Just when you thought the Madison School Board couldn’t get worse, it did. The board voted unanimously to add Savion Castro, formerly of One Wisconsin Now and currently a Democratic legislative aide for Rep. Sheila Stubbs (D-Madison). Castro replaces former Democratic candidate for governor Mary Burke on the board who resigned earlier this year.
Despite the unabashed praise of the Capital Times for Castro’s “new perspective” and the addition of “diversity” to the board, his appointment is not a good sign for a school district that has been plagued by protesters attempting to shut down dissenting opinions at school board meetings. Castro is outspoken opponent of free speech. Castro even testified at the state legislature against protecting free speech on University of Wisconsin System campuses.
In an editorial on May 4, 2017, Castro and One Wisconsin Now were named RightWisconsin’s “Losers of the Day,” with good reason. The editorial is below:
In an op-ed for the Cap Times, left-wing organization One Wisconsin Now’s Savion Castro attacked Right Wisconsin Editor Charlie Sykes, accusing him of supporting hate speech because he supported the right of Ann Coulter and Charles Murray to speak on campuses.
Obviously we don’t use this space to respond to every silly critic, but (the appropriately named) Castro’s op-ed shows how ridiculous the One Wisconsin Now position is on campus free speech.
We’re not going to defend everything (or anything) Ann Coulter has ever said, and we doubt Castro has even read “The Bell Curve.” But that’s not the point. Coulter and Murray were invited by campus organizations to speak, and Sykes supported their right to be heard on college campuses. It’s the same position as left-wing hero Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
As Sanders asked, what is Castro afraid of? Apparently, Castro fears phantom pain. Just the presence of speakers with whom Castro disagrees is enough to supposedly cause physical harm. “…hateful speech from such speakers have real physical implications for students of color on predominantly white campuses.” Really? While we agree the sound of Coulter’s voice can be unpleasant, actual harm has never been demonstrated.
But Castro redefines free speech, making it subject to the veto of the mob. “Citizens have a right to chose whom they invite to speak to their community based on community guidelines and a right to protest voices with whom they disagree,” Castro wrote.
The point is these speakers were invited, and nobody is suggesting taking away Castro’s right to protest. But if Castro is the enforcer of the “community guidelines,” or if he redefines the community to include rioting mobs than can decide who can and cannot speak on campus, then he proves the need for legislation to protect the right of free speech on UW campuses.
Madison’s school board made a horrible choice. But that’s to be expected.