A gay white dad of a mixed-race child has been denied a spot on the San Francisco Board of Education’s parent committee because he would hurt the diversity of the all-female group.
The board debated for two hours earlier this week on whether Seth Brenzel should be allowed to be a volunteer member of the committee after the parent advisory council unanimously supported his joining the committee and submitted his name to the school board for approval.
The Daily Mail detailed the ensuing battle:
His candidacy, however, faced opposition from some board members and members of the public who argued that there wasn’t enough diversity on the council – even though there are five seats currently empty. Those who opposed his candidacy were concerned with the fact that he is white.
The 15-person council currently only has 10 members: Two black mothers, one Asian-American, three Latinx, one Pacific Islander and three white. Brenzel, who is the executive director of a music program for children, is openly gay. He lives in San Francisco with his husband and their young daughter.
After the lengthy debate, the school board eventually decided against voting on his appointment at all and asked the council to find alternate candidates for them to consider.
The Mail reported one person on the board, only identified as Tara, said the committee was “not a diverse group of people as far as I have seen, I have noticed and have observed.”
Others opposed Brenzel’s appointment because “other voices need to be heard first before white queer voices.”
“Commissioner Matt Alexander – who described himself as the lone white board member – had said that it seemed ‘like the white members are over-represented on the P.A.C.’ and that there was an under-representation of ‘Arab, Vietnamese, Native American folks,’” the Mail reported.
“I’m probably going to get complaints now I’m telling white parents not to be involved or something,” Alexander said. “I want to be clear, that’s not what I’m saying.”
But later Alexander said, “White parents also in the city tend to have a lot of privilege and power and access the board of ed in various ways,” according to the Mail report.
Some came to Brenzel’s defense, including one speaker who said: “I think this is just honestly just a political show so you can say that you stopped a white person from getting on.”
“I’m very upset we are focusing solely on race,” another speaker said. “Seth would be the only male on the pact. He would be the only LGBTQ member. He has a mixed race child.”
“I mean, this notion of ‘oh, he’s just a white person therefore we can’t have him,’ it’s absolute nonsense,” the speaker said. “There’s diversity beyond the color of our skin and I think it is important to consider diversity beyond just race and the intersectionalty of parents.”
“We are all diverse in our own way and Seth brings a lot of diversity to a pact that has no men and no LGBTQ parents,” the unnamed speaker said.
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