Rocky River School Levy Fails After Teacher Scandal, Unhinged Robo Call Alleging Radical Marxist Takeover – Cleveland Scene


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Rocky River High School

If the dark cloud of a recent teacher scandal hadn't been enough to dissuade voters in Rocky River from passing a new school levy Tuesday, a robocall from regional Tea Party firebrand Tom Zawistowski and his Freedom For All PAC may have done the trick.

The Western suburb rejected the proposed new levy Tuesday, with 53.5% voting against what would have been a 4.9 mil increase, (the equivalent of $171.50 per year in new taxes for each $100,000 of home value). The school district said the increased funds would have paid for school operations, new buses, new technology, classroom materials and ongoing building maintenance.

The chatter in Rocky River, a 95%-white community where the school district is highly ranked, was that the recent inappropriate behavior by teachers at Rocky River High School — the investigation into which culminated in the resignation of five teachers and the retirement of another — might have jeopardized the levy's success. Parents rallied outside the high school during the investigation in March, calling for increased transparency from the administration and school board. 

Then Monday, Tom Zawistowski got involved. The Executive Director of the Portage County Tea Party leveled deranged accusations in a robocall paid for by his suspect political action committee. Zawistowski recently made headlines for buying an ad in the Washington Times that called for "limited martial law" so that the military could oversee a redo of the 2020 presidential election.

Monday, he was spouting off about Marxist radicals and Critical Race Theory in a call to Rocky River residents. The message, transcribed below, was unhinged:

"There is a cancer growing in your community, and it must be stopped now. The Rocky River local school district has been infiltrated by radical Marxist teachers, staff and administrators who want to implement the racist, anti-American, nonsensical Critical Race Theory, which indoctrinates your children and grandchildren with race-based hatred of white people, of American history, and of capitalism, with the goal of the communist takeover of our nation. It's time for we the people of Rocky River to defend our nation, our history and our values. And we do that by defunding these radical communists and forcing their removal from our schools."

The call went on to tell listeners that the school district was counting on voters not showing up to the polls because there was nothing else on the ballot and it urged everyone to vote No on the measure. According to the call, the new levy would pay for radicals to indoctrinate young people with racial animus inspired by the New York Times' 1619 Project. 

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