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MERRIFIELD, Va. – A Fairfax County school board meeting erupted into fireworks Thursday as parents entered with T-shirts reading, “Parents Are Not Domestic Terrorists.”
Many parents accused the school board of approving critical race theory as well as pornographic and pedophilic material for children.
One student addressing the meeting tried to combat the parents’ narrative.
“There is nothing that is inappropriate unless you go looking for it,” the student said.
Multiple parents brought up two contested books that they said promote LGBTQ themes and which many parents accused of containing pornographic material and of promoting pedophilia. The books were “Lawn Boy” by Jonathan Evison and “Gender Queer” by Maia Kobabe.
Parents also referenced critical race theory, which involves deconstructing aspects of society to discover “systemic racism” beneath the surface. Parents called CRT divisive, claiming it encourages White students to view themselves as oppressors and Black students to adopt a victim mentality.
The audience interrupted multiple speakers, but the school board chided the crowd only when it interrupted a student who spoke in favor of the contested books. A large group of students with the pro-LGBTQ group FCPS Pride often laughed or snapped their fingers as parents and students spoke.
‘Graphic sexual material’
Parent John Kochka spoke about his previous testimony before the school board, condemning the two books. FCPS Pride continually interrupted him.
“I stood at this podium and read graphic sexual material for two boys kissing,” he began.
Exasperated by the crowd, he addressed the board: “If you can’t silence these people they need to leave!”
The board did not respond, and Kochka continued his speech, noting that in one of the books, an adult man talks about sodomy with an underaged boy.
“What is the takeaway for graduates? Learn how to commit criminal sexual conduct or be a willing victim of predators?” he asked.
“The Biden administration just said we are domestic terrorists,” Kochka said. “This board should pass a resolution tonight condemning the Department of Justice for trying to intimidate and cancel parents.”
“The Biden administration just said we are domestic terrorists. This board should pass a resolution tonight condemning the Department of Justice for trying to intimidate and cancel parents.”
Kochka was referencing Attorney General Merrick Garland’s directive to the FBI and other law enforcement to investigate what the Justice Department called a “disturbing trend” of “threats of violence” at school board meetings. The directive followed a letter from the National School Board Association, which asked President Biden and his administration to treat parent protests at school board meetings as possible acts of “domestic terrorism.”
While Garland did not explicitly refer to protesting parents as “domestic terrorists,” many of the parents at the school board meeting wore T-shirts suggesting that he did.
Student defends books
The student who defended the books in question drew both cheers and jeers during her remarks, with the school board requesting that she be allowed to speak uninterrupted.
“I am a current student at Fairfax County and I’m just saying these things that you’re claiming about our libraries aren’t true,” the young lady began.
After the crowd – both pro-LGBT audience members and concerned parents – cheered and jeered, one of the board members said, “If we could just pause for just a minute, I’d like to remind our audience that our speaker has two minutes. We’d like to hear from her. Please allow her to finish.”
“I’m just saying I’ve been in these libraries, I’ve been in the library since elementary school. There’s nothing that is inappropriate unless you go looking for it,” the student declared.
Harry Jackson, father of a student at Thomas Jefferson High School – the top-rated high school in the nation that became ground zero for CRT debates after it scrapped its merit-based lottery system for racial reasons – told Fox News that the student’s comment “unless you go looking for it” bolstered parents’ concerns.
“I’m glad that both sides agree there’s pornographic material,” Jackson said.
He attended the meeting with explicit photos of a man and a boy from the book “Gender Queer,” intending to present the photos to the school board, but he did not get a chance to do so.
Elizabeth Schultz, a member of the Fairfax County School Board for eight years and a former staffer in the Department of Education, loudly condemned the current school board.
‘Stop peddling porn!’
“For years on this board, I fought to increase the visibility of what is in our curriculum. I am telling you, stop peddling porn to our kids, it is child abuse. Stop making children hate each other, it’s racist. Stop teaching our children revisionist history, it is lying. Get out of the way!”
“Stop peddling porn to our kids, it is child abuse. Stop making children hate each other, it’s racist. Stop teaching our children revisionist history, it is lying. Get out of the way!”
Schultz spoke separately with Fox News, outlining the tumultuous events of the past week for Virginia’s concerned parents.
“In just the past week, we’ve had the gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe say that parents should not be telling schools what to teach their children, that parents shouldn’t have the right to decide. You had the U.S. Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, deny that parents are the primary stakeholders in their children’s education. And then, the next day you had the NSBA [National School Boards Association] plead to the Biden administration to say that you should have a federal investigation of parents – who are not domestic terrorists – but liken us to domestic terrorists.”
“The whole goal right now is to put the government between parents and children,” she told Fox News.
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