Teachers union drops support for LAUSD candidate, citing offensive social media activity

 Khalid Al-Alim stands in a grassy area.
The L.A. teachers union dropped its endorsement of Kahllid Al-Alim, pictured in a recent photo, after he reposted or liked social media posts with content that was antisemitic, pro-gun or pornographic.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

United Teachers Los Angeles on Monday night rescinded its endorsement of school board candidate Kahllid Al-Alim in the wake of revelations that he reposted or “liked” social media posts with content that was antisemitic, pro-gun or pornographic.

In a statement, the union said it “condemns all forms of oppression, including racism, sexism, antisemitism, anti-Blackness, Islamophobia, xenophobia and homophobia. “

Reached Monday night, Al-Alim said he would have no immediate comment, but he is expected to issue a statement on Tuesday.


The decision was made by the union’s 250-member House of Representatives during an emergency meeting, an 11th-hour hit to Al-Alim’s campaign to represent District 1, which includes much of South Los Angeles and southwest L.A. The union already had suspended its on-the-ground campaigning on behalf of Al-Alim, but was required to follow a multistep process, which lasted about two weeks, to officially retract the endorsement.

Rescinding its support involved the union’s large endorsement team, its Political Action Council of Educators, Board of Directors, and finally the House of Representatives.

“UTLA member leaders moved decisively as information came to light,” the union stated.

While the union worked through this process, Al-Alim continued to be touted in online union endorsements and in some materials that have been distributed to voters in the final days of the campaign. The teachers union has spent more than $690,000 in an independent campaign on his behalf, according to records filed with the L.A. City Ethics Commission.

Outside groups continue to flood Los Angeles Board of Education races with spending to win influence over the direction of the nation’s second-largest school system.

Feb. 29, 2024

Al-Alim issued a series of apologies that were increasingly detailed.

“There is a long history of both collaboration and conflict between Black and Jewish communities that we must learn from so we can respect each other and continue to create a more just world, together,” he said in one of them.

Then, in a campaign forum last week, he staked out a somewhat different position, saying, “I’m not ashamed of anything.”


The union statement seemed to offer some appreciation for Al-Alim’s apologies: “As educators, we recognize that people can learn and evolve through courageous conversations. Therefore, we view this situation as a valuable learning opportunity not only for UTLA, but also for the wider community. We look forward to engaging the diverse communities that make up Los Angeles.”

Al-Alim emerged with UTLA’s endorsement after a months-long process. He already was well known to many union leaders as an energetic education and community activist who could be relied on to side with the union on policy matters, including opposing charter school expansion and favoring the elimination of school police.

Six other candidates also are vying for the seat, which is being vacated by George McKenna, who is retiring.

School board front-runner Kahllid Al-Alim, seeking a seat that represents much of south and southwest L.A., has expressed regret over the social media posts.

Feb. 21, 2024

The L.A. County Federation of Labor also has suspended campaign activities on behalf of Al-Alim. The labor federation had reported spending no funds on his behalf, but its action — on behalf of the county’s union movement — is symbolically notable.

An Al-Alim post on X (formerly Twitter) that drew particular criticism was his praise of an antisemitic publication from the Nation of Islam organization titled “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews: How Jews Gained Control of the Black American Economy.” In an October 2022 post, Al-Alim said the book should be mandatory reading in L.A. schools: “We not Burning or Banning Our Future! We Not Playing,” he wrote.

He had also liked posts in support of basketball star Kyrie Irving and rapper Kanye West when they were under fire for antisemitic posts or comments.


Seven candidates are vying for the District 1 seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education.

Feb. 24, 2024

After weeks of union-financed campaigning, and with balloting underway since Feb. 24, Al-Alim could make it into the runoff. His own campaign had raised $31,736 as of the last reporting period.

Other candidates in the race are:

  • Sherlett Hendy Newbill, a Dorsey High teacher, dean, department head and coach. She was endorsed by UTLA in a past election and is backed by McKenna, the retiring incumbent.
  • Christian Flagg, a home-schooling parent who directs training for advocacy work at Community Coalition, a South L.A. nonprofit. His policy views, such as eliminating school police, align closely with those of UTLA.
  • DeWayne Davis, a former L.A. Unified teacher and principal who held senior school district administrative positions in other school systems.
  • Didi Watts, chief of staff for L.A. school board member Tanya Ortiz Franklin and an educator with past leadership roles at traditional, charter and private schools.
  • John Aaron Brasfield, a longtime special education assistant and athletics coach.
  • Rina Tambor, a tutor and former teacher who managed sleep-away camps in the Northeast.

Outside of UTLA, the next-largest independent funding effort has been $520,493 on behalf of Watts, with core funding from two Sacramento-based political action committees — both called Kids First — and a third, separate charter schools PAC.