Dozens of students, parents and teachers have demanded action and accountability for recent transphobic comments against young people in the San Dieguito Union School District.
They attended the board meeting on Wednesday evening to speak out against allegations of online bullying that occurred on a social media page created by one of the district’s board members.
The group accused Michael Allman, the vice chairman of the board, of allowing and accepting derogatory comments made on a private Facebook group he created in 2020 during his campaign for the school board.
The page is called SDUHSD Families for Students First and is not sanctioned by the district.
The students said these comments included people making fun of transgender students for insisting on using the pronouns they chose.
“Pronouns are important because they help people feel comfortable,” said San Dieguito Academy ninth-grade student Shanti Hershenson. “Some people aren’t comfortable with the pronouns that have been assigned to them and because of that, I think it’s our duty as people to respect that and everyone else.”
“I think our board has shown that they don’t care about the opinions of students that they have blatantly said, but on top of that they are participating in behaviors that harm our LGBTQ+ community,” said Mace Viemeister, 17, a senior at San Dieguito Academy. and a leader of the student-run Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA).
“It’s not support. You can say you support the students all you want, but actions speak louder than words and there haven’t been any actions that show they support us continued Viemeister.
The group was not placed on the agenda of the meeting because the leaders did not submit the required documentation on time.
In a written statement to KPBS News, San Dieguito union communications coordinator Miquel Jacobs said, “Acting Superintendent Douglas has not received supporting documentation. She did, however, let the students know that we would be working on board consideration for the October board meeting.
Since they weren’t on the agenda, students lined up nearly three hours before the meeting to be the first to register for the public comment session.
In a public post online earlier this month, Allman said, “Everyone should be called by the pronoun of their choice without question, ridicule or judgment. This is unequivocally what I believe, and no one should argue otherwise.
Following public comments at Wednesday night’s meeting, he reiterated his disapproval of the derogatory remarks on the Facebook page he created two years ago.
“This amplification has been incredibly hurtful to our LGBTQI+ community and to anyone who cares about how transgender children and adults are treated in our society,” Allman said.
September 15 marks the International Day of Democracy designated by the United Nations. It comes at a time when democratic institutions are under threat around the world and with a growing sense that democracy is in danger.