Antelope Valley school board candidate faces backlash over Facebook comments made by husband

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Friday, October 21, 2022
SoCal school board candidate faces backlash over Facebook posts
The Facebook comments and posts were made by Susan "Sue" Strom's husband, Doug Strom. In one comment he referred to former President Barack Obama as a "plantation house boy."

ANTELOPE VALLEY (KABC) -- Residents are speaking out against a candidate running for a spot on the Antelope Valley school board over controversial social media posts made by her husband.

The comments were made on Facebook in 2011 and have since resurfaced.

In one comment, Doug Strom, the husband of Susan "Sue" Strom, referred to former President Barack Obama as a "plantation house boy."

The comment was made during what appeared to be a heated argument with Susan's Strom's nephew. When her nephew reportedly called Doug Strom racist, Susan Strom shot back, saying, "He's not a racist. He's a realist."

Doug Strom also took to Facebook and referred to Muslims as "Muzzys" and made unflattering comments about gay individuals and transgender people in the military.

"It's egregious," said resident Raquel Derfler, who spoke with Eyewitness News while attending an Antelope Valley school board meeting. "Her trying to say that was said in a moment of anger and frustration, that's a lie, because I don't think those things in a moment of anger and frustration. My belief is when people are angry, they say what they really mean because their inhibitions are down and they are just going to let it out. I know that [Susan] believes that."

Susan Strom has been criticized before for disparaging remarks she reportedly made on social media about children with special needs, despite being a former special education teacher.

"The worst part is that she was a special education teacher and she referred to whoever she was conversing with ... I can't even say the word. It's the 'R' word. Despite once being a special education teacher, she felt free to use that word," said Derfler.

Strom briefly withdrew from the race on the heels of the controversy, but later announced she would forge ahead as a candidate.

"I really am very concerned about this candidate and any other candidate that shares hurtful philosophical opinions," said Antelope Valley school board member Victoria Ruffin. "Over the past 20 years, we've been dealing with a lot of intense racial tension in our community."

Attempts to reach Susan Strom for comment were unsuccessful.

The candidate told the Los Angeles she's "not a racist" and blames her opponent for undergoing a smear campaign in the race.

Antelope Valley Union High School District Superintendent Greg Nehen issued a statement regarding Susan Strom's decision to stay in the race, saying in part, "As superintendent, it is not my place to choose the board or board members, rather it is my responsibility to honor the public's choices and work with those elected."