Six conservative candidates running for contested Greenville County School Board seats appeared at a meeting on Tuesday evening at the Boiling Springs Fire Department on Blacks Road.
This forum took place one night after 12 out of a total of 14 candidates spoke to voters at J L Mann High School.
Pat Sudduth, the incumbent representing Area 18, appeared alongside Tim Schuyler, who is challenging long-term incumbent Chuck Saylors for the Area 20 seat, while Lynda Leventis-Wells is hoping to hang on to her Area 22 seat.
Gene Beckner hopes to win the Area 24 seat, while Amanda Brett is looking to replace long-term school board member Roger Meek, who represents Area 26 and who is running for reelection. Finally, Jeff Cochran is running for the seat in Area 28. All have at least one opponent, Brett and Cochran have two opponents.
Conservative activist Jeff Magg, who sponsored and moderated the forum, said, “We are in desperate times.”
Schuyler, owner of Breakaway Sports and a member of Logos Bible Church, calls himself a “Conservative Christian Patriot.” He said that he is not afraid to stand against things, such as gender fluidity that is becoming more and more common in schools these days. He said that gender is easy – a man is a man and a woman is a woman. He is against the teaching of so-called Critical Race Theory and wants to get back to the basic curriculum.
Wells said that it is important for teachers to teach the subject matter and nothing else. She said that she would encourage parents to let her know if their children's teachers are promoting Critical Race Theory.
Beckner, a pastor at Brookwood Church in Simpsonville, said, “Parents should be the primary authority in decisions regarding their children.” He believes that more people are thinking conservatively than we realize.
He laments that schoolchildren have suffered from masking and distance learning during the height of the Covid. When it comes to gender issues being pushed in the schools, he said, “I don't want a young man to be in the bathroom with my daughter.” He said that parents need to speak up.
Brett, the mother of two boys, says that she got involved because decisions were being made without her input. She started attending school board meetings and has spoken out on issues about which she was concerned.
“We need to get back to the basics,” adding that schoolchildren need to be taught about this country. She is against sexually explicit books being available to students in the schools and believes that boys' sports should be played by boys and that girls' sports should be played by girls.
Cochran describes himself as a born-again Bible-believing Christian. He said that critical race theory is itself racist and that, if elected, he would continue to support the ban on CRT being promulgated in the schools.
“We are living in a dangerous time in our country where many groups are vying for the hearts and minds of our children,” said Cochran, adding, “I believe we need to stop taking so many of our educational cues from Washington, DC and our government-centralized bureaucracy.” Promote unity and love of country in the schools, he said Boys should compete in boys' sports and girls should compete in girls' schools.
A handout provided by the organizers of the event stated that all six candidates are against CRT, mandates of any kind and indoctrination of any kind and that they all support fiscal responsibility, school security and recruiting and retaining quality teachers.