Just Report It… Unless You’re a Conservative Parent

by James A. Bacon

The Washington Post is still fulminating about the Youngkin administration’s “toxic” school tip line. By inviting parents to send “reports and observations” on divisive material taught in schools, writes the editorial board today, the administration could intimidate teachers and send “the message they should tread carefully, particularly on instruction involving race, or avoid such topics altogether.”

Hmmm. I wonder where the Youngkinites got the idea for a tip line?

Maybe everywhere they turn.

Mechanisms for reporting bias, discrimination and harassment are ubiquitous in Virginia education. I’ll throw out examples from the first two institutions I checked.

First, the Fairfax County Public Schools: The FCPS human resources department website instructs people on how to file “a complaint of discrimination.”

To file a complaint of discrimination, you may contact the Office of Equity and Employee Relations (EER) directly at 571-423-3070, email us at EEO@fcps.educomplete a complaint form, or put your concerns in writing. A complaint should be filed immediately following the event giving rise to the complaint but no later than one year after. Once completed, the form or letter should be forwarded to: Office of Equity and Employee Relations.

Second, there’s this from a University of Virginia web page entitled, “Just Report It.”

If you are not a University student or employee, you may report such conduct by or affecting (1) a University student, by contacting Student Affairs, or (2) a University employee, by contacting the Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights.

These are tip lines in everything but name. I could go on and on but, frankly, the exercise would quickly become monotonous. Schools and universities across Virginia encourage people to report alleged incidents of bias, discrimination and sexual harassment. It’s so routine we take it for granted.

The Post is exercised about the prospect that the Youngkin tip line “could” be used to intimidate teachers. After more than half a year since the tip line was set up, the editorial writers can’t document a single instance of such abuse. To the contrary, Team Youngkin appears to have been, dare I say, intimidated into silence about the tip line. When’s the last time the Governor brought up the topic? When I asked the Superintendent of Public Education about it a couple of months ago, I got a no comment.

The Post is also agitated by the fact that the administration is resisting FOIA requests, backed up by a lawsuit filed by several news organizations, to gain access to the tip line’s submissions. Curious. I don’t see The Washington Post or any other news organization filing FOIAs and lawsuits to get UVa or Fairfax schools to cough up submissions reporting bias or discrimination.

Governments routinely maintain tip lines for citizens to report waste, fraud and abuse. The problem isn’t the collecting of information. It’s a matter of concern only if government acts upon that information improperly.

Speaking on the John Fredericks radio show, Youngkin described the tip line as a channel “for parents to send us any instances where they feel their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected [and] where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools.”

Where else is Team Youngkin going to get information about such abuses? From public school officials? Yeah, right, we’ve seen how open and transparent Loudoun County school officials are. From the media? Yeah, right. The establishment media has done everything within its power to obscure, downplay or deny that conservative parents have genuine concerns.

The only legitimate question is what the Youngkin administration does with the information it receives. Have Youngkin’s operatives used tip-line reports to “intimidate” teachers or other school officials? If they have, the circumstances surrounding such incidents deserve a closer look. If not, WaPo editorial writers are foaming at the mouth over an entirely hypothetical concern that, based upon what we know, exists only in their fervid imaginations.

Perhaps the newspaper that believes “Democracy dies in darkness” should turn its attention to Attorney General Merrick Garland, who last year cited an alleged  “spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence” by irate parents against school officials as justification for involving the FBI in local law enforcement. Talk about intimidation!

But the WaPo doesn’t oppose intimidation as a tactic of government. It has no issue with Garland intimidating rowdy Deplorables objecting to sexualized curricula for young children and pornographic “literature” in libraries. People whom the WaPo does approve of, such as woke teachers and administrators, should be allowed to operate free from public scrutiny… in the dark, you might say.