SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Board of Education met Tuesday evening in the midst of a controversy surrounding one of its members.
Vice president of the board, Alison Collins, apologized for her tweets. "I'd like to re-emphasize my sincere and heartfelt apologies."
Collins did not mention the Asian American community in her one-minute statement to the board and a thousand listening parents and students. "I'm currently engaging with my colleagues and working with the community for the good of all children in our district and especially Black children who are often left behind," she said.
Collins is being criticized for posting a series of disparaging tweets that used stereotyped language and slurs toward the Asian American community.
At the meeting, Commissioners Faauuga Moliga and Jenny Lam both called for Collins to resign.
"Commissioner Alison Collins' statement regarding the Asian American community is dangerous, hurtful, and unbecoming," said Moliga.
"I am not alone when I say I do not have confidence in Commissioner Collins ability to fairly govern a school district that is almost half AAPI with no bias," said Lam.
Board President, Gabriela Lopez, has instead asked for a restorative process. And other commissioners have come to Collins' defense.
"No one on this board I believe is a racist, and I don't believe that commissioner Collins is a racist," said Commissioner Mark Sanchez.
Several sources have confirmed that shortly after Donald Trump won the Presidential election in 2016 a group of Asian American students in the after-school program at Francisco Middle School began taunting a Latino student.
At the time, Alison Collins was a parent and not a member of the school board. Those sources tell us she was outraged, posting the now well-known controversial 2016 tweets.
"My mixed-race/Black daughter heard boys teasing a Latino about "Trump, Mexicans and the KKK. The boys were Asian-American."
She later tweeted, "Where are the vocal Asians speaking up against Trump? Don't Asian Americans know they are on his list as well?"
SFUSD students weighed in via Zoom during Tuesday's board meeting.
"I was disgusted and pained at your rhetoric, how you twisted a real problem, the often present lack of unity between Asian American and Black communities into an attack against Asian Americans," said student, Amy Chang.
"When I was going through my toughest time, Ms. Alison Collins was the only one who made sure I was okay," said JT, who added. "I definitely don't think that she should resign, I don't even think she should have apologized."
Collins listened and remained composed while parents and San Franciscans expressed anger. "Regardless of whether you choose to do the right thing and resign or not, you will pay the ultimate price and that's the loss of your dignity and your reputation. For the rest of your life you will be haunted by your actions, wherever you go people will see you for what you really are - a racist," said a resident.
Many people at the meeting, who want Collins to remain on the board, feel the tweets were unearthed for political reasons. "This is a political pawn to keep Lowell the way it is, and I am very discouraged by that," said Virginia Marshall with San Francisco's Alliance of Black School Educators.
The head of the NAACP in San Francisco, Reverend Amos Brown said Tuesday, that alone, should not be reason to ask Commissioner Collins to resign.
"But she felt pain, the same as Asians have felt pain," added Brown.
Brown made those comments at a rally in front of Lowell High School where a member of the San Francisco Democratic party said Collins should step down.
"I'm authorizing a resolution to call for Vice President Alison Collins to be removed or her resignation from the SFUSD school board," announced Nancy Tung.
The former principal of Francisco Middle School, Patricia Theel, told ABC7 the school addressed the issue of racism and bullying but that Collins was relentless. Eventually, the principal's contract was not renewed.
"It could have been anybody. She built her campaign on my back," revealed Theel.
Some staff members told ABC7 that Collins is known for being brash at school board meetings.
Last April she put the Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh in an embarrassing position by asking who in the district was the highest paid employee--knowing that it's the superintendent. The board also sets his salary.
Collins: "But, so what's the salary? What's the amount of money we're talking about?" Leigh: "So, so I may, I may ask Dr. Mathews ah, if he wishes me to to proceed." Matthews: "Yes, $325,000." Collins: "325? That's the very top?" Matthews: "Yes."
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