SF school board commissioner apologizes again amid calls for resignation

Two San Francisco Board of Education Commissioners on Tuesday called for the board's Vice President Alison Collins to step down in response to recently resurfaced Twitter comments she made four years ago disparaging Asian Americans.

In a 2016 Twitter thread, Collins addressed anti-Black racism at her daughter's Asian American majority school.

"Where are the vocal Asians speaking up against Trump? Don't Asian Americans know they are on his list as well?" she wrote. "Do they think they won't be deported? Profiled? Beaten? Being a house n****r is still being a n****r. You're still considered 'the help.'"

The tweets resurfaced at a critical moment for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community in light of a recent wave of racist attacks being reported against community members more than ever before.

On Saturday, Collins apologized for her past comments and stated her solidary with the AAPI community.

"I am horrified by the hate crimes rising across the Bay Area," she said. "As a Black woman, a mother, an educator and a fierce advocate of equity in our schools I utilize my social media platforms to speak out on race and racism. Even when these conversations are difficult in our very divided society."

During Tuesday's board meeting, Collins once more apologized.

"I'd like to reemphasize my sincere and heartfelt apologies and I'm currently engaging with my colleagues and working with the community for the good of all children in our district, and especially Black children who are often left behind," Collins said.

The two AAPI members of the board, commissioners Jenny Lam and Faauuga Moliga called for Collins' resignation.

"We've been silenced by ignorant comments like this for far too long. Our efforts have been minimized for far too long. We've been gaslighted, scapegoated and invisiblized for far too long," Lam said at the meeting. "Words matter and the example we set, as entrusted by voters to have compassion and care about the kids we represent must be demonstrated with words and actions. I'm not alone when I say that I do not have confidence in Commissioner Collins' ability to govern a school district that is almost half AAPI with no bias."

"Commissioner Allison Collins' statement regarding the Asian American community is dangerous, hurtful and unbecoming," Moliga said. "I am requesting Commissioner Collins to take accountability for the racist statements, issue a heartfelt apology and gracefully resign from the SF Board of Education. This critical step will ensure that our communities and our students can begin recentering and healing."

 The board is roughly split on whether Collins should step down. Others have condemned the comments, but have not demanded her resignation. 

"No one of this board is a racist and I don’t believe Commissioner Collins is a racist," said board member Mark Sanchez.

In an open letter sent to staff on Monday, the district's Superintendent Leadership Team condemned Collins' "racist and hurtful language" but said it wouldn't be supporting calls for her resignation.

Over the weekend, several city leaders also called for Collins' resignation, including supervisors Connie Chan, Hillary Ronen, Gordon Mar, Matt Haney, Rafael Mandelman, Aaron Peskin, Ahsha Safai, Shamann Walton, Catherine Stefani, and Myrna Melgar, as well as Assembly members David Chiu and Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.

The issue of race has been dominating San Francisco schools of late.

At Lowell High School earlier Tuesday, a rally was held condemning the school board’s push for a lottery system to admit students. Protesters want the board to reverse those plans and said eliminating the current grade based and test score admissions system is racist against Asian Americans.

The decision to change the school admissions policy came following repeated calls by Lowell’s Black Student Union for faculty to address racist incidents that have taken place at the school.

KTVU's Andre Senior contributed to this story.