Photo credit: “Recall MacDonald” Campaign Committee
On June 28, 2023, Woodland residents packed the Woodland Joint Unified School District’s boardroom to voice their concerns regarding comments made by Trustee Emily MacDonald regarding the transgender and LGBTQIA+ community.
During the school board’s annual presentation of a resolution recognizing June and LGBTQIA+ Pride Month, Trustee MacDonald referred to transgender people as a “social contagion” and stated that the “normalization of transgender identity” has had “unintended consequences.” The claim that the increase in transgender identification is the result of a “social contagion” lacks any credible evidence, and she did not provide any source for this claim. These statements about transgender persons were ignorant, dehumanizing, and created a greater risk of bullying and physical violence directed at Woodland’s LGBTQIA+ students.
“The comments made by Trustee MacDonald indicate that she is not willing or able to represent our transgender students, mainly because she doesn’t accept them for being their true selves,” District 3 City Council Member Tania Garcia-Cadena stated.
Public comment at the June 28 board meeting lasted for over an hour, with 25 individuals speaking out to condemn MacDonald’s remarks. Numerous comments included calls for Trustee MacDonald’s resignation, and in lieu of a resignation for a recall to occur to remove her from office.
Trustee MacDonald failed to attend the meeting and was not present to face her constituents.
During public comment, Trustee Area 2 resident Laura Brubaker announced a campaign to recall Trustee MacDonald. “If you do not resign, I am prepared to move forward with initiating a recall. Filing a Notice of Intention requires at least 30 signatures, and I have already collected 20 signatures as of this evening with only 24 hours of effort,” Brubaker stated.
Katherine Seward, Trustee Area 2 voter and Woodland High School alum, voiced support for the recall effort. “I moved to Woodland when I was 15 and began attending Woodland High School as a sophomore. I am now 25, still living in Woodland in district Area 2 represented by Emily MacDonald. I voted for her, and I also eagerly signed the petition to recall her. The three minute statement she made against trans youth is not representative of my views or the views that I held when I cast my vote last year,” Seward said.
Outgoing Woodland Education Association (WEA) President Jen Shilen announced that the executive board of the local teachers’ union had voted unanimously to support the recall of Trustee Emily MacDonald.