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Jewish, LGBTQ groups angered over school board candidate's swastika post

The post on Truth Social showed Pride flags altered to form a swastika, the symbol of the Nazi party
Posted at 5:47 PM, Sep 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 10:12:38-04

ROCKFORD, Mich. — An online post by a candidate for Rockford’s school board is drawing outrage from the Jewish and LGBTQ community, and voters who are just weeks away from casting ballots in the November election.

The post, made on Truth Social by candidate Craig Ladyman, depicts Pride flags altered to form a Nazi swastika.

“Like my new Pride flag?” says Ladyman above the post.

Ladyman, a self-described “pro-God, pro-country and pro-Constitution school board candidate,” is one of seven running for the Rockford Board of Education in November. He said the post was made in June of 2022, before he entered the race for school board.

Ladyman told FOX17 that he didn’t create the post – it was made by far-right British actor Laurence Fox and reposted on Ladyman’s Truth Social page.

An estimated 11-million people died at the hands of the Nazi party during the Holocaust. An estimated 6-million victims were Jewish people and thousands more were killed or imprisoned for being members of the LGBTQ community.

“It cheapens the Holocaust, it cheapens the suffering,” said Rabbi David Krishef, who has led the Ahavas Israel congregation in Grand Rapids for 28-years. “It’s a misuse of the imagery, it’s a misuse of the language.”

Instances of Nazi symbolism and language have become more and more prevalent to address issues in American politics. In Birmingham, Michigan, last year a parent was removed from a school board meeting after giving a Nazi salute. A month later in Ohio, a couple was also removed from a school board meeting for giving the Nazi salute during a discussion about masking in schools. In February, United States Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, (R) – GA, compared – albeit it under the wrong name – new security measures at the Capitol to one of Hitler’s most brutal military units.

The comparison, says Rabbi Krishef, is unfair at best.

“No matter what’s going on in this country, whether you’re coming from the right wing being afraid of what the left wing are doing or vice versa, we are not rounding people up wholesale and consigning them to concentration camps and death camps,” he said. “But that’s what the Nazi imagery evokes.”

Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Steven Matthews says he became aware of the post, which has since been deleted from the site, after it was sent to him by concerned parents and voters.

“It makes me feel angry. Certainly, a symbol like that represents the and represents divisiveness,” said Matthews. “It’s a symbol that I don’t think represents who we are as a community and anybody who would use it I don’t think represent who we are as a community.”

Matthews has met with a handful of the seven candidates running for the board, but said he has not received return calls from Ladyman.

“How does this support the students in our district?” he said of the post. “How does this support the belief we have that all people are valuable and should be represented in our community and that everybody here belongs?”

Boards of education are often tasked with creating policies and guidelines for local districts and act as a go-between for district leaders, and parents and students.

“School board elections have consequences,” said Matthews. “We certainly want to create a district where everybody feels like they belong, that everybody feels like they have advocates and allies in our district, and symbols like that don’t promote that.”

Ladyman declined an on-camera interview, but sent the following statement to FOX17, explaining the post:

While I was hoping the outrage would encourage people to do their research into this flag, I would like to state for the record that this image was not created by me. Laurence Fox created the image that has been circulating the internet for over a year. He gives an excellent explanation of the meaning behind this flag that he created:

“[This movement]has now become a Trojan horse. This movement is hostile towards gay people, it doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of women, it encourages and promotes the mutilation of children and experimentation on children. It hates free speech! It will ruin your job and it will remove you from your job if you don’t bow down and worship to it... And it’s been used as a Trojan horse to bring in this woke ideology, this communist ideology, that is taking over every one of our national institutions.”

The only thing I would like to add to Laurence’s explanation is that I rebuke the political agenda behind this movement that is using nazi-like techniques to silence anyone standing up for the children of this nation from sexual mutilation, gender confusion and mental harm in our trusted education system. This is child abuse and parents didn’t vote for this! The resulting mob attacks on me as a conservative, parent’s rights and children’s rights advocate for school board, confirm the fact that if you don’t bow to the flag they will come after you and your livelihood. I am a pro-God, pro-country and pro-Constitution school board candidate that will continue to fight for excellent education in schools without this sexual indoctrination.

Craig Ladyman, Candidate for Rockford Board of Education