Casper Council Candidate Stopped From Speaking at NCSD Meeting After Calling Part-Time Substitute a Pedophile
At the Natrona County School District board of trustees meeting on Monday, the board heard from the public for the second meeting in a row about the issue of banning books, with one member of the public cut off during their comment period after calling someone else who spoke a pedophile.
While at the previous meeting on Sept. 26, 26 of the 29 people that came to speak said they approved of the decision by the reconsideration committee to keep two books, Gender Queer and Trans Bodies Trans Selves, in schools.
The reconsideration committee recently released its written opinion explaining why they kept the books and said the books met the district's criteria for keeping them in schools.
At the meeting on Monday, there were 30 people that spoke, with the majority speaking against the decision by the committee to keep the books.
Members of the Natrona chapter of Moms for Liberty showed up to the meeting to speak against the books and would have shown up to the previous meeting, but were at a vigil for Mauro and Mateo Diaz who were killed in a car accident on Sept. 26.
One of the people that came up to speak, Steven Delger, who works as a part-time substitute teacher for the NCSD, said that he is a conservative but agrees with the decision to keep the books in schools.
"I took the time to read the book, Gender Queer. I don't know what people are saying is pornographic about it," Delger said. "I've seen pornography, I'm ashamed to say when I was a young man and I know what it is, and that isn't it. We talk about all the students, but we want to marginalize students that are questioning. At that age, everybody is questioning. Mom and dad can be modeling, but they're still trying, they're questioning. If you look back to the founding of this country, we marginalized a group of people with that three-fifths decision. For years, people of color were three-fifths of a human beings. Is that what we choose to do for the children that are maybe outside of what people think they should be?"
After Delger spoke, Eric Paulson, who is currently running for the Casper city council, said that Delger is a pedophile and a groomer for advocating that children discover themselves.
"That's who's advocating for it. People who think that 13 and 12 and minor children are discovering themselves," Paulson said. "You literally just had a pedophile come and talk to you who's a substitute teacher. Are you guys aware of that? He just openly told you that he wants young children discovering who they are right now."
As Paulson accused Delger of being a pedophile, Delger said "what did you call me pal?" and asked the police there to stop Paulson from speaking.
Raymond Catellier, chair of the board of trustees, had the microphone taken away from Paulson who left after Catellier asked him to leave.
Afterward, the rest of the meeting continued without incident as members of the public came up to speak about why the books should be taken out of the NCSD.
Many trustees at the end of the meeting spoke about how they appreciate people coming up to speak about the issue, and that while the trustees don't appear to be listening or don't respond to emails, they are focused on what the public is saying.
While members of Moms for Liberty have said that they will be filing an appeal of the reconsideration committee's decision, Tanya Southerland, the spokesperson for the NCSD, said that they have yet to receive an appeal.
Southerland said that once an appeal is received, the board is responsible for deciding how long it will take to respond to it.
Catellier said that when the board does discuss the books, they will make sure it is held at a public hearing for everyone to see.