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Virginia teachers’ Facebook group reportedly targeting parents opposed to critical race theory

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Loudoun County

An “Anti-Racist” Facebook group, made up of Virginia parents, teachers and school board members, is reportedly targeting parents who are opposed to critical race theory as part of the school’s curriculum.

The group, which is called “anti-racist parents of Loudoun County,” has over 600 members, including “six out of nine” Loudoun County school board members, WTOP News reported.

The group urged its members to gather information on parents who oppose critical race theory and encouraged members to “expose these people publicly,” The Dairy Wire reported.

Austin Levine, a Loudoun County parent, said at a March 23 school board meeting that he was targeted by the Facebook group.

“I am on a list — not Santa’s list — but a list of enemies created by a group led by the marching orders of one of your colleagues,” Levine said, according to WTOP.

“This list included names, places of work, where they lived and their perceived wrongs. I should not have to live in fear because my opinions differ from elected officials’,” Levine said.

Moreover, Levine said there should be “severe punishment” for the group members’ intentional actions.

“Unintended actions, those are forgivable, but intended consequences are not — so when they happen there should be severe punishment,” Levine said at the meeting. “The lists, the crimes, the docs were all your intentions. The ‘thank you’ post on the Facebook group provides undeniable evidence that the outcome met your approval.”

Ian Prior, spokesperson for Loudoun Parents for Education, said that the actions by the Facebook group members constitute a violation of the First Amendment.

“We believe in free speech, in the marketplace of ideas,” he said.

Prior and the other members of the Loudoun Parents for Education group are planning a campaign to recall the school board members allegedly involved in the Facebook group, and the group plans to hold a new election for those seats.

“We’re going to do our best to bring people together to run a campaign to recall those six members that were taking part in this group and clearly were not serving the community,” Prior said. “It’s clear that we have a school board that is quite simply not up to the task.”

Loudoun County Public Schools interim Superintendent Scott Ziegler denied that critical race theory is part of the school’s curriculum.

“Social media rumors that staff members have been disciplined or fired for not adhering to the tenants of critical race theory or for refusing to teach this theory are not true,” Ziegler said in a video statement released to the school community.

Ziegler added that the Loudoun County School provides a “welcoming, inclusive, affirming environment for all students.” He said recent media reports and social media posts have misrepresented the school’s effort to achieve these goals.

“In explaining LCPS’ equity priorities, it might be helpful to state what they are not. They are not an effort to indoctrinate students and staff into a particular philosophy or theory,” Ziegler said.

“LCPS has not adopted Critical Race Theory as a framework for staff to adhere to,” he added.

In response to the “Anti-Racist” Facebook group, Ziegler said while LCPS recognizes the rights of its employees to free speech, it does not condone targeting members of the community for their viewpoint.

His goal is to ensure “every student, employee and member of the community is treated in an equitable, respectful manner.”

The Facebook group is reportedly currently under investigation by the Virginia police.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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Economy

NY Lawmakers want to tax tech giants to get $500M to fund unemployment benefits for illegal migrants

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new york city

New York lawmakers are debating over a proposed Democratic initiative that would pave the way for a multibillion-dollar fund designed to provide unemployment benefits for illegal immigrants. Spearheaded by state Senator Jessica Ramos, a Queens Democrat, the proposal has ignited passionate discussions within the Senate Finance Committee, where it currently awaits further deliberation.

The Center Square reports the proposal would utilize a $500 million trust fund earmarked specifically to offer jobless benefits for individuals who find themselves ineligible for traditional unemployment payments and other public assistance programs. To finance this ambitious endeavor, proponents of the plan are advocating for the imposition of a novel tax targeting tech behemoths like Google and Amazon. This tax, aimed at digital advertising revenue, is projected to generate hundreds of millions of dollars to sustain the fund.

Ramos has alluded to her belief that migrants are a fundamental contribution to the state’s economy. Despite their authorization to work, payment of taxes, and active involvement in the labor force, undocumented immigrants face a glaring disparity—they are excluded from accessing vital safety nets like unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs.

In a social media post, Ramos cited the expiration of federal unemployment insurance for freelancers and the depletion of the Excluded Workers Fund. She argues vehemently for a safety net aligned with the evolving dynamics of the labor market, one that extends support to all workers, regardless of their immigration status.

The proposed fund, aptly named the Unemployment Bridge Program, outlines comprehensive eligibility criteria encompassing a spectrum of marginalized workers—from undocumented migrants to freelancers and individuals recently released from incarceration or immigrant detention. By establishing clear guidelines and procedures, the program endeavors to streamline the application process, ensuring equitable access to unemployment benefits for those in need.

The initiative comes in the wake of prolonged deliberations regarding jobless benefits for undocumented immigrants and nontraditional workers in New York. Amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state previously allocated $2.1 billion to the Excluded Workers Fund, offering a lifeline to those excluded from conventional unemployment benefits.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2025 underscores a commitment to supporting asylum seekers, with significant allocations directed towards housing and legal assistance. The proposal has met with opposition from Republicans, who argue for prioritizing legal residents and taxpayers in the allocation of state resources. Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt contends that limited resources should be reserved exclusively for those who have contributed to the state’s tax base.

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