Protesters and community members filled the room at the San Marcos Consolidated Independent School District board meeting Oct.16 to protest the appointment of a local community member to the school district’s Student Health Advisory Council after a series of controversial social media posts on her Twitter account.
Naomi Narvaiz, a San Marcos City Council Ethics Commissioner, was appointed to SHAC in September along with 11 others by the school board. SHAC is responsible for promoting the physical, social and emotional well-being of students, staff and families, according to the school district’s policies.
Narvaiz’ appointment to SHAC was met with protest by local activists calling for her removal after a slew of controversial social media posts emerged from her Twitter account. One post from September called for the deportation of “all illegals” while another tweet celebrating Columbus Day was retweeted by Narvaiz from a white nationalist account best known for its participation in Charlottesville.
Older posts from 2011 were also brought into the spotlight, including one criticizing the XYZ club, a pro-LGBTQIA safe space, at the San Marcos High School.
Christopher Hall, a Texas State alumnus and co-founder of the XYZ club for San Marcos High School in 2010, said he wasn’t surprised by Narvaiz’ social media posts.
“It’s not the first time she’s expressed really bigoted views,” Hall said. “When I saw she made homophobic and transphobic tweets, it definitely wasn’t surprising… And then to find out she has a position with some measure of influence over the district, it was really disheartening.”
Supporters of Narvaiz see protesters calling for her removal as a violation of First Amendment rights while others believe the content of Narvaiz’ social media posts are “hate speech” and do not properly represent minority groups within SMCISD.
Alison Castillo, sophomore criminal justice major and president of College Democrats, expressed concern over the vetting process of SHAC appointees.
“We believe this individual is detrimental to the growth and the mindsets of our children in the city,” Castillo said. “I hope that this individual is removed from the school board and that someone qualified and who cares about everyone in town replaces her.”
In response to those calling for her removal, Narvaiz said protesters’ concerns were unfounded.
“I have been a valuable community member and public figure in San Marcos for years volunteering in many different organizations and capacities and the majority of the community can attest to my character, political views and faith,” Narvaiz said.
Local activist organization Mano Amiga also criticized City Councilman Scott Gregson for allegedly blocking co-founder Karen Munoz from posting information about the protest on the San Marcos Local News Facebook page the night of the board meeting.
“Councilman Gregson should clarify — why the dirty tricks?” said Jordan Buckley, a local activist and member of Mano Amiga. “I urge College Democrats to ask what kind of Democrat stoops to such treachery to protect the vile commentary of a right-wing extremist?”
After a 45-minute executive session, trustee Miguel Arrendondo made a motion to remove all current SHAC members and reopen the application process, however, the motion failed 5-2 with Arredondo and trustee Anne Halsey in favor.
“I plan to continue to be myself and not allow this to define me or affect how I work to protect the best interests of our community members and taxpayers,” Narvaiz said.