A middle school in San Francisco threw out student election results because the winners weren’t “diverse” enough.
Now, parents and students alike are up in arms.
The student election at Everett Middle School in downtown San Francisco’s Mission District was held on October 9, but the results have not yet come out yet.
One of the students involved in the election, seventh grader Sebastian Kaplan, explained that the delay was because school administrators were concerned that the student body had elected too many white kids to leadership roles.
“The organizers are saying things like, ‘we want everyone’s voice to be heard,’ but in truth, the voters’ voices are not being heard,” Kaplan explained. “Most kids are in agreement that the results need to come out because kids worked really hard on it.”
“The whole school voted for those people, so it is not like people rigged the game,” he added. “But in a way, now it is kinda being rigged.”
All students in the school voted in the election.
Principal Lena Van Haren, 36, however, justified valuing diversity over democracy by explaining that the student government had to be more “representative.” Apparently, by adding voices that the student body itself has specifically not chosen to represent them.
“It’s not OK for a school that is really, really diverse to have the student representatives majority white,” she said, without justification.
Despite immediate criticism from parents, Van Haren brushed off claims that she was running Everett Middle School elections essentially like a member of the Castro family: “This is middle school. It’s not a presidential election.”
After overwhelming controversy–both from parents and the media–Van Haren agreed to certify the original election results, and let white students like Sebastian Kaplan take the offices that the entire student body had elected them to have. But said she still stood by her effort to increase diversity in student leadership.