San Francisco, CA

Ousted San Francisco School Board VP Files Multi-Million Lawsuit

Sulabh Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO - Alison Collins, the former vice president of San Francisco's school board is suing her colleagues and the district over the no-confidence vote that led to a decision to remove her from her title over a series of tweets from her in 2016. Collins said that they violated her First Amendment rights.


The federal lawsuit filed by Collins is against the San Francisco Unified School District, City and County of San Francisco, and five board members that voted against her. The lawsuit alleges violations of her free speech and due process rights and seeks a court order to restore Collins to her previous position on the board. According to the lawsuit, Collins is seeking damages worth $12M from each defendant and $3M from each board member defendant. The individual board commissioners include Jenny Lam, Faauuga Moliga, Matt Alexander, Kevin Boggess, and Mark Sanchez.

The lawsuit reads, "Defendants reckless, intentional, and malicious slanderous comments have caused, and is continuing to cause clear and present danger, harm, and injuries to Ms. Collins, her husband and children."

The resolution was introduced by school board commissioners Faauuga Moliga and Jenny Lam. Before the vote, Moliga said, "Commissioner Collins’ statements were not only hurtful but racist and I am calling it for what it is. These past few days have been heartbreaking for our communities. We cannot endeavor to build a safe space if the trust between our leaders and those who serve is broken."

Source: Alison Collins Twitter Account

In a zoom meeting last week which was joined by hundreds of parents from San Francisco's schools, Collins apologized for her tweets but refused to resign over these tweets that she made four years ago when she was a private and non-government employee. While board commissioners Lam and Moliga asked for Collins' resignation during the call, other school board commissioners condemned the tweets and recommended a more restorative process rather than a demand for resignation. “I understand the real pain, the real fears, the real hurt people are feeling. We are all victims of the racism that plagues our country,” said Lopez during the call last week.

However, Lam said that the restorative procedure can only begin with an acknowledgment of harm from Collins which she believed Collins hadn't done. Lam added, “Being silent in moments of injustice allows injustice to persist, We’ve been silenced by ignorant comments like this for far too long. I do not have confidence in Commissioner Collins to govern."

The process of unearthing Collins' tweets from 2016, which were aimed at Asian Americans, came at a time when hate crimes against the Asian community have been on the rise. The tweets came into the spotlight a few days after 8 people, including 6 Asian women were shot dead in Atlanta, Georgia.

The series of tweets from Collins under scrutiny here were tweeted in December of 2016 and accused Asian Americans of using white supremacist thinking and model minority to get ahead.

Collins wrote “many Asian Americans believe they benefit from the ‘model minority’. Many Asian American (teachers, students, and parents) actively promote these myths. They use White supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.'”
“Talk to many (Lowell High School) parents and you will hear praise of Tiger Moms and disparagement of Black/Brown culture,” said another tweet from Collins.
She continued, “where are the vocal Asians speaking up against Trump? Don’t Asian Americans know they are on his list as well? Do they think they won’t be deported? Profiled? Beaten?”

Collins commented that her words from 4 years ago were taken out of context and she apologized for "the pain her words may have caused". She further said, "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 often left behind."

A rally in support of Collins was orchestrated yesterday.

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