Education activists say news outlets ‘grasping at straws’ by sympathizing with school boards

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Reuters was the latest publication to publish a clear defense of liberal school boards amid a national movement of parents who want to play a bigger role in their children’s education because of conflicting racial programs.

“School boards are threatened with death because of racial, gender and mass policies,” said the headline of a special Reuters report, followed by a subtitle in the article “Living in Fear.”

Through contacts and interviews with 33 board members in 15 states, the news agency found 220 reports of threats and harassment directed at officials over the past few months as parents clashed with school districts over critical race theory, classroom graphics and another. . The authors, Gabriela Borter, Joseph Ax and Joseph Tanfany, cite several examples of death threats to school board members, including in the Pennsylvania Pensbury School District of Pennsylvania, where officials received racist and anti-Semitic emails from across the country. One of the most alarming messages addressed to a school official in Laudan County, Virginia, was: “If she doesn’t leave or resign by the end of the year, we’ll kill her, but first we’ll kill you! »

People gather to protest against a variety of issues, including the fight against sexual violence that took place in a school bathroom in May, vaccine mandates and critical race theory during a Laudan County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia, USA, October 26, 2021 year. Photo taken on October 26, 2021
(REUTERS / Leah Millis)

But education activists such as Bethany Mandel, editor of a children’s book company, Heroes of Liberty and author of Deseret News, say it is unfair for Reuters or other publications to single out a minority that writes such disgusting messages.

“The people who send these messages don’t represent everyone, they don’t represent all American parents who are seriously concerned about what’s going on at school board meetings,” Mandela told Fox News Digital. “They see that they are waging a war for the education of their children. School boards understand that this is also a war.”

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Mandela suggested that the media was “grabbing a straw” to demonize parents after a school board in San Francisco voted to dismiss some members over their apparent attempt to impose progressive policies on students.

“They see what happened in San Francisco this week, and they know that the way they ran the business is more unviable,” Mandela said. “They’re grabbing a straw, and that’s the straw they’ve decided to grab. They’re portraying the whole opposition as fascist and terrorizing. Americans have been hooked on this tactic for the past two years like never before.

Signs opposing the critical race theory at the entrance to the Laudan County School Board Headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia, USA, June 22, 2021. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein

Signs opposing the critical race theory at the entrance to the Laudan County School Board Headquarters in Ashburn, Virginia, USA, June 22, 2021. REUTERS / Evelyn Hockstein
(REUTERS / Evelyn Hawkstein)

Others point out that the Reuters article omitted some context. For example, the Pensbury School District, which the authors noted, lost in a lawsuit against the Freedom of Speech Institute for removing public comments from a record in violation of state open record laws.

(Convicts) did everything: from shouting at citizens who dared to question the official story, conspired to silence and condemn dissidents, and even a speech “without memory”, based on their point of view, removing speech from public documents, as if she was never pronounced, “the court document said, according to the Bucks County Courier Times.

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President and founder of parents who defend education, Nicole Neilly denied the coverage of Reuters and accused the publication of being “incapable” of telling the whole story and giving school boards to victims.

“The mission of journalism is supposed to be to ‘hold the government accountable’ – so why do reporters act like servants of the powerful when it comes to covering education?” Neilly said in a statement. “By not fully reporting on conflicts and disagreements in local communities, journalists are further undermining their own profession. It is not surprising that trust in the media is at a historically low level. “

Colin Doniger makes a public statement when people protest against a variety of issues, including the fight against sexual violence that took place in a school bathroom in May, vaccine mandates and critical race theory during a Laudan County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia, USA , Oct. 26, 2021. REUTERS / Leah Millis

Colin Doniger makes a public statement when people protest against a variety of issues, including the fight against sexual violence that took place in a school bathroom in May, vaccine mandates and critical race theory during a Laudan County School Board meeting in Ashburn, Virginia, USA , Oct. 26, 2021. REUTERS / Leah Millis
(REUTERS / Leah Millis)

An NBC article published last year also expressed sympathy for school boards. “Critical battles of racial theory drive frustrated, exhausted educators out of their jobs,” Tyler Kingcaid said in an article. He argued that conservative activists used critical racial theory, a curriculum that teaches U.S. institutions are essentially racist, to influence lawmakers to start restricting racial teaching.

“The result in these areas is that educators and experts describe as brain drain those most committed to fighting racism in schools,” Kingkade writes.

Cory DeAngeles, director of the American Federation of Children’s Studies, described the problem of schooling as a “universal school system.”

“Forcing millions of children into a single school system is destined to fail because families disagree on how they would like their children to learn,” he told Fox News Digital. “Families have different values ​​and preferences, and that’s normal. The public school system forces parents into unnecessary conflicts, and in the end many families remain dissatisfied with the outcome.”

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Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Justice Department were condemned by parents and politicians for issuing a note last October in which local law enforcement officials instructed to coordinate with the FBI to investigate failures at school board meetings across the country. Embarrassed parents were beaten by the Ministry of Justice for treating them as “domestic terrorists.”

Senator Josh Hawley, of the Republic, is part of a group of Republicans who recently sent a letter to the Department of Justice demanding answers.

“This silence must end. The American people deserve answers,” Hawley said. “You said last fall that you don’t know if members of your office coordinate with the NSBA, but since then you’ve had plenty of time to learn. The NSBA and other groups have shaped the official actions of your office.”

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The uprising of parents has affected the recent election, including the gubernatorial race in Virginia in November, in which Republican Glen Yangkin unexpectedly defeated Democrat Terry McAuliff.

“I don’t think parents should tell schools what they should teach,” McAuliff said sadly during the debate.

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