Originally published at The Columbus Dispatch
Dozens speak at packed Upper Arlington school board meeting in wake of covert video
Cole Behrens | February 8, 2023
An overflow crowd packed the Upper Arlington Board of Education meeting Tuesday at the city building’s council chambers as dozens registered support or displeasure over a secretly recorded video of a school official discussing how diversity, equity and inclusion education is handled.
More than 40 residents took an opportunity to speak for five minutes each and the public comment section lasted for nearly three hours. The board meeting lasted about three and a half hours, though no action was taken on diversity initiatives or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Director Matt Boaz’s employment status.
Residents offer differing views on video, fallout
Many in attendance Tuesday wore red shirts to show support for the school district’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, saying that outside extremists are using Upper Arlington school district to create controversy and wage a larger war on public schools.
“(Upper Arlington) schools are a perfect example of public education, adequately funded and supported by the community,” Catherine Kennedy, 41, said. “We are a beacon district and that is why we are the target of extremist groups.”
Others expressed their shock and disappointment with Boaz’s statement, saying they were concerned material outside of approved curriculum will be secretly added without parents’ awareness or knowledge.
Carrie Colombo, a former substitute teacher and Upper Arlington parent, said she felt deceived and that the board needed to take action to restore confidence in their child’s education.
“Transparency is required to build trust,” Colombo said. “Regaining the trust of parents will take time and hard work. The damage done by this short video lasts a long time.”
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