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Ohio School Board Members Are Being Threatened Over Curriculum in Protests Driven by Politics

empty desks in classroom
Throughout Ohio, public school board members are saying they're being threatened and harassed about what students are learning in school and what people think is being taught but isn't.

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 said.

A letter written to Nikki Hudson
Submitted By Nikki Hudson
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 to her community
Nikki Hudson

In the city of Hudson, parents recently 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.
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.