Editor's note: This article has been updated to address school board candidate Ingrid Campos' social media posts.
Palo Alto parent Ingrid Campos is running for a seat on the school board this fall, saying she would work to build bridges between the school district and families and that parents need to know that they can have a voice in their children's education.
Campos, who has two daughters in high school in Palo Alto Unified, said that some parents feel a disconnect between themselves and the school district.
"I just want to make sure to remind parents that they have to be vigilant with regards to what's going on with their children's education," Campos said. "You have a voice. If you don't like it, say something about it. Opt out. Inform yourself. Advocate on your behalf and your children's behalf."
Two seats are up for a vote this November on Palo Alto Unified's five-member board. Incumbent Ken Dauber doesn't plan to run again. Fellow incumbent Shounak Dharap is campaigning to keep his seat. Nicole Chiu-Wang and Shana Segal are also running.
In an interview, Campos said that part of the reason she wanted to run is because she has a strong sense of family values.
"Most people have traditional family values and most people want to live by those values within their school community," Campos said.
When asked how these values would impact the decisions she would make if elected, Campos said that she has heard from parents about what they feel is the "oversexualization" of sex eduation. Although Campos said she wouldn't necessarily change the curriculum, she said that there are parts that are objectionable to her and that she wants parents to know that their students can opt out of the class.
She also said she was concerned about the directions that school districts can take with social-emotional learning (SEL) programs — which aim to help students develop communication and interpersonal skills — though she said this wasn't necessarily happening in Palo Alto.
When asked what directions would be worrisome, she replied that she was "concerned with the LGBQT literature that's starting as early as pre-K. I'm really concerned about that because that is a sexualized movement, rather than an individual."
At the same time, Campos said that this is her own opinion and she hasn't found any actions the Palo Alto school board has taken that she disagrees with nor is she proposing any changes if elected to the board.
After the initial publication of this article, some readers raised concerns about various posts on Campos' social media accounts, some of which spread false information.
These include posts that seem to question the legitimacy of President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election and a video Campos shared about COVID-19 that claims "viruses are fictional, make-believe organisms."
In response to questions from the Weekly, Campos said that these posts are irrelevant to the school board race and instead that people are trying to discredit her.
"People will look for things to tear you down, to discredit you or to villainize you," Campos said. "So if that's what's happening, I've got a pretty thick skin."
In one Twitter post from July 2022, Campos appeared to refer to Biden's presidency as a "coup complete." When asked, Campos wouldn't say whether she believes Biden won the 2020 presidential election, which has been widely established.
"That's irrelevant to the race; this is a nonpartisan position," Campos said.
Campos has also retweeted a photo of pallets of bricks left near the Cannon House Office Building in Washington D.C. and wrote "Making sure Antifa and any other domestic terrorists have deadly weapons handy for assault." A fact check by Reuters determined that the bricks had actually been left there for restoration work on a nearby alley.
When asked what evidence she had that the bricks had been left there purposefully, Campos began laughing and asked why it matters.
"Is everything on social media supposed to be taken (as) dire truth? I think people are putting a lot of emphasis and weight on things. Everyone has a right to a viewpoint and to an opinion," Campos said.
On her campaign website, Campos lists her areas of focus as student well-being, parental participation, academic excellence, merit-based grading, student advocacy, differentiated learning, transparency, community engagement, parental rights and fiscal accountability.
The California Parents Union and California Parents Unified have both endorsed her campaign, according to Campos' website. The groups advocate and lobby for parental rights in education.
"Parental rights are the fundamental right in deciding what is best for your children in their education environment," Campos writes on her website.
In an interview, she said she hasn't identified any particular areas in which she believes parents' voices aren't being heard by the Palo Alto board.
When it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, Campos believes the mask mandate lasted far too long in Santa Clara County and that face coverings made it difficult for children to read each other's faces and connect with one another. Palo Alto Unified dropped its face covering requirement in March, when the state mandate was lifted. Campos opposes reinstating mask requirements.
With board President Ken Dauber not seeking reelection, the window for candidates to file will close on Aug. 17.