Katie Aubin doesn’t consider herself canceled because she refuses to quit. That hasn’t stopped bullies from trying to chase her off the Dighton-Rehoboth Regional school committee anyway.
If you told Katie three years ago that she’d be the target of the cancel mob, she would not have believed you. She was happily working in a private counseling practice, coaching softball for the town, and not at all involved in politics.
Like many parents during the pandemic, Katie struggled to balance work and remote learning, and her daughter and step-daughter were miserable in front of the screen. “The girls are very active, we live on a farm and they love sports, so they are always running around,” she says. “It was impossible to work and try to make them sit in front of a screen for six hours.”
“It was very tense in our house during that time,” she remembers. As a licensed mental health counselor, Katie knew that other children were struggling too. She began calling for schools to reopen so kids could get the education and social interaction needed to be happy and healthy.
“Kids need to learn how to deal with peers, and they can’t do that distance learning. They need to learn facial expressions, and they can’t do that with masks,” she explains.
Katie was far from the only parent who worried their children were falling behind academically and socially. In just three days, one of her petitions got 300 signatures. Her posts were shared far and wide, with public support from people in town and others across the country.
When the district failed to take the concerns seriously, Katie launched a campaign for a seat on the school committee. Her platform was simple: give parents a voice and a choice. She won the seat decisively — and she’s been a target ever since.
“There is a lot of misinformation online about me. I’ve had people gather at school committee meetings because they didn’t like TikTok posts on my personal page. There are three websites that spew lies about me. The final straw was when two women were putting flyers on cars in a grocery store parking lot with my picture on it, and a link to a website telling people what they should do if they see me in public. That’s when I finally called the police.”
Katie’s TikTok posts compared COVID vaccine mandates to the “show us your papers” demands of Nazi Germany. The issue was personal to her — she had lost her job for declining the vaccine due to a heart condition.
The posts went viral and Channel 10 News contacted Katie for an interview. They edited the footage to misrepresent her viewpoints. There was no mention of Katie’s heart condition, or that she lost her job because of the vaccine mandate. They wanted her to look like a villain.
From then on, the same handful of people have been harassing her with the hope that she will quit the school committee. They call her racist, homophobic, transphobic, and fascist. They’ve made websites about her with links to her workplace and the school committee. When she was asked to speak at a local rally on the mental health effects of masking children, they had to shut it down after Antifa threw battery acid on rally goers.
At one school committee meeting, a handful of people stepped up to the microphone to attack her character and call for her resignation. Only one has agreed to meet with her face-to-face.
Katie continues to endure regular waves of harassment, misinformation, and character attacks. Since Rehoboth has no recall option for school committee members, these bullies are trying to make it so uncomfortable that she leaves. Not only is Katie standing her ground, she’s running for reelection in 2024.
“We can’t be afraid to speak up,” Katie says, “and to support the people we agree with. When the cancel mob comes for someone you respect, send a message of support either publicly or privately. That’s what keeps us going.”