A middle school principal in San Francisco has refused to release the results of a school election because she wanted more minorities to win.
Everett Middle School principal Lena Van Haren said in an email to parents sent October 14 — four days after the student government election — that the results would be withheld because the winning candidates did not properly reflect the diversity at the school, according to KTVU-TV. Van Haren told the news station that the election results did not represent her school’s population of 80 percent students of color and 20 percent white students.
“That is concerning to me, because as principal, I want to make sure all voices are heard from all backgrounds,” Van Haren told KTVU.
“We’re not nullifying the election, we’re not canceling the election, and we’re not saying this didn’t count,” Van Haren said, adding that she’s called a meeting of student representatives to see how best to move forward.
According to KTVU, Van Haren said she’s considering adding more positions to the student government in an effort to make it more ‘equal’.
“I feel like it is disrespectful to everyone who were running,” Sebastian Kaplan, who was running for the position of seventh-grade representative, told KRON-TV.
“The organizers are saying stuff like, ‘we want everyone’s voice to be heard,’ but then in truth, the voters’ voices aren’t being heard,” Kaplan said. “Most kids are in agreement that it’s not fair and that the results need to be given out because people worked really hard on it.”
The whole issue has taught Kaplan a tough lesson in politics.
“The whole school voted for those people, so it is not like people rigged the game, but now in a way it is kinda being rigged,” Kaplan said.
The middle schooler told KRON that he just wants to know whether or not he won.
Parent Bianca Gutierrez told KTVU that school officials should have decided, prior to the election and students’ campaigns, how they wanted to ensure the election results would be more diverse. She said her seventh-grade son, who was running for class representative, doesn’t want to be a part of student government anymore as the whole ordeal has been discouraging.
“So if we can’t teach them the right way of how it’s supposed to work, then we are really letting our kids down,” Gutierrez said, explaining how she feels there should be closure and respect for the electoral process. “My heart goes out to the kids because they’re confused still about what’s the issue.”