Racist social media posts prompt calls for California school board member's resignation

RIVERSIDE, CA -- Parents and community leaders are calling for the resignation of an California school district official after the emergence of racist social media comments allegedly posted by the board member.

The since-deleted posts began circulating on a flier calling for Alvord Unified School District school official Joseph J. Barragan to step down. It contains screenshots of comments, attributed to the school board member, that praise slavery, support "a wall like the one in Israel to keep Muslims out," and advocates surgery to sterilize prisoners.

Barragan did not respond to Eyewitness News' request for comment.

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The unchallenged 21-year-old was elected to an open seat on the board in November. He represents three of the district's schools, including Terrace Elementary School in Riverside.

"Yeah, that does bother me a lot, knowing that's somebody that's supporting my school where my daughter and son go," said Christian Wright. "It's not right."

The school district released a statement that reads, in part:

"The Alvord Unified School District officially condemns the inflammatory and offensive individual personal comments made by Mr. Barragan through his public use of social media. At the same time, we recognize Mr. Barragan's sacred and protected right to freely speak his mind as a private citizen."

The Riverside Police Department is investigating Barragan's claims that his Facebook account was hacked and the posts were made without his knowledge.

Organizers calling for Barragan's resignation are asking parents and community members to attend a school board meeting at the district office at 7 p.m. Thursday.
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