2 candidates vie for the District 5 Clay County school board seat

Zoey Fields

Two candidates are running for the District 5 Clay County School Board position. All voters in the district, regardless of party affiliation, will have the opportunity to cast a vote on the District 5 seat.

The race appears on Tuesday’s primary ballot and if no candidate gets more than 50% of the vote, the top two will advance to a runoff in November.

Ashley Gilhousen:

Ashley GilhousenGilhousen

Ashley Gilhousen, 37, is currently on the Clay County school board and is running for reelection. She is married to her husband, Adam, and together they have three sons.

Gilhousen did not respond to NewsBreak inquiries about her campaign.

After a June 30 school board meeting where a father was cut off from reading a book aloud because it contained profanity, Gilhousen did an interview with Fox News and said there needs to be disciplinary action for those who allowed the books into school libraries.

She told Fox News that she had a list of at least 75 books she would be submitting to Clay County District Schools for review. Gilhousen did not respond to inquiries about the 75 books on her list.

Gilhousen believes parents are the primary educators of their children, she told News 4 Jax, and therefore they have the right to know what their children are learning at school and to decide what is appropriate for their children.

She supports Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stance on issues within the classroom and curriculum and said it is her duty as an elected official to uphold the law.

Click here for Ashley Gilhousen’s campaign website.

Gerald Beasley:

Gerald Beasley is a retired U.S. Air Force veteran living in Green Cove Springs. He is employed by Clay County District Schools as a certified locksmith and believes his background makes him qualified to discuss the ins and outs of school safety, he said.

Beasley believes the definition of a good, quality education is one that gives every child a chance to succeed, he said.

“Back when I was in school, everything was geared toward ‘college, college, college,’” he said. “I like what the district is doing with career prep in technical education because it gives them the chance to come out of high school certified and ready to work.”

Beasley said these opportunities allow students to immediately have well-paying jobs for those who never had an interest, cannot afford or would not succeed to their best ability in college.

“I would like to see more emphasis on these programs in all Clay schools because it tells the child they have a chance and we are helping them reach that,” he said.

When asked about House Bill 1557, Beasley declined to answer as he said issues in the district remain ongoing and several of his opponents are currently his bosses through the district, he said.

Library books, however, Beasley feels that people are getting “half-cocked over the issue,” he said.

“If somebody has a problem with something, then they need to determine the exact page and line they have issues with,” he said. “Some of these books have one little thing people are going in and pointing out and they aren’t realizing that certain things are contributing to the whole story. There is a moral to the story, if you will, and what is one detail to the whole story?”

Beasley said the books that have been removed from Clay County are those that are pornographic in nature and had no business being in the libraries, he said.

“Obviously there is no need for soft porn in the hands of children,” he said. “Books need to be allowed to be reviewed, but by people who are qualified in this area to remove them with clear and concise procedures to guide them.”

Click here for more information about the current election.

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Accredited journalist with experience covering a wide range of stories consisting of breaking news, city and county government, crime and courts, feature stories and local interest. Facebook Bulletin writer, reporter; The Learning Curve. Twitter: @zoeyfields0

Jacksonville, FL

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