The fall temperatures may have cooled off in Fresno, but the heat is still on Fresno Unified school board President Brooke Ashjian.
Pushed by the left-leaning religious community in Fresno, the board will consider a motion Wednesday (Oct. 11) to censure and/or remove Ashjian as board president.
Ashjian has served as board president since December 2016. He angered many in the LGBT community when he was quoted in an August 2017 Fresno Bee story about sex education saying this:
“My biggest fear in teaching this – which we’re going to do it because it’s the law – but you have kids who are extremely moldable at this stage, and if you start telling them that LGBT is OK and that it’s a way of life, well maybe you just swayed the kid to go that way. It’s so important for parents to teach these Judeo-Christian philosophies.”
Ashjian doubled down, critics said, at the Aug. 23 board meeting when he compared his situation to that of the Armenians slaughtered in genocide at the hand of the Turks.
People upset with Ashjian’s comments have previously called for his censure, removal or outright resignation. But this is the first time they’ve succeeded in having an item placed on the board’s agenda.
Rev. Bill Knezovich, pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, was joined by 12 other religious leaders in signing the agenda action item.
“Brooke Ashjian has chosen the LGBTQ community as the nasty villain. We are just people who want to live in peace,” Knezovich said.
“I would like to believe that elected officials of good will would hold people like this accountable. The censure is one of the ways the board can do it. If the board doesn’t take action, they are basically saying and legitimizing all his statements about the LGBTQ community.”
Knezovich said he would like to see Ashjian educate himself on the plight of LGBTQ and apologize for his remarks.
GV Wire reached out to Ashjian, who declined to comment, preferring to wait until after the resolution is voted upon.
The Fresno Unified school board meets 6 p.m. Wednesday at the district office, 2309 Tulare Street, in downtown Fresno.