JOHNSTON, Iowa — A newly hired administrator at the Johnston Community School District is receiving backlash from parents over social media posts he made in the past.
Louis Fountain was appointed as the district’s inaugural director of equity, inclusion and belonging recently, after spending his career helping underserved minority children. The Johnston district said its goal for the new position is to create a more accepting and inclusive school environment.
Fountain’s background in social work includes a lengthy resume including as teen program director at the YMCA, a youth service worker for Polk County, and most recently working with the Des Moines Public School District. However, posts he has made on his social media are being criticized by some parents, after a conservative blog called his position into question.
Some of his posts talk about police and last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests. “I fear the police just driving behind me… History has shown me to fear the badge more than to fear a gun,” it says.
Another included a post about former NFL player and Donald Trump supporter, Herschel Walker. Fountain wrote, “Herschel Walker didn’t forget he was black, he just doesn’t want to be.”
Fountain has since made his posts private.
Some parents took to the district’s Facebook page to criticize Fountain and question the position altogether. However, many others parents came rushing to his defense and said the criticism he is receiving is reason alone for the need for his position.
“All of the things that people are saying is showing an extreme lack of empathy and they’re disguising it as concern,” Johnston parent Luana Nelson-Brown said. “If you’re truly concerned and you really want to learn about equity, then you will go directly to Louis, and talk to him and get his perspective because really all that he really shared is a lot of things that the Black community is thinking and feeling in this moment in this country.”
Johnston district officials have also come to Fountain’s defense, releasing this statement Thursday:
“The candidate that has been selected has been a vocal advocate for equity, and we recognize that has the potential to cause discomfort. However, a large part of the work to advance equity, inclusion and belonging requires leaning into what makes us uncomfortable.”
Fountain’s hiring still has to be confirmed by the school board on May 3.