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"It was sad to see:" District 11 school board candidate speaking out after derogatory letter

Posted at 8:56 PM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 23:11:41-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — A school board candidate for District 11 is speaking out after he allegedly received a letter condemning his run for office as a member of the LGBTQ community.

Joseph Shelton who's running for the school board a second time says he got the anonymous letter by mail Monday.

"It was ultimately saying me as an LGBTQ person do not belong in a public office much less in an office that serves children. The person who wrote the letter believed offices should be left to white, straight, and Christian people," said Shelton.

The letter condemned his run for office and urged him to drop out of the school board race.

"It was really hard to get that letter, it was really sad to see, it was sad to think of a community that has come so far from where it was long ago. Colorado Springs was labeled as a hate state back in 1991, Colorado Springs banning GSA's of where it has come now. Although it's not the most accepting community, it's a growing community," said Shelton.

The letter goes on to state that the community spoke up when it voted against him last year and it will again this year. Shelton says this isn't the first time he's received backlash for his sexual orientation.

"There was a person in 2019 that threatened my life over my sexuality and my identities. Ultimately I found out they were not mentally stable when the police investigated and it wasn't a full-on threat," said Shelton.

He's not letting that stop him, denouncing the letter and calling for current school board members to do the same.

"Three board members saying that what was said is not okay, it doesn't represent our community, it doesn't represent School District 11, and it doesn't represent where we're going as a community. It's been a really great turnout from not only them but the community," said Shelton.

School board members such as Director Chris Wallis and Secretary Jim Mason both condemned the letter. Wallis saying, "Bigotry is unacceptable in all of its forms. D11 is a place where all can feel welcome."

Since it's the first incident this year and it wasn't threatening, Shelton says he won't be filing a police report.