SCBOE candidates answer question about CRT, Transgender students during Town Hall

The Toccoa-Stephens County Chamber of Commerce’s sponsored Candidate Town Hall gave citizens an opportunity to hear from the candidates who have qualified for the Stephens County Board of Commissioners and the Stephens County Board of Education posts.

Dawn Jameson was the moderator for the event. One of the questions Jameson asked the Board of Education candidates what their position was on teaching Critical Race Theory and Transgender Sex in Stephens County Schools.

“What is your position concerning the Critical Race Theory in our schools and the teaching of transgender sex to our children,” Jameson asked?

For District 1 Post 2, Incumbent Republican Jim Bellamy explained that he was against both.

“I do not believe that the Critical Race Theory should be taught in our school system, I’m very emphatic about that. Also, the gender, God made women, women, he made men, men. Male bathrooms are for males only. Female bathrooms are for females only. And I want to say this ‘God didn’t make no mistakes,’” Bellamy said.

Bellamy’s challenger Republican Amber Gilbert says both should be taught at home.

“I feel like that’s something that parents should be doing at home not in our school system,” Gilbert said.

For District 2 Post 1 Republican candidate Tripp Arrowood said that all students should have the resources to succeed in life.

“I believe that all students should be given the opportunity to succeed, regardless of how they identify, regardless of race, regardless of sexual orientation. I believe that the school system exists to prepare them for future success whatever that may be after their time in Stephens County,” Arrowood said.

Also, for District 2 Post 1 Mary Day Widner said she was against both.

“I’m against both of them,” Widner said.

For District 2 Post 2, Incumbent Republican Travis Dobbs said we have to be careful what we teach our children.

“We have to be very careful about what we’re teaching our children, they’re very personable at this age, so, I, for one, am not a fan of Critical Race Theory, I believe that should be taught at higher levels of education and not at elementary or middle school,” Dobbs said.

Dobb’s challenger Republican candidate Kendrick Maxwell said every student should have access to a great education.

“A lot of that is case-by-case bases. We want to make sure every individual has the right to a fair and great education, you don’t want to deny anybody anything, but, at the same time you don’t want the disruption. So, there’s got to be some things put in place, whether its system-wide, state-wide, or work with another district to accommodate those students. But personally, that’s got to be looked upon on a case-by-case bases,” Maxwell said.

Another Republican challenger for District 2 Post 2 is Kayla Caudell Smith. Smith says schools shouldn’t be responsible for teaching those issues.

“That’s not the schools’ place. Actually, Georgia was the first state…the Georgia Board of Education banned it from the school last year. So, that’s already in place. But no, its not the school’s responsibility to be teaching that to the children, it’s the parents’ responsibility if they want to go over any of those kind of issues with their children. It’s not the school,” Smith said.

Democratic challenger for District 2 Post 2 Shantelle Grant said Critical Race Theory divides us. She said she forgot the second part of the question.

“I think it divides us and we need to come together as one. We need to focus on success and not division,” Grant said.

Democratic challenger for District 2 Post 2 Kali R. Jackson was not able to attend the Town Hall.

WNEG News will continue our recap of the Candidate Town Hall throughout the rest of week.

To listen to the complete Town Hall click and download under WNEG news at Candidate Town Hall Audio here at