On Monday, GOP Virginia gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, who may be on the verge of a huge upset as polls show him in a close race with former Virginia governor Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who is seeking his old job in the blue state, released an ad that immediately went viral, showing the woman who fought for parents to have the option of having their children opt out of reading a book about slavery and racism with graphic descriptions, including descriptions of bestiality.
Laura Murphy, who in 2013 served as the advanced academic chairwoman of the school’s Parent Teacher Student Association, challenged the Fairfax County School Board, arguing that students should be allowed to be exempted from reading various books. The Washington Examiner reported in 2013:
The school system should maintain an “alternative book policy” allowing students to pick from a list of books with less graphic content to read and allowing students to be excused from discussions about books like “Beloved,” “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison and “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy, all of which Murphy’s oldest son read in his 12th-grade AP English class and all of which feature content like incest, rape, cannibalism and murder, Murphy said.
Fairfax County school officials denied Murphy’s request, prompting her to appeal to the state Board of Education. “Murphy eventually took her fight to the Republican-led General Assembly, which in 2016 passed a bill with bipartisan support to give parents the right to opt their children out of sexually explicit reading assignments,” The Washington Post noted, adding, “McAuliffe vetoed it as well as a similar bill in 2017.”
The Washington Post acknowledged of the new ad, “The ad was viewed more than 200,000 times and shared on Twitter more than 1,000 times in the first few hours it was up.”
In the ad, Murphy says of McAuliffe, “He shut us out,” as she states:
As a parent, it’s tough to catch everything. So when my son showed me his reading assignment, my heart sunk. It was some of the most explicit material you can imagine. I met with lawmakers. They couldn’t believe what I was showing them. Their faces turned bright red with embarrassment. They passed bills requiring schools to notify parents when explicit content was assigned. It was bipartisan; it gave parents a say: the option to choose an alternative for my children. I was so grateful. But then, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed it — twice. He doesn’t think parents should have a say. He said that. He shut us out.
What's it like to have Terry McAuliffe block you from having a say in your child's education?
This mom knows – she lived through it. Watch her powerful story. #VAgov pic.twitter.com/u8EjmMQX0n
— Glenn Youngkin (@GlennYoungkin) October 25, 2021
“The issue of books started gaining ground earlier this month when Youngkin raised it in the second and final gubernatorial debate, accusing McAuliffe of vetoing the ‘Beloved’ bill in an effort to impose the will of the state on parents. McAuliffe defended it and said, ‘I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,’” The Washington Post reported.