Moms for Liberty candidates secure majority of Charleston Co. School Board seats

Moms for Liberty-backed candidates are expected to take over the Charleston County School Board.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 8:13 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 12, 2022 at 7:40 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Moms for Liberty-backed candidates are expected to take over the Charleston County School Board.

When the new board is sworn in next week, at least five of the nine candidates will have come from the Moms for Liberty slate.

Tara Wood is the chair of the Charleston County chapter. She says the success they’ve seen in the polls proves parents back their message.

“We know these candidates care about the kids and they want to prioritize academic excellence they want to stop wasting money on woke indoctrination,” Wood said. “And please let’s focus on getting back to the basics. We need our kids to be able to read and write and do math at grade level.”

The organization saw success in District 1 with Ed Kelley, District 2 with Keith Grybowski, District 3 with Pam McKinney, District 5 with Carlotte Bailey, and District 7 with Leah Whatley.

Votes will be certified on Friday and there will be two districts that will face automatic recounts. Bailey is currently winning her seat by just five votes and the seat could still be flipped to Vivian Pettigrew. Meanwhile, in District 8, Darlene Dunmeyer leads the Moms for Liberty candidate Travis Bedson by 102 votes. That race will also face a recount.

Still, the slate did better than any other. Republican-backed candidates were a close second with four candidates making it to the board, three of which shared endorsements with Moms for Liberty. Democrats, the South Carolina Education Association and the Charleston Coalition for Kids each saw only two of their candidates succeed.

Five of the nine incoming CCSD school board seats will be filled by Moms for Liberty candidates.
Five of the nine incoming CCSD school board seats will be filled by Moms for Liberty candidates.(Live 5)

The pro-parent, conservative group rose to prominence during the pandemic, primarily in opposition to covid-mandates in the schools.

“We are a grassroots organization dedicated to fighting for liberty and parental rights in education,” reads the description on their Facebook page.

Wood says they’re ready for their candidates to cut back on some of the policy decisions the board has made in the last two years.

“I think it would be great if they could stop supporting, stop spending millions of dollars on social-emotional learning. It’s not working. . . It’s not helping our children read, write or do math at grade level,” Wood said. “We would also like to see the authority over several board policies go back to the school board.”

Wood is specifically talking about a recent board decision that allows the superintendent to take action on COVID-19 outbreaks without board input.

“Parents need to have a voice in medical decisions for their children. I think - I know parents know what’s best for their children,” Wood said.

School board candidates are expected to be sworn in during a special meeting on Nov. 18.