FARGO — So anti-maskers are upset the Fargo School Board isn't doing exactly what they want? The solution is easy: Cancel the Fargo School Board.

Or at least the members who are vulnerable to a recall election.

For as much as conservatives bellow about hating "cancel culture," it would appear they have no problem deploying it when it suits their whims.

A group of "fed up" parents calling themselves ND Parents Against Distance Learning are in the early stages of trying to recall board members Seth Holden, Tracie Newman, Nikkie Gullickson and Jim Johnson. All are eligible to be recalled because they won't be up for re-election until 2024.

Do you support the recall of four Fargo School Board members?

Thank you for voting!

  • Yes


  • No


WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

Five other board members — Robin Nelson, Rebecca Knutson, Jennifer Benson, David Paulson and Brian Nelson — are not eligible for recall because they'll be on the 2022 ballot. School board members cannot be recalled within one year of a regularly scheduled election.

While the parents say many issues are driving the recall — their website even lists "critical race theory," that darling topic of right-wing media, as an important issue — don't let the misdirection fool you.

This is all about masks.

Well, that and the fact the school board won't do everything this group of parents wants. They seem to believe their opinion is the only one, and that there's not an equal (or higher) number of parents, teachers and staff that supports what the school board is doing.

This group has been griping about the school district's mask mandate for students for months. It is a microcosm of conservative anti-maskers in the United States, using a "tyranny" quote from Thomas Jefferson on its website and talking about "fostering fear."

There have also been conspiracy theories — lies, if you prefer — used to bolster the anti-masker stance. One parent accused the school board of taking bribes to promote mask-wearing.

Another told the board, and we quote, "What the world has been told about the current situation is not reality. COVID-19 was a virus created as a bioweapon against the world to affect the 2020 election and drive distance between families and communities. It was a planned criminal operation and about world control and population control."

OK, then.

Targeting school boards for their COVID response has been a popular pastime around the country for right-wingers and other various kooks, so why not in Fargo?

The goal is to stack school boards with right-wingers who can fight yesterday's war over COVID masks with an eye toward the next battle front — the burgeoning Fox News hysteria over critical race theory, the idea that racism isn't merely an individual bias, but something embedded into American legal systems and policies.

What the angry parents are doing is within their rights and it might, unfortunately, succeed. But the rest of Fargo's parents should know the reason behind the recall is more about canceling school board members who won't cower to the loud minority than any broad policies meant to make the district better.