Concerns over lack of LGBTQ+ support lead to Carlsbad students’ walkout


Carlsbad High School. (OsideNews file photo)

North Coast Current

Students at Carlsbad and Sage Creek high schools in Carlsbad walked out of their classes on Tuesday, May 30, in protest of controversial comments attributed to a vice principal and a recent decision by the City Council that they saw as biased against the LGBTQ+ community.

On May 23, the Carlsbad City Council voted 3-2 against an amended policy that could have allowed flags to fly at City Hall other than those of the nation and state, such as commemorative flags for Pride Month and other occasions.

On May 19, in recorded remarks to an audience at The Mission Church, Carlsbad High School Vice Principal Ethan Williams encouraged church members to attend upcoming district meetings regarding educators’ diversity, equity and inclusion curriculum efforts.

“We want full transparency in terms of curriculum and parental rights and we want no sexual identity or gender ideology, curriculum, groups, or celebrations on public school campuses because we love kids and we love families,” Williams is heard to say in the recording, which was shared with some San Diego news outlets and circulated on social media.

Carlsbad Unified School District Superintendent Benjamin Churchill issued a statement in response to the comments.

“We are aware of, and looking into, a video that has been shared widely on social media in which an administrator in Carlsbad Unified School District makes comments about his belief that curriculum, clubs, and celebrations involving sexual orientation or gender identity should not be allowed on school campuses,” Churchill said in the statement, which was posted on the district’s website. “I wholeheartedly disagree with the comments made, and condemn those comments as they are in conflict with California Education Code and our Board’s 2021 resolution in support of LGBTQ+ students and staff.”

The remarks attributed to Williams, in addition to the City Council’s decision, led to the 10 a.m. walkout on Tuesday. The event reportedly drew more than 100 students and supporters at each school, where they gathered at the campus flagpoles.

“We will not be silenced,” a digital promotional flier shared by organizers stated. “We have made it clear that we want equity and justice for all of our students and until that happens, we will speak out.”

In a May 23 response to the controversy, The Mission Church stated that the school district invited church members to participate in the community meetings.

“The Carlsbad Unified School District (CUSD) invited The Mission Church to participate in the Listening and Learning Sessions they are holding,” according to the statement, which was shared by local news organizations and on social media. “Our intent is focused on the well-being of all students, educators, and families.”

A May 24 editorial in the Carlsbad High School newspaper, The Lancer Link, called Williams unfit to serve as vice principal.

“Williams demonstrated that he does not agree with California Education Code, Carlsbad Unified Board Policy or the values that the Carlsbad Unified School District should stand for,” student staff members wrote in the editorial. “Therefore, he cannot effectively support all CHS students.”

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