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A mother reported a man who brought a gun to a school board meeting – so they reported her to the shooter

Book bans. Bans on trans athletes. Bans on “critical race theory.” “The Groomers”. America’s schools have become the starting point for some of the most contentious political battles in recent years.

And as these conflicts have deepened, school board meetings, once one of the most utilitarian and, frankly, boring gatherings to be found in almost any city, have often become zones of war between right-wing parents seeking drastic, often shocking changes, and left-wing parents fighting back.

Such is the case in a Pennsylvania school board, where divisions between parents and administrators have recently taken a truly terrifying turn.

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A Pennsylvania mother says she suffered retaliation after reporting a man who brought a gun to a school board meeting.

The concerned parent took to the podium during the public comment period of the Central Bucks school board meeting to relay what happened and blame school board officials for what she and many others say was their dangerous and overtly political handling of a terrifying situation.

“In our schools, kids have something called ‘safe say,'” the mom began, “and what that basically means is that if you see something dangerous, you can report to the authorities and you can be sure that they will not reveal yourself as the person who identified the attacker… This allows you to give a warning while feeling safe and without fear of being caught for target.

But the school district doesn’t appear to have taken the same approach to parents. The mother then recounted how she saw a man attend a school board meeting in March “that was absolutely packed with students” with a concealed gun on his hip.

“This is a man who I have seen at several meetings using false names and being disruptive,” she continued, noting that lying about his name is against local laws. The mother said she then emailed the school board to alert them of the gunman after another parent notified a security guard. She said she had received no response, but many responses of another form.

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The mother claims the school board sent her contact information to the man carrying the gun, who then began harassing her.

“I know we have major differences,” the mother said while addressing school board officials, “but you are still public servants with a responsibility to protect this community as much as possible, including the people you work with. don’t agree. You didn’t protect me. You put me in danger.

She says that while she received no response to her missive, she did receive a cease and desist letter from the man carrying the gun, who claimed the mother was spreading lies about her on social media. social media about having a gun at the meeting.

She then asked how the man got her contact information, if not from the school board itself, since she said she was too scared to talk about it online. “Please tell me, how did this man know that I reported him to you? How did he know? she asked, as some parents behind her, saying they were part of a local chapter of the far-right activist group Moms for Liberty, laughed.

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The man’s denial of owning a gun sparked controversy at the meeting, according to the mother, but she later recounted how a local police officer confirmed the gun was present. “You didn’t think a man with a concealed illegal weapon in a room full of students was worth noticing,” the school board mother scolded. “You didn’t think you needed to tell the community about it.”

“I trusted you to put aside your partisanship and keep our community safe,” she continued. “If we cannot trust you to perform this most fundamental part of your job, I respectfully ask that you step aside.” The majority of the assembled participants then burst into applause.

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The incident in Bucks County is just the latest in a trend of far-right takeovers of school boards across the country.

The problem has become so intense that the National Education Association, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions, released a 2021 guide on what to do about far-right political groups and conspiracy theory movements like QAnon who “radicalize your school board.”

This trend appears to have started in response to pandemic-related issues, such as requiring mask wearing in schools. But it quickly metastasized as right-wing politicians and parents, influenced by Republican-led conspiracy movements and propaganda, became convinced that schools were teaching children critical race theory concepts that denigrate white people (even if they aren’t), and that LGBTQ+ people, and especially transgender people, are pedophile “groomers” who indoctrinate children into queer lifestyles (which is not the case).

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Far-right radical Republican politicians, like Florida Governor and 2024 presidential candidate Ron DeSantis, have urged parents and right-wing voters to infiltrate school boards and other civic appointments by running for local office, and conservative PACs have flooded these races, especially school boards. , with piles of money.

And voters listened. Even states as liberal as California have widespread problems with school board meetings turning into ideological war zones, much like the Central Bucks school board meeting shortly after the mother finished her comments.

Ideological disagreements are of course one thing. But actively endangering a parent you disagree with by essentially handing them over to a person who thinks it’s their duty to carry a gun to a school board meeting full of children is quite another.

Somehow, right-wing parents and educators seem to have forgotten that they are supposed to do all of this on behalf of their children. As the Bucks County mother pointed out in her comments, how are children supposed to learn from adults if they only selectively enforce their rules?

What message does it send to children to have a rule as “safe” if they use it as a weapon against parents they don’t disagree with? If their goal is to teach kids to hate people who disagree with them, well, they’re doing a hell of a job.

And unfortunately, if many of today’s Republican politicians and leaders are to be believed, that is precisely the goal.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.

This article was originally published on YourTango