Bourne School Committee member Kari MacRae said at a school committee meeting Wednesday night, September 22, that she will not resign from her position on the committee over controversial videos she posted on TikTok.
Around 200 people attended the meeting in the auditorium at Bourne High School, which was open for public comment before the school committee met for a closed-door executive session to discuss the concerns community members brought forward about Ms. MacRae’s social media posts.
The posts in question at the meeting include a video from May of Ms. MacRae voting for herself for the elected role saying, “The reason why I ran for school board and the reason why I'm taking on this responsibility is to ensure that students...[are] not being taught that they can choose whether or not they can be a girl or a boy” and a video of US Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel Levine, a transgender woman, with Ms. MacRae’s caption over it: “‘I’m an expert on mental health and food disorders’...says the obese man who thinks he’s a woman.”
School committee members Maureen Fuller, Ryan Bagdonas, Erin Perry, Paul McMaster, Ms. Berry and Ms. MacRae all spoke.
“You have a right to your beliefs, but as a public figure representing our school district, voicing beliefs that repudiate and mock the recognition and respect of individual differences, views which actively advocate for the slander and denial of equitable treatment for whole groups of Bourne students, I firmly believe that you have no place on the Bourne school committee,” Ms. Fuller said.
Ms. Bagdonas said school committee members should disagree on budget allocation and approaches to labor disputes, not “making fun of transgender kids on social media.”
Mr. McMaster held up a printed photo of Ms. MacRae’s video featuring Rachel Levine to the crowd and said the school committee must reaffirm their support for transgender students.
Ms. MacRae addressed the crowd and the community members who had showed up to support her. She said she ran for school committee because she cares about public education and ran the TikTok account under a pseudonym to keep it private from students.
“Because of my political views on certain topics, especially as they relate to public education, I’m now being labeled as transphobic, homophobic and racist,” she said.
The video where Ms. Macrae said she does not want children to be taught that they can choose to be a boy or a girl, she said, was her response to cases across the nation regarding transgender women competing in women’s sports.
“As a mother of three women, I am passionate about making sure everyone is treated equally and fairly, including women,” she said. “I do not believe that children should be taught that they can choose whether or not to be a boy or girl. The key word here is taught. I believe that members of the LGBTQIA+ community should be able to identify as how they see themselves.”
Ms. MacRae said she is a mother of a biracial, bisexual daughter who was in the audience Wednesday night.
Her foster daughter, Nia Ferias, graduated in 2019 and came to support Ms. MacRae.
“I do agree with some of the people who came out tonight that we have to be inclusive, but I don’t think her videos said, ‘F gay people’ or anything like that; she just said it shouldn’t be taught,” Ms. Ferias said after the meeting. “I saw a TikTok video of a little kid in a preschool, and they were asking him what his pronouns were, and that’s just inappropriate.”
Ms. MacRae ended her comment by saying she would not resign and thanked community members, past and current students, and school staff members who had reached out to her to show support.
After she concluded her comment, about 50 members of the audience stood up to cheer and wave “I’m with Kari” and “All opinions matter” signs.
Following the members of the school committee, Bourne educators came to the stand to speak.
The Bourne Educators Association, the teacher’s union for the school district, and the Bourne public schools administrative team both called for Ms. MacRae’s resignation.
A letter from the school administrators asking the committee member to step down was read aloud and signed by the principals of all four Bourne public schools, Superintendent Kerri Anne Quinlan-Zhou and other administrators.
“The core values of the Bourne public schools are: be respectful, be responsible and be safe,” teacher’s union president Ann-Marie Strode said. “The sentiments that were posted have had a negative impact on our students and on our staff members. They do not represent who we are as a school community.”