Houston mayoral candidate faces scrutiny for his ‘keep your legs closed’ comments to high schoolers

The students said they felt uncomfortable with a demonstration made by city councilman Dwight Boykins during a presentation despite apologies he made later

Houston mayoral candidate Dwight Boykin (KTRK)

Houston city council member and mayoral candidate, Dwight Boykins is being criticized for making improper comments toward middle and high school students during a meet and greet on Friday, that left many feeling uncomfortable.

Boykins allegedly told students that they should “keep their legs closed” along with other comments criticized as inappropriate during a five-day Youth Advocacy Summit, organized by OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and Mi Familia Vota, according to local station KTRK.

READ MORE: Nevada high school students win settlement after suing over racist bullying

Boykins was supposed to speak to the teens about getting civically engaged, but the mayoral candidate apparently had another topic in mind according to students, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“He was telling us we should keep our legs closed, that we shouldn’t taint ourselves,” said 16-year-old student, identified by KTRK only as Khloe. “In a way, saying that we should stay pure because otherwise, in the future, other men won’t want us.”

A video posted on Twitter on Friday shows Boykins asking a teenage girl to stand in front of the crowd “to demonstrate a relationship.” The girl appears to look uncomfortable standing beside him.

“He made a young man stand up and he was holding another girl side by side and he was like, ‘If me and her were to do something, that young man wouldn’t want you in the future,’ and that really shows that he is invalidating young girls and not putting a good message across to the youth of America,” Khloe said.

READ MORE: Racist video shows teacher calling students “f—— n-g–r” at middle school

Both OCA Asian Pacific American Advocates and Mi Familia Vota released a statement on Saturday addressing the incident stating how “the safety and respect of students” are their “first priority”: 

“We do not and will not tolerate inappropriate behavior at our events regardless of whom the perpetrator might be. The safety and well-being of our young advocates are our paramount concern,” mentioned in the statement.

The full statement can be read here.

Boykins also released a statement on Facebook apologizing about the incident.

My words were met to inspire and I deeply regret the extent to which they caused anyone hurt or discomfort,” he stated in part of his apology. That was never my intention, and to anyone who may have taken offense by what I said, I apologize.”

People are protesting Boykins with the hashtag #BoycottBoykins, with many still upset.

“We feel like it’s too little too late, because when we were there,” Khloe said. “His quote on quote ‘apologies’ almost seemed like damage control and mansplaining. He didn’t so much as apologize as tell us how important his future was to him.”