Extremist GOP candidate vying to lead NC’s diverse schools melts down over people speaking their native languages in public

If you haven’t yet gotten acquainted with North Carolina’s Republican candidate to lead all K-12 schools as our next superintendent, you are in for a rude awakening.

Michele Morrow pulled off the upset victory in this month’s Republican primary, defeating incumbent Catherine Truitt for the right to appear on November’s general election ballot. The unexpected news found a lot of people in North Carolina and across the nation scratching their heads and asking “Who is Michele Morrow?”

Morrow is a staunch critic of North Carolina’s public schools, which she calls “indoctrination centers,” and she homeschools her own children. She attended the Capitol insurrection on January 6, sharing video of herself at the event saying she was there at the request of Donald Trump “to take back America.”

Morrow regularly spouts QAnon conspiracy theories such as one that actor Jim Carrey drinks the blood of children. She calls Islam “evil” and says Muslims should be barred from holding elected office in the United States. She has publicly called for the executions of numerous Democrats including Joe Biden, Chuck Schumer, Ilhan Omar, Andrew Cuomo, Roy Cooper and Hilary Clinton. She suggested that Barack Obama be shot live on television as a money-making, pay-per-view event.

All of these positions are utterly indefensible, and it appears Morrow understands that’s the case as she recently deactivated the Twitter account she used to post her most violent and bizarre opinions.

But considering the position she is running for, it might be Morrow’s xenophobia that is the most disqualifying.

Morrow shared the video below in 2021 after a particularly traumatic visit to Dollar Tree. In the video she expresses her outrage after hearing four languages other than English while shopping at Dollar Tree, saying “I have never seen this many people that don’t speak English at one time in a Dollar Tree” and adding the unsubstantiated theory that they may have been “bused here from the border.” Morrow also throws in a little transphobia for good measure, saying there were men at the Dollar Tree who were “not dressed like men.”

She end-punctuates her rant with an oddly mismatched comment invoking “the hope of Jesus,” who I’m pretty sure didn’t speak English OR wear pants.

See for yourself:

Michele Morrow probably won’t be happy to hear this, but North Carolina’s public schools are quite diverse and becoming more so.

According to this year’s data, we have 162,778 English learners in our schools, representing an increase of 10% over last year. There are 389 languages spoken in homes across North Carolina, 267 just in Wake County where Morrow resides.

North Carolina ranks fifth in the nation for number of Dual Language Immersion programs. We also offer numerous full Language Immersion programs where children learn math, science and social studies all in another language, developing remarkable fluency in that language even before reaching middle school.

For example, students at Mecklenburg County’s K-8 South Academy of International Languages (SAIL) study French, Chinese, German or Japanese and have the option of adding Spanish in middle school. Many participate in school exchange programs with other countries where they are able to use the language skills they’ve acquired at SAIL, experience the richness of another culture, and build lifelong friendships with children on the other side of the world.

Like many North Carolinians, SAIL families recognize the ability to speak more than one language as a strength, not something to be feared or ridiculed. They embrace diversity as an opportunity to learn and better understand the perspectives of others. They understand that all of us are members of a global community.

The Department of Public Instruction, which Michele Morrow will lead if she wins the November election, currently shares that sentiment.

DPI’s official stance is that North Carolina’s language diversity “fosters mutual understanding” and provides a “rich multicultural tapestry within the state’s educational landscape.”

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Imagine how the Department of Public Instruction’s position could change with Morrow at the helm.

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