A Leonardtown resident has one goal if elected as a school board member — to emphasize the importance of drug testing.
DeForest Rathbone of Leonardtown filed for the at-large seat for the St. Mary’s board of education on Friday, the last day to file for candidacy for Maryland’s primary election. It’s his second time running and he faces off, once again, against Cathy Allen, the current vice chair of the school board, who filed in October.
“I recognize it’s a long shot for a person my age to go against a popular incumbent,” the 90-year-old said. But, he said, he has a mission to bring attention to effects drugs have on children.
“It’s a major problem in the public schools,” Rathbone said. “The kids are full of drugs and they’re terrorizing many of the weaker kids. And I wanted to talk more about it hoping they do something about it.”
He said the solution is to randomly drug test students. When implemented, “drug use drops to virtually to zero” he said. He later added it’s “fully BS” to claim marijuana helps for medical purposes, and referred to marijuana as “child brain poison” to which he is strongly opposed to its legalization.
Rathbone said he has pitched the idea of random drug tests for students to school officials in the past, but it was opposed by the superintendent and teachers union.
“I like all these people,” he said about school officials. “But I think they’re all a little afraid of the opposition.”
Rathbone has been retired for 25 years and is on St. Mary’s health department’s behavioral health committee. He also said he is chairman of the National Institute of Citizen Anti-Drug Policy.
Allen, as well as board members Mary Washington and Jim Davis, all filed for reelection. Heather Marin Earhart of Leonardtown filed for candidacy on Friday for the District 2 seat, currently held by Davis, who represents the Hollywood-Leonardtown area. Allen is running again at large, while Washington, running unopposed, represents the Lexington Park area.
School board races are nonpartisan, so all candidates’ names will appear on both Republican and Democratic ballots. The two contested races will be decided in November’s general election. For the at-large race, this means Rathbone and Allen will automatically advance to November’s balloting, no matter what their vote tallies in the primary might be. Likewise, Davis and Earhart will move on to the Nov. 3 general election. Maryland’s primary election date is April 28. Early voting will be April 16 to 23.