A gay father was denied a spot on the San Francisco School Board’s Parent Advisory Council due to his race during a Feb. 9 meeting.
Seth Brenzel was unanimously endorsed by the sitting members of the Parent Advisory Council for one of the council’s four open seats. The Advisory Council specifically noted that it was lacking representation from “LGBTQ+ families, and those with experience with foster youth.”
Brenzel and his husband are adoptive fathers.
Before the school board began even considering Brenzel’s appointment, however, Commissioner Matt Alexander expressed concern about “creating [a] space that over-represent[s] white parents.”
“This is public shaming. It’s bullying behavior by people of power. Leaders of our community. Seth is one of the most caring people I know,” a community member in support of Brenzel said, according to the event’s official transcript.
Another supporter noted that “Seth would be the only male on the pact. He would be the only LGBTQ member. He has a mixed-race child.”
The SF school board tonight spent two hours talking about whether to allow a gay dad of mixed-race SFUSD kids to volunteer for one of several empty seats on a parent advisory group. Their problem was that he’s white and doesn’t bring diversity to the group. 1/2
— Heather Knight (@hknightsf) February 10, 2021
School Board Vice President Alison Collins was offended by the idea that Brenzel could advocate for mixed-race students.
“As a mixed-race person myself, I find it offensive when folks say that somebody is a parent of somebody who is a person of color as like a signifier that they’re qualified to represent that community,” she said.
The board ultimately moved to table the vote on Brenzel’s appointment until a more diverse group could be appointed to the Parent Advisory Council. It then voted to end the merit-based application process for Lowell High School, which the board assailed as creating “pervasive systemic racism.” (RELATED: Acronyms Are Part Of ‘White Supremacy Culture,’ According To San Francisco School District)
The San Francisco Board of Education has drawn attention for claiming that its school system is so rife with systemic racism that it needed to change the names of many of its schools, since they were representative of white supremacy.
A document produced in support of the name changes contained multiple factual errors. The school board president later rejected the idea that professional historians would have been helpful in making the name changes.