The race in question was for a seat on the Round Rock International School District (ISD) school board. According to the Statesman, candidates in this coalition include John Keagy, Orlando Salinas, Jill Farris, Christie Slape, and Don Zimmerman. The group ran on an anti-trans platform obsessed with barring discussions about gender identity in schools, challenging, banning, and obsessively monitoring library books, and stopping critical race theory (CRT) from being taught in schools. If this all sounds eerily to familiar to you, that makes sense, because it’s basically the playbook for conservatives who are hoping to prey on people’s ignorance, confusion, and fear.
Far-right extremists and conservatives have been working hard to infiltrate school boards across the country. You might remember Daily Kos covering efforts by Moms for Liberty, for example, a staunchly anti-queer effort behind many book challenges and book bans we’re seeing at public schools and public libraries. Hand in hand with efforts to ban books by and about LGBTQ+ people, conservatives have also taken to school boards to raise hysteria about CRT, trans kids playing sports, and pronouns in schools.
The hate is all connected. The goal is to normalize it and swing moderates as far to the right as possible, suddenly making things like bathroom bans and deadnaming trans students the norm. Then books by and about queer people will automatically be labeled as “pornography” or “obscene” and gone from libraries. Then Don’t Say Gay bills will become law all the faster. And then, and then, and then…
School board elections don’t always get the coverage they deserve. But the Round Rock ISD is one example of many where it’s really, really important people showed up to vote blue.