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Guilford County superintendent raises concerns about threats facing educators, school board members

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — In a guest column for Greensboro’s News and Record, Dr. Sharon Contreras raised concerns about ongoing threats and violence against school board members, superintendents and educators. 

FOX8 spoke with three school board members who said they have not received direct threats, but Board Member Deborah Napper said she has seen some concerning comments posted online. 

She feels when delta variant cases began to rise, tempers flared as well.  

Some of the messages directed to the superintendent and Guilford County School Board members over the summer were filled with swear words directed toward leadership.

One proposed a “Thank You White People Day.” Another said, “fire yourself or else.”

“Our staff has been bullied, and our buildings have been targeted by those who disagree with basic public health measures,” Dr. Contreras wrote. 

Board Member Khem Irby has not felt her safety was in jeopardy while attending meetings but said she agreed with the superintendent’s message. 

Metal detectors were installed before parents were able to walk back into school board meetings in July. 

FOX8 asked what board member Irby wanted to say to parents who may feel the district should focus on threats in schools. 

“I do think it’s something that we can’t solve by ourselves. It’s going to take other entities, other forms of government. I think the schools. I think we’re doing what we can do,” she said. 

She said all adults need to be role models for kids in the community. 

“If kids see adults around the nation showing up to school board meetings aggressively or in a manner saying ‘we’re going to cause harm to someone if they don’t vote this way for me,’ then kids are learning that behavior because adults are actually modeling some of that behavior,” she said. 

Irby said there have not been any conversations about withdrawing from the National School Board Association after the organization requested federal assistance in response to threats.  

A spokesperson for the district told FOX8 the superintendent was in meetings Tuesday and unavailable to speak about the column. 

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