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California School Board President Resigns Over Wife’s Racist And Sexist Tweets About Kamala Harris

NBC Bay Area/YouTube

Jon Venverloh, the president of the Las Lomitas school board in the San Francisco Bay Area, resigned after a petition was signed by more than 100 parents of students who were outraged when his wife, Mehridith Philips Venverloh, wrote racist, sexist and homophobic comments about Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.

In just one of her deleted tweets, Mehridith said of Harris’ qualifications:

“All she needs to be qualified is a black p*ssy! No brain needed!”

In other posts, Venverloh made attacks against the LGBTQ community and referred to Vice President-elect Harris as a “whore.”

Her Twitter account has since been deleted.

Brianna Caldwell, a mother of four, said she “almost vomited, then I cried a little bit and then I was just shaking and I was so angry,” after reading the comments written by Venverloh’s wife,

Caldwell told KGO:

“I was watching systemic racism happening, on display in my own children’s school in our backyard!”

Fellow parents at the school expressed similar disbelief on social media and in person.

Sasa Caval, who was picking her daughter up from school, said:

“I was shocked…I feel sorry for the lady (Mehridith) more than anything else.”

You can watch the news report in the clip below.


Board trustees John Earnhardt, Diane Honda and Dana Nunn, addressed the community in a statement, saying:

“We collectively and individually found the social media comments posted by Jon’s wife to be abhorrent and the racially based and gender-based hatred contained in the posts does not reflect the values of our school district or our community.”

They added his wife’s posts “undermined Jon’s ability to serve effectively on our governance team.”

Las Lomitas superintendent Dr. Beth Polito condemned the racist statements and asserted that bigotry would not be tolerated.

She said in a phone call with ABC7:

“Fortunately we have been working on equity for a number of years in the district. Equity was a top theme of interest for staff and community members…and this illustrated there is a lot of work to be done.”

Venverloh, who was formerly a Google executive, wrote in a district parent-teacher Facebook page that his wife “expressed reprehensible views that I do not agree with” and added that he needs to focus more on his family at this time.

Venverloh’s statement, in its entirety, read:

“Dear Las Lomitas School Community,”

“It is with a heavy heart that I announce I am resigning as Trustee of the Las Lomitas Elementary School District, effective immediately. I love this community, but I love my family more and need to be focused on and support them at this time.”

“My wife and I have volunteered in the District for over a decade while our four girls have gone through our amazing schools with our world class teachers. I have raised tens of thousands of dollars to support our schools and to make them as strong as possible.”

“I stood for election to be a Trustee because I care about doing the right thing for ALL of our kids in our District.”

“However, given my wife’s social media posts, which expressed reprehensible views that I do not agree with, I know that my continued service would be a distraction from the work that needs to be done in the District over the two years remaining in my term.”

“Let me be clear: I did not make the remarks that have so upset the community. I was not present when they were made.”

“I have never encouraged such thinking or opinions, and I don’t agree with them in any way whatsoever. They do not represent who I am nor who my family is in any way.”

 

“On the contrary, I have been an active champion of diversity and inclusion and we have funded significant projects to benefit the underserved.”

“As School Board president I called for a review of our curriculum to ensure it addresses topics of racial understanding and respect, and I always apply a strong equity lens to all our policy decisions.”

“Despite one of the most difficult years we’ve had as a nation and a community because of the ongoing pandemic, I am proud to have served our kids in helping create a safe (and in many cases new) school environment.”

“I truly believe that our District is stronger than ever because we worked together to get all of our kids safely back to school and learning.”

“Thank you for the opportunity to serve our schools and our community for the past two years. I wish you all well.”

 

Mehridith Venverloh later issued an apology and claimed a medical condition was responsible for her “reduced judgement between right and wrong.”

She also cited medication, however mental health advocates have stated repeatedly that lowered inhibitions do not create racist or otherwise bigoted outbursts. People with impaired impulse control act out their own impulses and the mentally ill should not be vilified as violent racists or bigots because of individuals with racist impulses like Venverloh.

Her statement in full read:

“Words cannot express how sorry I am for the offensive posts I made on social media in the middle of the night last night. Those who know me know I am passionate about my beliefs, and I do not shy away from sharing those views.”

“However, last night in a moment of disappointment, I wrote vulgar words that crossed the line, words that are inconsistent with my values and my family’s values.”

“For this, I am deeply sorry and ashamed. This is a really painful way to fail my family, friends and community.”

“Some of you know I suffer from a debilitating neurological disease, and as a result I take various medications. Over the past several days I have been weaning off of my meds to prepare for a hospitalization that is scheduled to start tomorrow.”

“I believe that the change in my medication reduced my judgment between right and wrong when I made the posts. There is no excuse for what I wrote, but I ask for your understanding that my state of mind was far from normal last night.”

 

“I apologize to the Bay Area community for my actions. I apologize to my husband who fights passionately and tirelessly every day for our Las Lomitas schools. And I apologize to my precious daughters.”

 

“I pray I set a better example for them going forward. I also apologize to Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.”

“Whether or not we agree politically, the election of Vice President-elect Harris is an important moment in history and a reminder to every woman and girl that they can be anything they want to be in our great country.”

“I will be stepping away from social media after this post. I humbly ask the community for your forgiveness.”

“I ask that you please respect the privacy of our family right now and not take this out on our children or my husband, who were not involved in any way.”

While plans for Venverloh’s replacement are underway, Caldwell started a new petition urging board members to consider the following moving forward:

“Our board members have to be well versed in equity and inclusivity and diversity—they have to be racially literate.”

Koh Mochizuki

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a New York-based actor and writer. Originally hailing from Los Angeles, he received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese. Disney parks are his passion, and endless cups of coffee are a necessity. Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1