Students protest HISD board meeting over flyer

November 11, 2011 2:57:16 AM PST
It was standing room only at Thursday night's HISD board meeting, not because of what was on the agenda, but because of what one trustee said during his successful re-election campaign.

It's an emotional issue for the protestors who were there. Some went as far as asking just re-elected trustee Manny Rodriguez to step down.

They chanted outside and repeated their message inside.

"We want Manny Rodriguez out of HISD," said Mike Pomeroy with the Houston GLBT Political Caucus.

Rodriguez was just re-elected to the board Tuesday by about two dozen votes.

"We're here with gay students of HISD saying that advocating for gay rights is advocating for kids, that it is not OK for a sitting trustee member to be a bully and a bigot," Pomeroy said.

But these protestors say his anti-gay ad aimed at his opponent sends a bad message.

"It's hurtful to my students and it shows that he is a bully. So why would you want someone on a board that's supposed to represent you who is a bully?" Milby High School's Christine Farley said.

Speakers drew standing ovations from some.

"To have a board member do what was done during this election season, I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed for the board, you should be embarrassed being on the board to be a part of it. I'm embarrassed to be a part of HISD," one speaker said.

Rodriguez did not comment at the meeting but issued a letter of thanks to his supporters and apologizing after the election, saying he is against bullying and discrimination and would never intentionally offend anyone.

Some of his colleagues on the board were the ones who did the talking.

"I'm going to apologize for my colleague. I think it was insensitive, and I feel as though we as a people have this policy but if you look at this policy, there's no penalty for a board member. The only penalty for a board member is at the hands of their constituents and not one of us," HISD trustee Carol Mims Galloway said.

The board tabled reviewing language in an anti-discrimination code for the district. Some of the protestors are asking for language to include trustees.

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