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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Anger and threats have Ohio school board members worried

 A student wears a mask in class at Worthington Kilbourne High School in March 2021 [Dan Konik /  Statehouse News Bureau]
A student wears a mask in class at Worthington Kilbourne High School in March 2021

Ohio is among the states mentioned in a letter to President Joe Biden from the National School Boards Association, asking for federal help in protecting board members, teachers and students against potential violence.

There are concerns being raised by schools and board members across the state about backlash from mask mandates and other issues.

The Nordonia School Board in Northeast Ohio enacted a mask mandate in August, and sheriff’s deputies were called over the tension when people refused to wear masks at another meeting two weeks later.

“Hostility is what it is,” said Lynn May, vice president of the Dublin City School Board, who is running for her fifth four-year term. “It seems like we’ve lost our way as a country. Everyone thinks it’s ok to be nasty and mean and shout and rude and offensive. What happened to civility?” 

May said she’s talked to members of school boards who’ve received threatening letters.

“It seems to be organized – someone sending the same letter out to the school board president and the superintendent and we’re just turning it over. But I hope someone puts the pieces together to figure out what’s going on,” she said.

May is not personally worried, but she does wonder about the impact on people who might be considering running for school boards, or who aren't as experienced as she is.

A member of the Worthington school board said some attendees displayed Nazi symbolism at a recent meeting in that district.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.