SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – A San Francisco school board commissioner is facing criticism over her comments about black and brown students. Some people are calling the comments racist.
School Board Member Ann Hsu made the comments in a San Francisco Parent Action questionnaire. She has since apologized and issued an updated response. While some people say it’s encouraging that she apologized, others say it’s not enough.
The comments that are being called racially insensitive were in response to a question about how SFUSD can increase academic outcomes for the most marginalized students. Hsu’s response included that black and brown students do not perform as well as others due to a “lack of family support,” “unstable family environments” and “lack of parental encouragement to focus on or value learning.”
“It’s perpetuating this stereotype that black and brown families aren’t able to support their families academically,” said Cyn Wang, a parent with San Francisco Parent Action. “That’s a false narrative and we believe the opposite.”
Hsu tweeted out an apology, saying in part, “in trying to convey my thoughts on this subject, I misspoke. My statements reflected my own limited experiences and inherent biases. I made a mistake, and I am deeply sorry.”
Wang says the group appreciated the apology. But for Board of Supervisors president Shamann Walton, the apology wasn’t enough.
“This is flat out wrong and racist to perpetuate harmful stereotypes on black and brown students and their families who have been disenfranchised by systemic racism for decades. It is disheartening that someone in a position responsible for making decisions for 50,000 children lead with racism and stereotypical characterizations. There’s no learning curve for how to treat people and respect people of different cultures when you’re in a leadership position as a commissioner on the board of education. Bottom line, these statements are reflective of how a person really feels and it is evident that anyone with these beliefs should not be responsible for making decisions for our children,” he said.
Wang says her group is trying to help Hsu connect with the black and brown communities.
“We’ve been convening our SF parents, black families community to share their thoughts and reactions,” Wang said.
KRON ON is streaming news live now
The families will give her feedback and allow her to express how she plans to show up for them in the future. But Wang says ultimately it will take time.
“There’s just a lot of harm from these comments that we hope to give her an opportunity to address the community and earn their trust back,” she said.
SF Parent Action told KRON4 that Hsu is meeting with the families tonight. She is one of three appointees by Mayor London Breed to replace three recalled school members.