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Tag: glenn youngkin

Poll: Most Parents Are Happy With Their Kids’ Schools, Despite GOP Culture War

Republicans are flogging a culture war focused on public schools, but it doesn’t seem to be landing with the parents of actual schoolchildren. A new NPR/Ipsos poll of parents of school-aged children finds people generally happy with their kids’ schools and teachers, and not foaming at the mouth over race and LGBTQ issues.

Education rated as the third-highest concern of parents in the poll, but 88 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, “my child's teacher(s) have done the best they could, given the circumstances around the pandemic,” and 82 percent agreed that “my child's school has handled the pandemic well.” Republicans have largely moved on from trying to whip up rage about how schools have handled the pandemic, though, focusing more on demonizing marginalized groups and arguing that parents should be allowed to micromanage the curriculum. (Right-wing white parents, anyway.) But that’s not getting a lot of traction, either.

Three out of four of the parents polled agreed that “my child's school does a good job keeping me informed about the curriculum, including potentially controversial topics.” Small minorities said the ways their children’s schools taught about the issues being pushed by Republicans actually conflicted with their own family’s values: 18 percent for gender and sexuality, 19 percent for race and racism, and 14 percent for U.S. history.

And those numbers, small as they are, don’t mean that 19 percent of people think their kid’s school is too liberal on race and racism or 14 percent on U.S. history—the people who said the schools’ teachings clashed with their family’s values were as likely to be Democrats as Republicans. A Native American parent in Texas, for instance, told NPR, “It's more of a water-down effect ... [the teachers] kind of whitewash the way that history is taught to their kids.” That parent wants his kid taught more about the French and Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, and about slavery during the Revolutionary War, NPR reports. By contrast, a white parent in Wisconsin who thinks the schools are too liberal on these issues cited her son being asked to identify his pronouns and a teacher making “snarky comments about white privilege.” Equally valid and serious concerns about the quality of education, amiright?

If you listen to Christopher Rufo, one of the right wing’s major gurus on waging culture wars in the schools, critical race theory is a “two to one issue,” a surefire winner for Republicans. Go figure, though: The main poll he cites was conducted by the right-wing Manhattan Institute. But what about Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s victory in November after he campaigned against critical race theory? Well, recent data has suggested that Youngkin’s advantage came from senior citizens, not from the parents of school-aged children, and it’s not the first data undermining the narrative that enraged parents turned the election to Youngkin.

Demonizing LGBT people and foaming at the mouth that teaching about racism or the contributions of Black and brown people oppresses white kids by making them feel “humiliated” might energize the Republican base, but it’s not a majority message. Banning books because they have LGBT characters or depict slavery as the brutal system of kidnapping, torture, and rape that it was is not a majority message.

Republicans are attacking teachers. They’re attacking vulnerable kids. They’re trying to micromanage what all kids can learn according to their very specific values, to the active exclusion of all others. These things matter—they are actively harming people—and they’re also not the political winners Republicans are confidently portraying them to be. The media needs to internalize these things in shaping its coverage, rather than allowing the Republican operatives regularly billed as “concerned parents” in their Fox News appearances to define what the parents of schoolchildren look like or think. And equally, Democrats need to fight back, vigorously and boldly, because Republicans really are overstepping on this.

Printed with permission from DailyKos.

Virginia Attorney General Allows Plea By Pedophile Cop, Then Falsely Denies Deal

The Virginia attorney general's office and state Republicans have misled the public about a plea deal offered to a former sheriff's deputy who was convicted of attempting to solicit a minor for sex, according to court documents obtained by The American Independent Foundation.

On December 16, 2021, Loudoun County sheriff's deputy Dustin Amos posted a message to Whisper, an anonymous social media platform, reading, "Keep this cop company at work today!" Hundreds of miles away in Minnesota, an undercover detective who was conducting a sting operation saw the post. The detective struck up a conversation with Amos and posed as a 15-year-old in private messages with the sheriff's deputy. At one point, Amos replied, "15 damn your young but that's hott."

Amos then began asking the undercover detective about her sexual preferences and sent a series of explicit messages, including a photograph of himself in his underwear. Later in their conversation, which continued for several hours, Amos told the detective, who repeatedly identified herself as a 15-year-old high school student, that she should travel from Minnesota to Virginia to meet him.

"Let's meet in person and you can see my name and agency," Amos wrote in a private message.

The sheriff's deputy continued messaging with the detective for five hours, and at one point sent her a video of himself masturbating in his car, Virginia Assistant Attorney General Cynthia Paoletta told a judge during Amos' bond hearing last December.

The detective informed the NOVA-DC Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force the next day, and state police arrested Amos outside the county jail, where he was on duty. He was charged with two felony counts of soliciting a minor using an electronic device and agreed to plead guilty to the first charge if Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares' office dropped the second charge.

On March 24, NBC 4 Washington reported that Amos had accepted a plea deal from the Virginia attorney general's office, and on March 28, the state politics newsletter Virginia Scope covered the story. In response, Victoria LaCivita, Miyares' director of communications, wrote an email to the newsletter's author, Brandon Jarvis with the subject line "Correction Needed" in which she claimed the plea deal story was "completely incorrect."

"There was no 'deal' offered," LaCivita wrote on March 28. "There is a difference between pleading guilty and being offered a 'plea deal' – they are not the same thing. This individual plead[ed] guilty to the charge without a disposition or plea deal. Secondly, the investigation and analysis of this case, as well as the major decisions regarding what charges to bring, were made under former Attorney General Herring."

But according to publicly available court documents, Paoletta signed a plea agreement with Amos and his attorney on March 3 — long after Herring left office.



These details have not stopped Republicans in Virginia from denying that it was Miyares' own office that offered Amos a plea deal in the case.

In response to a Virginia Democratic Party press release that cited NBC4's reporting, Republican Party of Virginia Chair Rich Anderson tweeted that it was "Reckless for Dems to traffic in partisan lies about plea deals w/ zero legal proof."

On March 27, the Virginia GOP's official Twitter account posted a thread "debunking" the claims, which the party called "another complete lie coming from the desperate @vademocrats."

Last November, Republicans swept Virginia's elections for governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general. During his campaign, Miyares, a former state delegate, accepted $2.6 million from a Republican group that encouraged supporters to "stop the steal" by attending a rally outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Miyares and Virginia Republicans have also attacked Democrats for being "soft on crime." Miyares in particular has targeted Democratic prosecutors' use of plea deals in criminal cases both as a candidate and as attorney general, which he argues are often excessively lenient.

Loudoun County was the center of one of the most contentious moments of last year's election. Three weeks before Election Day, the Daily Wire, a conservative news site, revealed that a student at Loudoun County Public Schools committed two acts of sexual assault, the second after having been transferred to a new school for committing the first.

The father of one of the students said that school administrators had tried to cover up the assaults because the male offender, who was found guilty, was wearing a skirt and had entered a girls' bathroom to assault his daughter.

During his campaign for Virginia governor, Glenn Youngkin seized on the cover-up allegations, promising he would direct Miyares to open an investigation into the school district once elected. Soon after Youngkin and Miyares won their respective races, Miyares announced he would use his post to direct the Virginia attorney general's office to investigate Loudoun County Public Schools.

"We're obviously aware of some pretty horrific cases," Miyares said last November. "If there's anything that I want to bring back to the forefront in this process are the victims."

He added: "When prosecutors are making plea deals on child rape cases, over the objection of the family, I have a serious problem with that."

Miyares' office did not respond to an inquiry for this story.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

New Virginia Poll Shows Youngkin Attack On Schools Is Backfiring

Republicans are on the offensive over education, seeking to use a schools-focused culture war to take Democrats down in the 2022 midterms, and Democrats are predictably fumbling the response. But while some polls suggest that Republicans succeeding at dragging Democrats down on the issue, they’re also making themselves downright toxic.

Take Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, supposedly swept into office by parents angry about mask mandates and teaching about race in schools. A new poll from Christopher Newport University finds Youngkin’s approval rating underwater, with 41% of Virginia voters approving and 43% disapproving just over a month after his inauguration. “We have some history being made today. Glenn Youngkin is the first Virginia Governor to ever poll with a majority disapproval rating anytime in his first year in office,” Democratic state Sen. Louise Lucas gleefully noted. “He did it in just over a month!”

The same poll finds that majorities of voters support teaching about how racism impacts society, oppose a ban on critical race theory, and think school mask mandates should be determined by health data and information from health experts.

That’s one poll, but the mask portion of it, at least, echoes a September 2021 poll of Virginia and other, more recent national polling on that issue. Similarly, multiple national polls find majority support for teaching about the history of racism in the United States—though Republicans are something of an exception to that.

All that said, while Republicans are not winning majorities of voters over to their positions on the specific educational culture wars they’re waging, they are doing what Republicans do best: making the whole issue so ugly and conflictual that voters are disgusted with everyone. Sowing doubt and fear. A November 2021 poll found significant erosion in Democrats’ traditional advantage on education.

And while Republicans wage a cynical, dishonest, but very well-funded campaign against public education—with the ultimate goal of defunding public schools—Democrats are fumbling. There is so much material to use to go on the offensive against Republicans on these issues, starting with the fact that Republicans want to defund public schools while most people express confidence in their local schools. Republicans want to ban books. They want to put kids at risk through anything-goes public health policies.

Republican politicians support the people making death threats against school board members and barraging schools with baseless legal claims. They want to drive teachers out of the profession by intimidating them and making their jobs harder. These creepers want to put cameras in classrooms and watch what your kids are doing as part of that effort to intimidate teachers.

But despite the impression you might get from the media, which is so heavily driven by white people making noise, there already is grassroots pushback. Black parents have long had concerns about how race is taught and handled in schools. Students across the country are seeing racism in their schools and fighting back. Republicans may have the biggest partisan platform in Fox News, but the rest of the media should refuse to just follow along. And Democrats? Democrats must show another way, or prepare to lose.

It’s time for Democrats to be vocal and loud in defense of public education. Republicans are not going to let this drop. The only way to win is to fight, not to cover our heads and hope it goes away.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

Suburban Wingnuts Banned 'Maus' -- And Now Everyone Wants To Read It

As I write, the recently-inaugurated Republican governor of Virginia is engaged in a Twitter war with a mouthy high school kid.

And losing.

It’s like something out of Curb Your Enthusiasm, a TV program “Moms for Liberty” would surely ban if they could. Never mind that the whole thing started because the kid posted an inaccurate article about Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s closing down an educational exhibit about slavery -- which he didn’t do.

Any time you’re having a public spat with somebody seventeen, however, you’re in trouble. Youngkin blamed overzealous staffers for “an unauthorized tweet” taunting young Ethan Lynee for appearing in a photo with “a man that had a Blackface/KKK photo in his yearbook.”

That would be Youngkin’s immediate predecessor, former Gov. Ralph Northam, who once apologized for the Blackface photo but now says it wasn’t him. So, it’s a comedy of errors all around.

My own policy is to avoid Twitter altogether. Facebook is dangerous enough. Also, I’m not running for anything. Not never one time, as a backwoods friend likes to say. And if I ever did declare my candidacy, my wife would seek legal guardianship and have me put out to pasture.

Even so, the Youngkin episode had almost everything: a phony racial controversy, an inaccurate (and subsequently withdrawn) news story, and hotheads going off half-cocked all around.

Maybe Moms for Liberty should ban the lot. In case you don’t know, the “Moms” are a fake grassroots organization out of Florida dedicated to turning American public schools into fundamentalist Christian academies. Or getting rid of them altogether, which may be the ultimate goal.

“Karens for Christ” might be a more accurate moniker.

Bless their hearts.

Where I live in Arkansas, people like them are in the ascendancy. The newspapers are filled with tales of sexual violence and child pornography anyway. A prominent holy man was recently convicted in Federal court of molesting young girls. These are not practices people learn at school.

When liberals strike similarly righteous poses, it’s called “virtue signaling,” and most people think it’s kind of silly.

Consider, by way of example, the recent case of the McMinn County, Tennessee school board removing the graphic novel Maus from the eighth-grade curriculum. It’s a harrowing tale of cats in Nazi uniforms sending whole families of cartoon mice to concentration camps, torturing, and killing them. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Art Spiegelman tells the story of his parents, who survived the Holocaust. The school board voted unanimously to remove the book “because of its unnecessary use of profanity and nudity and its depiction of violence and suicide.”

The shocking profanity consisted of the word “damn.” As for a naked cartoon mouse, have the Tennessee censors never noticed that Donald Duck wears no pants? Although like an actual duck, Uncle Donald has nothing but feathers between his legs. (Among domestic fowl, you pretty much have to BE a duck to tell the boys from the girls.)

Almost needless to say, this preposterous decision succeeded in pushing Maus to the head of best-seller list and causing many thousands, if not millions—of young readers to seek it out. Like Orwell’s Animal Farm, the book’s sheer power resides precisely in its use of a children’s fable to teach a harrowing lesson. Once read, Maus will never be forgotten.

It follows that the sheer futility of book-banning in today’s United States almost cannot be exaggerated. Nor is it entirely a right-wing phenomenon. As Nashville writer Margaret Renkl points out in her New York Times column: “Last year, Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, was on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books List ‘for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a ‘white savior’ character, and its perception of the Black experience.’”

Sigh.

Besides, while the little cherubs aren’t listening to their teacher drone on about Harper Lee, 1984, or some equally impenetrable text, what they’re listening to on their iPhones is Cardi B’s WAP, a coarse ditty about a boastful strumpet’s use of her… Well, there’s no polite word, and the clinical terms have come to sound dirtier than the unprintable ones. That thing Trump boasted about grabbing.

My point’s a simple one. The culture war’s over, and your side lost. So did mine. See, there’s this thing called the Internet out there, and it has changed everything about what children learn and how they learn it except the way school boards and old fools like you and me talk about it. For that matter, probably nothing so renders a once-incendiary book harmless as being required in a high school English or history class.

Make me education czar and students wouldn’t be permitted to bring their accursed phones to school at all—the contemporary equivalent of Hans Brinker sticking his finger in the dike to ward off a tsunami.

And if you recognize that allusion, you’re an old pedant too.

The Trump Coup Is Ongoing -- And 'Moderate' Republicans Enable It

Some look back on the events following Donald Trump's 2020 election loss and think we dodged a bullet: There was a coup attempt, and thankfully it failed. Others believe that the whole thing has been overblown. Even as evidence piles up that the coup was far more extensive than siccing a mob on the Capitol, those two takes seem unshaken. There is another way to look at it: The coup is ongoing. With every new revelation about how extensive Trump's efforts to overturn the election were — and they are arriving on an almost daily basis — the flaccid response of Republicans makes the next coup that much more thinkable.

Trump, we now know, paged through the federal departments and agencies looking for willing insurrectionists. He explored the possibility of having the Justice Department seize voting machines in swing states (Bill Barr shot down the idea), and then considered installing Jeffrey Clark as attorney general in Barr's place (a threatened mass resignation stayed his hand). He then turned to the military and considered using his emergency powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to permit the Pentagon to seize voting machines and other records.

Things had gone as far as the drafting of a presidential "finding" about nonexistent fraud. Trump also tested the waters at the Department of Homeland Security, asking Rudy Giuliani to see whether the (unlawfully appointed) acting deputy secretary, Ken Cuccinelli, would seize the voting machines under that department's auspices. Cuccinelli begged off.

This comes on the heels of revelations about phony slates of electors. Eighty-four Republicans from seven states signed bogus documents claiming that Trump had won their states and sent these fake Electoral College certificates to the National Archives.

Trump was busier attempting to undo the election than he had ever been as president. He summoned the leaders of the Michigan legislature to the White House after the election to convince them to certify that their state, which voted for Biden, had voted for him. He cajoled and threatened Georgia's secretary of state to "find" 11,780 votes. He phoned local election officials to pressure them to say they found fraud, buzzed the Arizona governor repeatedly even up to the minute he was signing his state's certification, and strong-armed the vice president to, in Trump's own words, "overturn the election."

A little-noticed feature of the stories about Trump's thus-far unsuccessful efforts to stage a coup is that even among the MAGA crowd, some things were considered beyond the pale. Barr was willing to swallow a lot, but he couldn't go along with lying about imaginary vote fraud. The high-ranking lawyers at the Justice Department were Trump appointees, but they would resign en masse rather than see Clark subvert the department for plainly unlawful ends. Brad Raffensperger voted for Trump but refused to lie for him. Cuccinelli was Trump's loyal immigration hawk, but he couldn't see his way to using his Homeland Security post to confiscate voting machines and commit fraud. And though Mike Pence, pressed hard by Trump for the last full measure of devotion, wavered (he phoned former Vice President Dan Quayle for advice), in the end, he did what he knew was right.

A healthy body politic, like a healthy physical body, needs antibodies. It needs certain automatic defenses. The actions of those Republicans were the vestigial antibodies of a healthy democracy. The people who made those crucial decisions were acting out of a sense that anything less would be dishonorable and would be perceived as such by the whole society.

But would they make the same decisions today? Every single time a Republican suggests that what Trump did and attempted to do was anything less than a five-alarm fire, they are weakening our immune system.

Sen. Susan Collins was asked whether she could support Trump in 2024. She declined to rule it out.

Just think about what message that sends to the rank and file about what is beyond the pale and what isn't. If Collins might even support Trump, maybe it's not such a big deal.

On the anniversary of January 6, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sneered at what he called "nauseating" remembrances, adding that "it's an insult to people when you say it's an insurrection." Another blow to the concept that something truly awful happened that must never be repeated.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin has not hesitated to appear on the John Fredericks radio show since his inauguration. Fredericks was the host of a rally in October that featured an American flag that had been carried at the "peaceful" January 6 protest. Fredericks also ladles out big helpings of election falsehood to his listeners.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has announced a new podcast, hosted by Sen. Rick Scott, to help 2022 GOP senate candidates. First scheduled guest: Donald Trump.

It was not just an attempted coup. The steady sapping of republican virtue continues.

Mona Charen is policy editor of The Bulwark and host of the Beg to Differ podcast. Her most recent book is Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

In Virginia, A New Governor's Bullying Big Brother Overreach

I’m so old I can remember when people calling themselves “conservative” thought “Cancel Culture” was a bad thing.

Oh wait, that was last week.

More recently, the brand new governor of Virginia—whose own children are safely ensconced in an exclusive Washington prep school—has opened a telephone snitch line enabling citizens to inform upon teachers committing “Thoughtcrime” in the Commonwealth’s public schools.

“We’re asking for folks to send us reports and observations,” Glenn Youngkin said, “and we’re going to make sure we catalog it all … And that gives us further, further ability to make sure we’re rooting it out.”

“It” being the dread Critical Race Theory, otherwise known as Black history. While there’s scant evidence of CRT in Virginia school curricula, there’s evidently more Black history than Trump-leaning parents want their children hearing about, what with Virginia being America’s cradle of slavery, beginning at Jamestown in, yes, 1619.

Can’t have that.

A country club moderate to outward appearances, Youngkin has turned out to be rather fiercer than advertised during his 2021 campaign. And right on schedule too. Book-banning and purging subversives have become all the rage among Republicans nationwide.

But then I can also recall when many public schools in Virginia remained segregated, when my wife and l lived there in the years following Brown vs. Board of Education. Change came slowly. Prince Edward County closed its public schools for five years rather than allow Black and white children to share classrooms.

At the rural Black high school where I was an occasional substitute, they used rocks for bases on the baseball diamond. But they did have tattered, second-hand books, desks, and blackboards—more than could be said for a lot of segregated schools. At the white county high school where my wife taught, she got summoned before the school board to answer a parental complaint about a “dirty” novel—Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”—she’d given her students.

It was the only book she ever got most of them to read.

The aggrieved parent had highlighted her child’s copy with magic marker, particularly objecting to the allegedly pornographic phrase “blue ball” to describe a child’s toy.

The board apologized to Diane for wasting her time.

Then there was the memorable meeting regarding the length of teacher’s skirts, prompting an exasperated assistant principal to remark: “If y’all don’t mind them boys shooting beavers, I don’t reckon I do.”

But speaking of nostalgia, here’s how the official state social studies textbook, “Virginia: History, Government and Geography” described the institution of slavery:

“Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, uncivilized and unemployed Negroes were given free passage on cruise ships from Africa to America with a stopover in Jamaica. Upon their arrival, after their time spent in the tropics, they were welcomed by white people who were happy to give them a new home. Jobs were provided along with a lifetime of free room and board. Here in America, they learned to speak English, sing hymns, and revel in the glory of God through the Gospel of Christ in place of their heathen savagery.”

Oh, happy day!

The novelist and law professor Garrett Epps, who grew up in Richmond, cites another Virginia public school textbook informing children that “[a]bove all the Colony was determined to preserve the racial purity of the whites. This determination is the foundation upon which Virginia’s handling of the racial issue rests, and has always rested.”

Which is not to say Glenn Youngkin endorses any of these ideas, nor that things haven’t changed for the better in Virginia and everywhere across the South. Nor even to say that parents who find the violence and sexual brutality of, say, Toni Morrison’s Beloved too heavy for high school kids are motivated by bigotry. I find her novels unendurable myself.

But Youngkin grew up in a culture marinated in Confederate grievance, as did many Virginians responding favorably to his attacks upon public school administrators and elected school boards. As a prep school graduate who has never attended a public school at any level, Youngkin campaigned as a genial moderate interested in “parents’ rights.”

He has chosen to govern as a bully.

The courts will decide whether or not gubernatorial fiat can override state law and local school boards in the matter of mask mandates. I suspect not.

Youngkin’s “Big Brother”-style attack upon the intellectual freedom of beleaguered public school teachers, however, has taken it several steps too far. Already, smart alecks are filling the governor’s tip line with allusions to “The Simpsons” and Cardi B, among others. Black parents are reminding him that they have rights too.

I think Washington Monthly’s Bill Scher has it right: Youngkin’s “I-know-best” gambit “has all the hallmarks of a misread mandate and classic overreach.”

Most Virginians, I suspect, have little appetite for loyalty investigations, and even less in becoming Ground Zero in a televised culture war.

Unmasking Glenn Youngkin, The GOP's Red-Vested Charlatan

Parents of young children and teens across Virginia this week got a taste of what it means for a purple-ish state to roll the dice on a Republican candidate for governor in the midst of an ongoing pandemic.

Sure, he wore that red vest and mostly kept Donald Trump at arm's length for the duration of his campaign. But the mayhem GOP Gov. Glenn Youngkin injected into the state's school system in order to score points with a political minority of voters proved that he is just as willing to play Russian roulette with the lives of children as Trump mini-mes like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

In fact, that's the probably the exact point Youngkin meant to make: Don't let the red vest fool ya—I'm just as extreme as the other GOP governors vying for a 2024 audience among the party's radicalized base.

True to pandemic-era Republican form, Youngkin declared he was "having a ball" on the very week that his new optional masking order forced a wave of impossible choices on parents and educators in a state that had mostly grown accustomed to mandatory in-school masking even though some parents didn't favor it.

A September 2021 Washington Post-Schar School poll found that 66 percent of Virginia’s public school parents said they supported mask mandates for teachers, staff, and students, as did 69 percent of registered voters overall. Just 28 percent of Virginians opposed school districts requiring mask wearing, and that's the cohort Youngkin chose to prioritize purely for political gain.

To be clear, Youngkin's order has put both the lives and mental health of teachers, kids and their vulnerable family members on the line. In fact, the Washington Post's Hanna Natanson did a laudable job documenting the impossible dilemmas and mental anguish Youngkin has managed to visit on so many constituents in just two short weeks on the job.

Here's an excerpt depicting the bind of one parent.

In Virginia Beach, the mother of a girl with a heart condition wonders if she should stop sending her child to school, where more of her daughter’s classmates are going unmasked every day. The mother, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her daughter’s privacy, said one of the children in her medical support group — for parents of children who have congenital heart defects — died of covid-19 this month.
But her daughter suffered during online learning, and the mother is scared what will happen to the 14-year-old’s mental health if she stays home. For now, the mother is sending emails to the school board pleading with them to reestablish a mask mandate.
“Bowing to a morally and scientifically untenable executive order isn’t acceptable,” she wrote on Tuesday. “I hope you will correct this mistake before it causes damage that can’t be undone.”

Another mother in Virginia Beach and one in Chesapeake decided to keep their kids home this week because they were terrified to go to school when some kids wouldn't be wearing masks.

But it's not just the parents of students who feel gutted by Youngkin's human experiment.

A ninth-grade English teacher and mom with a blood-clotting disorder that puts her at mortal risk if she contracts COVID-19 was forced to contemplate her deep desire to live long enough to see her son graduate, get a job, and get married.

“When I was in the Navy, I signed on the dotted line to put my life at risk and I understood that,” Amanda Lambert, 41, told the Post. “This is different.”

A Chesterfield elementary school teacher said optional masking would inevitably lead to spikes in student infections and widespread quarantines followed by a mountain of extra work for teachers forced to develop alternate assignments for students missing class. For the first time in the pandemic, she said she is considering quitting her job.

“All that he’s done is divide our state and made this a political thing — he sees teachers as the villain, is how it feels,” said the teacher, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear that she could be retaliated against. “We are so broken down at this point by how little we are cared about anymore.”

Youngkin's order, which is now the subject of two legal challenges, has also divided Virginia's school districts. Among the state's 131 districts, more than half have chosen to defy the new governor's order while 59 districts adopted optional masking. A Post analysis found the schools that have chosen to continue enforcing mask mandates account for some 67% of the students enrolled in the state's public schools.

Even Loudoun County—a tony northern suburb where education policy controversies erupted during the gubernatorial race—saw just two small demonstrations against mandated masking early in the week. Out of the district's 81,000 students, only about 100 students declined to wear masks.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, a new Public Policy Polling survey released Friday found that Youngkin's approval rating on the pandemic is already underwater: 44 percent approve -- 47 percent disapprove. In the survey, 56 percent of respondents said "local school districts should set mask requirements for themselves," while 31 percent believed Youngkin "should set mask requirements for local school districts," according to The Hill. Asked about Youngkin’s specific order, 40 percent backed it while 55 percent opposed.

Youngkin, who clearly misled Virginians on the matter, is presently trying to lie his way out of the bait-and-switch he pulled. Shortly after being elected, Youngkin said he would leave school masking policies up to local school boards. But his opt-out order completely undercuts the effectiveness of districts' universal mask mandates. As multiple studies have shown, mask mandates are the best way to both keep kids safe and ensure in-school learning can continue without triggering rolling waves of mass quarantines.

But in a Washington Post op-ed this week, Youngkin claimed he had kept his word even as he empowered some parents to endanger the health of both educators and other parents' children.

“My executive order ensures that parents can opt-out their kids from a school’s mask mandate,” the governor wrote. “It bans neither the wearing of masks nor the issuing of mask mandates. Parents can now choose whether wearing a mask at school is right for their child.”

Republicans in the state are surely over the moon with Youngkin's performance. Pre-Trump, the goal of governing used to be to please most of the people while creating as little havoc as possible and keeping everyone safe.

But in the post-Trump Republican Party, chaos rules. The more damage a politician can do post haste—the more misery they can visit upon their political enemies— the more their star rises in the GOP. Youngkin's first two weeks in office have proven wildly successful by that measure and, as he said himself, he's having the time of his life.

"Virginia’s parents have had enough with the government dictating how they should raise their children," Youngkin wrote in his op-ed. "On the campaign trail, I listened to parents and, as governor, I will continue to listen."

Youngkin listened to some parents—a minority of parents, in fact—and hung everyone else out to dry.

Any Virginian who was on the fence but voted for Youngkin because he seemed nice enough, wore that red vest, and had a business background should have received the message by now: No matter how reasonable any Republican seems while campaigning, their political incentives to create pandemonium once in office far outweigh keeping the peace and ensuring the safety of their constituents.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin Now Admits Critical Race Theory Not Taught In VA Schools (VIDEO)

Virginia has been moving towards becoming a blue state for much of the last decade. Former President Obama carried the state twice, Hillary Clinton in 2016, and most recently by President Biden in 2020. However, a series of missteps by Democrats allowed a low-key Trump supporter in Glenn Youngkin to take back the Governorship of Virginia this past November.

Youngkin was able to pull off this victory by avoiding former President trump as much as possible and by taking advantage of an utterly baseless claim that critical race theory was being taught in Virginia's public schools. But for anyone not attuned to the partisan lies and conspiracies of Fox News 24/7, it's quite clear that Critical Race Theory is not taught in Virginian schools. Perhaps now that he won the election, Youngkin admitted this in a recent Fox News interview.

Fox News host John Roberts, noting that Glenn Youngkin signed an executive order banning critical race theory, asked, “Is it your contention that critical race theory is being taught in Virginia public schools?”

“There’s not a course called critical race theory. All the principles of critical race theory, the fundamental building blocks of actually accusing one group of being oppressors and another of being oppressed, of actually burdening children today for the sins of the past, for teaching our children to judge one another based on the color of their skin. Yes, that does exist in Virginia schools today. And that’s why I have signed the executive orders yesterday to make sure that we get it out of our schools," said Youngkin.

So it appears Glenn Youngkin lied through his teeth about manufactured fears about CRT being taught in Virginia.

Watch the interview below: