NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - On Thursday, (Jan. 17) some people were furious with a decision by the Orleans Parish School Board and one of its board members after she made controversial comments about LGBT students.
With a unanimous vote, John A. Brown was reelected as School Board president. However, it was with the new vice president-elect that many speakers and protesters had an issue. With four votes, Leslie Ellison will be the new vice president of the board.
Public comment on the vote lasted more than an hour and became heated at times with students, parents, teachers, advocates and healthcare professionals taking their time at the microphone. Many people spoke out against Ellison because of her past comments against LGBTQ students and support for legislation to exclude gay students from charter schools.
However, Ellison did have supporters in the crowd who spoke to her experience and dedication to students, saying that should be considered above all.
“It wasn’t unexpected. I thought they were going to do exactly what they did. It was just overwhelming to get all the support and the few in opposition to our views and to Miss Ellison, but I think it sent a strong message about her views, and she needs to be more progressive,” said Mariah Moore, a community advocate.
“I’m asking you to show all children and teenagers that Leslie Ellison as a black woman knows what discrimination looks like, she just doesn’t care about it in this particular situation,” said a protester.
"Leslie is a dedicated and involved leader and is a positive and refreshing voice for our children," said a supporter.
“I use the word fantastic to describe her, honorable Leslie. She is a role model to many her selfless acts of kindness and ability to bring people together to share in our differences in commonalities,” said another supporter.
Earlier today, the Human Rights Commission through the city of New Orleans issued a statement saying regardless of the Orleans Parish School Board’s decision tonight, they would continue to support LGBTQ students.
Some of the protesters said while the result is disappointing, it’s something they expected, and they hope that students in the future can get the help they need.