Public schools

School Principal Withheld Student Council Election Results Because Winners Weren't Diverse Enough

Sending the wrong message



In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve. But Everett Middle School in San Francisco is not exactly a democracy, and Principal Lena Van Haren withheld publication of the results of a student council election because she didn't like the outcome—too many of the winners were white.

The school is roughly 80 percent students of color, but the election results didn't reflect the school's diversity, according to KTVU:

"That is concerning to me because as principal I want to make sure all voices are heard from all backgrounds," Van Haren said….

"We're not nullifying the election, we're not cancelling the election and we're not saying this didn't count," Van Haren said.

She said the school may possibly add positions in an effort to be more equal.

"I'm very hopeful this can be a learning experience and actually be something that embodied our vision which is to help students make positive change," she added.

But an election is already a learning experience—or would be, if administrators didn't hide the results. Teaching kids that authority figures always know better—and will even re-jigger the outcome of a democratic election if they don't like the people the students picked—not only sends the wrong message, it's blatantly unfair.

It's also possibly illegal, according to The Washington Post's Eugene Volokh:

I'm inclined to say, by the way, that attempting to "add positions in an effort to be more equal" by (presumably) filling them with children of a particular race would likely violate the Equal Protection Clause and federal civil rights law. And even if one can somehow argue that such an action is "narrowly tailored to a compelling government interest" in supposed "diversity," it violates the California Constitution's categorical ban on "discriminat[ing] against, or grant[ing] preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race … in the operation of … public education."

Roundly (and rightly) criticized for presuming to correct the student's election choices, Van Haren backed off, releasing the following statement:

Everett Middle School is honoring the results of the Associated Student Body (ASB) elections. This is our first student council at Everett Middle School in recent history and we started up a student council because we want our students to have several ways to develop their leadership skills and be a part of shaping our school. We want a student leadership body that includes the range of perspectives and experiences of our students and we believe a representative body is an important part of democracy.

When we reviewed the results of our Associated Student Body (ASB) elections on Friday, October 9th, we saw that it was not fully representative of our school population. I made the decision to pause on sharing the results with the students in order to capitalize on a teachable moment. I wanted to have a conversation with all of the candidates and ask for their ideas to make sure that all voices and groups are represented in our ASB. In retrospect, I understand how this decision to pause created concerns. Today I visited classrooms to announce the winners of the elections.

I happen to think student governments are often silly organizations that reward students with very little actual power while teaching them to adore political life. But if a school is going to have an election at all, it really ought to honor the wishes of the voters.

NEXT: Yes, Rand Paul, Running for President Is a Drag. So Have Some Fun, Already!

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  1. Were is the US Dept of Education Office of Civil Rights when you need them? LOL

    1. DOE OCR: Was anyone raped during the election?

      1. The student body, as a whole.

  2. The lesson taught is one of racism. If the children are insufficiently racist, then they must experience it first hand at school. How else are we going to get past racism?

    1. It’s absolutely amazing how all these people who do shit like this in the interests of “diversity” and “fighting racism” are abjectly fucking racist in every way. And if they think the kids can’t see that, they’re delusional.

      1. Isn’t there an active push to redefine racism so that you can only be racist against white people and Asians? I think these people truly believe something something racism only can come from a position of power blah blah. It’s complete nonsense. Racism is easy to define. This is racist. Abjectly so.

        1. Racism as I understand it in America has pretty much always been defined in this manner.

        2. I remember such a push in the nineties, but now it’s taken for granted that “racism” means “whatever I don’t like.”

          1. It’s openly stated by some. Not too long ago elsewhere I saw somebody objecting to totally spurious claims of racism get the response that, yeah, it was indeed not racism, but accusations of racism were a “convenient cudgel” and so it was used.

            I was simultaneously amused and dismayed because you always expect a smokescreen of bullshit about how it actually is racism, but, nope, right out in the open.

        3. Honestly, at its core I think it’s just racist people figuring out a way to be super fucking racist yet socially have their behavior not considered racism. Every aspect of the racial grievance mongering fucks seems to be attempts to excuse extreme, no-shit racism from themselves as normal or even “progressive”. It’s kind of astounding how successful they’ve been. But shit like this story shows they still overreach.

        4. Yes. And no racism hasn’t always been defined that way in America (to Rhywun). It sure as hell isn’t what’s in the dictionary or even what school pushed when I was younger. It was very simply prejudice against people based on race.

          To add to that, it’s also just a matter of these people being complete collectivists. Sargon of Akkad covers this very well on his Youtube channel. Don’t agree with him on everything, but he’s right on here. They view things in terms of structures and categorized groupings. Identity politics is about assuming people of an entire gender and race have the same experiences.

          1. Someone actually explicitly told me not to use the dictionary definition. No, he didn’t give a reason.

          2. It was very simply prejudice against people based on race.

            OK, I’ll walk that back a little and admit that it wasn’t often spelled out as openly as it is today but if you read between the lines it sure as heck always was implied.

        5. Some do claim that racism only counts when it comes from someone in a privileged group (i.e. white people and maybe some East Asians). I don’t think most people buy this. But I’ve been surprised often lately at the level of idiocy I encounter, so you never know.

          1. I seriously doubt that most people know or agree with Critical Race Theory.

            1. I once dated a girl who really got into CRT when she was in law school. That relationship did not end well (for a variety of reasons).

      2. Oh come on… presuming that all racial categories think in lockstep and differently from each other is progressive! You like progress, don’t you?

  3. I made the decision to pause on sharing the results with the students in order to capitalize on a teachable moment.

    Yeah – “me, me, me” – it’s all about you, fuckface.

    The irony is he missed the ACTUAL “teachable moment” in all this.

    I don’t know how parents can stand this shit. I am SO glad my kids are long out of school – I’d be in jail for my response to some of this shit. Unbelievable. Well, totes believable, these days.

    1. I’d be in jail for my response to some of this shit.


      Why not just laugh at the administration along with your kids? It could be a beautiful bonding moment where they learn the appropriate attitude towards authority figures: contempt.

      1. Well, except for the part where you’d be sending them to be subject to those authoritarian figures for six hours a day 13 years.

        1. The world is a drunken psychotic clown with a knife, nicole. The only thing you can do is laugh.

          1. Tell us more about your rapey uncle, Hugh. I love clowns.

              1. X, *I* am the Minotaur.


            1. I learned a lot at a young age about cleaning grease makeup out of hard-to-reach places. But it’s not really a skill I use that much as an adult.

              1. Besides that, at school they make you leave your knife at the door.

                1. Yeah, i heard about how only school-issued blades are allowed at clown colleges these days. THANKS OBAMA.

              2. Only on special occasions, of course.

            2. He’s John Wayne Gacy’s nephew.

      2. I’d laugh AFTER I marched in there and beat this asshole to a fucking pulp.

        Sorry, sometimes I’m a Trog like that.

        1. And I apologize for my recalcitrant “s” key – “She”, not “he”

  4. Are hat tips withheld for similar reasons? Or are all the writers just stingy scrooges swimming in vast bins filled with nothing but tips of every conceivable hat?

    1. Considering when this article went up and when I saw a comment mentioning this subject, I’m betting this article was already written by the time the link showed up in the comments.

      1. I bet you’re right. I just need a pet issue to whine about sometime.


          1. This is the leadership I expect from my favorite presidential contender.

        2. I am pretty sure your gander and/or race were involved during the Great Hat Tip Snub of 2015.

          Soave is a well-known rape denier, which means he hates women.

          1. I am pretty sure your gander and/or race…

            Are you calling her a silly goose?

            1. *sigh*

              Joke fail. Pronoun fail.

              Gander is a male goose.

              1. HA! You fail! You failure. HA!

              2. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander.

  5. “That is concerning to me because as principal I want to make sure all voices are heard from all backgrounds,” Van Haren said?.

    Which is…exactly what an election is for…

    Come on, Madame Prison Warden, surely you’re not that fucking stupid.

    1. Hahahaha, good one. And don’t call her Shirley, Nicole.

    2. Surely you’re not suggesting that people are capable of expressing their own views without oversight and guidance from credentialed professionals.

      1. Something tells me there was no shortage of oversight or guidance in this process.

        1. Well it still didn’t turn out the way the authorities had projected, so clearly more oversight is called for.

          1. clearly more oversight is called for.

            Qui curat pr?fectis?

          2. The good news is the election was allowed to stand. However, I understand that the Emperor may not be as forgiving as Van Haren.

            1. David Ree Roth era Van Haren?

              1. Early Swiss Gaze Narrowing era?

                *narrows gaze*

  6. I like how one of the commenters point out that if we followed the principles logic we’d have to impeach Obama for not being representative of the majority white nation.

  7. In the dead-tree version of the news this morning, she claimed she wasn’t going to nullify the results – she just wanted to ‘have a discussion’.
    Yeah, sure.

    1. Right. “Whoops! I just got curb-stomped in the newspaper. How do you pedal this thing backwards?”

  8. “She said the school may possibly add positions in an effort to be more equal.”

    I assume this will be integrated with the lesson in Social Studies class about FDR’s court-packing attempts. I guess a math class could attempt to tackle it, too.

  9. So, she’s saying she doesn’t trust the judgment of the student body, which is 80% minority. Sounds pretty racist to me.

  10. I was once appointed to a student government post (in middle school no less). In the next election, the faculty appointed posts were abolished and I lost the seat. It didn’t matter since the ‘student government’ had no authority whatsoever. (and no budget, so no one took it seriously)

    1. I figured the ‘student government’ was a training ground for up-and-coming tin-pot dictators.

      1. That was certainly my experience in college. MS, HS – meh. I didn’t even know what the student council did, nor who was on it.

        College? They established a Judicial Board while I was in school. Predictable result – insufferable pricks you’d expect to get on such a board did, and proceeded to use the process to fuck with their enemies. My fraternity got it my senior year – party NOT on campus, nothing to do with the school – “tough shit – yeah, you were really responsible and had shuttles and didn’t let people drive, yada, yada, yada – banhammer and no pledge class next term.” Under what authority?

        Duh – because fuck you, that’s why!

        1. Not always. When I was in college, Rob Kampia was elected student council president. We had the post-election party at our house.

      2. It is. I was on it in 10th grade and I hated every minute of it. Kids are stupid that way – they’ll try out anything.

      3. Well, there’s also Model UN…

  11. This “sending a message” trope is just soooooo problematic.

    Because the essence of the problem of the school(s) who want to “fix” society is the idea they need to *send any message at all*

    People voted for who they thought was best. That WAS the message. The winners are whomever they picked. There’s no ‘message’ other than …. “Deal with it, suckers. next time, try harder”

    No one in an administration needs to proactively encourage or enable this ‘messaging’ shit = the message is reality. (cue some Gil Scott Heron)

    1. Look, the student population, made up of ‘minorities,’ voted for people based on their abilities, and not their race. We can’t have people thinking a person’s race doesn’t matter.

      1. ^^ Exactly!
        And, I was devastated when you died in 1986 Len.

        1. Who’s the only Celtic under six feet?

          1. Hitler?

        2. I didn’t die, I just traded a basketball career for a gig as a part-time HnR commenter. That way I can do coke in peace.

        3. Nancy Reagan was so devastated when you died that she made her husband send many thousands of people to prison. It had nothing to do with distracting the media from Iran-Contra right before the election.

  12. it violates the California Constitution’s categorical ban on “discriminat[ing] against, or grant[ing] preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race ? in the operation of ? public education.”

    Let’s ask Asians applying to the UC system how much weight that particular part of the state constitution carries.

    1. The California constitution is a living document. Racism can only be against marginalized non-whites. Some other bullshit prog excuse I’m not thinking of at the moment.

  13. The really funny thing is that this is a white principal doing this. So, maybe she should give up her own job to a colored colleague in the name of diversity. It’s a minority school, after all.

    The minority students voted for white kids, apparently. Maybe there is hope for a future where blacks don’t vote 90% democratic.

    1. The minority students voted for white kids, apparently. Maybe there is hope for a future where blacks don’t vote 90% democratic.

      I donno, Did the white kids promice the most free stuff?

      1. Dude these mice are so pro. But aren’t 90% of (D) polls white. They still vote for white people.

        1. Yes. they also tend to gravitate to even corrupt people of the same skin color, though. See, well, every black city.

        2. Only pan-dimensional mice are pros.

      2. Well, perhaps, but I was trying to be optimistic here for once.

  14. My OT spree continues

    Sowell on police shootings:…..02015.php3

    He goes off the rails somewhat.

    1. Um… it’s off the rails from the headline forward. How disappointing from him.

      Utter ignorance of what it is like to be in such situations does not seem to make the second-guessers hesitate. On the contrary, ignorance seems to be liberating, so that “excessive force” has become an almost automatic comment from people who have no basis whatever for determining how much force is necessary in such situations.

      You know, he can wrap it up in pretty prose, but it’s still mendacious copsucking bullshit.

    2. Someone in the media recently complained that a policeman shot a boy who had a toy gun “within seconds” of arriving on the scene. When someone has a gun, and refuses to drop it, a policeman can be killed within seconds. A dialogue under these conditions can be a fatal luxury he cannot afford.

      I saw that video of the cops driving up, climbing out of the car, then shooting the kid. Sowell’s argument gives me a bit of an anxious feeling from the bile I’m suppressing.

      Poor work by Sowell.

      1. Ugh, I was too pissed to read the whole thing before. Now I wish I hadn’t.

        There is something grotesque about people sitting in safety and comfort, blithely second-guessing at their leisure what a policeman did when he had a split second to make a decision that could cost him his life, leaving behind a widow and orphans.

        They are trained and paid to put their lives on the line – not shoot blindly in pants-shitting fear. The reason people are pissed off is because cops did not used to behave like this. Well, not as a matter of course.

        After this year’s widespread indulgences in anti-police rhetoric by politicians, the media and race hustlers, how surprised should we be by the dramatic upsurge in murders after law enforcement had been undermined?

        What “dramatic upsurge in murders”? Now he’s just flat-out making shit up.

  15. Apparently it was too many asians, whites, not enough blacks, hispanics.

    How helpful of the school to draw battle lines.

  16. In the fires of Everett Middle School, a young Adolf Hister plots his revenge. This time the world!

    1. You know who else misspelled “Schicklgruber”?

    2. “Teacher? I also require the Czechoslovakian boy’s desk.”

      1. “It’s not my problem.”

    3. You mean that new transfer student, Johnny Hitler? He’s soooo cool!

      1. Sucks at art in general, but kills at pottery.

  17. Teaching kids that authority figures always know better?and will even re-jigger the outcome of a democratic election if they don’t like the people the students picked…

    …prepares the students for life as adults.

  18. If they add positions students should demand to elect those people and vote in the nost lily ass white albinos in the school. Someone needs a lesson and it’s not the students

    1. Albinos always get elected cuz they magic.

      1. Only if you eat them.

  19. But didn’t the 80% minority school vote for the white candidates?
    Of course they did. They weren’t appointed by the KKK disguised as school teachers.

    I don’t get it. If anything, the school should be concerned that minorities are not participating in school government…if, in fact, that is a concern.

    1. Funny how you’re still sporting the wrongly-spelled handle. What. A. Surprise, handle-hopper griefer.

      1. I keep forgetting to change it back.

        1. Sure you do.

    2. Imagine if the races were reversed and a mostly white class elected mostly non-whites.

      1. *shrugs*

        Somehow, I managed to get elected class president from a student body that was like 98 percent white, and without principal-initiated “affirmative action” to boot!

        1. But, you were articulate and fresh and clean………………………….

          1. The freshness and cleanliness was a mere illusion offered by the fact that every teenaged boy wears too much cologne when they deign to put scent on.

            1. Axe body spray, on top of Axe body wash applied with an Axe-branded loofah. Am i right?

              1. Yes or the musk option.

                7th and part of 8th grade, before I started to notice girls and thought about giving me some scent, it was just so cool to play ball all afternoon and not even think about taking a shower. Those were the days!

              2. Rico Soave is going to write an article.

              3. I think the women of America are finally getting it through men’s lizard brains that Axe is the foulest stench on the planet. I am not noticing that horrible odor everywhere as much as I did a few years ago.

                1. By “Women of America” you’re referring to tween and teen girls? Isn’t Axe marketed to 15 yr old boys?

                  1. Isn’t Axe marketed to 15 yr old boys?

                    The commercials I see are targeted mostly at college-aged frat-brahs* but recently they’re targeting hipsters too.

                    *In NYC where I live, this translates to mainly goobahs and tuff gais.

                    1. Er, “goombahs”.

                    2. Boom.

                      Who knows, all I can say is, the only person I know who uses Axe body products is my 15yr old nephew. I admit I’m not acquainted nor hang out with many older teen or young adult males. Although I read them regularly on Reason!


              4. Depends on how old he is. In my day it probably would have been Brute.

        2. Or so you thought. The best affirmative action is when you don’t feel it. You never once thought it was strange that you received 478% of the vote?

          1. Not my fault they didn’t require ID in homeroom.

        3. I dunno… can you pass?

        4. Yeah, but you’re half white, so . . . you’re whatever’s most convenient.

  20. But didn’t the 80% minority school vote for the white candidates?
    Of course they did. They weren’t appointed by the KKK disguised as school teachers.

    I don’t get it. If anything, the school should be concerned that minorities are not participating in school government…if, in fact, that is a concern.

    1. Concern troll concern trolling…….who’da thunk it.

  21. Life imitates the move Election?

  22. The principal should have just put (D) after the winners names. Then she wouldn’t have had an issue with the black students voting for them.

  23. “Teaching kids that authority figures always know better?and will even re-jigger the outcome of a democratic election if they don’t like the people the students picked?not only sends the wrong message, it’s blatantly unfair.”

    It sends a perfectly accurate message and prepares the kids for adult life.

  24. “Van Haren” sounds like an Asian trying to pronounce my name…

    is a joke a racist would make.

    1. Oh, why not?

      1. Oh, I’m disappointed, I thought it was about [name of someone you don’t like]’s mother.

    2. That was fun. Do they have one about goats?

  25. “As people of color, you should have every right to have your voice heard and express your opinions.”

    “No, no, no, not like that!”

    1. …said the guy who signed the Fugitive Slave Act.

  26. Obviously, they need to gerrymander the school’s electorate to obtain proportional representation.

    Anything else would be racist.

  27. There’s a real-world parallel to this when a global hegemon overturns a democratically elected government in a subordinate state with a coup or something because the hegemon doesn’t like the people elected for some reason.

  28. “I wanted to have a conversation with all of the candidates and ask for their ideas to make sure that all voices and groups are represented in our ASB.”

    If she wanted to make absolutely sure all ideas, voices, and groups were properly represented she should have hand picked the winners rather than have an election. What she really disagreed with is based on a superficial indicator of diversity, skin color, rather than an examination of the individuals “voices” and perspectives.

    There is so much fail in this person’s actions: the abject racism of focusing on skin color and “groups”, the condescending assertion that she knows best how to measure and assess diversity, and the authoritarian decision to “pause” sharing the results of the election.

    It seems clear to me she is an unrepentant tyrant who only changed course of action when confronted with an overwhelming backlash of negative opinion.

    1. Take a gander at her educational and employment history, and all will be clear…

      1. Yep, a BS in “Environmental Policy”, with a minor in basket-weaving.

        1. Seems to be a familiar thread woven through her fabric and those of her ilk.

        2. I told ya – if you don’t have a STEM degree you’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell of working in your field.

    2. And since when does ANY elected group of people in the real world “make sure that all voices and groups are represented”? We all know what those words are code for, but last time I checked my city was still run entirely by people of one voice – leftism.

  29. BTW, this is, in fact, the opposite of the result:

    “School Principal Withheld Student Council Election Results Because Winners Weren’t Diverse Enough”

    Uh, this is a school of largely black and hispanic kids; the elected kids were white; how much more ‘diverse’ can you get?
    What she really meant is ‘those damn white kids got elected and it won’t look good on my CV!’

  30. Unfunny hipster white girl steals from funny dead black man.…..-show.html

    White girls ruin everything.

    1. Hey, where have you been?

      I was worried about you. Hopefully nothing bad.

      1. Nothing at all. Just decided to take a brake for a while.

        1. Just decided to take a brake for a while

          I just missed the ty-prose.

          1. That one was for you Crusty.

    2. She should have replied, “Who?”

      I never heard of him.

      1. He used to host a show on VH1 called Best Week Ever. It was really funny. He was very funny. Had Patrice O’Neil lived, I think he would have ended up being a pretty big star. He died at 42 of a blood clot right as his career was taking off. It was very tragic.

        1. OK, so in your opinion she should have known all his routines? I am glad my profession does not include the expectation that I be intimately familiar with all material released by every other practitioner before me.

          1. No. She should have just written her own routines. What are the odds of two people independently coming up with the same routine? Pretty slim I would think.

          2. It is very rare for 2 comedians to come up with similar jokes independently. All comedians get their start by spending a lot of time listening to other comedians. Part of the reason for that is to avoid telling jokes that have been done before.

            Musicians borrow and steal from each other and it’s no biggy because songs can be played over and over. Jokes have a much shorter shelf life.

            The odds that Schumer wrote those jokes on her own are about the same as the odds that Elvis invented rock and roll on his own.

            Judd Apatow stole from Denis Leary and Denis Leary stole from Bill Hicks to give but one example:


            1. The careers of both Carlos Mencia and Dane Cook were both dead after they were caught stealing jokes.

              1. Yeah, I remember that.

                What a rough profession – how could you even defend yourself against such an accusation? “No, I didn’t do it”?

            2. ” the height of originality is skill in concealing origins.” – C.E.M Joad (a quote that is ironically often rephrased and/or misattributed)

  31. So a majority of Everett Middle School is racist?

    1. Everything and everyone is racist. Your calling attention to them being racist is racist. Didn’t you know that?

  32. I was class president in 6th grade. A popular kid liked me and nominated me. I was impeached and nearly expelled from office (saved by 1 vote) because of an intercom prank I pulled. I abstained from the special election to decide my fate.

    That was also the year I played Scrooge in the school play. Tiny Tim was taller than me.

    Ah, memories…

    1. Ah, yes, student government…taking itself way too seriously since 1890.

      I still remember the student government candidate in high school who gave me candy to vote for her. I figured that this was probably all I was going to get out of the student-politics process, and so it was.

      1. No, “candy” isn’t a euphemism, you filthy-minded idiots.

        1. Ahem.

      2. Lol. My senior year a girl in my class had wanted to be student body president as she was vp year before and other things previous. Very important to her. The class clown enters at last minute and wins. She was pissed

  33. Speaking of student council elections, from the movie, Election:

  34. . . . we started up a student council because we want our students to have several ways to develop their leadership skills and be a part of shaping our school.

    I don’t understand this. What do student councils *do*? In college they are worse than useless, I can’t image that there’s *any point at all* in a SC at the middle-school level.

    1. We got Marijuana Day at Penn State.

  35. The school is roughly 80 percent students of color …

    Stop it with the “of color” bullshit. Just stop it. Or I’m gonna

    1. It’s a Rico Suave piece, so, yeah.

  36. Lena van Haren should quit and give her job to a minority. She should also apologize to all the “colored” students for insulting their intelligence by suggesting that they don’t know what’s good for them. Importantly, she should be required to take a 7th grade civics class and have her white privilege card taken away from her. Sound fair to me.

    The only lesson here is that, for black people, kids included, when they make a sensible choice for themselves, they’re always attacked by white liberals for not knowing what’s good for them. If these so called caring white liberals want to help, stay away from black people. Don’t speak for them, don’t express rage for them, and don’t express solidarity with them. All of these expressions coming from white liberals are inauthentic at best, cynical at worse.

  37. I bought brand new BMW by working ONline work. Six month ago i hear from my friend that she is working some online job and making more then 98$/hr i can’t beleive. But when i start this job i have to beleived her
    Now i am also making 98$/hr if you want to try just check this out

    ————– http://www.HomeJobs90.Com

  38. Right, philosopher-queen better at choosing who represents people than the people themselves.

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