SAN FRANCISCO — Winning an election is supposed to be pretty straightforward. In most cases, the candidate with the most votes wins. But after Everett Middle School in San Francisco's Mission District held a school government election on October 10, school principal Lena Van Haren was displeased with the results.
On October 14, the principal sent out an email to parents saying that the election results wouldn't be made public because they didn't reflect how "diverse" the school is. Everett Middle School is 80% non-white, but apparently too many of the election victors were Caucasian.
"That [the election results] is concerning to me because as principal I want to make sure the voices are all heard, from all backgrounds," Van Haren told a local news station. Seventh grader Sebastian Kaplan, however, told the media the whole thing stinks. "the organizers are saying things like, 'we want everyone's voice to be heard,' but in truth, the voters voices are not being heard," said Kaplan who went on to describe the election as "kind of rigged."
Principal Van Haren says she is not nullifying the election and is considering several "fixes" to the problem including appointing a couple of students to make sure minorities are represented.
But instead of denying students their choice, shouldn't we be celebrating the fact that these kids, who are reportedly 80% nonwhite, chose to vote for candidates with different skin tones than their own? Didn't these kids actually vote based on merit rather than "diversity"? What's more important, diversity or democracy?
And oh, if the school of 80% nonwhite … which "minorities" is the principal talking about? Van Haren backed down on Monday with the Washington Post reporting the election results were announced and will be followed. Nice lesson on "democracy," no?