UPPER SANDUSKY, Ohio — One local state education leader has expressed concerns this week after reports that two Upper Sandusky residents are operating a neo-Nazi "dissident homeschool" group on messaging app Telegram.
According to reports in VICE news, the group's channel includes lesson plans that promote reading the texts of Adolf Hitler, call for Jewish people to be removed from public classrooms and refer to Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. as someone who "ethnically cleansed whites out of urban areas" and "precipitated the anti-white regime."
Former state senator and current state Board of Education Member Teresa Fedor, of Toledo, said reports of the fascist homeschool program shows Ohio's regulation of non-public educational programs is lacking.
In an interview with WTOL 11, Fedor said while homeschool programs can be partially publicly funded, the standards are relaxed compared to public schools.
Under Ohio law, parents are permitted to choose the curriculum and course of study, and only have to write to their district once a year confirming that they're continuing to teach their child, Fedor said.
"It makes people sad to think that our children are actually being raised in hateful lessons, in hateful ideology, and if they're using our tax dollars, such as the $250 tax credit, to raise your children with Nazi curriculum, that's wrong," she said.
Each district has little to no control over what the parents can and cannot teach.
Fedor said this incident proves the state board needs to take a serious look at how it regulates the homeschool programs in Ohio.
The Telegram channel identified in the VICE report has 2,400 members, according to publication. But, all the subscribers, including the couple who run the page, "Mr. and Mrs. Saxon" do not have their names listed.
The antifascist research group Anonymous Comrades Collective claims multiple pieces of evidence, including appearances on a podcast called “Achtung! Amerikaner,” indicate the owners of the page live in the Upper Sandusky Exempted Village Schools district.
Upper Sandusky Superintendent Eric Landversicht released a statement condemning the group:
"The allegations are egregious, and the District vehemently condemns any such resources. While I cannot discuss or share student records due to state and federal privacy laws, the board of education's policy is to maintain an education environment that is free from all forms of harassment, and the Board vigorously enforces its prohibition on discriminatory practices based on Protected Classes."
Fedor said she's asked Stephanie K. Siddens, Ohio's interim superintendent of public instruction, to gather all the rules of the current homeschool structure for Department of Education members to review and called on Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and all other state politicians to immediately denounce the white supremacy content.
The state Board of Education said in a statement to WTOL 11 that it is investigating the group.