A Maine school board member has resigned after she says her district fell prey to a “pervasive DEI agenda” that undermines parents.
Jameson Davis, a school board member for Regional School Unit 21 in York County, said she refused to go along with the extreme progressivist agenda of the district.
“I cannot in good conscience support the extreme policies that have been implemented,” Davis said in The Kennebunk Post. “The pervasive DEI agenda and the erosion of parental rights serve only to insert government where it does not belong.
“The district and administration appear to be irredeemable. My husband and I have no intention of sending our children to this district.”
School Board Chair Erin Nadeau responded that Davis’s beliefs that DEI policies are harmful weren’t in step with “board policy, nor basic human rights laws.”
“If students do not feel safe, or have other unmet needs, they cannot learn,” Nadeau told local media. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to be the best version of their authentic selves.”
Although Davis didn’t cite a particular policy in her resignation, the district has policies regarding “transgender and gender expansive students” that have been controversial nationwide. The policy allows schools to leave parents in the dark about a child’s gender identity, and even states that if students and their parents disagree, “the school shall whenever possible abide by the wishes of the student.”
It also allows students to use bathrooms and other school facilities that “most closely match their gender identity.”
The district’s 50-person DEI Ad Hoc “equity task force” – which began during the pandemic – also has been home to controversy. In 2022, DEI committee co-chair Tim Stentiford and then-board president Art LeBlanc were subject to a recall campaign driven by former school board member Norm Archer.
Stentiford and LeBlanc were accused of causing the loss of teachers, increases in human resource spending and an absence of a curriculum committee. Stentiford had formerly chaired the HR committee, while LeBlanc had been an advocate for the new DEI committee.
Although the recalls were unsuccessful, neither man currently serves on the school board.
Now that Davis won’t be on the school board, she’s pivoting to help families access education opportunities outside the public education system.
“I will be working to better understand school choice and how we can implement that essential right in our district and across the state,” she said. “This will … check the disgusting power in our education systems that have amassed under the guise of doing ‘what’s best for the students.’”