After another year of lockdowns and mask mandates, one positive effect of the left’s burgeoning authoritarianism is that parents started paying attention to what their children were learning in school and decided to take action.
Across the country, parents discovered that their children were being taught their gender is nebulous and malleable, as well as Marxist ideology critical race theory — some tenets of which are resegregation, race essentialism, and the idea that non-white people are somehow generally incapable members of society.
Largely ignored by establishment media, issues surrounding education snowballed in school districts across America, culminating in contentious school board meetings, lawsuits, and the Biden Justice Department under Attorney General Merrick Garland directing the FBI to look into parents opposed to the leftist ideologies as “domestic terrorists.”
But as parents became aware of problems in the education system that are the result of years of leftist policy that has slid under the radar and establishment Republicans dropping the ball by not paying attention to the issue, education — as an electoral issue typically associated with Democrats — became a centerpiece of the conservative movement.
Here are seven defining moments of 2021 that handed the issue to conservatives.
1. Loudoun County Rape Coverup:
Loudoun County, Virginia, has been considered across the country as “ground zero” for national education issues, including critical race theory, mask mandates, and gender ideology.
One issue in particular, however, clearly took the county by storm: an alleged student rape coverup by the county’s school board.
Loudoun County father Scott Smith was arrested in June during a board meeting at which hundreds of parents voiced concerns about several issues going on in the district. Smith’s case was cited by the National School Boards Association in their letter to the Biden administration asking them to look into parents as “domestic terrorists.”
Smith, it was revealed, was reacting to superintendent Scott Ziegler appearing to lie about the fact that Smith’s daughter had been sexually assaulted in the girls’ restroom by a boy wearing a skirt.
The alleged coverup, it appeared to many, was done in an effort to pass a sweeping transgender policy that would allow boys to use girls’ restrooms and locker rooms, as well as compete against girls in sports.
As Breitbart News reported, conservatives have inundated the school board with over 500 FOIA requests seeking answers on the coverup.
2. Terry McAuliffe Sinks His Own Campaign:
Just as Loudoun County has been considered “ground zero,” Virginia as a state made headline after headline on the education issue, in part due to the off-year gubernatorial election.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who has deep ties to teachers unions, the Clintons, and the Democrat Party establishment, was running for a second, nonconsecutive term in the governor’s mansion.
As the education issue heated up in the Commonwealth, McAuliffe could be heard frequently saying how critical race theory was not taught in schools or that some boys were really girls and it was therefore fair for boys to compete against girls, in spite of biological data.
But McAuliffe from the beginning was considered a shoo-in for the seat, as Virginia has seen a leftward move in the past decade or more — until he said the quiet part out loud: “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”
This gaffe, said at a September debate with Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin, has been widely regarded as a major turning point in the campaign, which saw tightening polls and eventually a Youngkin victory.
🏼♀️ Last I checked, it’s OUR taxpayer dollars funding OUR public schools for OUR children. And it’s our kids who are falling behind in core competencies, we want better for them. https://t.co/faIyZ5KRV6
— Alleigh Marré (@alleighmarre) September 29, 2021
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) September 29, 2021
Virginia had not elected a Republican statewide since 2009.
3. Fairfax County’s Pornography- and Pedophilia-Laced Books:
***Warning Graphic Content***
In yet another Virginia story, Fairfax County Public Schools decided to reintroduce to school libraries the books Gender Queer: A Memoir by Maia Kobabe and Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, as, after an official review, they were found to have no pornographic or pedophilic content after they had been challenged by parents.
The problem, however, came due to the fact that both books have pictures and literature that clearly depict and describe pornography and pedophilia.
These are the images in Fairfax County Public Schools libraries for even 12 year olds. Mom Stacy Langton showed them to the @fcpsnews school board before @stella_pekarsky and @LJ4fcps rudely interrupted the mom’s 2 minutes. And ran away. pic.twitter.com/LmUoaVRzWG
— Asra Q. Nomani 🐻 (@AsraNomani) September 24, 2021
As Breitbart News reported, Gender Queer: A Memoir “contains explicit illustrations of sexual encounters, including oral sex and masturbation, involving children,” while Lawn Boy “contains graphic descriptions of sex between men and children.”
Despite FCPS’s denial, the depiction of pedophilic acts appears clear with a graphic illustration of Plato’s Symposium, an important philosophical work but also a manuscript well known for its account of pedophilia in Ancient Greece, in which a bearded man is fondling the genitals of a boy.
Gender Queer: A Memoir “is a well-written, scientifically based narrative of one person’s journey with gender identity that contains information and perspective that is not widely represented,” FCPS says in defense of keeping the book on the shelves. “This depiction includes the difficulties nonbinary and asexual individuals may face.”
Aside from the depiction of Plato’s Symposium, an excerpt from Gender Queer: A Memoir includes, “I can’t wait to have your cock in my mouth — I’m going to give you the blow job of your life. Then I want you inside me.”
4. The “Secret Transition”:
School districts “secretly transitioning” children from one gender to another without the knowledge or consent of parents was yet another egregious policy that defined 2021 as the year of education.
In Wisconsin, parents removed their 12-year-old daughter from the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) after the school began a “social transition” so she could “present to others as the opposite sex.” They filed a lawsuit challenging KMSD’s policy that “allows minor students to change their name and gender pronouns at school without parental consent.”
In Florida, parents of a 13-year-old girl filed a federal lawsuit against a school district after officials at Deerlake Middle School secretly “transitioned” the girl into a “transgender male.” According to the lawsuit, the district’s “LCS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Nonconforming and Questioning Support Guide … expressly directs school administrators to avoid notifying the child’s parents about a child’s gender identity, claiming such an action could lead to the student becoming homeless.”
In addition, “parents of a 12-year-old girl in the Spreckels Union School District (SUSD) in Salinas, California, claimed school staff indoctrinated their daughter into identifying as ‘trans fluid.’” One parent said the teacher accused her of not being “emotionally supportive” of her daughter’s new gender identity, and said she should be using her daughter’s new name and pronouns.
5. “Passing the Trash” — The Biden Administration Tries to Stop Tracking Teacher Sex Crimes:
President Joe Biden’s Department of Education, headed by Secretary Miguel Cardona, attempted in November to stop tracking teacher-on-student sexual assault allegations as part of its Civil Rights Data Collection.
Tracking such allegations was initiated by former President Donald Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos with the goal of providing “a fuller understanding of sexual violence perpetrated by teachers and staff against students.”
“While I was in Washington, we stopped the unions from ‘passing the trash’ — relocating predator teachers without disclosing their conduct to the new district,” DeVos said at the time, continuing to say that “there is no rational way to justify sweeping teachers sexually assaulting students under the rug. The only explanation is that the Biden Administration is a wholly owned subsidiary of the teacher union bosses.”
After much public backlash, and apparently some soul searching, Biden’s Education Department was forced to retreat and reinstate the data collection on sexual assault allegations.
Commenting on the reversal, DeVos called it “sad” that the Education Department had to be “publicly shamed and embarrassed into doing the right thing.”
6. Intimidation Tactics — Districts with Their Own Police Forces:
In perhaps the most underreported education story of the year, Texas’s Round Rock Independent School District added a new dimension into the debate over schooling.
As Breitbart News reported, RRISD used “its own armed agents to arrest parents who speak out against the school board’s policies.” The parents were not simply arrested at a school board meeting, however. They were arrested in their own homes by a police force that is answerable to the superintendent and the school board — not to the local government.
And then they came for the parents…https://t.co/Yn5Gf2cB7P
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) November 30, 2021
RRISD has its own police force “with a three-layer chain of command, patrol units, school resource officers, a detective, and a K-9 unit.”
While many parents in Round Rock believe the school board is trying to send the message, “if you speak out against us, we will turn you into criminals,” this is not the only instance in the country where the school leadership has control of its own police force or has requested the militarization of school board meetings to intimidate parents who disagree with policy.
“In Loudoun County, Virginia, for example, where parents have protested against critical race theory and a sexual assault cover-up, the superintendent asked the county sheriff to deploy a SWAT team, riot control unit, and undercover agents to monitor parents at school board meetings,” Breitbart News reported.
The last year has also seen a movement by the left to resegregate schools.
Using the critical race theory ideology, and often under the pet name “affinity groups,” leftists school officials have started organizing racially segregated events at schools for a variety of reasons.
A civil rights complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education against Denver Public Schools (DPS) after one of its elementary schools hosted a racially segregated “families of color playground night.”
From “separate but equal” to “separate but equitable.” pic.twitter.com/NcUVqXe0Du
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) December 14, 2021
Another civil rights complaint was filed with the U.S. Department of Education against an Illinois high school after it advertised an allegedly racially-segregated “students of color field trip opportunity.”
In a statement, the principal of Downers Grove South, Ed Schwartz, told me that the school planned the racially-segregated program to “provide the opportunity for students of color to be partnered with a group of teachers who look like them and have had similar life experiences.”
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) December 16, 2021
“The Kyle Rittenhouse conclusion will likely be seen as yet another unfair reality for many Bigelow families, staff, and students—particularly our community members of color,” a December 1 letter to students from Bigelow Middle School Principal Chassity Coston read.
At Newton North High School, however, Principal Henry Turner said “this divisive case will be seen as a blow … particularly to black and brown people who are regularly reminded that their bodies are treated as less than others.”
Apparently displaying a fundamental lack of understanding of the Rittenhouse trial, where the then-17-year-old shot three white individuals in self-defense, killing two of them, during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Turner went on to say, “There is a long history of acquittals such as this when white people get off for murdering black people. … To ignore racism in these situations just empowers racism.” [Emphasis added].
As Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts (R) told Breitbart News, “Critical race theory is talking about resegregation. It is talking about discriminating his people based upon their skin color. It is a betrayal of the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King, who wanted his children to be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.”
The View for 2022:
As a result of the left’s policies being brought to light over the course of the year, conservatives have begun targeting untapped potential in school board races as 2021 saw districts exposed across the country as left-wing “indoctrination mills,” setting up ripe political battlegrounds in 2022.
In an effort to take back control of school boards in America, Republicans are pushing changes that would turn the typically nonpartisan races into partisan, political ones with contested primaries.
In Republican-led states across the country, legislatures are looking to change the way school board elections are run in order to bring genuine contests, as opposed to the norm of uncontested, low-voter-turnout elections for offices that have an outsized amount of power.
As Breitbart News reported, “Republicans across the country gearing up for the midterms are promising a major education reform push focused on parental rights and educational standards.”
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.