Two Board Members in the Hot Seat

Allie Christensen, Staff Writer

On February 7, 2022, a regular school board meeting was held at 6:00pm. The floor was open for public comments, and many people used the opportunity to express their concerns surrounding two board members.

Board members Clint Evans and Deb Davis faced backlash from multiple speakers after being seen at a kick off event for Turning Point USA.

Johnston students are currently trying to start a new chapter with Turning Point USA, making it an official club in the high school. However, some believe that Evans and Davis stepped out of line by supporting a political organization, as they are to remain nonpartisan.

According to TPUSA, they are a “Non-profit organization whose mission is to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote freedom.”

Anne Smith spoke on behalf of several concerned teachers in the district, “To see two of our Johnston school board members support a group Turning point USA pushing the agenda that we public school teachers are unpatriotic, socialist indoctrinators, is not only beyond the pale, but it’s genuinely hurtful.” 

Andrea Macklewee addressed her similar concerns surrounding Evans’s and Davis’s open advocacy for the group, “I find it disturbing and quite frankly a conflict of interest to see board members attending an event organized by TPUSA as active participants, is it appropriate to be be apart of an organization that openly attacks Public teachers.” said Macklewee.

However, Karen Burt used the podium to express her gratitude regarding the implementation of TPUSA.“I personally know students who try to attend a current political club that is at the highschool and they were not inclusive of them because they had different views, so I just think so everyone is more inclusive that we are getting this political group so everybody has a place to share their beliefs.” said Burt.

Another popular discussion point at the podium surrounded recent events in the community. On February 1, a school board member was seen posing with vouchers at Day on The Hill; a chance for board members across the state to meet with policy makers that influence the education system.

Steven Hopper, a former Johnston school board member, advised the newly appointed members to be mindful of the oath they took, “Public money belongs in public schools and you guys all took an oath to support public schools, so please remember as you’re advocating, cause you guys have (particularly new board members) have a lot of pull with Rep. Andrews and Senator Zahn, and if you come out showing even the slightest bit of of support, they will go in front of the legislature and say ‘see we’ve got Johnston School Board’s support.’” said Hopper.

After public comments concluded, Davis defended her actions, “So with the code of ethics, number 16 says that I will endeavor to stay informed on local, state and national educational developments of significance, so I may become a better board member.” Davis continued, “So staying up to date on these bills and the changes and how they affect the public schools would be a good thing to do.”

Superintendant Laura Kacer responded by addressing her own concerns, claiming that vouchers “Provide inequity and funding for school districts across the state.”

The next board meeting will take place February 21 at 6 pm.