***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on the financial support of our readers to exist. Please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter at $5, $10/month - whatever you think we're worth! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News” — now YOU can actually DO something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at: PO Box 112 Sioux Center, IA 51250

There was one member of the Johnston School Board who voted against approval of Louis Fountain as the district’s new director of equity, inclusion and belonging.

Alicia Clevenger provided by far the most thoughtful remarks of the evening from any of the board members and came across as level-headed and reasonable.

Clevenger said she agrees 100 percent that the position is necessary for the district. She said when Fountain’s name was announced as the choice, she reached out to people across Des Moines and heard nothing but wonderful things.

“Last Tuesday morning when I woke up we had an email in our email box about an article that was going to be published later that day,” she said. “So I had the ability to sit with my thoughts for a little bit.”

“One of the things I asked myself was, if this, if some of these things — and to be very cleary, I really only have concern about three of the comments — if some of these things were brought on by any other administrator we had hired in the last few years, would that person have been hired?”

Clevenger said she struggles to believe that in those situations, the board would not have been able to ask questions.

“If we were hiring a special ed teacher, and they had 800 comments that were great, but they had three that we had questions about, I struggle to believe that we wouldn’t ask questions,” she said. “That’s what I was asked to do and I think I probably asked more questions than all of the people up here. But that’s what we were brought here to do.”

She wanted to ask Fountain about his posts about Herschel Walker.

“I wanted to know how can he say those things about Herschel Walker and then teach our kids about inclusivity,” she said. “We have children of color in our district from conservative homes. And I wanted to just know from him and sit down and hear from him how he can help me make the decision today and get those questions answered.”

Clevenger said she asked if she could speak with Fountain and was told no. She was instead told she’d have to go with what was in front of her.

“That makes it really hard,” she said. “I really struggle with not being able to ask him questions. The reason we’re not able to ask him questions is because that’s something we’ve never done before, we’ve never asked questions of a hire like that. And that’s fair. But we’ve also never seen any comments like this on social media after the announcement and before the hire.”

Clevenger said she would love to meet with Fountain for coffee and ask the questions she still has. She also wants to know that he will advocate for all children.

“Right now, when I make my decision, I feel like I don’t have answers,” she said. “Asking questions doesn’t mean I don’t want him and I said I have wanted this position from day one. I am 100 percent in agreement.”

***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on grassroots financial supporters to exist. If you appreciate what we do, please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter (even just $5/month would go a long way in sustaining us!) We also offer advertising options for advocacy groups, events and businesses! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News Media” — this is YOUR chance to do something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at:
PO Box 112
Sioux Center, IA 51250

Thank you so much for your support and please invite your friends and family to like us on Facebook, sign up for our email newsletter and visit our website!***

Author: Jacob Hall