Four parents with no political experience won school board seats in a Cincinnati suburb, telling Fox News that parents were concerned about critical race theory seeping into school curriculum.
The four candidates won school board seats in Forest Hills, Ohio, replacing four out of five school board members.
The four candidates, Katie Stewart, Sara Jonas, Bob Bibb, and Linda Marie Hausfeld, ran together as “Four For Forest Hills” on a platform against critical race theory being taught in schools. The four candidates were also backed by the “Ohio Values Voters” group, a political nonprofit that backs candidates who support pro-life policies and “family values.”
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, three of the candidates easily beat out Forest Hills Local School District board President Forest Heis, who received nearly 2,000 votes less than Stewart, the top vote-getter of the four.
All four candidates spoke exclusively to Fox News after their victory, explaining their joint opposition to race being injected into classrooms, especially for young children.
Stewart, a stay-at-home mother of six, ran on the platform of parents being involved in their children’s education.
Garnering the most votes in Forest Hills’ school board race, Stewart told Fox News she decided to homeschool her kids during the pandemic because “virtual learning” was not an ideal situation.
Stewart told Fox News that she was concerned after her daughter was left incredibly confused by a discussion on race in her first-grade classroom.
She thinks parental involvement in a classroom is “huge” and when parents are involved in their kids’ academics, “they are more likely to succeed.” Stewart wants to see more of that, saying the schools need to get back to the basics of math and reading.
“I would like to see our elementary schools being more united and focusing in the same direction and getting on the same page that every student in our district, regardless of where they live, is getting the same education,” she said.
On June 28th, the superintendent Scot Prebles responded to parents and students protesting critical race theory, claiming that it was not being taught in the schools, nor were there plans for it to be. The four parents said they spoke out after learning of similar racially charged subject matter that teachers were learning during a professional development program.
Bibb said he had been keeping an eye on local politics for the past four years.
“We did public records request on teacher training and teacher professional development because the district kept saying we are not teaching CRT to the kids, which they are not and we found that out. But, they are teaching it to the teachers and you’ll see through spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations that they want to separate teachers by their privilege. I don’t know why you would ever want to do that, but that was a wake-up call to us right there because if you start separating teachers that is why it is only a matter of time before you start getting to the kids.” Bibb said.
According to Fox19, the district’s CARE Team, comprising teachers and administrators, was created after incidents of some students “not feeling comfortable or included.” District leaders said the goal of the CARE Team is to “further professional development and help students who have concerns on race, gender or other issues of noninclusion.”
The CARE program was at the center of a heated debate in May of this year when parents accused it of promoting critical race theory. The superintendent denied such claims.
Bibb, 53, the father of a fifth-grader and eighth-grader, also mentioned that the district hired a “diversity consultant” who said there was a lot of “white supremacy in the school system.”
“She couldn’t pinpoint anything specific in our district but she was saying throughout the whole country, the public school system, in particular, is systemically racist,” he recalled.
Bibb said, “everybody should be equal in public school.”
“We all should have access to the same stuff. Your kid is not better than my kid and vice versa.”
Jonas worked as a tax auditor for the Ohio Department of Taxation before running for school board. The 37-year-old mother of a preschooler, third-grader and fifth-grader said she got involved in the school board race because of concerns over what teachers were being trained on.
“There were only a few people sharing my voice and there were four open positions this year,” she said.
“There was critical race theory ideology sprinkled all into the program. What the teachers are taught in professional development is then practiced on our students,” Jonas told Fox News Digital.
Hausfeld, who works in compliance and ethics for a global manufacturing company, said their campaign was a “grassroots movement going door to door.”
Hausfeld, 53 and a mother of two, said parents raised concerns to her about critical race theory. Hausfeld explained further that some of the parents heard about critical race theory and objected to mandatory mask-wearing in schools.
“In the elementary schools, the kids were still masked here where the other students aren’t. We want to give that decision back to the parents. We don’t think that it’s right that the school has to make the younger kids masked when the parents had indicated that they did not want mandatory masking.”
CRT curriculum has sparked a national conversation about the role of race and racism in school districts across the country. Often compared by critics to actual racism, CRT is a school of thought that generally focuses on how power structures and institutions impact racial minorities.