Students at 2 High Schools in Carlsbad Walk Out in Protest of Vice Principal's Anti-LGBTQ Curriculum Rant

Vice Principal Ethan Williams has been under scrutiny since a recording surfaced of him rallying his church members to take their concerns to the school board

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About 100 Carlsbad High students gathered at the school's flagpoles Tuesday morning to support their fellow classmates who are LGBTQ. In addition to Carlsbad High, students also walked out from Sage Creek High School on Tuesday. They're also pushing back against their new vice principal, Ethan Williams, who they said has been making hateful comments.

“Our school is a very diverse school and we support a lot of things and we're very spirited," said sophomore student Devyn McGuire. "I feel like having a vice principal who doesn't support us isn't OK.”

She said the school’s environment hasn’t been the same this year since Williams stepped into his role.

“Already he's made such an awful impact on us," she said. "I just feel that people should feel like they're welcome into our school and I feel like he's created it so that they're not.”

Williams is also a member of Mission Church in Carlsbad. He’s been under scrutiny since a recording surfaced of him rallying church members to tell the school district: They want full transparency about the school curriculum and curriculum, clubs, and celebrations involving sexual orientation or gender identity should not be allowed on school campuses.

In the recording, Ethan Williams said, “It’s not because we’re bigoted. It’s not because we’re afraid of trans people. It’s not because any of that. We love them and we see the harmful impacts that this is having on our kids.”

The presentation to church members labeled the following as the harmful effects he’s talking about:

  • Suicide is a dangerous risk
  • Sex isn't assigned and surgery can't change it
  • There are extremely high desistance rates
  • It appears to be a social contagion
  • Transitioning does not bring relief from pain

Nonbinary student Luken Oyarbide-Mckillip said there should be a separation of church and state at their public school.

“They might say, ‘oh, we don't hate you. We're praying for you.’ That's exactly the problem. We don't need your prayers. Your religion is not a cure for my existence.”

NBC 7 asked these students what they want done about this.

“Hopefully he gets fired," McGuire said. "I know that sounds a little harsh, but hopefully he does. I feel like everybody here at the school wants equality and for them not to feel like it — it’s just not right.”

The school's superintendent, Benjamin Churchill, released a statement in response to Williams' comments:

We are aware of, and looking into, a video that has been shared widely on social media in which an administrator in Carlsbad Unified School District makes comments about his belief that curriculum, clubs, and celebrations involving sexual orientation or gender identity should not be allowed on school campuses. 

I wholeheartedly disagree with the comments made, and condemn those comments as they are in conflict with California Education Code and our Board’s 2021 resolution in support of LGBTQ+ students and staff.

I firmly believe in fostering a safe and inclusive educational environment for all students and staff. It is essential that we create a supportive space where LGBTQ+ students and staff feel valued, respected, and free to express their authentic selves. By promoting acceptance, understanding, and celebrating diversity, we cultivate an atmosphere that encourages personal growth, academic success, and a sense of belonging for everyone. I am committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all members of our school community, including LGBTQ+ students and staff.

California Education Code includes provisions in support of LGBTQ+ students:

  • CA Ed Code prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in all public schools and universities in California. This protection extends to admissions, access to facilities, and participation in educational programs.
  • CA Ed Code encourages schools to provide comprehensive and inclusive instruction that reflects the contributions and experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals. It promotes positive representations and accurate portrayals of LGBTQ+ history, achievements, and social movements.
  • CA Ed Code acknowledges the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming students. It supports their ability to use facilities and participate in activities that align with their gender identity. Schools are encouraged to respect students' preferred names and pronouns, ensuring they are treated with dignity and respect.

On June 23, 2021, the Carlsbad Unified School District Board of Trustees approved Resolution 27-2021, “Recognition of June as LGBTQ+ Pride Month,” highlighting a commitment to create an inclusive and supportive educational environment for LGBTQ+ students and to combat discrimination and bullying.

It is essential that we maintain a safe, respectful, and positive learning environment on our campuses. Thank you to all of our students, staff, parents and community members for making that possible.

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