SF Board Member Censured over Anti-Asian Tweets Sues District for Millions in Damages

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The San Francisco school board member who was stripped of the title of vice president following backlash over anti-Asian tweets is suing the board, the district, and the city for millions of dollars in damages.

Alison Collins, who lost her committee assignments and her title as vice president, contends in her lawsuit that the defendants violated her rights to free speech and due process, and engaged in “intentional infliction of emotional distress.” Collins is suing for $72 million in general damages from the district and five school board commissioners, and an additional $3 million in punitive damages from the commissioners.

Those five commissioners, out of seven in total, backed a vote of no-confidence in Collins following media reports of a tweet thread Collins posted in November 2016. In the thread, Collins complained of perceived anti-black racism in San Francisco’s Asian American community, alleging that some “use white supremacist thinking to assimilate and ‘get ahead.'”

“Do they think they won’t be deported? profiled? beaten?” Collins wrote of Asian Americans. “Being a house n****r is still being a n****r. You’re still considered ‘the help.'”

Collins apologized for the thread on March 20, saying some of the tweets had been “taken out of context.” In the lawsuit, Collins slammed the conduct of the school board as well as San Francisco mayor London Breed, who supported the vote of no confidence.

“Defendants’ reckless, intentional, and malicious slanderous comments have caused, and is continuing to cause clear and present danger, harm, and injuries to Ms.Collins, her husband and children,” the lawsuit states. The “false narrative and assertion that Ms.Collins comments imploring Asian Americans to resist oppression as ‘racist’ has generated this ongoing and intensifying hostility, threats and damage to Ms. Collins [sic] reputation and threatening her and her family’s physical well-being.”

Supporters of Collins rallied outside the San Francisco Department of Education on Wednesday after the suit was filed.

Last week, Collins told National Review that she would not “comment on social media posts from five years ago,” but that she has “been heartbroken seeing the escalating violence against my Asian-American brothers, sisters and siblings.”

The city school district has drawn national controversy over its refusal to reopen schools for in-person learning throughout the current academic year. The current plan will likely prevent most students from returning to school until the fall, the New York Times reported.

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