A group of concerned mothers held a protest outside the National School Boards Association's headquarters Wednesday in response to its characterization of parents as “domestic terrorists” for raising concerns about sexually explicit curriculum and other controversial actions taken by school districts nationwide.
The advocacy group Moms for America held a protest outside the NSBA in Alexandria, Virginia, nearly a month after the association sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to provide “federal assistance to stop threats and acts of violence against public schoolchildren, public school board members, and other public school district officials and educators.”
The letter asserted that “the classification of these heinous actions could be the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism and hate crimes.” Five days after the letter was sent, Attorney General Merrick Garland sent a memo to law enforcement agencies asking them to “facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” Both the NSBA letter and the DOJ’s response to it generated considerable backlash.
Moms for America founder and President Kimberly Fletcher kicked off the event by describing her group as a “national organization of mothers reclaiming our culture for truth, family, freedom and the Constitution” and “a national movement of 500,000 moms and growing.” She and the other speakers elaborated on what has caused them and other concerned citizens to confront school boards across the United States in recent months.
“We want to make it clear that we are mothers and when you mess with our kids, you have crossed a line that you don’t want to cross,” she said. "We have mothers representing eight different states [gathered here today].
As Fletcher spoke, the mothers gathered around her held signs saying: “We will not co-parent with the government,” “Parents’ rights are fundamental and supreme” and “My child, my choice.”
“We have a fundamental right to teach, raise, educate and nurture our children and that fundamental right allows us within the Constitution, our constitutionally protected right, to go into a school board, a school district, meet with a principal and express our concerns when our children are being put in danger medically, physically, mentally, socially, educationally,” Fletched told the crowd, adding: “We are going to step up and we are going to speak out when that happens.”
In an interview with The Christian Post before the protest, Fletcher said she sought to give all of the speakers “the obligatory three minutes that you get at school board meetings.” Fletcher also weighed in on the NSBA’s apology for calling parents domestic terrorists, insisting that “there was no justification for some of the language used in the letter” and maintained that parents “should and must continue to be heard when it comes to decisions about their children’s education, health and safety.”
She opined that the apology, issued Friday, was not sufficient. “Their apology really doesn’t change anything because once it’s out of the box, you don’t shove it back in,” she said.
“They don’t regret what they said. They regret … the backlash that they received because of it. And I think … they thought they were at a point and a time where they were untouchable because that seems to be the way that the federal government is acting right now,” she added.
From Fletcher’s perspective, the NSBA letter likening concerned parents to domestic terrorists reinforces the need for educational reform. “The school board associations, the National School Boards Association and their affiliates, they receive public funds, they use our taxpayer money to pay the dues … to these lobbying associations. They pay … for training, for conferences, everything that they do comes from our tax money, from property taxes that go into the school district.”
“We are showing up at these school board meetings to protest things we’re paying for and we want them stopped. So this is a call for moms in school districts all across the country to put in a public records request to find out how much money is going for these lobbying associations from the school district from our taxpayer money and then going in and spending your three minutes saying that you want that money … to go to the classrooms [instead].”
“So that is what we want. We want lobbying associations to not receive public funds, we want our voices to continue to be heard, and we will continue to be showing up to have them heard.”
Fletcher indicated that Moms for America has no plans to hold a similar protest outside the Department of Justice: “I think it is a complete waste of time to do anything in front of the Department of Justice … at this time. They are going rogue. The president of the United States is going rogue. The whole entire administration is going rogue. There is no authority whatsoever in the Constitution that gives them the right or the power to do anything that they are doing.”
She elaborated on her reasoning for not holding a protest in front of the DOJ: “To go up there and protest would be giving them credibility and they aren’t credible anymore. They completely ignore the Constitution of the United States; they are literally going after parents and families,” she lamented.
Moms for America has no desire to pursue legal action against the DOJ at this time because, she added, “that, too, would give them credibility.”
“They have no legal authority to do what they’re doing, so I think we just ignore them and live our lives the way we should.” Fletcher told CP that if the DOJ begins “threatening individual mothers at these events and targeting them, then we will absolutely take legal action on their behalf or help them find the legal action that they need.”
Marie Rogerson of the group Moms for Liberty also spoke at the event and pushed back on the NSBA’s definition of harassment: “It is not harassment … to passionately defend a parent’s right to direct the upbringing, education and care of their child. It is not harassment to speak out loud the despicable things some of our school districts are doing.”
Picking up on a slogan emblazoned on signs held by attendees, Rogerson proclaimed: “We do not co-parent with the government. Partnering with teachers to educate our children is not tantamount to leaving our parental rights at the classroom door.”
Rogerson also pushed back on the movement to withdraw children from public schools, which is being embraced by many critics of the public education system. “If we abandon public education, we abandon our future. … We will not simply pull our children and turn our backs on the millions left behind.”
Another speaker, Montana Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen, described parents as “the first teacher.” The elected official declared that “we need to honor that first teacher. It’s our job in government right now to be able to listen to those first teachers, honor those first teachers.”
“I am imploring the government to get out of the way, to have government listen more actively, respectfully, to the parent voices, not just in the boardroom, but in the classroom, in the halls of our schools. We need to open our school doors and let our parents in. We need to make sure that what is being taught, who teaches that and when it’s taught is in the arms of our parents as well as respecting our teachers.”
Arntzen also called on school board officials and the federal government to “respect and understand family values, understand, respect parental rights, states’ rights.”
Echoing comments she made at a recent school board meeting in Loudoun County, Virginia, Chinese-born parent Xi Van Fleet contended that the “woke revolution is the American version of the Chinese counter-revolution. Wokeism is Marxism and communism,” Americans need to know that the communist infiltration in America is complete, especially in our educational system.”
Van Fleet cited the NSBA’s use of the term “equity” in its mission as a “fine example” of the organization’s embrace of “Marxist ideology.” She also slammed critical race theory as “Marxist ideology” that is “used to divide America.”
The Loudoun County parent drew parallels between the Chinese Communist Party and the NSBA: “The Chinese Communist Party and the NSBA do not want the parents to be part of the educational system. They want to keep the educational system their own indoctrination.”
In the case of the NSBA, Van Fleet warned that the association seeks to “train our children to be social justice warriors and foot soldiers for their anti-American radical agenda.” Another similarity between the two groups, from Van Fleet’s point of view, is that “when faced with opposition, both CCP and NSBA resort to intimidation.”
“These are our children," she continued. "We the parents should and will always be the primary stakeholder of their education. We want American values and ideas taught to our children. We reject Marxism and communism.”
Kelly Kohls of the National Schoolboards Leadership Council, who was elected to a school board and later appointed to serve on another one, said school board members are “Trained to just bobble their heads and say ‘yes’ to everything on the agenda, the agenda that they probably disagree with if they did their homework. But they’re coached not to do their homework, not to be an outlier, not to ask questions, not to expose what’s happening in the school. They’re pretty much trained to do what they’re doing … and it’s almost nothing.”
“They need training. They need tools to fight what they’re seeing,” she asserted.
Kohls added that “a constant agenda to take on the role of the parent” was evident in the training she received as a school board member. “Kids are being given surveys nonstop and what it does is it conditions them to give private personal protected information to strangers because they’ve been led to believe that these school districts are in it for good.”
Am LGBT “pride survey” set to be distributed to students in one of the districts where she served as a board member led to Kohls concern. She “insisted and got the other board members to agree with me that parents should know about this survey because I read it. It was a lot of personal, private protected information that they were asking kids to fill out. I said, ‘We need to tell the parents that this is going on.’”
Although she experienced a “lot of resistance,” she ultimately “got it done,” emphasizing that “what I wanted more than anything was parents’ involvement.” Kohls stressed that because “board members are not always your enemy,” parents should “get to know them” and “tell them what you want personally in emails.”
Rebecca Friedrichs, a former teacher who was the subject of a U.S. Supreme Court case Friedrichs v. CTA that paved the way for a precedent-setting ruling that freed public sector employees from having to pay annual union dues, agreed with Kohls that board members do not necessarily approve of what is being taught in schools.
“Every single decent, honorable school board member I know is disgusted by the agenda of the NSBA. NSBA does not represent good and honest school board members,” Friedrichs insisted.
“NSBA works in lockstep with the so-called teachers’ unions, so-called because they also do not represent great teachers,” she asserted. “For years, they’ve been corrupting our schools and then used mafia-like tactics to terrorize school board members, parents and teachers who refuse to toe the union line.”
After accusing the NSBA and the teachers’ unions of weaponizing the government against parents, she said their tactics “smack of the communist playbook.” Friedrichs then listed some of the tactics from the communist playbook, which calls on supporters of the movement to “Get control of the schools, use them as transmission valves for socialism and current communist propaganda,” “soften the curriculum,” “get control of the teacher associations” and “put the party line in the textbooks.”
California parent Elsa Aldequer shared her concerns about some of the material her son was exposed to at his public school. During her speech, she discussed the contents of a book, Gender Queer, which has caused concern among other parents across the U.S.
Aldequer noted that the protagonist in the book identifies as “nonbinary” and “shows the girl masturbating.” The protagonist was also “pressured in the book to taste her own vagina slime” and wishes for breast cancer because “she doesn’t want to have breasts anymore.”
Aly Legge, a school board candidate who introduced herself as a veteran, “mother of five” and a “community leader in Hillsborough County, Florida,” suggested that rather than investigate concerned parents, the FBI should focus on “investigating school boards that violate their oath of office, breaking constitutional law, unlawfully revoking parental rights and grossly mismanaging taxpayer money.”
Legge delivered a message to “those whom we’ve elected to serve us for grievances," adding, "No, we do not co-parent with the government. No, our children are not government property. No, you will not teach our children to hate themselves, each other or our country. No, you will not tell them because of the color of their skin they are of an oppressed or an oppressor class. No, you will not sexualize our children through explicit pornographic reading material disguised as sexual education, diversity, equity and equality and inclusion.”
Mercedes Schlapp, a longtime political operative who works for the American Conservative Union, called the NSBA’s depiction of parents as “domestic terrorists” as “the most irresponsible and the greatest outrage I have seen in my lifetime.” She chastised the NSBA for pushing a “leftist political agenda focused on destroying our schools and destroying our children."
"We the parents, the moms and dads, are not going to put up with this,” she added.
Fletcher wrapped up the event by encouraging parents to “empower your children to be the investigative reporters” by instructing them to videotape any controversial lessons and keep them abreast of what they are learning. Fletcher also advised parents to “know what’s going on” and explore the Moms for America’s program “Cottage Meeting Project,” which helps parents learn “the true history of America.”
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org