by Seth Hemmelgarn
The school board voted unanimously last week for Richard
Carranza to serve as the next superintendent of the San Francisco Unified
Carranza, 45, currently serves as the district's deputy
superintendent of instruction, innovation, and social justice and is set to
replace Carlos Garcia after Garcia retires in July. The board's vote was Tuesday,
In a recent interview, Carranza, who joined the district
about two and a half years ago, said that among his goals are ensuring safety
for LGBT and other students.
"I'm very, very sensitive and supportive of the LGBT
community," Carranza, who has a gay brother, said.
"Under my administration, we would absolutely continue to
work very aggressively" to protect students, he said.
The district appears to be far ahead of most other school
agencies in the country when it comes to addressing LGBT issues. Among other
things, the district was likely the first of its kind to offer a website
specifically addressing the needs of LGBTQ students and their families.
Still, San Francisco school students aren't immune to
anti-gay attitudes. Recent survey data that includes the district's middle and
high school students indicate that it's fairly common for them to hear comments
like "faggot" and "that's so gay," while staff often don't
address the remarks. Many LGBT students have been subjected to violence,
according to the data.
Carranza said the district's work to address such problems
"Students in our schools have every right to come to
school and not feel bullied or harassed," he said. "... It's
unacceptable for any student not to feel comfortable and successful in
Carranza said Kevin Gogin, who works in support services for
LGBTQ youth for the district's school health programs department, "has
done a lot of really good work" on developing intervention programs, training
staff, and other areas.
In response to emailed questions, Gogin said the district's
leaders have been "incredibly supportive of LGBTQ programming, curriculum,
and professional development. Leadership has engaged in an ongoing conversation
regarding what LGBTQ students need and how Support Services for LGBTQ Youth,
and the district as a whole, can respond. [Carranza] has been a part of this
discussion since he has worked as deputy superintendent."