Embattled San Francisco school board member sues district, colleagues after surfacing of offensive tweets

California
In this Sept. 26, 2018 file photo, Alison Collins, right, is seen during an editorial board meeting in San Francisco. (Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

In this Sept. 26, 2018 file photo, Alison Collins, right, is seen during an editorial board meeting in San Francisco. (Liz Hafalia/San Francisco Chronicle via AP, File)

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The former vice president of San Francisco’s school board is suing the district and her colleagues after they voted to strip her of the position because of tweets she wrote in 2016 that said Asian Americans used ‘’white supremacist” thinking.

Alison Collins filed the lawsuit Wednesday in federal court, alleging violation of her constitutional rights including free speech, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

She is seeking $12 million in damages from the school district and school board members and $3 million additionally from each of the five board members who supported the vote. She declined to comment to the Chronicle on Wednesday.

Collins, who is Black, came under fire after critics unearthed tweets she wrote in 2016. Many Asian Americans, she wrote, “believe they benefit from the ‘model minority’ BS’” and “use white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.‘”

Near the end of the thread, Collins called for Asian Americans to speak out against then-President Donald Trump’s policies, saying that her daughter stepped in to stop Asian American boys who were bullying a Latino student.

“Don’t Asian Americans know they are on his list as well?” Collins wrote, using asterisks in place of a racial slur. “Do they think they won’t be deported? profiled? beaten? Being a house n(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)r is still being a n(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)(asterisk)r. You’re still considered ‘the help.’”

Collins has said her words were taken out of context and apologized “for the pain my words may have caused.”

In a 5-2 no-confidence vote last week, the school board stripped Collins of her vice presidency and removed her from committees.

In her lawsuit, Collins alleges that instead of taking actions to protect “Black and Brown children from racist harassment and racist bullying, defendants opted to ‘burn’ the messenger, using a pretzel-twisted redirection of Ms. Collins’ seasoned social metaphors.”

Dozens of officials, including the mayor, have condemned the tweets and called on Collins to resign.

The posts resurfaced amid a surge of violence and harassment against Asian Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area and around the country. They are the latest embarrassment for San Francisco’s school board, which has prided itself on putting racial equity at the top of its agenda.

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