Who is Scott Henry? Calls grow to sack Texas school board member for blaming Black teachers for dropouts
The CyFair ISD board member refuted claims after viral video, says 'no one metric that determines educational quality', claims his words were 'twisted'
A school board member in Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District (CyFair ISD) in Harris County, Texas, is being dubbed racist after a video of his went viral on January 12, 2022. In the video, newly elected member Scott Henry can be heard insinuating that the number of Black teachers has a direct correlation to dropout rates. The shocking comments have led to widespread anger, despite Henry's attempt to apologize through a statement.
The news makes Henry just the latest in a long line of controversial school board members, who have gone viral over the past few years. In early January, the Jefferson Parish school board in Louisiana found itself mired in controversy after local businessman and alleged Capitol rioter Rafael Rafidi was sworn in. Earlier in November, the President of Cullman City's board was slammed after her son was caught chanting "white power".
School boards all over the US are currently engaged in a heated battle over racism, especially over Critical Race Theory. Despite efforts by progressive leaders and teachers, many conservatives refuse to acknowledge CRT, while others like Henry have taken the debate away from CRT, with their controversial statements.
Who is Scott Henry?
A 17-year resident of the district, Henry is a sales engineering manager in Houston. According to his LinkedIn profile, he works with cybersecurity and has extensive experience in a wide range of areas. He was elected to serve on CyFair ISD's board in November 2021. Apart from that, he also volunteers extensively, reportedly at the Goodson Middle School. The board's website adds that he's also a director of Municipal Utility District No. 38, and a member of InfraGard, a public-private partnership with the FBI.
In his public questionnaire, Henry says "one of the biggest changes facing our district is our academic programs." He claims to want to "empower teachers with some creative liberty in the classroom with lesson plans and material used." From that, he may seem like a genuinely concerned parent who just wants a better school district for his kids. But, a look at his social media profiles indicates there's a lot more to Henry.
On Twitter, for example, Henry describes himself as a conservative voter, and frequently shares concerning content. On January 11, he shared an article that claims high heat can "disarm coronavirus in less than a second." Another tweet on December 21 claims "If You’ve Had COVID You’re Likely Protected for Life." Diving deeper though, older tweets indicate a strong contempt for debates on racist. Back in 2020, he tweeted "The liberal media are a bunch of hacks," along with a photo that described racist as "Someone who wins an argument against a liberal." Back in 2017, he also tweeted that Joe Biden "wants to breed out the White race."
Henry calls criticism 'flat out lie'
At a meeting on January 10 to debate diversity in teaching, Henry called an audit by a third-party firm "rubbish" and added, "I'm a big data guy. I know data. Data can be skewed any way you want to. It looks like the way (MLC - the firm that conducted the audit) skewed this data...It makes it look like they cherry-picked this data very poorly." He then went on to say, "Houston ISD, which I used as one example—do you know what the average number, percentage, of Black teachers is? Thirty-six percent." He then added, "You know what their drop-out rate is? Four percent." Here's a video of those comments-
Here's a newly elected anti-CRT school board member at CyFair ISD, the third largest school district in Texas, suggesting at a meeting on Monday that Houston ISD has worse student outcomes because the district has more Black teachers. pic.twitter.com/g31NiA7qju— Mike Hixenbaugh (@Mike_Hixenbaugh) January 12, 2022
After widespread backlash, including calls to resign, Henry took to Facebook and attempted to clear the air. "Unfortunately my words are getting twisted by political actors for political purposes." He added, "I was defending our school district against attacks from an out-of-state political organization that claimed our schools were failing our students because we did not one pre-determined diversity metric." He went on to say, "receive. I was simply refuting that by pointing out the fact that there is no one metric that determines education quality."
"Any suggestion that I said more black teachers leads to worse student outcomes is a flat out lie and those spreading that lie should be ashamed of themselves," Henry said. Despite that, the criticism continues to mount, with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, political figures like Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo and State Rep. Jon Rosenthal also calling on him to resign.