Growing number of civil rights groups calling for FUSD Board President to resign

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The backlash against Brooke Ashjian erupted at Wednesday's board meeting, escalating when a national LGBT organization called for his resignation. By Friday, several former trustees echoed that call.

Former trustee Pat Barr said, "You were there to represent everybody and you've failed."

Ashjian insists he was misquoted in a Fresno Bee article where he suggested teaching LGBT relationships in school can sway a kid to that lifestyle, then, new allegations surfaced.

"Can, you give me, for the record, any reason for why you went on and posted something negative about Gay Fresno," Ashjian was asked. He responded, "Well they didn't want people to do business with me."

Video from a 2011 libel lawsuit shows Ashjian being questioned for posting offensive comments about the gay community on a website called Ripoff Reports.

The anonymous posts were linked to his computer, but Ashjian claims he does not remember what he wrote.

"Did you use the word queer," Ashjian was asked. "I don't recall," he responded. "Did you use the word butt draggers," Ashjian was asked. He answered with, "I don't recall."

"We don't need a Board President that can't tell the truth, we don't need a board member that can't remember. We don't need a board member that can't represent all the children," said Barr.

All this controversy comes at a critical time as board members prepare to interview and vote on a new superintendent.

"Would you want to work under conditions like this? Would you want to work for something that treats people this way," former trustee Janet Ryan said.

But not all believe this attention will drive away qualified applicants-- believing that this storm will pass.

"Tempers are going to flare, controversies are going to happen. I just hope that those seven board members are focused on finding the right fit," said Michelle Asadorrian, former trustee.

The board is planning on meeting with finalists for face-to-face interviews this Sunday. They are still hoping to name a superintendent by the start of the school year.
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