Parents this week lambasted Fairfax County Public Schools for returning two controversial books to the library and doing leftist class assignments.
Stacy Langton, a parent of a student in the public school system, criticized the board for the schools’ decision to put “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer: A Memoir” back on library shelves despite parental outrage. After a review, Fairfax Schools officials said last week the books did not contain child molestation or pornography.
“They sent me a letter saying that none of these books contain child molestation and they are not obscene,” Ms Langton told The Washington Times. “It’s an outright lie.”
Ms Langdon said she plans to follow the schools appeal process to continue to challenge books in the library.
Parents opposed to the books say they are inappropriate because of their sexual content, graphic images and what they say are depictions of paedophilia.
Thursday night’s contentious reunion was the latest in a series of incidents that have rocked suburban Washington this year as well as hundreds of school districts across the country. Parents have objected to a range of issues, from COVID-related measures, material steeped in critical race theory, sexually explicit quizzes and what Ms Langton considers obscene books.
Ms Langton first raised the issue in September. As she pointed out Thursday night and again Friday, her problem is not with LGBQT material but with the explicit nature of the books available for middle and high school students.
She shared screenshots of graphic illustrations of youthful oral sex and one that shows a grown man masturbating a boy that are included in Maia Kobabe’s “Gender Queer: A Memoir.”
Fairfax County isn’t the only school where Jonathan Evison’s “Lawn Boy” and “Gender Queer” have raised concerns. In some cases, viral videos on social media showed school boards preventing parents from reading the texts because of the obscene language.
“I am the grown child of a gay parent,” Ms. Langton told the council. “But we hear tonight from the LGBTQ community standing up for the indefensible. And this school board has doubled down – in no uncertain terms – that they are in favor of pornography in schools.
The different fronts in the battles between parents and school officials are separate, Ms Langton said, although she believes they are all rooted in a determination by education professionals and elected officials to force children to learn a left-leaning philosophy.
“You can have LGBQT community support books and they don’t have to depict porn, right?” she said.
A similar left-leaning approach appears to have crept into eighth grade assignments at Katherine Johnson Middle School in Fairfax County, according to a parent who said he was surprised by the material Thursday night.
He cited one mission: “Research a few social justice organizations to understand what social justice activism entails,” it reads.
Links provided by the teacher took students to a variety of left-wing social justice groups and included screenshots of various gender and sexuality concepts and pro-immigration policies.
“Some of them are beyond reproach,” Edwin Donovan said, noting information about prominent civil rights figures such as Rosa Parks and John Lewis. “But there are a number of connections that clearly compel my son to learn about ‘social justice activism’.”
One of the ties, with the Equal Justice Initiative, portrays American history as a parade of racist horrors.
“American history begins with the creation of a myth to absolve white settlers of the genocide of Native Americans; the false belief that non-whites are less human than whites,” the group’s website reads. “This belief in racial hierarchy survived the abolition of slavery, fueled racial terrorist lynchings, demanded legally codified segregation, and spawned our mass incarceration crisis.”
Another link went to the Center for Racial Justice in Education’s Social Justice Activism Education Guides, and Mr Donovan said he was puzzled as to why his child’s English class from 14 was focused on left-wing activism for social justice.
“Much of this is fine, but it’s all disguised critical race theory,” Donovan said.
A spokeswoman for the school system said she was unaware of the assigned material and it was unclear whether it was taught in eighth grade English classes. Mr Donovan said at least two teachers from Katherine Johnson Middle School issued the assignment.
One of the parents of a child in the other 8th grade filed a formal complaint about the assignment with FCPS on Thursday.
“I am furious beyond words that this kind of biased, political, hard left ideology is taken as a rational lesson,” Jason Bryk wrote in the complaint.
Mr Bryk cited endorsement of ties to radical left-wing thinkers like Noam Chomsky and Francis Fox Piven as inappropriate and beyond the reach of 8th graders.
“I realize that Fairfax County is the epicenter of left-wing ideology, but that lesson is more than defensible,” Mr. Bryk said in his complaint. “This lesson does not provide any ‘diversity’ of opinion, ‘inclusion’ of alternative ideologies or competing viewpoints. It is nothing less than indoctrination. »
Developed in graduate and law schools in the 1970s, critical race theory is an analytical tool based on critical Marxist studies. It posits that racism is a fundamental part of American society and government and is important in understanding and evaluating American laws, policies, and programs.
Ms Langton said she sees the seal of approval Fairfax gave graphic books for students as separate from critical race theory, but part of the same curriculum pushed by the educational institution.
She and Mr Donovan both pointed to November’s gubernatorial election in Virginia, in which Republican Glenn Youngkin upset Democrat Terry McAuliffe in a vote that polls showed was heavily loaded by the issue of K-12 education and Mr. McAuliffe’s statement during a debate that parents should not tell schools what to teach their children.
Mr. Donovan said that if social justice activism is a standard feature of Fairfax’s eighth-grade education, Mr. Youngkin’s transition team should investigate.
The situation in Virginia was cited Thursday in an open letter to the educational institution and elected officials published by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
“Parents in Virginia and across America are acutely aware of the cultural shifts taking place in society, especially in public schools,” the letter states.
The signatories called on lawmakers to “give parents insight and influence into their child’s education.”
“We therefore call on state lawmakers to adopt policies that families and students desperately need to reject the racial biases inherent in critical race theory, maximize transparency around what is taught in K-12 classrooms. and ensuring educational choice,” the letter reads.