The School Boards in Trump Country
Fahrenheit 451 Becomes a Reality
I have been spending time in Trump Country for a bit over a year. I made it my permanent residence in July, and generally speaking is like most other places, as long as you avoid controversial subjects. I wrote about my experiences after the 2020 election. An update is required after the most recent Flagler County School Board Meeting.
The Flagler County (Florida) School Board holds its public meeting monthly, with the most recent held on November 16, 2021. The business portion of the meeting was brief; the board raised the hourly wage of bus drivers and staff workers by a unanimous vote. When the meeting was opened up for public comment. Two topics took up the majority of the discussion. Speakers on both sides discussed the change of one of the goals in the Strategic Plan from “Equity” to “Student Success.” One could read that as avoiding equity was the measure of success, but as I didn’t hear the discussion in the workshop where the change was recommended, I won’t judge.
One might think that unbelievable in 2021, but then again, this is Trump Country. The main topic was banning books. The discussion wasn’t limited only to banning books. Board member Jill Woolbright had independently and without discussing it with other board members, filed a criminal complaint about the availability of a book to students, “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” which by her interpretation of the statutes is distributing obscene material to minors. The book is about a boy growing up Black and queer, including some sexually graphic passages.
Woolbright disputed that she requested three other books be banned but acknowledged she brought up three other books; Stamped, The Hate U Give and Speak, all coincidentally by Black authors, except for one. Woolbright defended herself during the nine and one-half hour meeting (it ended at 11:42 pm) by saying other board members blindsided her all the time. She also claimed to have nothing against the author of, All Boys Aren’t Blue, saying they had more in common than their differences.
As part of the discussion, one board member played a video from the book’s author; another gave a lengthy remark. Neither will be allowed at future meetings. There was a vote pitting two board members against each other for the Vice-Chairman position. Woolbright was one of the contenders, and fortunately, in my view, she lost. Students in the district are more enlightened than the adults and are protesting the banning of books and those meddling in their education. Would it be petty of me to mention the Proud Boys protesting outside flashing white power signals and the fact the school board is all white?
Flagler County is not the exception but the rule. Driven by right-wing propoganda, parents and agitators are taking over school board meetings across the country. They demand schools not teach Critical Race Theory (CRT) which is already not being taught in elementary, middle, or high schools. They condemn any mention of race or even a nuanced telling of American History lest it makes white children "feel bad" or worse require some inkling of the systemic racism in our society,
Why not only elect officially endorse candidates of the Proud Boys, Boogaloo Bois? Let's send school busses to the next insurrection, because freedom. A Black principal in Texas was recently fired, not for teaching Critical Race Theory but for his attitude in responding to the false complaints
The next Flagler School Board meeting will be on December 21, and I plan to be there. I’ll have a big lunch and bring snacks and water. When it comes time for public comments, I might have a thing or two to say. Stay tuned.