'You let the bullies win': Parents confront Tennessee school board after it cancels Mother’s Day event

'You let the bullies win': Parents confront Tennessee school board after it cancels Mother’s Day event
Image via screengrab.

Parents in Chattanooga, Tennessee boldly confronted the Hamilton County School Board and its Superintendent Justin Robertson "for caving to Moms (Against) Liberty-led bullying and canceling a librarian’s Mother's Day lesson inclusive to kids without moms," The Tennessee Holler tweeted on Sunday.

Moms for Liberty (which the paper dinged as "against") is a right-wing organization that campaigns against social progress and civil rights. Media Matters for America pointed out in November 2021 that the non-profit has deep connections to the Republican Party and "has county-specific chapters across the country that target local school board meetings, school board members, administrators, and teachers." Moms for Liberty also promoted "stripping districts of protective COVID-19 measures" and seeks to "modify classroom curriculum to exclude the teaching of 'critical race theory' (CRT) and sex education, all in the name of 'parental rights.'"

Last Tuesday, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, Alpine Crest Elementary School librarian Caroline Mickey posted a letter on Moms for Liberty's website stating that "With Mother's Day approaching, I'd like to highlight this special role, but I am sensitive to the fact that not all students live with a mother. As such, I am planning a lesson that celebrates those who fill the motherly roles in our lives."

Then, on Wednesday, ABC News Channel 9 explained that Mickey's event was "designed to include students who didn't have what is considered a 'traditional' mother. But the group Hamilton County Moms for Liberty said the books promoted what they call the 'homosexual agenda.'"

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The outlet also noted that "Moms for Social Justice has started a petition to bring back the Mother's Day course" and that the board's decision sparked widespread outrage in the community and garnered national attention — which leads to the video shared by The Tennessee Holler over the weekend.

In it, several parents excoriate the school board for kowtowing to Moms for Liberty's demands. They held nothing back.

Mom number one:

The books that were to be shared have been accessible at Alpine Crest Elementary for nearly a decade and are logged and online. These books are well known for tackling blended families, adopted families, foster families, or any family that doesn't fit perfectly into a box. All students, families, and educators deserve to be respected and feel valued.

Mom number two:

I'm extremely disappointed in the way an inclusive Mother's Day lesson was canceled, and my kids' librarian has been vilified. I knew there would be pushback from a few loud bullies, but I'm enraged that the administration sided with them. A majority of families have been denied an important lesson in our increasingly diversified world, and a platform was given to a group of fear-mongering extremists. This group claims that a story about a bear is pushing trans ideology, and a story about a girl feeling left out during Mother's Day is pushing a homosexual agenda. They say this is 'sexualization of children' when they're the only ones that brought sex into it. The only agenda I'm seeing play out is that of Moms for Liberty, a well-funded and connected political group that prays on vulnerable people with manufactured outrage and the guise of protecting children. I'm here right now to protect my children from them. I'd have to strongly disagree that this group cares about the safety of all kids. The motivation behind the cancellation of a compassionate literacy lesson sends a message to minorities and LGBTQ families that their existence is unacceptable. By shielding your kids from love that looks different than yours, you're turning them into bullies and crippling them from living successfully in a diverse world.

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A dad:

I've never seen them there shoveling mulch, putting up swing sets, painting door frames. We're here in the trenches. We're here with these children. This is 2023. I'm a Christian man, married to a woman, but I think everyone should be represented fairly. If you want to keep your kids in a closet and just shelter them from everything, homeschool them. Send them to Christian school. This is a public school for everyone. Everyone. I've dealt with that woman. She loves these kids.

Mom number three:

Instead of backing Mrs. Mickey up, you let the bullies win. When you let the bullies win, they're going to keep bullying. I understand that these adult bullies have intimidated and incited an ungodly amount of hate in our community. But you HCS leadership and admin must show them that you have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying. When you have a board policy that states you expect all students to treat each other with civility and respect, and then you let grown adults bully one of your educators, and you let them interrupt the education of our students, you're teaching the community that you don't actually mean what you say. What about my right? Why wasn't my voice heard before you decided to cancel this lesson? I'll finish with this. My child repeats this pledge at school every day. I'm respectful. I'm responsible. I'm caring. I'm ready to learn. I have tiger pride. You know what other lesson Alpine Crest students learn? Don't be a bystander, be an upstander and support and protect your peers against bullying. I think HCS leadership and admin would benefit from learning that lesson. Let's hope you don't decide to cancel that one too.

Watch the footage below or at this link.

READ MORE: Silencing dissent is the point in Tennessee

Media Matters for America's full report continues here. News Channel 9's is here. Chattanooga Times Free Press' is here.

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