Connecting state and local government leaders
Leaders hope to create a national ‘parental rights’ movement, starting with school board activism. The group already has 135 chapters in 35 states.
The music builds to an ominous crescendo in a recently launched attack ad aired by Glenn Youngkin, the Republican candidate in the Virginia governor’s race.
“I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” his opponent, Democrat and former Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, intones in a grainy video clipped from debate footage. Then the remark is repeated, apparently to emphasize its self-evident horror.
“YOUNGKIN LAUNCHES NEW AD HIGHLIGHTING TERRY MCAULIFFE’S OPPOSITION TO PARENTS’ RIGHTS IN SCHOOLS,” blared the home page of Youngkin’s campaign website this week.
That message would surely draw the support of a group known as Moms for Liberty,
“We do not CO-PARENT with the GOVERNMENT,” read t-shirts donned by members of the group at a Brevard County, Florida, school board meeting earlier this month, the Washington Post reported.
The group got its start campaigning against Covid-19-related restrictions in schools, challenging mask mandates and other policies adopted by local government organizations.
It’s members quickly added other school-related items to their agenda, such as the appropriateness of reading materials provided to students and the way hot-button issues such as racism are addressed.
“I was becoming aware of some things happening in my school district that, as a parent, I did not agree with,” Heather Malone, who recently started a Moms for Liberty chapter in Monroe County, Michigan, told the Monroe News. “The issue is transparency. Currently, I am requesting to view the curriculum that is currently in classrooms, which is a right afforded to parents under Michigan state law, and that request is being denied by school administration. I became more and more aware that parental rights were being pushed to the side in the decision-making process in many schools, not just my own.”
The Moms for Liberty Facebook page echoes that theme. “Dear School District,” reads one post. “When we partnered with you to teach our children division, we meant MATH.”
In less than a year, Moms for Liberty has grown to 56,000 members and supporters in 135 chapters in 35 states. Now it is clearly setting its sights more broadly.
“Moms for Liberty welcomes all that have a desire to stand up for parental rights at all levels of government,” says a statement on the group’s website. Its founders, Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich, the statement reads, are “moms on a mission to stoke the fires of liberty. As former school board members, they witnessed how short-sighted and destructive policies directly hurt children and families. Now they are using their first-hand knowledge and experience to unite parents who are ready to fight those that stand in the way of liberty.”
The group pledges to move beyond school board elections and meetings to “activate liberty-minded leaders to serve in elected positions” in various parts of government. And their message is clearly politically conservative.
“The real issue here is you believe you must protect children from their parents,” a Moms for Liberty representative told the Brevard County school board in March. “I reject that notion. Parents as a whole are more trustworthy than any government entity.”
Florida Republican leaders, the Washington Post reported, say they are benefiting from Moms for Liberty’s efforts in the form of increased GOP voter registrations.