CARLSBAD — An anonymous email from someone using the name “A Concerned Parent” has been making the rounds through the inboxes of parents and teachers causing school board candidate Sage Naumann to lose endorsements from political heavyweights throughout the county.
Photos surfaced of the candidate dressed in a Halloween costume he called an East German uniform from the 1970’s or 80’s taken five years ago when he was 14 years old.
Others are calling it a Nazi uniform and chastising Naumann for insensitivity.
The photos came from his personal Facebook page. Naumann captioned one, “Sad Natsi mourns the loss of ze Fuhrer.”
Naumann said he was shocked when a friend forwarded him the e-mail, which he said hundreds of parents and teachers passed around.
“To somehow insinuate that whatever happened at a Halloween party when I was 14, somehow reflects my views today, or my sense of judgment today, it goes beyond offensive. It’s a little bit mind-blowing,” Naumann said.
Naumann went on to say that he is definitely not an anti-Semite and has a history of debating in support of Israeli Jews.
He lost an endorsement from the Lincoln Club of San Diego, congressional candidate Carl DeMaio and Senator Mark Wyland, the Republican representative for Carlsbad.
Wyland said he chose to withdraw the endorsement because he’s worked to incorporate the Holocaust and genocide into education with a bill, SB 1380, which was just signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
“Although I am Christian, my daughter could be considered Jewish because her mother is. Many of my closest friends are Jewish, and some of them had relatives who perished during the Holocaust,” Wyland said.
He has many other personal ties to those who have fought in WWII, which is also why he withdrew his support.
President at Carlsbad Unified Teachers Association Amanda Fanning said like Naumann, she was shocked when she saw the photos but for entirely different reasons.
She said the candidate is generally media savvy which is why she was surprised the questionable pictures were left on his Facebook page.
“It speaks to his immaturity and the fact that he doesn’t understand that Facebook is a public site and anyone can use that information against you,” Fanning said.
A parent who chose to speak off the record also had issues with Naumann’s social media pages beyond the Halloween costume.
His Pinterest page prominently features guns, lasers and knives, which made the parent uncomfortable because of the past shooting at Kelly Elementary School in 2010.
Fanning said that it’s fair Naumann be judged on actions from five years ago because all of the other candidates are held accountable for their actions from five years ago.
“You’d be correct if comparing a 30-year-old to a 35-year-old but any psychologist or child development behaviorist would tell you (someone) from ages 14 to 19 changes dramatically,” Naumann said.
He purchased the uniform on eBay after finding a World War II era hat at a garage sale. As a 14-year-old, Nauman said he was a huge history buff and didn’t feel the need to correct the other kids at the Halloween party that were wrongfully referring to his costume as a Nazi uniform.
If he could go back in time, Naumann said he would lecture his 14-year-old self and that he apologizes to anyone who took offense to the pictures.
Ruth Hinman, a parent of a child at Magnolia Elementary School said she thought the costume was unacceptable at any age and thought his apology was odd.
“I thought he spent too much time justifying his actions rather than apologizing to the parents,” said Hinman.
Naumann is running against five other candidates to serve a four-year term on the Carlsbad Unified School District Board of Trustees and said he will not be dressing up for Halloween this year because of this.