Jerry Rutherford, newly elected to the school board in Collier County, Florida, believes he’s got the answers to the nation’s problems in education, and they include reinstating corporal punishment, particularly for disabled students who he says are “out of control,” yanking rights from LGBTQ students, and teaching “Americanism” instead of multiculturalism.
While federal races and some of the biggest state races — including governors and secretaries of state — held national attention this week, local elections also have significant implications for the future. In one Florida County, for example, there is upheaval as all three school board incumbents lost to challengers.
Rutherford is one of the new board members, who ran on his history of handing out Bibles to schoolkids and his belief that the problems in education include support of diversity, teaching of self-esteem, and critical race theory. He also lists his role in getting “In God we trust” posters placed in public schools, being a Christian for more than 60 years, and his religious outreach in prisons among his qualifications.
After being elected, he shared more on his plans, which include reviving corporal punishment (legal in the state of Florida, but not implemented in Collier County at this time), getting disabled kids under “control,” and either stripping away rights from LGBTQ students, or giving additional rights to religious students to compensate (although in reality, the two groups are not mutually exclusive).
From Naples News:
Newly elected Collier County school board member Jerry Rutherford wants to bring corporal punishment back to district classrooms, he said the morning after Tuesday’s election.
He added that disabled students’ behavior in particular is “out of control.”
Additionally, he said he’d like to see fewer “rights” for LGBTQ students — or the same extended to religious students who want to practice religion in school.
These positions may come as no surprise from a candidate whose campaign site includes an all-caps paragraph calling to “reinstat[e] American culture in the classroom,” and to return schools to the “philosophy of the founders;” followed by a list of his achievements that begins with “CHRISTIAN 60+ YEARS,” mentions his 3 years of substitute teaching twice, and focuses heavily on his involvement with religious organizations, but it’s chilling to hear from someone who just gained the power to influence those matters.
In a campaign video, he cites as further qualifications for the board his “35+ years speaking at school board meetings,” for which he provides such examples as a video in which he uses his speaking time to pray that the school board will rely on his god for answers, and that students will be kept “pure for marriage.”