School Board Crackup: A Case Study
Despite the exposure of pornographic books in school libraries and Marxist critical race theory curricula in K-12 public schools, parental concern about the American school system remains under attack. In light of parents being repeatedly shut out of board meetings or having their concerns not only ignored but called “distractions,” concerned taxpayers are hitting the ground educating others about school-system failures.
Parents and grandparents are developing local websites that highlight questionable materials and policies within public schools. In North Carolina, several communities have come together to create these resources. In Wake County, a group created the Pavement Education Project which highlights sexually explicit books and their school locations “so that citizens can make informed decisions about educating their children, caring for their families, and committing to issues in their communities.” Dare County, NC parents created Dare to Share to bring local public-school concerns to their county. Orange County, NC parents developed the non-partisan OCS Truth which highlights sexual materials in schools, teacher attrition rates, and student outcomes. Resources come from OCS Board of Education presentations, equity reports commissioned by the board, and school materials -- all cited and researched.
The greater challenge, however, has been disseminating these resources, especially with local media outlets biased against parental rights and those who stand up for them. OCS Truth created business cards with its website link. Outside an Orange County elementary school, a brave parent handed out these cards to those waiting in the afternoon pick-up line. She remained on public property, politely and efficiently engaging with those arriving for afternoon dismissal. Orange County elected school officials, however, would not tolerate such fascist and scary behavior by a parent.
School board member Hillary MacKenzie arrived at the scene. Wearing flip-flops, she followed the parent along the public roadside, recording along the way. At one point Board member MacKenzie asks the parent, “Why are you a Fascist?” She threatens the parent repeatedly: “Don’t hold up my carline!” The former board chair and proud anti-racist also yells out to those in cars: “It’s just propaganda!” and “Misinformation!” If the information handed to parents contains the board’s own research, is the board then guilty of presenting “misinformation” in public meetings? This irrational behavior lasts several minutes until a sheriff’s deputy arrives and confirms the parent has done no harm and has not violated any laws.
The dramatic scene confirms the assault on parental involvement in schools and the overreliance on name-calling (“Fascist!’, “Misinformation!”) by those who consider themselves social-justice advocates. Furthermore, it represents the hypocrisy of the activist officials who claim to be anti-fascist and all-inclusive. MacKenzie has a long history of activism and only tolerating those ideas that suit her personal ideologies. Prior to her election as a school board member, she was a leader of the Hate-Free Schools Coalition which advocated for the removal of confederate flags from public schools, as the flags made students feel “unsafe.” MacKenzie attended board meetings with a duct-taped mouth, holding “Hate-Free” signs. An overqualified school board candidate for Chapel Hill Schools was doxed by the same “Hate-Free” group for having donated a couple hundred dollars to the Trump presidential campaign (their activism does not stop at confederate symbols). He resigned his candidacy “because of ‘negative attacks’ related to the Trump donations” and stated, “these negative attacks take their toll not just on me, but on my family.” MacKenzie remained silent on the matter. She did choose, however, to speak out about a fellow board member who dressed as “Brown Bear” for his child’s school read-a-thon. In response to reporters about a “black face” complaint made against him, MacKenzie offered, “I don’t think [he] had malicious intentions, but I think it demonstrates his lack of awareness around racism and unconscious bias.”
Shortly after her election to the board, scandal ensued when a fellow board member told MacKenzie to “grow up” during a heated exchange. The board member later apologized, but MacKenzie would not drop her complaint, stating the board must “[hold] one another accountable.” Earlier this year, MacKenzie spoke about the importance of discussing gender fluidity with young children because “they are not as attached to things as us adults are.” For MacKenzie, calling parents “Fascist” is acceptable behavior, but telling one to “grow up” is untenable and warrants action beyond apology. Handing out information regarding student academic performance is “propaganda” but holding conversations about gender fluidity and anti-racism with young children is important work.
North Carolina does not have a statewide recall system for elected Board of Education officials. Furthermore, Republican elected officials have been unhelpful -- even counterproductive--in the fight for parental rights in education. Republican Superintendent of Education Catherine Truitt published a letter along with two progressive state school board members in September, calling parents out for their behavior in acting without “civility”: no citations provided. Within 24 hours the NSBA released the letter to Biden calling parental behavior a form of “domestic terrorism.” The Republican superintendent has yet to retract or apologize for her statement. Meanwhile, parents at the local level persist in exposing failing public schools, even while chased along roadsides by flip-flop wearing, phone waving anti-fascist public officials. Perhaps with this evidence, the Republican establishment elite, like Catherine Truitt, will apologize for their treatment of parents and start reprimanding those in public office who demonstrate such egregious behavior towards taxpaying parents.
Image: OCS Truth