Lena Van Haren, the principal of Everett Middle School in San Francisco, is withholding the results of student government elections held Oct. 10 because they were not representative of the student body, which is 80 percent non-white and 20 percent white (video below).
“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 cancelling the election, we’re not saying this didn’t count.”
She is reportedly considering adding positions, KRON reports.
Van Haren believes this social engineering can be a learning experience, but some parents say she is undermining the democratic process.
Bianca Gutierrez, the mom of a seventh-grader at the school, told KTVU:
That should have been something that was decided prior to election, prior to the campaigning process. He doesn't even want to be part of it anymore, and he's discouraged, and that's where I feel really sad.
So if we can’t teach them the right way how it’s supposed to work, then we really are letting our kids down. And my heart goes out to the kids because they’re confused.
Additionally, seventh-grade student Sebastian Kaplan told KRON:
I wanted to get more involved and change some things. I feel like it is disrespectful to people, everyone that was running, because they're not getting the results.
The organizers are saying stuff like, 'We want everyone’s voice to be heard,' but then in the truth, the voters’ voices are not being heard. 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 school voted for those people, so it is not like people rigged the game, but now in a way, it's kind of being rigged.
The withholding of election results is not unique to Everett Middle School; the practice also happened in Zimbabwe in 2008, according to CNN.