Source: Editorial Board
Extremism is rearing its ugly head in Johnston County and nowhere is it more evident than the contentious school board race. At a time when students are struggling to recover from the pandemic and divisive rhetoric is permeating any discussion around education, it’s more important than ever that we look closely at those who purport to represent our kids’ best interests.
Just last week WRAL reported that one of the candidates running for school board, John Fischer, is a member of the Proud Boys, a men-only organization, known for their participation in street violence and the Jan. 6 insurrection. Fischer is running on a platform that unapologetically denies that women’s rights and racism are important topics as his campaign website states, “We no longer have serious issues like slavery, woman’s rights and racial segregation.”
Another candidate, Michelle Antoine is hurling insults at those who disagree with her on social media calling opponents dimwits and losers all while spreading wild conspiracy theories about our schools being used as “a tool for the Chinese government”. Antoine recently liked a tweet that compares LGBTQ+ children to those with autism and constantly posts commentary dismissing LGBTQ+ students by declaring them mentally ill.
One reasonable voice, candidate Stuart Lee, who is running on a platform of unity and community cooperation, has received numerous hate emails containing racial slurs aimed at himself and his family. Lee responded on his Facebook page, “This is why elections matter!!! Our schools are multicultural and community inclusive.” Lee believes that honest and transparent history should be taught and does not wish to engage in conversation about conspiracy theories in public schools.
One thing that we can all agree on is that all of our kids deserve a quality education and a fair shot at the liberty and freedom our country promises all of its citizens. Voting for candidates that represent our values, make well reasoned decisions, and are committed to ensuring every child is supported is a first step in realizing that future for today’s students.
The Johnston County School Board race will be decided in this primary election. Early voting and same day registration is available now through Saturday, May 14th. Election day is Tuesday, May 17th. For information on where and how to vote see the Johnston County Board of Elections website. For more information on the Johnston County School Board candidates see this candidate forum.