HILLIARD, Ohio (WCMH) – A U.S. Senate candidate is responding after a central Ohio school district filed a police report against her.
Hilliard City Schools filed the complaint Thursday after Democrat Morgan Harper spoke at a student-led walk-out at Hilliard Darby High School.
The event was in protest of Ohio House Bill 616, which limits speech and instruction about race, sexuality, and sexual identity in schools. Opponents have likened it to Florida’s recent “don’t say gay” law, although that phrase does not appear in either Florida’s law or the proposed Ohio bill.
The school district didn’t name Harper in a written statement but said the event was not school-sponsored and the adult speaker was not authorized to be on school property.
On Saturday, Harper said school administrators never approached her while she was on school grounds, calling the police report “frivolous” and “politically motivated,” arguing the move limited students’ free speech.
“I certainly never have any intention to do anything that’s contrary to school policy, but I am always going to be on the side of supporting young people who are taking, really, a step of courage in speaking out about legislation that even some adults don’t feel comfortable speaking out about,” Harper said.
Harper will face fellow Democrat Tim Ryan in the May 3 primary to decide the Democrat who will run in November to replace outgoing U.S. Senator Rob Portman.
House Bill 616, introduced April 4 by Republican Ohio House Representatives Jean Schmidt and Mike Loychik, is currently awaiting assignment to a House subcommittee.