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County GOP chair to parents: Bypass school board and call police if teachers are teaching pornography. Raymond provides no evidence.
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County GOP chair to parents: Bypass school board and call police if teachers are teaching pornography. Raymond provides no evidence.

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Offering no evidence that such materials are being taught, the chairman of the Forsyth County Republican Party advised parents in a newsletter on Friday to call the police on teachers if they believe their children have been assigned pornographic or perverse reading material.

“Do not call your school board representatives and don’t descend upon school board meetings like we’ve done before. Call the police,” Ken Raymond wrote in the newsletter, Republican Rundown. “Call the police and report that the teacher, the principal, and the entire school administration is distributing obscene material to minors.”

The newsletter included the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ logo above the numbers 9-1-1 Emergency!!!, as well as falsehoods and insinuations about classroom material taught in the school district.

He laid out a scenario of school administrators forced to explain why they were in handcuffs.

“Can you imagine their shame and embarrassment when they try to explain why they were arrested to the public? This could do it. This could break them,” Raymond wrote.

School board member Alex Bohannon, a Democrat, called Raymond’s suggestion an insult to the 6,500 employees of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

“This is unbecoming of what a leader should be, particularly when, across the state and nationally, educators are in a very tough spot right now. Particularly in this state, we have a problem with retaining teachers and people are leaving the profession,” Bohannon said. “They’re tired, so when you have these baseless accusations that seem to come from left field that aren’t grounded in fact, it’s disappointing.”

Dana Caudill Jones, a Republican who has been on the school board since 2015, said she is not aware of any pornographic or sexually explicit material being taught in the local school district.

“If a parent knows (about such material), let us know,” said Caudill Jones. “And we will definitely make sure that it is not done.”

During her tenure on the board, some parents have objected to certain books being taught and teachers have worked to find alternative books for those students to read, she said.

“Teachers work with parents around those things,” Caudill Jones said.

Raymond, who occasionally speaks during the public comments portion of school board meetings, credited Candace Owen, a right-wing media personality, with coming up with the idea to report teachers to the police.

Val Young, the president of the Forsyth County Association of Educators, called Raymond’s comments a distraction that will further divide parents and the school system.

“This is no part of any curriculum I’ve ever been a part of,” Young said. “What’s the end game for bringing this up? I can assure you that in school buildings, teachers are teaching the curriculum written by the state and giving good sound instruction instead of things we don’t want our children to know about anyway.”

Raymond said that concerned parents have been “locked in fierce combat” with local school boards for the “hearts and minds of their own children.

“And there is clear evidence that leftist school board members are beginning to break under the pressure coming from parents. But they’re holding their ground,” he said. “The leftist board members are determined to spoon feed our children a steady diet of hatred, pornography and sexually explicit material whether the parents like it or not.”

Raymond also falsely claimed that local school officials “have agreed to teach the most self-destructive and hateful behavior possible through Critical Race Theory.”

The school district has said on multiple occasions that it does not teach Critical Race Theory, an academic concept taught in college-level courses. CRT examines how race and racism have been embedded in such institutions as the criminal justice system, the housing market, health care and education.

Along with masking mandates, CRT has become a flashpoint in school board meetings across the country, with some school board members saying they have been violently threatened.

Local school board meetings have been mostly subdued, though school board chairperson Malishai Woodbury asked for someone to be escorted from a recent meeting after he refused to wear a mask.

Raymond’s suggestion that parents report teachers and administrators to police comes days after Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson condemned schools in a taped message for exposing students to books on homosexuality and transgenderism. He has also said that schools are “shoving this homosexuality garbage down their throats.”

One of the books Robinson derided is “George,” the story of a 10-year old transgender girl. The school district has five copies of the book.

“The book is on the state’s approved list for grades 4 and up,” school spokesman Brent Campbell said earlier this week. “It is not something that is used in any lesson, and it is not a required reading. It is a title students can check out of the collection if they are interested and of the appropriate rated age. This book is also available to students statewide as part of the state’s digital library collection. Any student can access it online there.”

336-727-7420

@lisaodonnellWSJ

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