Charleston Co. School Board removes four Health Advisory Committee Members

Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 10:49 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 14, 2023 at 9:53 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County School District’s Board of Trustees reconsidered their decision to remove six Health Advisory Committee members on Monday night, but the board still voted to remove four of the committee members despite heated conversations.

Brought forward by board member Ed Kelly, the committee had five vacant positions before ten new names were listed by Kelly, dismissing six of the current members.

The Health Advisory Committee is made up of 13 members to review the sex education curriculum and make recommendations to the board.

The argument Kelly made against the Health Advisory Committee cites South Carolina’s State Law that school districts may not offer abortion counseling, information about abortions or assist in obtaining abortion materials.

“This is one of a few examples where the curriculum that was brought forward by the Health Advisory Committee, as it currently stands, violates the state law and is not in compliance with the restrictions set out in law for what the Health Advisory Committee is to be focused on,” Kelly said

He also said the committee speaks about alternative genders and the topic of anal and oral sex positively.

In response, Charleston County School District Instructional Specialist for Health and Physical Education Holly Kut, who supports the committee from an information perspective, says the curriculum meets state standards, is aligned and is age-appropriate.

“If you go and look at those lessons and read those, you’ll see that there is no lesson on abortion, there’s no lesson that teaches gender identity or sexual orientation,” Kut said. “We stick to the standards.”

Members of the committee also noted that no one on the board has asked to go over the curriculum with them.

“What you’re seeing is maybe an assumption? I thought it would be great to have that opportunity with this board, so you can see that this curriculum that we have,” Kut said.

The board then discussed their opinions on removing these committee members.

“You are saying that your knowledge, Mr. Kelly, is greater than all of these people that have expertise in the area,” Charleston County School District Board Member, Darlene Dunmeyer-Roberson said. “That is very concerning to me.”

“One of my reasons in supporting this is because I want to give representation from a broader spectrum of our county,” Charleston County School District Board Member, Leah Whatley said.

After continual conversation and voting by the board, they officially removed four of the Health Advisory Committee members and appointed new people to fill their positions.

  • Removed, Catherine Kaiser. Appointed, Ryan Byrne
  • Removed, Lisa Thomas Ross. Appointed, Maria Nesteroad
  • Removed, Rabbi Greg Cantor. Appointed, not listed on agenda.
  • Removed, Bonnie Cleaveland. Appointed: Thaddeaus John Bell

The board also filled six vacant spots. The following positions were filled:

  • Clery Denisse Mogollon
  • Teacher Christina Braun
  • Teacher Mary Kate Rumph
  • Student Jackson Darby
  • Community member Amy Black
  • Community member Patricia White