book restrictions. prohibitions on trans athletes. Bans on “critical race theory””Groomers.” In recent years, some of the most heated political debates in America have taken place in schools.
School board meetings, which were once among the most practical and, quite frankly, dullest gatherings you could find in pretty much any town or city, have frequently turned into battlegrounds between right-wing parents seeking radical, frequently shocking changes and left-wing parents fighting back as those conflicts have gotten worse.
In one Pennsylvania school board, for example, divisions between parents and officials have recently taken a very alarming turn.
A mother in Pennsylvania claims that after she exposed a guy for carrying a pistol to a school board meeting, she was the target of retaliation.
During the Central Bucks School Board meeting’s public comment session, the worried parent stood up to share what happened and call out school board members for what she and many others saw to be their risky and overtly political handling of a terrible situation.
“In our schools, kids have something called’safe to say,'” the mother said, “and what it basically means is that if you see anything dangerous, you can report it to the authorities and you can trust that they won’t disclose you as the one who identified the offender. It enables you to provide a warning while feeling secure and without fear of being targeted.
When it comes to parents, the school system does not appear to have adopted the same strategy. The mother continued by describing how she saw a man enter a March school board meeting “that was absolutely packed with students” while carrying a hidden firearm on his hip.
She said, “This is a man I’ve seen at several meetings using fake names, being disruptive,” emphasizing that making up a name is against the law in her community. The mother said that after another parent had alerted a security guard, she subsequently sent an email to the school board informing them of the armed guy. She reported getting plenty of feedback on another form but no answer.
The mother claims that the school board harassed her after giving the gunman her contact information.
The mother addressed the school board members, saying, “I realize we have huge disagreements, but you are still public servants with the duty to safeguard our community as much as you can, even the individuals you disagree with. You failed to shield me. You endanger my safety.
She claims that despite not receiving a response to her letter, the individual who was in possession of it did send her a letter of stop and desist, accusing her of spreading false information about him on social media about having a gun at the meeting.
She claimed that she was too terrified to post anything online about it, so she questioned how the man obtained her contact information if not directly from the school board.Please clarify for me how this individual learned that I had reported him to you. She questioned, “How did he know?,” while other parents behind her chuckled. They were reportedly members of the local branch of the far-right activist group Moms for Liberty.
Teacher Resigns From Position After Being Called “Dramatic” By School For Her Reaction To A Stranger Attempting To Enter Her Classroom
According to the mother, the man’s denial that he had a pistol in the room caused disagreement in the meeting; nonetheless, she continued by describing how a local police officer had confirmed the gun’s presence. The mother reprimanded the school board, saying, “You didn’t think a man with an illegal concealed weapon in a room full of students was notice worthy.” “You didn’t feel that you needed to inform the neighborhood about this,”
She said, “I trusted you to put aside your party and keep our town safe. “I respectfully request that you resign if we can’t trust you to carry out this most fundamental aspect of your job.” The bulk of those present then broke out in applause.
The Bucks County episode is simply the most recent in a string of nationwide far-right takeovers of school boards.
The matter has gotten so bad that one of the biggest teacher unions in the US, the National Education Association, published a handbook in 2021 on how to handle far-right political organizations and conspiracy theories like QAnon “radicalizing your school board.”
The fad appears to have started in reaction to pandemic-related problems including school masking regulations. However, it has quickly spread as right-wing politicians and parents, influenced by Republican-led conspiracy theories and propaganda, have come to believe that critical race theory is being taught in schools, despite the fact that it is not, and that LGBTQ+ people, particularly transgender people, are pedophile “groomers” indoctrinating children into queer lifestyles, despite the fact that this is not the case.
extreme far-right Right-wing parents and voters have been urged by Republican politicians, including Florida Governor and 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, to infiltrate school boards and other civic appointments by running in local elections. Conservative PACs have poured a ton of money into such races, especially school boards.
And voters have taken notice. Even liberal places like California have problems with school board meetings turning into ideological battlegrounds, as happened at the Central Bucks School Board meeting just after the mother had done speaking.
Of course, ideological differences are one thing. It’s quite another to purposefully put a parent’s safety in peril by effectively doxxing her to someone who feels it’s his responsibility to bring a pistol to a school board meeting full of kids.
Right-wing parents and instructors seem to have lost sight of the fact that they are purportedly acting in their children’s best interests. How are kids meant to learn from adults if they just selectively enforce their laws, as the Bucks County mom noted in her comments?
Having a regulation like “safe to say” and using it as a weapon against parents you don’t disagree with sends what message to children? If their goal is to teach kids to despise anyone who disagree with them, they’re doing admirably.
And regrettably, if many current Republican leaders and politicians are to be believed, that is the intended outcome.