The school superintendent of an Ohio city where neo-Nazi-themed home-schooling curriculum is reportedly being used and widely shared online says his “district vehemently condemns any such resources.”
“The allegations are egregious,” Eric Landversicht, superintendent of Upper Sandusky Exempted Village Schools, wrote in a letter to the school community that he provided Monday to the USA TODAY NETWORK Ohio.
The curriculum made national news in an article published online by Vice News based on a report published last week by the anti-fascist research group Anonymous Comrades Collective.
The Vice article claims that a couple from Wyandot County created the “Dissident Homeschool” channel, a social media outlet that distributes its lesson plans for elementary students to more than 2,400 subscribers nationwide.
“Since the group began in October 2021, it has openly embraced Nazi ideology and promoted white supremacy, while proudly discouraging parents from letting their white children play with or have any contact with people of any other race,” the Vice article reads. “Admins and members use racist, homophobic, and antisemitic slurs without shame, and quote Hitler and other Nazi leaders daily in a channel open to the public.”
The article claims that one of the Upper Sandusky parents had written that they were “deeply invested” in making sure their child “becomes a wonderful Nazi.”
The neo-Nazi content was condemned Monday also by Teresa Fedor, a member of the Ohio Board of Education from the Toledo area.
“Silence regarding hate, is complicity for hate,” Fedor wrote. “The recent report that a group of homeschooling Ohio parents who told a recent Nazi podcast that they were creating a curriculum for ‘Nazi-approved homeschool material’ should alarm all Ohioans.”
Home-schooling parents pick curriculums in Ohio
In his Monday letter to the Upper Sandusky school community, Landversicht explained that guardians who opt to educate their students at home “must provide the district with annual written notification and assurances.”
“Parents are responsible for choosing the curriculum and course of study,” Landversicht wrote. “The parents’ chosen curriculum is not sponsored or endorsed by the district. Under Ohio law, if the notification includes the information and assurances required, the district must excuse the child from public school attendance for home-schooling purposes.”
He said he could not discuss any specific families.
“I cannot discuss specific students or share student records due to state and federal privacy laws,” Landversicht wrote.
In general, though, Nazi teachings would not be condoned by the district.
“The board of education’s policy is 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,” Landversicht wrote. “This policy applies to unlawful conduct occurring on school property or at another location if such conduct occurs during an activity sponsored by the board.”
Upper Sandusky affirms anti-discrimination stance
The Upper Sandusky superintendent assured parents that the safety of the district’s students remained his top priority.
“Any parent or student who has a concern about discriminatory conduct within the district’s program or activities should contact the district,” Landversicht wrote.
The superintendent’s letter pointed students and parents to the “Safer Ohio School Tip Line” at 844-SaferOH (844-723-3764). Those calls are answered by analysts within Ohio Homeland Security.
“More information about this resource can be found on the district’s website,” Landversicht wrote. “As always, our counseling staff is available to students who need support.”
Requirements in home education notification
Documentation from the Ohio Department of Education list a number of curricular requirements that must be met when parents provide their local school districts with notice of home education.
Educational elements must include: “An assurance that the home education will include 900 hours of instruction in the following, unless the topic or practice conflicts with the religious beliefs of the parent.”
The ODE list includes the following eight points:
- Language, reading, spelling and writing
- Geography, history of the United States and Ohio, and national, state, and local government
- Physical education
- Fine arts, including music
- First aid, safety and fire prevention
The state regulations go on to say that the notification of home education must include “a brief outline of the intended curriculum” as well as “a list of the teaching materials.”
The home teacher must have “a high school diploma or the equivalent” or be “working under the guidance of a person holding a bachelor’s degree.”
Finally, the annual notification must contain “an assessment report, if the notification is a continuance from the previous year.”
Besides the eight topics required by the state ODE, the Ohiohomeschoolingparents.com reports that “there is no approved curriculum list for Ohio. Curriculum choices – if you even decide to use curricula – are completely up to you as the parent, and the state is not allowed to approve or deny any curriculum choices.”