Virginia Parents Tired Of Being An ‘Afterthought’ In Public Schools

Today, as key parental rights legislation crosses into the Virginia Senate, parents from around the state rallied in support of legislators’ efforts to respect parents’ rights to have a say in what their kids experience at school—especially when it concerns explicit content in library books or outside speakers coming into the classrooms. Hosted by The Family Foundation, the press conference was as part of Parental Rights Day (or “Mama Bear Day”) at the State Capitol. “We should have the right to know what’s going on … rather than be treated as an afterthought,” said Susan Roberson, a grandmother of 10 from Chesterfield County. “I am not here to bash public schools, but I do think there needs to be a better balance on the parental rights issues.” (Two of her grandchildren live with her and attend local public schools).

The press conference also featured Delegates Nick Freitas, Robert Orrock, and Tim Anderson who spoke about their parental rights legislation addressing explicit content in school libraries and parental-involvement library policies (HB 1448 & HB 1379); outside speakers invited into the classroom to instruct children (HB 1803); as well as parents’ right to guide the overall direction of their child’s education. They were joined by two Virginia moms who shared their stories, including Susan Roberson as well as Terra Lawrence, a mother of four from Hanover County.

“The bottom line is the fundamental right to manage your child’s education rests with you as the parent, not the state. To the extent the state is involved, it is to come alongside and assist parents, not crowd them out,” said Delegate Freitas, who authored HB 1803.

Delegate Tim Anderson encouraged parents that even if his bill, HB 1379, doesn’t make it through the Senate, parents can use the public record of testimony. For instance, “there is a book called Assassination Classroom, which talks about murdering your teachers with guns, with AR-15s, and it’s a 21-volume series in most school libraries in Virginia,” he said. “And there’s all kinds of sexual graphic content … for the first time the media has started reporting what’s in the books.”

The bottom line is that parents are calling on the General Assembly to take action after growing weary of being treated as an afterthought—or worse, an enemy. “The best way to protect as many kids as possible is to protect their parents’ rights—because parents have the most up-close knowledge of what it takes to help their particular child succeed academically and emotionally,” said Candi Cushman, Vice President of Grassroots and Communications for The Family Foundation. “Parents have made this message clear in multiple elections and school board meetings—and now they’re making it clear at the State Capitol.”


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