Upset Fremont teachers force school trustee to cancel his City Council kickoff event

Fremont teachers say school board president Yang Shao has repeatedly disrespected its union membership. The teachers’ union has been in contract talks with the school district since March 2017.

Last week, they fought fire with fire and protested Shao’s fundraising event intended to kickoff his campaign for the Fremont City Council this fall. When the event was canceled, the band of teachers and parents continued the protest in front his home.

Shao voted last month not to adopt controversial sex education curriculum for fourth to sixth graders, a decision that split the Fremont community, and was opposed by progressives.

But the impetus for last week’s protest followed a May 23 school board meeting that included 500 Fremont teachers and 111 speaker cards for a public comment that preceded a closed session meeting that evening.  One of the agenda items included the impasse between negotiators for the district and Fremont Unified District Teachers Association.

Shao Yang
Fremont school board president Yang Shao is running for the new District 4 Fremont City Council seat this November.

Shao, the board president, allotted just 30 minutes for the entire slate of speakers, allowing them just one-minute apiece. The board later extended the period to an hour. Shao also gave short shrift to the union’s leadership, granting them five minutes to speak, but counting the time against the initial 30-minute period.

“That was really the only time for our members to address the board in public before they went into closed session to direct their bargaining team and that upset a lot of people,” said Brannin Dorsey, a Fremont teacher, and one of the protest’s organizers.

“We’re a pretty progressive community, but we have a school board that is not acting progressive,” she added.

Once the speakers addressed the board, Shao disappeared under the dais, expressed disinterest, and thanked speakers with a condescending tone, said Dorsey. “That kind of what led to this,” she said of the protest.

Shao was not at either location, leaving the group to demonstrate on the street corner holding signs and banging a drum. It is unclear whether Shao’s campaign fundraiser was moved to another location that night, according to an announcement he made on Facebook. Shao said overwhelming demand for the event exceeded the capacity of the original location, but he also expressed lament that it did not occur as planned.

IMG_7707“A group of misinformed protesters had been plotting for days to crash my election campaign event,” Shao wrote on Facebook. He called the reasons for protesting “made-up excuses.”

“I and all of our Board members have acted fairly and justly in hearing their protests to a previously past measure for their wage increase,” said Shao.

The decision by protesters to resume the demonstration at his home also rankled Shao. “Some of the protesters clearly crossed the line. We live in a small town home but with many of our neighbors of last 15 years closely clustered in a residential community. This had caused a large commotion and disrupted the peace and quiet that many of them deserve but was simply robbed away by these protesters.”

At a nearly two-hour early public comment period leading to the Fremont school board’s closed session Wednesday, Shao was polite, offering to extend to the roughly 70 speakers a three-minute time limit. The board, however, supported one minute.

As for the fall, Fremont will for the first time be using district-based elections after a Southern California attorney’s threat of a lawsuit forced the City Council last year to move away from at-large elections. After November, the Fremont City Council will expand from five to seven seats.

Shao is running in District 4, one of two newly created council seats. The campaign for the Niles, Canyon Heights, and Mission Valley district seat is also likely to include former Fremont Police Chief Craig Steckler and attorney Debbie Watanuki.

7 thoughts on “Upset Fremont teachers force school trustee to cancel his City Council kickoff event

  1. Absolutely right. Liberals believe in the Constitution, except when it gets in the way of their retro-progressive views. John Kennedy was a liberal democrat. He’d laugh at these teachers, who all have Trump Derangement Syndrome…and want to press on children LGBT+ life styles. The parents need to decide this issue. The schools are NOT the parents. LBGT+ lifestyles are fine will me. It is using the power of the schools to “educate” children about it that is Un-American.

    Finally, conservative of all the communities of faith and cultures, who have no patience for educating 4th graders about anal sex, will hopefully persuade the School Board to do what is right. That is my personal view. I don’t want to see any child bullied or intimidated about their sexuality. NOR DO I WANT TO SEE other children bullied into accepting behaviors that THEY are not comfortable with. Don’t you loving, progressives have any empathy for straight children feeling uncomfortable IN THEIR OWN CLASSROOMS? I dislike even talking about this issue.

    This is not an issue for anyone running for Congress, except to pander to weak-minded people.

    Congress has NO dog in this fight.


  2. Here is my take on this. Regardless of the situation, the teachers had no right to go and protest at the mans house. Also, I thought that Fremont was supposed to be a compassionate city devoid of hate…I see people in the photo holding signs that I view as being racial in their content using the family name.
    Also, for Brannin Dorsey, I don’t think she would like it if people did the same thing to her when she makes a poor decision on the City Planning Commission like Cherry Guardino or Nile Gateway. Or when she feels that she deserves a lifetime appointment to the City Planning Commission. I think it is very hypocritical of a lot of these teachers as they are supposed to be role models for our children…great lesson, if you don’t like someone, go harass them and make fun of their name…real mature!


  3. If Shao does not prioritize teachers while running a school board, how do you think he will treat citizens while participating in a city council? He did vote against 3Rs for 4-6 grades and continues to make decisions regarding sex ed. based on 20% of the population. Aren’t city council members tasked with representing their constituents? Is District 4 the River of Life Church; how else could his opinion of this matter be representative of the 80% of families in Fremont that agree that sex education needs to be taught for 4-6 grades? He runs his meetings in violation of the Brown Act consistently and has suppressed the first amendment for anyone who opposes his narrow stances on policies, which especially includes teachers. Teachers he is tasked to support in their efforts to serve our future- the youth of Fremont. He is a disgrace to the political spectrum and to Fremont.


  4. You didn’t mentioned those teachers went to Shao’s resident community protesting at night. Will pulling Shoa out of his campaign increase the chance for those teachers to get a raise? Your article also mentioned about 3R sex education Shao did voted yes on. What exactly was the issue between teachers & Shao?


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