Commissioner Lam’s statement
regarding Parent Advisory Council diversity
I am deeply disappointed by the Board’s decision to not allow Seth Benzel to be on the Parent Advisory Committee. I am hearing the dismay, anger, and anguish from many families and our community.
I support Seth Brenzel to serve on the PAC. Currently, there are no LGBTQ representatives on the PAC and it’s imperative to have representation. Seth is a gay dad who is dedicated to his community, contributes to his child’s school and to our school district; He would be a highly valuable addition to the PAC.
By denying him the position, we are failing SFUSD’s core values— the promise to value diversity, and to build inclusive school environments for our students and families. Parents and families deserve utmost respect and dignity. We also know the challenges faced by LGBTQ students in our schools from bullying to lack of school connectedness and sense of belonging.
For decades, the LGBTQ community has fought hard for the right to be recognized as parents. As a board we missed an opportunity to reaffirm the humanity of one of our dads. Seth deserves a fair opportunity— I will work to advance his appointment.
While it is critical to have diversity we must not pit communities against one another. We often say we must remain vigilant fighting against discrimination and hate. I will continue that commitment.
The District’s first priority needs to be reopening— spending multiple hours on this was a distraction and was not the most efficient use of Board business time, especially with a highly qualified candidate like Seth. I am committed to bringing Seth’s appointment back to the school board for approval in a swift and timely period.
As a school district, we must represent all our students, families and community.