Guilford Prepares for Highly-Contested Board of Education Election

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Guilford's Board of Education race has become a highly contested election with 11 candidates hoping to have a say in the direction of the school district's future.

People in Guilford showed up in support for the five Democratic and Independent candidates vying to be a part of the town's Board of Education.

"We are here to celebrate with a sense of urgency," said Mike Song, who helped organize the education rally. "We're going to be the voice of reason and elect candidates that are going to work together."

One of the focal points in this election is critical race theory.

"Critical race theory at its core is a way to examine storied history of American slavery, segregation and discrimination that's been embedded in our laws," said Dr. Robert Sanders, a professor at the University of New Haven.

According to Sanders, the theory has been a hot-button topic among many parents at school board meetings around the country.

"What you have is many parents showing up saying 'we don't want our children to be taught this', well your children aren't being taught this," said Dr. Sanders. "What is happening in progressive reviews of American history is that American history was not told in a truthful manner."

Rally organizers and the town's superintendent said the theory is not being taught in school. Instead, for years, the district has worked on social justice and equity initiatives.

Some of the state's top elected officials also made a stop at the rally to discuss the implications of this election and what it could mean for the town's future education system.

"Our history reflects ups and downs, we can't gloss over those ups and downs, not if we want our children to understand this country," said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro.

The other Board of Education candidates running as Republicans say they don't agree with the latest push by school leaders.

"What we want to avoid is the liberal indoctrination that they're bringing into our schools," said Tim Chamberlain, a candidate for Guilford's Board of Education.

"Don't divide our children into oppressors and the oppressed, that's the basic philosophy of what's happening here," said Nick Cusano, another candidate for Guilford's BOE.

Chamberlain and Cusano tell NBC Connecticut they are in favor of diversity and understand there are cultural differences.

"I think what we have here is a disagreement on how that should be implemented and put into the school system but in it's current form, it's very divisive," said Cusano.

Elections will take place on Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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