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Education

Ohio School Board Members Are Being Threatened Over Curriculum In Protests Driven By Politics

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Empty desks in a classroom

And sometimes, school board members are being threatened over what people think they are teaching.

Public school board members throughout Ohio report being threatened and harassed by parents and taxpayers over what is being taught in their schools….or quite often what people think is being taught but isn’t.

Worthington School Board member Nikki Hudson says protestors showed up recently to oppose the district’s planned diversity and inclusion program.

“They refused to wear masks per our district-wide policy. They were given several opportunities to wear masks. They also refused to leave the building. And then they displayed Nazi symbolism, meaning the Nazi salute or the Hitler salute," Hudson says.

A letter written to Nikki Hudson, member of Worthington City Schools Board
Submitted by Nikki Hudson
A letter written to Nikki Hudson, a member of the Worthington City Schools Board

Hudson says various board members, including some in neighboring districts, have also been threatened. She recently received a letter that accused her of "poisoning the minds of our children." The author suggested Hudson should be "tried for treason" and the letter began by saying "We are coming after you...." It prompted her to write a Facebook post to the Worthington community.

Letter from Nikki Hudson, Worthington City Schools board member, to her community via Facebook
Nikki Hudson
Letter from Nikki Hudson, Worthington City Schools board member, to her community via Facebook

In the city of Hudson, parents recent protested a college-level course offered to high school seniors that contained sexually suggestive writing prompts. The city's mayor ended up demanding the resignations of the members of the Hudson City Schools Board of Education but at this point, none of them have indicated they will step down.

Critical race theory, a premise often taught in law school that examines how race has affected social constructs, is not taught in K-12 schools. But Ohio Education Association President Scott DiMauro said there have been protests against it in school districts statewide because of a culture war laid out by Republicans in a national, politically motivated agenda against public schools. Several Republican candidates for office in Ohio have shared opposition to what they call "critical race theory" or participated in protests.

Some candidates for school board races are campaigning on their stands for or against critical race theory, diversity programs, and more, bringing culture wars front and center in local communities.

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