would say that the results of a democratic election are “not OK” because she doesn’t like the racial makeup of the winners. Newsflash – it’s more than OK. Every kid in that school had an opportunity to run for office and then vote. They chose a bunch of Korean and white kids. That’s how democracy works. Don’t like it? Take your shit and move to a diverse place like Saudi Arabia. I heard they’re very tolerant over there of women in pant suits with strong opinions.
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