Editor’s Note: Calvin Vander Boon has informed us that he is withdrawing his candidacy for the Lowell Area Schools Board of Education. However, since his name will still appear on the ballot, we are publishing his school board candidate profile.
Calvin Vander Boon hasn’t lived in Lowell long, but it’s been long enough for him to know he’s unhappy with the way Lowell Area Schools is run. He cites a lack of transparency by the Board of Education, political agendas in the classroom and social media posts by teachers as among his concerns.
“The school district needs better leadership,” the 35-year-old father of three says.
As a former teacher, Vander Boon says he’s qualified to help improve district leadership, and earlier this year, he threw his hat into the ring as a candidate for the LAS Board of Education. Since then, he has decided to withdraw his candidacy for the position.
However, his name will still be on the ballot, and Vander Boon is one of eight people – two incumbents and six challengers – from whom voters can select to fill three seats on the school board in the upcoming general election in November.
New Resident, Experienced Educator
While he and his family moved to Lowell in spring 2021, Vander Boon isn’t a stranger to the area. He grew up in Ada before moving south for his college education. He earned a bachelor’s degree in curriculum instruction from Bowling Green State University before heading to the University of Texas for his Master of Business Administration.
Vander Boon and his wife settled in Ohio and started their family there. For 10 years, Vander Boon taught science as a high school teacher. Now, he works as a science curriculum developer for the Sportsmen’s Alliance.
“[Students] struggled to find the connection to real life,” he explains of his experience teaching science. Through his work with the Sportsmen’s Alliance, Vander Boon is helping develop a curriculum that is intended to teach science through practical lessons such as how to process a fish.
After his family moved to Lowell, he enrolled his two oldest daughters in Lowell Area Schools in April 2021. However, by June, he decided he was unhappy with the district, and he and his wife made the decision to homeschool for the 2021-22 school year.
Concerned About Political Agendas in Classroom
Vander Boon says that what clinched his decision to pull his children from district schools was a social media post made by a teacher in a private Facebook group.
The issue was brought before the Board of Education several times, and the school district responded that the First Amendment limits their ability to control teacher comments outside the classroom. However, they did say that they sent a reminder to staff about the importance of professionalism.
That didn’t go far enough for Vander Boon, who says at his Ohio school, this behavior would be grounds for termination. He says its just one example of how the district appears biased in his opinion.
“I feel very strongly that schools should be politically neutral,” he says. “That means you focus on education.”
Vander Boon worries Lowell schools have gone astray in their efforts to create an inclusion environment and that they focus too much on social issues. When asked about diversity, equity and inclusion programs, he has this to say: “It sounds nice and I’m all for them as dictionary terms, but all caps DEI is very controversial.”
Those controversial issues should be left to parents to discuss with students, Vander Boon says. He notes that safe spaces for Christian students wouldn’t be allowed in the classroom, and the same should hold true for other groups. “If you wouldn’t do it for something you don’t like, you shouldn’t do it for something you like,” he says.
Wants Board to Follow Policy
One reason Vander Boon decided to file for a seat on the Board of Education is his concern that current members aren’t following established policies. “They need to follow the rules,” he says.
For instance, he points to policy 3213(h) which states that a staff member, unless properly licensed and authorized, should not attempt to counsel or assess a student about a question or concern regarding a personal problem that is related to sexual behavior. Vander Boon asserts that teachers are disregarding this policy and that board members have been unresponsive to his complaints.
“I think it’s time for Lowell to have school board members who take their jobs seriously,” Vander Boon says.
While he is no longer actively seeking a seat on the board, you can visit his campaign website to see who he suggests.
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