A New Hampshire high school student is receiving online threats after speaking out about a controversial issue on campus.
The Nashua School Board voted to approve a Junior ROTC marksmanship range at Nashua North High School. One student who felt uneasy with air-soft rifles being used on campus started speaking out against the practice range.
Senior Paula Durant organized students and was leading the charge to get the board to overturn its decision.
Since then, Durant has been inundated with social media backlash, even threats that are being investigated by the Nashua Police Department.
Because of that, her father spoke to NBC10 Boston on her behalf in an effort to protect his daughter and keep her out of the spotlight.
“It’s been difficult because she likes to be out with her friends, she’s getting ready to graduate, and there are lots of things she’d like to be doing. But she doesn’t even feel comfortable walking the dog,” said Robert Durant.
Nashua Superintendent Jahmal Mosley claims the backlash was prompted by School Board Member Doris Hohensee, who supports the gun range. According to Mosley, Hohensee encouraged the attacks by sharing the student’s Facebook page with conservative activists.
“I didn’t recommend anyone to do that, I would never do it on my own,” Hohensee told NBC10 Boston during an interview Wednesday.
Hohensee admits to sharing the student’s posts with some bloggers. She sees nothing wrong with the fact that by doing so, she identified the student.
“When you go on social media, there’s no expectation of privacy. I was sharing an issue,” Hohensee said. “The student’s name was inconsequential, it was the issue.”
The superintendent, the school board president, the teachers’ union and the NAACP also sent statements denouncing Hohensee’s April 29 social media post that quoted avowed white supremacist T. Lothrop Stoddard.
“It was about socialism, against socialism, it was a short post,” Hohensee said.
And she stands behind it even though the quote was pulled from Lothrop’s book, which was considered training material for the Nazi regime.
“There’s nothing damaging in the quote itself. Whatever he did outside of that, I shouldn’t be responsible for, I’m just talking about that quote,” Hohensee said.
Many school leaders are calling for Hohensee to step down from her elected post, but she tells NBC10 Boston she has no plans to resign from the school board.
In a written statement, Hohensee called for other school board members and Mosley to resign.