Progress: SF Middle School Withholds Election Results Because Winners Weren't 'Diverse' Enough

Guy Benson
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Posted: Oct 20, 2015 4:05 PM
Progress: SF Middle School Withholds Election Results Because Winners Weren't 'Diverse' Enough

A grimly accurate headline, I'm afraid. The good news is that most of the community seems to reject this nonsense for what it is: Racialized, politically-correct social engineering run amok. The bad news is that the administration is standing by its decisions, effectively arguing that 'diversity' concerns are simply too serious to be subordinated to such quaint notions as representative democracy. Madness:

When Everett held its election three days later, its principal promptly refused to release the results, saying she was concerned that the winners were not diverse enough. While she would ultimately relent and release the results, her decision spurred anger among parents and kids who felt that the principal was putting diversity ahead of democracy. Critics compared her to a dictator who scraps elections when results don’t go her way...“The whole school voted for those people, so it is not like people rigged the game,” seventh-grader Sebastian Kaplan told KRON 4, who had run for class representative yet had no clue a week later if he won. “But in a way, now it is kinda being rigged.” ... 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.

Okay, and?  An election was called, candidates competed for seats, the student body voted, and a disproportionately high number of non-minority students happened to win.  Very problematic.  Something had to be done:  “It’s not okay for a school that is really, really diverse to have the student representatives majority white," the school's principal told the San Francisco 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 important.”  The outcome was "not okay," even though it was freely determined by the diverse students themselves?  And what, exactly, is "so important" as to justify this moral panic?  Even in uber-progressive San Francisco, this attitude has not gone over particularly well:

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. Parents turned to local media to claim that political correctness had trumped common sense — not to mention democracy. “My criticism of the Everett administration is their good intention got in the way of their common sense,” parent Todd David told the Chronicle. “It’s really, really disturbing to me that withholding the results somehow equals social justice or equity. That is where I totally disconnect. I’m like, ‘Whoa.’ ”

After relenting and publishing the results -- in which "white, Asian, and mixed-race students" were statistically over-represented -- the school's (white) principal pronounced herself "concerned" about whether students' "voices are all heard," via KTVU:


Ah, but "the children’s voices were heard," UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh writes on his Washington Post blog. "They just seemed to be less obsessed with race than some administrators are."  Precisely.  Nevertheless, said administrators are reportedly considering adding seats or roles to the student council as an ex post facto means of mitigating this imaginary problem.  Despite all the controversy, Principal Bien Pensant remains optimistic that the entire episode can still serve as a "teachable moment."

Indeed. But for whom?