A candidate seeking a seat on the Manhattan-Ogden School board recently came under fire for comments he made at a forum hosted by Pottawatomie County Republican Women on Aug. 13.

According to the Manhattan Mercury, Frank Beer confirmed using the word ‘contagion’ when referring to a question about the LGBTQ community at the forum, labeling kids’ interest in LGBTQ ideology as a “social contagion,” basing his opinion on the growing number of students claiming to be part of the community because it’s the ‘cool kids’ club.’

Beer clarified in a phone call late Friday to KMAN that he was misquoted by fellow school board candidate Courtney Hochman, calling it borderline slanderous.

“The pertinent part was, in some schools we are approaching 50% of kids who claim to be LGBTQ+,” he said. “This is just not reasonable. It’s become the cool kids’ club. That’s because it’s being glorified. It’s the result of social contagion.”

No recordings of the meeting have been publicized, nor was any media at the forum.

One of Beer’s underlying campaign messages has been that “schools should not be used for experiments with societal issues or historical revisionism.”

Hochman called out Beer’s comments in a Facebook post, saying “homophobia has no place in our schools, especially within its leadership,” referring to Mr. Beer’s comments as hate speech.

There are 10 candidates seeking four seats on the board, including two incumbents. Additional forums will take place over the next few weeks.

The League of Women Voters forum, scheduled for Oct. 7, will be carried live on KMAN.