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Carlsbad High School students stage walkout, claiming lack of support for the LGBTQ community

Students at Carlsbad High School walked out of class Tuesday morning to protest recent actions by their vice principal and the Carlsbad Unified School District.

Earlier this month, vice principal Ethan Williams spoke at Mission Church in Carlsbad and urged the audience to attend meetings about the district’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging plan.

"We want no sexual identity or gender ideology curriculum, groups, or celebrations on public school campuses,” Willams told the audience in a recording obtained by KPBS.


"The school district was trying to develop the diversity curriculum and get feedback from the community and then the church flooded... drowned out the voices of parents," said Serafina Kernberger, a Carlsbad Unified parent. "It would be nice that the parents of Carlsbad school district were listened to, over and above people who don’t have a direct stake in these issues." 

Ash Bering, a junior at Carlsbad High School, said that since Williams' speech, the atmosphere at school has grown tense.

"I do not feel safe at my school. Not only because of vice principal Williams, but because of all the other students and the harassment that I face on the daily," Bering said. "The constant slurs, mocking. I’ve been handed a piece of paper that say ‘Free vice principal Williams... freedoms of speech....’ He does have freedom of speech, just not as vice principal Williams." 

Bering said the second hit to the LGBTQ community was when the Carlsbad Unified School Board decided to postpone its vote on raising the Pride flag.

Pictured, Carlsbad High School students staging walk out. May 30, 2023.
Pictured, Carlsbad High School students staging walk out. May 30, 2023.

That decision came after the Carlsbad City Council voted down a motion to display the flag at city hall.


"I feel like I shouldn’t fight for this my junior year. It's really disheartening to know that Pride month is right around the corner, and I’m having to fight for the ability to feel safe in my own school, and for the fact that raising a pride flag should be a no brainer at this point," Bering said.  

Students have turned to the North County LGBTQ Resource Center for support.

"It hasn't been the first time that Carlsbad leadership has struggled to really represent and lead in a positive affirming way the diversity of the LGBT student populations or LGBT residents," said Max Disposti, the executive director of the center.

Disposti says once again, Carlsbad has missed the chance to be an ally with the LGBTQ community.

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