Outrage over alleged Nazi homeschooling group in Ohio
An alleged “Nazi homeschooling group” based in Ohio has been widely condemned, amid reports that it distributed lesson plans which included writing exercises based on quotes by Adolf Hitler.
A couple calling themselves “Mr and Mrs Saxon” established the “Dissident Homeschool” channel on Telegram in 2021, according to reporting by Anonymous Comrades Collective, an anti-fascist research group, verified by Huffpost and Vice.
The channel, which has almost 2,500 subscribers, distributes “ready-made lesson plans”, Huffpost reported, including history lessons which praise the Confederate general Robert E Lee as a “grand role model for young, white men” and denigrate Martin Luther King Jr as “the antithesis of our civilization and our people”.
The Saxons were identified by Huffpost and Vice as Logan and Katja Lawrence, from Upper Sandusky, a town of about 7,000 in northern Ohio.
In a statement, Stephanie Siddens, interim Ohio state school board president, said she was “outraged and saddened” by the emergence of the group.
“There is absolutely no place for hate-filled, divisive and hurtful instruction in Ohio’s schools, including our state’s home-schooling community,” Siddens said.
“I emphatically and categorically denounce the racist, antisemitic and fascist ideology and materials being circulated as reported in recent media stories.”
The emergence of the group has led to calls for a revision of the way Ohio oversees homeschooling. Huffpost reported that parents planning to homeschool must submit “a brief outline of the intended curriculum” and a “list of teaching materials” to the local public school superintendent.
“Then, if the ‘home education plan’ meets the basic requirements of state law, the superintendent must excuse the child from public school attendance,” Huffpost wrote.
“But even in states with these types of requirements, there’s little to no enforcement mechanism to ensure that parents are actually teaching the curriculum they submitted to the superintendent.”
Teresa Fedor, a state board of education member, told WVXU News Ohio needed to improve homeschooling regulations.
“It’s quite disturbing to realise how easy it was for these parents to sidestep the little requirement that is necessary in the state of Ohio to register with the superintendent,” she said.
Fedor called for the Ohio governor, Mike DeWine, to condemn the homeschooling program. A spokesman for the Republican governor said in a statement to Statehouse News Bureau: “Racism and antisemitism are vile and repugnant. Governor DeWine condemns them in all forms.”
Tom Roberts, president of the Ohio National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a former Democratic state senator, told Statehouse News Bureau he planned to raise the issue with the NAACP national board of directors.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I know that there is all kinds of hate and all kinds of anti-American groups out there, but for it to be taught in school is another subject altogether.”