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San Francisco Middle School Election Results Withheld Because Of Diversity

A middle school principal made headlines over the weekend after her decision to withhold student body government election results went viral.

Lena Van Haren, the principal of Everett Middle School, felt the results of the election were not diverse enough to represent the entire student body, KTVU reports.

According to Van Haren, 80 percent of the student body is comprised of students of color, while 20 percent of the students are white.

"[The results are] concerning to me because as principal I want to make sure that the voices are all heard from all backgrounds," Van Haren told KTVU. 

Caught in the middle of this controversy are students like Sebastian Kaplan, a seventh-grader who ran for class representative.

"I wanted to get more involved and change some things," Kaplan told KRON. "I feel like it is disrespectful to all the people who were running." 

“The organizers are saying things like, ‘We want everyone’s voice to be heard,’ but in truth, the voters’ voices are not being heard,” he added. “Most kids are in agreement that the results need to come out because kids worked really hard on it.”

Van Haren held a meeting on Oct. 14 with all of the student candidates and members of the administration to help determine the best way to move forward, KTVU reports. Van Haren ruled out nullifying the elections, and said that the school may add more positions in an effort to increase diversity in the student body government.

"I'm very hopeful this can be a learning experience and actually be something that embodied our vision which is to help students make positive change," she told KTVU.

For others, the damage has already been done. Bianca Gutierrez said the experience has discouraged her son, who was running for seventh-grade representative. 

“If we can’t teach them the right way it’s supposed to work, then we are really just letting our kids down,” Gutierrez said. 

Sources: KTVU, ​KRON4 / Photo credit: Brett Levin/Flickr


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