Increasing calls for recently-appointed San Francisco school board member to resign after racist comments

The San Francisco Labor Council is the latest group to call for Ann Hsu's resignation, following the school board member's racist questionnaire response denigrating Black and brown families.

In response to a candidate questionnaire for the San Francisco Parent Action Coalition, Hsu, who sits on the San Francisco Unified School District's board of education, wrote that "unstable family environments" and "lack of parental encouragement" posed major challenges in educating Black and brown students.

In a Friday statement, the labor council called Hsu's remarks "completely shocking and unacceptable for any official charged with protecting and advocating for children and families in San Francisco."

Hsu was recently appointed to the SFUSD school board by Mayor London Breed, following the February recall of three board members in a special election.

While Mayor Breed called Hsu's comments "disappointing," she also described this incident as "a teaching moment" in a recent interview with Chinese-language media.

"We don't just dismiss this and say, ‘Oh she needs to resign,’" Breed said in the same interview. "It's like, ‘Well, how do we come together and make this a teaching moment? How do we prevent this from becoming politically divisive?’"

But the labor council sees it otherwise. "Hsu, who was a leader in the recall effort, must abide by the same principles that she used against former school board members," they wrote in a statement on Friday. 

Hsu apologized Tuesday on Twitter and reaffirmed her belief in institutional racism, saying she has since revised the questionnaire.

"In trying to convey my thoughts on this subject, I misspoke," Hsu wrote on Twitter. "My statements reflected my own limited experiences and inherent biases. I made a mistake, and I am deeply sorry."

The board member said she is committed to listening to and learning from BIPOC community members.

"I’ve heard valuable feedback from BIPOC families and will be prioritizing and centering their voices in my work on the BOE through listening sessions and community outreach as we move forward," Hsu continued in the thread. "I am committed to doing better and being held accountable, just as I will hold SFUSD accountable for improving outcomes for all students."

Several members of the Board of Supervisors have now joined board President Shamann Walton, who on Thursday also called for Hsu's resignation. Supervisor Dean Preston joined his colleagues in asking that Hsu not only resign, but also drop out of the upcoming school board race. 

"Her apology was an important step in addressing the harm she has caused for the community," Preston said. "However, if this is how she views Black and brown families, it is hard to see how she can be an effective member of our Board of Education."

Supervisor Connie Chan, who represents the Richmond District, has also asked that Hsu step down.

And on Friday, Supervisor Ahsha Safai added his voice to the chorus calling on Hsu to resign. 

"Her racist statements about Black and Brown children and their parents perpetuates decades long stereotypes. We need leaders who respect and are willing to learn from all communities," Safail said on social media. He reminded his followers that serving on the board of education is a privilege.