In what many view as an effort to shut down California’s growing parent movement, CSBA executive director Vernon M. Billy declared, “What we are seeing goes far beyond the normal, legal expression of First Amendment rights…. We are increasingly witnessing active attempts to undermine the democratic process through intimidation, threats, and violence.”
Then appearing to play the social-justice card, Billy railed against local cops. “In numerous cases, law enforcement officers — in brazen defiance of the law and their professional oath — have explicitly stated they will not enforce safety mandates or restrain those whose actions willfully disrupt a meeting and prevent it from proceeding.
“It bears noting that law enforcement has not always exhibited this level of reticence when dealing with protestors who exercise their constitutional right to peaceably assemble and protest.”
In what’s being called “The Year of the Parent,” concerned families have been speaking out at school board meetings from California to Virginia, expressing their frustration with out-of-touch school board members who have dismissed parent concerns about school lockdowns, mask and vaccine mandates, and the introduction of divisive race-based curricula into K-12 schools.
Instead of listening to parents, NSBA’s late-September letter to the U.S. Department of Justice led, within days, to a memo from Garland directing the FBI to get involved in local law enforcement. Despite a high-profile Congressional hearing that revealed Garland worked closely with the NSBA to stage the elaborate political theater, and despite demands by Republicans that he rescind the FBI directive, Garland has refused.
The backlash from parents and concerned citizens nationwide was immediate. They recognized the one-two punch of NSBA’s letter and Garland’s directive for what they were: a coordinated strategy of political intimidation launched to quell the growing parent movement sweeping the nation.
On October 22, the NSBA responded to the uproar by withdrawing its letter and apologizing to its state school board members, but the damage was done.
According to The Center Square, 26 states have distanced themselves from NSBA’s letter, including 11 that “have taken action by withdrawing their membership, participation, or dues from NSBA: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin.”
The California School Boards Association refused to answer The Center Square’s questions about the NSBA letter and it’s not hard to understand why. The California affiliate sent a copycat letter to Gov. Newsom the same week as the NSBA letter, asking him “to collaborate with California Attorney General Rob Bonta to convince, command, or otherwise urge local law enforcement” to “help maintain order at local school board meetings.”
The CSBA letter has flown mostly under the radar. But make no mistake, the organization
is following the same political playbook as the national association, designed to intimidate and silence parents, and derail the grassroots parent movement taking place from San Diego to San Francisco.
But the pushback from California parents isn’t going away anytime soon. Perhaps no other incident captures the tension between parents and school boards more clearly than a recent meeting of the Los Alamitos Unified School District Board of Education that made national headlines. When parent Lauren Roupoli told board members, "We are vocal because we are our children’s biggest advocates,” the audience reacted with applause. Board president Marlys Davidson responded in a decidedly different way: she was picked up on a hot mic saying "F--- you,” and it aired on the school board’s livestream. Outraged parents are calling for Davidson to be recalled.
In fact, 2021 could get double billing as “The Year of the Recall,” and California is leading the charge. Twenty-five of the record 84 school board recall efforts that Ballotpedia is tracking this year are in California, making the Golden State the national leader by far. Many of the recalls, according to EdSource, are “targeting two to four board members.”
The recall effort in San Francisco has captured national attention. There, three school board members face a February recall. As a San Francisco Examiner editorial explains, school board members “dithered as parent frustration boiled over due to SFUSD’s lack of a plan to get students back into school…. Instead…they engaged in cringeworthy performative activism infamously wasting time…on a shambolic and ill-informed effort to strip the names of leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Dianne Feinstein from our (empty) local schools.”
San Francisco parents have had enough: 3,500 students left the district over the last two years. On Tuesday, even San Francisco Mayor London Breed came out in favor of the recalls and said she supports “the parents’ call for change.”
If notoriously liberal San Francisco is a bellwether, the California School Boards Association should take note. It’s clear the parent revolution has only just begun.
Quote of the Week
“Shortly after SFUSD announced that they were eliminating algebra in the eighth grade and detracking everyone, I was done…. Even my most stereotypically woke and progressive friends have had enough and are sending their kids to private schools.” – A San Francisco parent commenting in The New York Times
More from CPC
- Yes, Virginia, There Are Lessons We Have Learned, Larry Sand breaks down Virginia’s gubernatorial upset
CPC and allies in the news
- National Review’s Radio Free California Podcast: “French Laundry Part 2: The Getty Afterparty!” CPC President Will Swaim and board member David Bahnsen discuss Governor Gavin Newsom’s change of plans, cancelling his trip to Glasgow’s climate meet-up and then appearing at the lavish San Francisco wedding of oil-heiress Ivy Getty.
- National Review’s Radio Free California Podcast: “Punching the Golden Goose in the Mouth.” David and Will marvel at San Francisco’s ability to find new and interesting ways to kill people through broader illegal drug use, and note that Xavier Becerra is taking those same lethal drug policies on the Joe Biden Medicine Show tour.
- Five reasons why making LA businesses into vaccine cops won’t work: CPC policy analyst Brandon Ristoff’s op-ed in Los Angeles Daily News
- Chaos within SEIU Local 1000 falls directly on California union president’s shoulders
- Biden administration blocks billions in California transit money, citing pension law
- Judge denies L.A. police union’s request to block vaccine mandate
- Crenshaw High School football team sidelined for playoffs after lacking enough vaccinated players
- California teacher's quiz question trashes conservatives
- Ventura County teacher removed from school after rant against vaccines and Biden
- Recall effort for San Dieguito trustee Allman unsuccessful
- Should California de-track math?
- CA school district will not comply with Newsom’s vaccine mandate, prepared to accept costs
- Democrats’ bill plans biggest expansion of public education in a century
- Arizona school board head allegedly kept ‘dossier’ of parent info