Woodland School Board candidate Trish Huddleston has been promoting home schooling on local Facebook groups, and while some parents say that is in conflict with her role as an aspiring board member, Huddleston disagrees.
“Regardless of if my kids go to public school or home-school, we all pay taxes and should know where it’s going,” she said.
Huddleston is running against incumbent Tammy Graham for a seat on the Woodland School Board because of the way the board handled the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.
“What made me run for school board was seeing how the state was just trying to take away our local authority and not giving us choices,” she said. “The more I looked into government and learning how all that works, I was like, ‘Wow, these people need a little reminder of who they work for and what they’re doing here.’”
While the Washington State School Directors’ Association standard for directors includes being an “advocate for public education,” those standards are just used as a framework for districts. Huddleston said the board’s focus should be on students, and she is against the mask mandate, which she said was muzzling children and made her daughter sick last year.
Huddleston said she home-schooled her daughter last year while her son attended public school. She said she is undecided what she will do this school year. She said she’s still interested in being on the board because she eventually wants her kids to be back in public school with their friends.
“I had a great high school experience, and I want my son to have that too, and my daughter as well, but schools are not safe, and I don’t want to send them back to school until we end the madness,” she said.
One event Huddleston posted on a Woodland community page is promoting the Cowlitz County Homeschool Co-op, which will meet for an information session at Martin Dock at 2:15 p.m. Saturday.
Huddleston wrote that Woodland parents “tired of the child abuse” should consider home schooling “until its safe for our kids to go back to school.”
“No muzzles, no experimental shots, no racist or political propaganda and especially no segregation,” she wrote in all capital letters on the post.
That post accrued more than 100 comments, with many on either side of the mask mandate.
Another post she shared was about a Clark County home-school group that will have a meeting Tuesday in Vancouver.
Huddleston said she thinks the home-schooling community is a strong one that will lead to successful experiences for many local students, especially with parents frustrated with the school board.
“I feel like we have some good people (on the board); I just feel like they’re really weak and not strong enough to stand up against the state,” she said.