A school board candidate in a deep red Indiana county claimed on a public school Zoom call that children as young as fourth grade have "experimented with anal sex," infuriating local parents who said the district held the event "without parental consent and transparency."
Chauna Leigh Holder, a self-described "child health advocate," joined a Hamilton Southeastern schools panel to discuss how teachers can advocate for LGBT students. Holder, an Indiana State Health Department nurse, also claimed that her "students in fifth, sixth, [and] seventh grade," are "questioning" and "exploring" their sexualities.
The Hamilton Southeastern district is located in a county that former president Donald Trump carried by 7 points in 2020. Governor Eric Holcomb (R.) won the county by a 30-point margin. Holder's comments and the district's own promotion of a conversation on student sexuality show that the radicalization of K-12 education extends far beyond traditionally blue states.
Holder's comments angered parents and a former Hamilton Southeastern science teacher, who say it's "highly inappropriate" for the district to host such sensitive conversations about children.
"While understanding that teachers are important stakeholders in education, it is highly inappropriate for Hamilton Southeastern Educators to authoritatively discuss the sexuality of children, especially without the consent of parents within the district," Tony Kinnett, a former Hamilton Southeastern teacher and founder of Chalkboard Review, an online education publication, said in a statement shared with the Washington Free Beacon.
Fishers One, a recently launched Hamilton County parent group, issued a statement after the LGBTQ+ allyship event arguing that parents—not Zoom panelists—should be responsible for discussing these matters with their children.
"While we understand there will be unique circumstances in which a student may need individual counseling and support while at school, we do not condone these topics for broad distribution without parental consent and transparency," the group said in a statement on Tuesday. "This is another example of the continued lack of focus by [Hamilton Southeastern] leadership on academics as our top priority and further erodes the trust our parents and community have in the current [Hamilton Southeastern] School System's Leadership."
A spokeswoman for the district told the Free Beacon that Holder does not work for Hamilton Southeastern in any capacity. The Free Beacon reviewed a clip of the event, which was broadcast live on the district's Facebook page but is no longer publicly available and has since been deleted.
Hamilton Southeastern portrays itself as a "forward-thinking school district." Last week, the district sent an email to parents with a list of equity resources following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. The email condemned the American judicial system and claimed that racial division is "embedded in the fabric" of America.
The district said it believes that all students "benefit from an anti-racism education," according to the email. Holder also believes antiracist education is "essential" for all students."
"Anti-racist education and training is an essential first step, but these efforts must become ingrained in our district culture to be effective at combating racism head on," Holder wrote on her campaign website. "People have to become so intolerant of racism that we no longer stand by when incidents occur or work only to protect those we know personally."
Christopher Rufo, a Manhattan Institute senior fellow who documents antiracism and critical race theory in schools, told the Free Beacon that antiracism and gender theory are two defining elements of radical education.
"Antiracism, anticapitalism, and gender theory are the three-legged stool of woke education; they feed into each other in a form of circular logic," Rufo said. "These ideologies are not confined to university campuses and blue cities—they are finding a foothold in red states across the country."
Unless legislators take action, Rufo sees no end to the rise of "radical ideology in the classroom."
"It's a totalizing ideology with no limiting principle," he said; "they won't stop unless they are forced to stop."