An assistant principal at Hilliard Davidson High School has drawn fire from a public-policy organization called the Center for Christian Virtue after she wrote a Feb. 16 email directing staff members to encourage students to write to Hilliard City Council in support of expanding a local anti-discrimination policy that had not been introduced as legislation.
Because the action was associated with “distribution of political literature” in relation to students, it was deemed “not appropriate” by Hilliard City Schools in a Feb. 18 statement.
The email, which referenced a proposal to expand the city’s policy to include sexual orientation, gender, marital status and pregnancy reportedly that had been suggested by a Hilliard City Schools student, was sent by assistant principal Kristen Clausen to a staff email group.
It was included in a Feb. 18 news release from the Center for Christian Virtue that accused the school of committing an “unprecedented violation of the public trust” and trying “to turn students into lobbyists.”
The Feb. 18 statement from Hilliard City Schools was provided by Stacie Raterman, director of communications for the district.
“The Hilliard City Schools’ board of education and administration has been clear on their support of diversity and inclusion of all students and supports our students’ personal involvement in the political process as they choose,” the statement said. “However, board policy sets clear expectations that literature promoting or opposing political figures, candidates or issues not be distributed in the school setting.
“In this case, we understand that students were not required to write letters in support of a particular issue, but any distribution of political literature to our students was not appropriate and should not have occurred.
“We discussed this with all involved and set new guidelines to assure this type of situation does not reoccur.”
The email from Clausen outlined directions for 22-minute Black History Month recognition periods Feb. 17 and 19 and said to “please follow this agenda.”
It told staff members to begin by reading from a script that said a Hilliard high school student had contacted City Council in September about ways to make the community more inclusive and accepting of all people, and two council members asked him “to leverage the power of student voice to help them expand existing anti-discrimination laws so that our city can protect people who are from communities related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, marital status and pregnancy because our current law in Hilliard does not include community members related to those classes.”
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SOURCE: This Week Community News, A. Kevin Corvo