The Johnston Community School District has voted to confirm the hire of Louis Fountain as the district's first Director of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging.
Fountain's appointment came with criticism after social media posts were revealed with him discussing last summer's Black Lives Matter protests, police, and the 2020 election. Some parents voiced their concerns about the hire at a School Board meeting Monday night.
"Why is Mr. Fountain not being held to the same social media policy standard set forth by the Johnston School District," said Johnston parent Mary White. "Does the district now condone these statements? Do they now condone these actions?"
"Parents of the Johnston District have valid concerns regarding what has been uncovered in several social media posts," said Johnston parent Roxanne McGee. "Parents also have valid concerns that based on social media posts, specific biases are well-rooted."
Others came to Monday's meeting in support of Fountain's hire to oversee diversity and inclusion initiatives, saying this is a step in addressing problems within the community.
"I commend you for identifying a problem that exists here in the Johnston community," said Johnston grandparent Tira Mays. "When we exercise exclusion, we all fail. When we exercise inclusion, that's what success looks like."
"I'm here to support the Johnston Community District in recognizing the need for a Director of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging," said Johnston parent Larry Twitty. "He's a great leader, he's a great father, and his career experiences make him the perfect person to lead our community through this opportunity."
According to the school district, Fountain most recently worked for Des Moines Public Schools as a Community Schools Coordinator. He has also worked as a Child-Parent advocate and Trans-racial adoption coach at Bethany Christian Services; a social worker and investigator with the Iowa Department of Human Services; a teen program director with the YMCA of Greater Des Moines, and a Youth Service Worker for Polk Co. Youth Services.
The board voted 6-1 to confirm Fountain's hire.