RALEIGH — A former Orange County School Board candidate who was also a former president of the Northern Orange NAACP has been arrested on felony neglect child abuse charges in connection with the alcohol poisoning of a 5-month old infant.
Lartardna Strong, age 55, was arrested by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 5. She was issued a $10,000 bond which she posted and was released. Her next court appearance will likely be in October.
According to warrant information, the incident occurred on Mar. 18 of this year. The warrant says Strong made the baby a bottle containing alcohol and then left the baby with adults who were “not physically or mentally capable of providing emergency care to the baby.”
The individuals Strong left the baby with failed to call 911 when the infant stopped breathing and was unresponsive.
Strong is the foster parent for the infant who almost died from the poisoning.
In the weeks following the incident, Strong apparently resigned from her presidency of the Northern Orange NAACP, according to a post on the organization’s website by the new President Matt Hughes.
Hughes and Strong also serve together on the board of Orange County Partnership for Young Children (OCPYC), an organization affiliated with NC Smart Start, which a public/private partnership providing early learning opportunities for children.
OCPYC’s website says it is the “administrator for the Smart Start Early Childhood Initiative and the NC Pre-K Program in Orange County."
Hughes, who is also president of OCYPC, issued a statement indicating Strong was asked to resign.
"Ms. Strong is a member of the Board of Directors for the Orange County Partnership for Young Children and has been asked to resign given our mission focused on the healthy growth and development for every child and the potential this case has to distract from that mission at this time,” said Hughes.
Strong ran unsuccessfully for the Orange County Public Schools Board of Education in 2020. Part of her campaign platform included Strong touting her child-related endeavors, that she had been a foster parent to “many children,” and that she “really knows how to help kids shine.”
The same year, she was one of multiple hosts with the “anti-racist movement” for a Bernie Sanders town hall event. The event was promoted on social media by the Durham Democratic Socialists of America.
She is also known for being a racial justice activist pushing Orange County Schools to ban Confederate symbols and flags. That activist led to Strong forming the “Hate Free Schools Coalition” for which she was recognized for in March 2020 by the outlet Chapelboro.com, designating Strong as a “Hometown Hero.”
Strong’s Hate Free Schools Coalition seemingly was also seen as an influence on the Orange County Public School board’s policies related to “racial equity in public schools.”
This past July, Strong traveled to Philadelphia along with her daughter Olivia Strong, and anti-racist activist Heather Ahn Redding. The trio went there to protest a meeting of the school choice and parental rights group, Moms For Liberty. According to far-left outlet the Daily Beast, Strong and her daughter held signs that read, “We don’t co-parent with fascists,” and “Klanned Karenhood.”