A department spokesperson told VICE News the Ohio Education Department is trying to investigate openly anti-Jewish, racist Nazi homeschooling implemented by a husband and wife from Upper Sandusky. The group has numerous members.
Based on the findings of anti-fascist investigators at the Anonymous Comrades Collective, VICE News, as well as the Huffington Post, Logan and Katja Lawrence were the administrators of the neo-Nazi Dissident Homeschooling organization.
It currently claims over 2,500 members on its Telegram channel. The group openly promotes white nationalist views to ensure the youngsters they instruct “become fantastic Nazis.”
New from me:
The Ohio Department of Education has told me it's aware of the neo Nazi homeschooling network being run by a couple in Upper Sandusky and is now investigating it for "compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements."
— David Gilbert (@daithaigilbert) January 30, 2023
The Lawrences share their school schedules, homework, and teaching materials with other parents in the organization, the great majority of whom espouse Nazi philosophy or openly laud Adolf Hitler.
Katja Lawrence, 37, provides other examples of her family’s acceptance of Nazi philosophy, including the crafting of a Fuhrer cake for Hitler’s birthday and the posting of a tape of her children chanting “Sieg heil.”
The acting director of public administration at the Department of Education, Stephanie Siddens, expressed fury and sadness to VICE News. She emphasized that hateful, divisive, and harmful education had no place in Ohio’s schools, including the state’s home-schooling population.
To legitimately keep their kids out of public schools in Ohio, the Lawrences only need to tell the local superintendent of their intention to homeschool their kids and agree to comply with some general requirements.
As a result of the media disclosures, the Ohio Department of Education is currently aggressively assessing compliance with regulatory and minimum standards, a department official informed VICE News.
On its website, the Ohio Department of Education indicates when standards are satisfied, the district superintendent relieves the kid from mandatory school attendance. This exempts the kid and family from state-mandated school attendance obligations.
To comply with state regulations regarding homeschooling, parents need to agree to the following requirements: they are required to offer 900 hours of education every year, inform the superintendent annually, and evaluate the pupils’ work.
NEW: Inside a Nazi homeschooling group run by the Lawrences, a couple from Upper Sandusky, OH, and parents of four young children.
The group has almost 2,500 member and the founders say its aim is "making sure that children become wonderful Nazis”
— David Gilbert (@daithaigilbert) January 29, 2023
Some think the Lawrences are not breaching the law because the policy specifies parents cannot be forced to teach a curriculum that conflicts with their deeply held religious views.
The First Amendment protects parents’ freedom to discuss neo-Nazi views in front of their children.
The Ohio Education Department does assert, however, that caregivers who homeschool their children are obligated to teach a set of subjects as long as it does not conflict with their religious beliefs.
These subjects include vocabulary, reading, spelling, writing, geography, United States and Ohio heritage, government, mathematics, science, health, physical ed, fine arts (as well as music), first aid, safety, and firefighting.
The Lawrences’ group material shows their main goal is indoctrinating their children in Nazi ideology.
Katja Lawrence informed the white supremacist talk show, Achtung Amerikaner, last year that she founded the group due to “having a difficult time locating Nazi-approved educational material for [her] homeschooled kids.”
Katja Lawrence’s Telegram lessons involve writing Hitler and other Nazi phrases. Katja Lawrence posted a lesson plan for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday earlier in the month that started, “As Adolf Hitler said…”
Gov. Mike DeWine told VICE News that “racism and antisemitism are abhorrent and repulsive in all their forms,” criticizing the group. The Lawrences’ representative, Bob Latta, requested an investigation into the homeschool network.