Fresno School Trustees React to Islas’ ‘Infertile Anti-Vaxxers’ Tweet
Fresno Unified School Board members had mixed reactions Friday over a tweet this week by Board Clerk Veva Islas saying she’s happy if vaccination opponents infected with COVID-19 may be briefly unable to have children.
Trustees Keshia Thomas and Terry Slatic expressed dismay and outrage over the tweet, which Islas posted on her personal Twitter account, @VivaciousVeva on Wednesday. But Board President Elizabeth Jonasson Rosas and Trustee Valerie Davis declined to criticize Islas, saying the Constitution guarantees her freedom of speech.
Slatic, who has often butted heads with Islas at board meetings, questioned whether Islas’ tweet amounts to hate speech.
In the tweet, the McLane High Area trustee reported that a new study found that the COVID-19 vaccine does not lead to infertility, as many have feared, and in fact the virus itself can result in short-term infertility among some unvaccinated men. The tweet ends with this sentence: ““While short-term, any limitation on an anti-vaxers (cq) ability to reproduce is a win!” followed by emojis of clinking glasses, applause hands, and a hypodermic needle.
“As a board officer (board clerk), Ms. Islas, selected by her like-minded peers on this radical FUSD board, puts out on social media that any limitation on anti-vaxxers’ ability to reproduce is a win,” said Slatic, who spent part of Friday morning talking about the tweet on KMJ radio. “So people who disagree with Islas shouldn’t be able to reproduce. This isn’t hate speech? OK, I’m speechless.”
The tweet wasn’t out of the ordinary for Islas, Slatic said. “I’ve spent hundreds of hours around Ms. Islas these last years, so I’m not surprised at her ridiculous fascist remarks.”
Related Story: COVID-19 Increases Fresno Teachers’ Workload. District Bumps Their Pay.
Surprised by Tweet
Other trustees were unaware of the tweet until they were contacted by GV Wire. Trustee Keshia Thomas said she was “floored” to hear about it and was quick to repudiate it.
“Oh, no no no, I would never want to take away anyone’s choice or ability to reproduce, no matter who they are,” she said.
Thomas said she planned to contact Islas to learn more about her intentions behind the tweet.
Jonasson Rosas and Davis both declined to criticize Islas or her tweet. “I think that her comments are her comments” and are unrelated to School Board policy and the education system, Jonasson Rosas said.
Davis said she typically pays no attention to social media posts on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram: “I don’t read that stuff.”
Like Thomas, Davis said she planned to talk to Islas to “see what she meant.”
Freedom of Speech
But as to whether she found Islas’ comment about lauding infertility among the unvaccinated appropriate or inappropriate, Davis said that Islas, like all Americans, is entitled to freedom of speech.
Trustee Claudia Cazares did not respond to a phone call seeking comment Friday.
Slatic said he doubted the other School Board members would opt to take action against Islas, such as a reprimand. But he said he won’t be surprised to see community members speak about it at next Wednesday’s School Board meeting.
New data confirms that getting vaccinated does not impact fertility. The study does show, however, that a recent COVID-19 infection may have short-term impacts on a man’s ability to conceive. While short-term, any limitation on an anti-vaxers ability to reproduce is a win! ???? pic.twitter.com/ZRhwAb6bh7 Genoveva Islas (@VivaciousVeva) January 27, 2022