Conservatives seem to have a knack for showing up to places they don’t belong. Another Republican has made headlines for attending a school board meeting to voice his concerns about the children. Not his children, mind you; infamous QAnon influencer—and founder of both 4chan and 8chan—Ron Watkins doesn’t have kids. But he attended a school board meeting in the Scottsdale Unified School District of Arizona on Jan. 25 just the same.
Watkins, who is running for congress, spoke against communism and the “communist creeps” who he claimed are on school boards threatening “our” parental rights. Not sure which of Watkins’ parental rights are being threatened, but his speech seemed to be a hit.
In a clip shared to Twitter, people could be heard cheering Watkins from the public gallery.
"Communism is encroaching on our country. Communist school boards now indoctrinating our children with transexual propaganda and teaching them to be racist against white people by teaching racist [Joe] Biden's critical racist theory,” he said.
"The communist creeps at our school boards are now taking our parental rights away by teaching our children that they can be vaccinated without consent.
"This is a blatant destruction of the family unit with the goal of undermining our society from the ground up. Communism must not take hold."
Of course, he also took the opportunity to mention that he was running for Arizona's second congressional district. That’s when he was finally asked to stop speaking, since, as a Scottsdale school district spokesperson pointed out, this "would be considered electioneering under Arizona law.”
While some may be surprised at the amount of support someone like Watkins had at this school board meeting, the reality is the school board itself is pretty conservative. But Watkins seems to disagree with that assessment. Not only did he rant about communists, but he also announced at the meeting that he plans to take legal action against the school board members for, allegedly, breaking the law.
In a statement to the Phoenix New Times, Watkins claimed board members have broken 27 “state, federal, and international laws.” He also insisted the district end its “gay rights week” and “propaganda of vaccines.” While it is unclear if the school district has ever held a week celebrating LGBTQ rights, the school currently has no mask mandate for students in place nor a requirement for vaccination.
In a statement sent to Newsweek, a school district spokesperson said:
"Scottsdale Unified School District does not teach critical race theory as part of our approved curriculum.”
"Nor does it vaccinate students or determine what vaccinations are required for school enrollment. Assertions to the contrary are fabricated and are made in pursuit of a political agenda not designed to advance the educational objectives of the school district."
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, parental consent is required in Arizona for children who want to be vaccinated, with the exception of a child or doctor obtaining a court order to receive the shot.
According to VICE, Watkins’ stunt follows a pattern of QAnon influencers attending school meetings across the country to fight against issues ranging from vaccine mandates, critical race theory, and gender politics. These influencers have allegedly been urging their followers to do the same and be involved more at the local level, NBC News reported.
Unfortunately, Watkins’ stunt proved to be worthwhile for him. Not only did it spread his message, but as his video went viral he also used it as an opportunity to request campaign donations from his followers.
School boards make their individual rules about meetings, including the rules and regulations about who can and cannot speak or make presentations. As increasing numbers of political actors show up at school board meetings outside of their home districts, or even, as in Watkins’ case, with no children attending a school as students and no employment or affiliation with a district, how can we keep our kids safe?