CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Ohio Education Association has called on Ohio state Board of Education member Kirsten Hill to clarify her role in organizing a bus from Lorain County to the protests that preceded the U.S. Capitol riot.
The union, which represents more than 120,000 members, wants Hill to denounce the mob that entered the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, interrupting the certification of electoral votes to confirm Joe Biden as the U.S. president-elect.
“Hill is responsible for the future of 1.7 million children who attend Ohio schools. Those students are watching now,” OEA President Scott DiMauro said Tuesday in a news release. “We all deserve answers about exactly what Hill’s intent was in arranging and attending the January 6 event that in itself was an assault on the democratic principles of our nation, even before turning violent.”
A bus to the protests outside the Capitol that day, departing from Lorain County, was advertised on the TEA Party of Lorain County website. Hill is listed as an organizer on the event and was quoted in a Channel 5 news story about the bus.
The protests that day were focused on the false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen, and to support the reelection of President Donald Trump.
Hill is an elected member of the state school board and represents the region including Fulton, Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Erie, Huron and Lorain. Her term expires in 2022.
She did not immediately respond to request for comment Tuesday about the union’s release. The state school board was meeting on Tuesday.
Hill did tell the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram that none of the members of her protest group went into the U.S. Capitol.
“She said there was word that there were ‘infiltrators’ who weren’t there for ‘what the rest of us were there for,’ Hill said. She said people can get caught up with crowds,” the Chronicle-Telegram’s Laina Yost wrote.
Neither the Ohio Revised Code or the Ohio Constitution permit or outline a process by which the board can remove an elected member, Department of Education spokeswoman Mandy Minick wrote in an email.
“The Ohio Department of Education and State Board of Education President Laura Kohler will not provide comment regarding members of the State Board of Education and their activities that do not pertain to board work,” she wrote. “They will, however, condemn in the strongest possible terms, violence or insurrection against our democracy.”
The OEA statement does not claim that Hill or any members of her group went inside the U.S. Capitol. Many who went inside are being investigated or charged for their role in the riots.
Law enforcement went to a former Cleveland schools employee’s house late Friday night after she resigned from her position from the school district the day after the protest and social media users accused her of being inside the Capitol. No arrests were made.
State Rep. Phil Robinson, a Democrat from Solon, sent out a release on Tuesday urging Hill to release more information about the protests. He also said she should “apologize for her role in perpetuating election misinformation.”
“By organizing this event, she is openly endorsing and promoting false information and baseless-conspiracies and must be held accountable,” he said.
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