Gail Huff Brown: Time for parents to have a seat in the classroom. – The Union Leader

gail-huff-brown:-time-for-parents-to-have-a-seat-in-the-classroom.-–-the-union-leader

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WHEN MY HUSBAND and I put our daughters through school, we were engaged in every step of the process. The schools they attended, both public and private institutions, recognized that parents were partners, and honored the important role that partnership played in child development. Recently, that has changed — the role of government and political activists now outsizes the role of parents.Recently, two different New Hampshire schools made headlines after creating outrage because some parents opposed their mask policies. In Derry, West Running Brook Middle School warned parents that if a child was wearing an “ill-fitting mask” then that child would be sent to detention to “be educated” on the importance of masks.This is not a dissimilar policy from Newmarket Junior-Senior High’s, where a student can receive detention, or even suspension, for not wearing a mask. Newmarket’s principal even went so far as to tell parents that if they didn’t like the policy they could remove their children and take them elsewhere.It is right for parents to have competing opinions on what is going on in the classrooms where their children are educated. It is right for parents to engage in spirited debate about those opinions. It is wrong and un-American for parents, who don’t immediately accept the status quo, to be put down or villainized for asking simple questions.As I think about my daughters’ experience in school, and what my grandchildren will soon experience, it horrifies me to imagine them being sent to detention and forced to take part in “re-education” because they are not wearing a mask. If Ayla or Arianna had been forced to spend the afternoon in detention instead of pursuing one of their passions, such as basketball, music, or animal care, I would have been furious.Last October, the National School Boards Association asked Joe Biden to use the Patriot Act against parents. This act was established after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, to “intercept and obstruct terrorism.” I can’t imagine targeting parents who are attending school board meetings across the country and speaking out against everything from Critical Race Theory to school mask mandates.Here in New Hampshire, we recently saw the latest example of the left’s growing anti-parent agenda when the head of the Timberlane Teachers’ Association sent out an email saying “let us do our jobs without interference from parents and laws.” For context, this was said in opposition to a bill in the State House that would allow parents to give educators two weeks notice if they wished their child to opt out of components of the school’s curriculum.It’s no wonder that parents are protesting and asking the legislature to take action. Remember when schools went virtual during the COVID pandemic and parents got an unfiltered glimpse into the day-to-day education of their children? Parents clearly did not like what they saw. As a result, they got involved and stayed involved. A recent study found that two-thirds of parents now know their children’s strengths and weaknesses in school, and 43% are more confident in their communication with teachers.Thankfully, parents are fighting back. New Hampshire’s Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut set up a “tip line” for parents and students to report cases of discrimination in school following the passage of HB 2, Right to Freedom from Discrimination in Public Workplaces and Education. If a parent or student believes that a teacher has violated the law, they can file an online report. If guilty, educators face losing their teaching licenses. The “tip line” is so popular that newly-elected Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin is implementing a similar program in the wake of a recent scandal where children were discovered to be assigned to play “privilege bingo” in school. This “game” pitted children against each other based on the color of their skin, gender identity, and upbringing.As a mother and a grandmother, I know what it is like to put children through the school system, and I share the same concerns that so many new parents do today when observing what’s happening in our schools. I don’t want my daughters and sons-in-law targeted by the FBI because they chose to speak out at a school board meeting.We need to take action.I unequivocally support the passing of a Parent’s Bill of Rights that would guarantee parents have a seat in the classroom. As your congresswoman that will be one of my top priorities. That’s just the beginning though. As a mother and grandmother I will keep the pressure on the left’s radical policies and indoctrination of our children by continuing to support measures that allow parents to have a well-deserved and necessary voice in the classroom. It’s what our children deserve.

Gail Huff Brown is a Republican candidate for US Congress. She lives in Rye.
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