News and Analysis

Parents Demanding School Officials Do Their Job ‘Not How Things Work In A Democracy’: CNN Guest

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Parents expressing their views of school board members’ job performance during school board meetings threatens the pillars of democracy itself, said a guest on CNN’s “Don Lemon Tonight” this week. Both Lemon and his guest, who is the wife of a pivotal figure in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, amplified statements from the Biden administration that mention concerned parents in the same breath as domestic terrorists.

Rachel Vindman, the wife of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, reflected on her experiences attending her local school board meeting while discussing the importance of education as an issue in the Virginia governor’s race.

“Literally a woman at the school board meeting said she wasn’t able to sign up to talk about Critical Race Theory, so she signed up to talk about salaries. And her first opening salvo is, ‘I’m here to talk about salaries. You shouldn’t be getting yours, because you’re not doing your job,’” said Vindman. “So, this is what they want to say, like, ‘We’re only going to pay you if you do what we tell you [you] should do,’ and that’s just not how things work in a democracy.”

Vindman did not elaborate on how citizens commenting directly on public affairs undermines democracy.

An online video of the incident reveals little threat to democracy — from the mother.

“I also signed up to speak about payroll, because your salaries are probably included in that — so the salaries that we in this room are paying — and most of us feel that sometimes you aren’t earning, because you aren’t doing an effective job,” she told the board in a calm, measured voice during their October 6 meeting.

“We’re asking for more transparency…,” she continued. “Your job is to provide an excellent education for our kids, which a lot of us feel like is not happening. You’re too focused on setting the stage for highly controversial curriculum that’s rooted in Marxism called Critical Theory, which specifically teaches our children to judge others by the color of their [skin].”

Although members of the board promised to let her finish her brief statement, they cut her microphone after she raised the question of vaccine mandates for schoolchildren. The board took no such action against the previous speaker, a teacher who also signed up to discuss salaries, but began by voicing her support for the district’s vaccination policy.

Concerned parents in this district are attempting to navigate tight new restrictions on public comments at school board meetings. The Prince Williams County (Virginia) School Board adopted a new policy on September 15 that limits “citizen participation” (parental comments), demands all comments be “confined to the subject of the hearing,” and requires that parents address their narrow topic “directly” — a word the policy uses six times (down from seven in the initial draft of the resolution, according to Inside NOVA). If there is not enough time left during approved public comment time, parents are invited to contact members via email, letter, or video comment.

The board said it enacted these “reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions on public comment in order to conduct its business in a timely and orderly fashion.”

Lemon introduced the topic after a Virginia gubernatorial debate in which Democratic candidate and former governor Terry McAuliffe said, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Lemon accused McAuliffe’s Republican challenger, Glenn Youngkin, of “seizing on” the topic and “stoking a culture war over what kids are being taught in schools.”

Vindman agreed that the assertion that public schools are teaching Critical Race Theory is “nonsense,” although Lemon’s program previously featured a public high school teacher who teaches CRT to her students in Philadelphia. She, too, insisted that public schools do not teach CRT.

Norman Rockwell based his famous painting, “Freedom of Speech,” on Jim Edgerton, a real-life citizen of his hometown who spoke out in a public meeting against one of the town’s educational proposals.

The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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