Former Cong. Candidate Accuses Cheyenne School District Of Censorship, Unfairly Masking Students

in Darin Smith/News

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Cheyenne attorney Darin Smith is asking conservatives in the Cheyenne school district to attend a meeting of the district’s board of trustees on Monday to complain about “inappropriate material” in libraries and the requirement that students wear facemasks in class.

Smith sent an email from his law firm on Friday outlining his position on the two issues that have surfaced within Laramie County School District No. 1, which encompasses Cheyenne.

Smith’s wife, Alicia Smith, sits on the LCSD1 board of trustees.

In his email, Smith, a former congressional candidate, claimed that parents were being censored at LCSD1 school board meetings for bringing up the fact that “pornographic sexual indoctrination material” is available in middle and high school libraries.

Smith pointed to a woman’s testimony given at the last LCSD1 board meeting in November. In the video from the meeting, one woman addresses the board about the book “Monday’s Not Coming” by Tiffany D. Jackson, which is a library book in the district. The book is not part of any school’s curriculum

“I would like to know why a lot of these books are only to be rented or checked out by the kids through their iPads, because parents like myself have no idea that this stuff was in here,” the woman said.

The book is about a teenage Black girl who disappears. A friend searches for her and deals with issues including neglect, racism and murder.

In the meeting, the woman read passages from the book, however, her narration was removed from the video of the meeting that was posted to YouTube, a move Smith called censorship.

“LCSD1 just erased the public record of her verbatim reading from books on school library shelves,” Smith said. “To make matters worse, [Superintendent] Dr. [Margaret] Crespo apologize[d], but not for the school library books those obscene and erotic passages came from! The superintendent of LCSD1 did not apologize for the porn being made available to our kids. Instead, she apologized that the language in the verbatim quotes from books in library circulation were ‘not appropriate’ for the board meeting audience. Are you kidding?”

Smith argued that instead of allowing factual criticism at a board meeting and providing transparency so the public can see problems are being fixed, Crespo and LCSD1 are failing to protect children from foul content.

He also noted that his wife has asked her fellow board members to reconsider the current LCSD1 mask mandate, as board members were “ill-informed” when they implemented it in September, but the board has not yet done so.

“Keep in mind, over 85% of our school districts in Wyoming, 41 of 48, are not masking their kids. In addition, nearly half the kids being masked in the state are being masked by LCSD1,” Smith said. “The left-wing counties of Albany and Teton have most of the other children being masked. The child-masking advocates have dominated the debate based on shaky information. We need to speak up well, and now, or left-leaning members of the board keep our kids masked until who-knows-when.”

Albany, Teton and Laramie counties’ school districts still have mask mandates in place because Delta variant coronavirus cases spiked earlier in the fall semester. Laramie County students will have the option to not wear a mask once the county goes back into the “yellow” health levels.

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