Madera County Board of Education President Sara Wilkins is “proud to be white,” and that’s a serious problem that warrants her removal, according to a local Change.org petition.
— Sierra Girl 🌊 (@SierraMagyar) June 23, 2020
“Sara Wilkins stated on a Facebook post that she was proud to be white. Who is Sara and why was this post racist, you may ask. Sara is the President of The Madera County School Board of Education and has been working for Madera County for 27 years,” the petition reads.
“This post was racist because the post had a picture of the confederate flag and continued with ‘I bet no one passes this on because they are scared of being called a racist.’ She needs to be removed from this position because this kind of racism will not be accepted by our community.”
Wilkins made the post last weekend to her private Facebook account, which no longer exists. The petition went up Wednesday and nearly reached its goal of 1,500 signatures in one day.
Wilkins is the president of the Madera County Board of Education, which oversees schools in nine different school districts near Fresno. One of the districts, Madera Unified School District, issued a public statement about the ordeal this week to clarify that Wilkins is not directly involved in local operations, GV Wire reports.
“Madera Unified School District was recently made aware of a social media post which was allegedly made by an individual with the Madera county Board who represents portions of Raymond-Knowles, Bass Lake, and Yosemite Unified School Districts,” the statement read. “The Board member does not represent Madera Unified School District in any capacity. The Madera Unified School District and Madera County Superintendent of Schools Board are two separate governing institutions.”
Wilkins is only the latest school official or teacher to face fierce public backlash for private comments about race and rioting online. Districts across the country have terminated dozens of educators for posts about the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in the custody of Minneapolis police, as well as the protests and riots that followed.
Wilkins isn’t even the first education official in the Fresno area to come under fire.
Central Unified School District Trustee Richard Atkins is also facing calls for termination after his “racist” Facebook post: “If you don’t love the country you live in then go back to the country you or your ancestors came from.”
The post was accompanied by an expletive, according to an editorial by the Fresno Bee calling for Atkins’ removal.
“As a parent of an African American and a former Central student and parent of a student, I need someone to help me understand how a Central Unified Board member could post this,” Shay Williams wrote in the comments in response to Atkins’ post. “If this is how you feel on a personal level that is fine. However, when you represent minority students, parents, and the Central Community this is not okay.”
Fifty-seven percent of Central Unified’s 16,000 students are Latino, according to the news site.
In Madera Unified, about 90 percent are Hispanic or Latino, California Department of Education data shows.
“Racism and racial injustice are in direct opposition to the District’s critical work of providing students with the highest quality educational experience we can envision,” the district’s statement read.