The ability of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education to handle hate and bigotry in our schools is at stake in this election. The District 7 race between Laticia Hicks and Michelle Corkadel illustrates this in stark fashion. Hicks was endorsed by the Caucus of African American Leaders, which has taken a leading in role in addressing racial incidents in county schools. She was the only candidate of the two who accepted an invitation to attend a November 1 demonstration against white nationalism in the wake of recent hate crimes.
On the other hand, Corkadel attended a September 2017 fundraiser for Roy Moore in support of his bid to represent Alabama in the U.S. Senate. She attended the fundraiser despite Moore’s long history of bigotry. Moore was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for instructing judges to ignore Supreme Court precedent legalizing gay marriage. He spoke at a conference hosted by the same hate group that radicalized Dylann Roof, murderer of nine black parishioners attending Bible study in a church. He said that Muslims should not be able to serve in Congress. Corkadel nonetheless attended the fundraiser and allowed herself to be photographed with him.
There is an urgent need to elect members to the Anne Arundel County Board of Education who have the credibility to address the persistent problem of bias related incidents in our schools. Last Thursday, a noose was found in a bathroom at Chesapeake Bay Middle School. A little over a week ago, a note saying, “Kill All Blacks,” was found at Chesapeake High School. The note is the latest in a string of similar occurrences at the school. In the past year alone, racist graffiti was found, and a teacher allegedly called a black student a racial slur. A noose and Confederate flag dice were found in a student’s car on school premises. A noose was hung at Crofton Middle School, traumatizing students and teachers alike, and a “Kool Kids Klan” petition was circulated at Arundel High School.
Our schools and our children cannot afford to have a board member who supports or even tacitly approves of the likes of Moore. Corkadel’s association with him calls into question her ability to gain the trust of communities affected by bigotry and to represent their interests. It also calls into question whether she would support concrete steps to put an end to these incidents. For voters concerned about these incidents, the choice is clear.