Letter attacks Camp Hill school board candidates with claims about critical race theory, transgender athletes

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CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) — An anonymous letter is trying to turn the Camp Hill school board race into a battle over controversial issues.

The letter accuses the three Democratic candidates of having a “radical agenda” and claims supporting them would do serious harm to the school district.

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It specifically says it was sent to people who have yard signs supporting Karen Mallah, Josceylon Buchs, and Melanie Gurgiolo.

“The first feeling that came to me was just anger and frustration that this type of letter had gone to people’s homes that were supporting me and my candidacy,” Buchs said.

It accuses the three candidates of supporting “the mandatory inclusion in the curriculum of critical race theory”, a requirement for the district to allow transgender students to play on girls’ sports teams, and a policy that would “mandate racial sensitivity training for all teachers and students.”

“The three or four points there are not true,” Mallah said.

They believe the writer is just trying to use scare tactics to persuade voters.

“I think so much of what is being expressed right now comes from a basis of fear,” Buchs said.

Both Mallah and Buchs say what they do support is adding more diversity to the district’s curriculum.

“I think we’ve got fantastic teachers, but I do think we could teach more diverse and more comprehensive content,” Mallah said.

In a statement, Melanie Gurgiolo said, “My service over the past four years is my response to these concerns. I don’t want to give this divisive mailing more attention than it has already received.”

Camp Hill neighbor Adrian Scharrer didn’t receive one of the letters at his home. But he certainly heard about it.

“I don’t agree with this method of kind of trying to sway things,” Scharrer said. “Before this, I might not have been so interested, whereas now I feel like there are forces working against what I would like to see in our community.”

Part of the letter tells neighbors,” If you question this, please contact them and ask them specifically.” That is one thing that the candidates actually agree with.

Two of the Republican candidates have posted statements against the letter.

Dave La Torre wrote in a post, “I condemn this hateful letter and the attack on three people who are willing to serve their community as volunteer elected officials.”

Candidate Pete Regan wrote, “I found this letter to be inappropriate and unacceptable. Further, targeting homes based on the homeowner’s political signage is un-American and wrong, as is the distribution of unattributed, anonymous materials.”

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