Ohio’s education department is investigating a White supremacist homeschooling network that shares Nazi-related resources
The Ohio Department of Education is investigating an online homeschooling network after reports of parents sharing messages of White supremacy as educational resources, according to a state education official with knowledge of the review.
But there is likely little the state can do to change the curriculum, and using and sharing such curriculum does not violate state law.
The review is one of “compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements,” the official said. Under Ohio law, the state’s Department of Education does not review or approve home school curriculum.
The homeschooling group has more than 3,000 subscribers and shares content and lesson plans through a social media messaging platform. They share “primarily resources for curriculum recommendations for elementary aged children,” the group’s very first message reads.
“We have fought hard for our right to homeschool the children,” one post from December reads. “Without homeschooling the children, our children are left defenseless to the schools and the Gay Afro Zionist scum that run them.”
Another post with a “Thanksgiving copywork” assignment showed pages of handwritten Hitler quotes.
In January, as Martin Luther King Jr. Day approached, a user with the screen name “Mrs. Saxon” posted in the channel, “It is up to us to ensure our children know him for the deceitful, dishonest, riot-inciting negro he actually was.”
“Mrs. Saxon” continued in the January post, “He is the face of a movement which ethnically cleansed whites out of urban areas and precipitated the anti-white regime that we are now fighting to free ourselves from.”
“Keep in mind that this is a unit study for elementary ages,” she wrote in bold and underlined font.
These are among a number of racist, anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi and homophobic posts that span back to the group’s creation in October 2021. Based on an investigation by an online anti-fascist research group and resulting media reports, local education officials believe the group is run out of Upper Sandusky, Ohio.
The state’s education department is reviewing compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements, however a state official told CNN the department does not review or approve home school curriculum.
Under Ohio law, parents are only required to provide annual written notification and assurances, which according to school district paperwork include: 900 hours of instruction across subjects like language, geography, history math, science health and more, a brief outline of the intended curriculum and assurances the home teacher has a high school diploma or equivalent, or is working under the guidance of someone holding a bachelor’s degree.
An initial review of “anything [the group] could have been a part of” or “applied to at the Department” has not produced anything thus far, according to the state official.
CNN has reached out to the creators of the group but has not received a response.
Eric Landversicht, Superintendent of the Upper Sandusky Exempted Village School District, told CNN, it is their policy “to maintain an education environment that is free from all forms of unlawful harassment, and the Board vigorously enforces its prohibition against discriminatory harassment based on Protected Classes.”
In a January 30 letter sent to the Upper Sandusky School Community, Landversicht said he had learned of the “egregious” allegations a week prior.
“The District vehemently condemns any such resources,” he wrote. But he also wrote that homeschooling parents are the ones who are ultimately “responsible for choosing the curriculum and course of study; the parents’ chosen curriculum is not sponsored or endorsed by the District.”
Scott DiMauro, president of the Ohio Education Association that represents about 120,000 teachers, faculty and support professionals in Ohio schools, told CNN “that kind of hate has no place in our state.” He also emphasized it is “not reflective of the larger homeschooling community.”
However, the inherent lack of oversight and accountability in homeschooling creates an opportunity, he said. “People are choosing to remove themselves and remove their children form the education system,” he said. “When that’s the environment you’re in, it opens the door to all kinds of people with all kinds of ideological perspectives to fill that gap.”
It remains unclear whether the state is able to intervene unless there is “substantial evidence of cessation of home education,” according to Ohio law. Only if that evidence bears out would the child have to be enrolled in school.
Dr. Stephanie K. Siddens, the Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction in Ohio, said in a statement, “I am outraged and saddened. There is absolutely no place for hate-filled, divisive and hurtful instruction in Ohio’s schools, including our state’s home-schooling community. I emphatically and categorically denounce the racist, antisemitic and fascist ideology and materials being circulated as reported in recent media stories.”