By Corinne Murdock |
Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) Governing Board member Lindsay Love won’t be seeking re-election this coming year. The freshman board member decided one term was enough after what will be four years of escalating tensions between the board and parents. During her tenure, Love was integral to mounting divisiveness and controversy between parents and the board with her advocacy for social justice agendas such as comprehensive sex education and equity initiatives aligned with Critical Race Theory.
In a Halloween interview with 12 News to explain why her first term at CUSD will be her last, Love remarked on the tensions between her and the community. She followed that observation with a comment that she was the first woman of color and Democrat to join the board, though CUSD Board members are presented as nonpartisan.
Love claimed that she arrived as an answer to the “high profile” incidents of racism in CUSD when she ran in 2018. In January of that year, a Snapchat video of San Tan Junior High students chanting a song that included racial slurs circulated. Along with that controversial Snapchat video, CUSD parents alleged that their students were experiencing racist bullying.
Upon Love’s arrival to the board in 2019, her social justice agendas incited controversies of their own. Concerned parents and community members such as Not In Our Schools began documenting Love’s policy approaches – especially her connection to Planned Parenthood. Love’s sister, Chris Love, chairs the board of Planned Parenthood Advocates Arizona, the advocacy arm of Planned Parenthood Arizona.
Love has advocated for more expansive K-12 sex education, pushing back against CUSD’s leading with an abstinence-focused approach. Her sister also disagrees with abstinence. In a profile with Emerge America, Love explained that her sister urged her to run for the CUSD board and emphasized the importance of swapping abstinence-only education for a “comprehensive” sex education.
“Our children deserve medically-accurate and age appropriate comprehensive sex education because abstinence-only education has done little to reduce the teen pregnancy rate in Arizona which is higher than the national average,” said Love.
Love has received help from her sister in other ways. During a board meeting last January, her sister led a group that shouted down the board for not allowing more public comment on the topic of revising sex education.
The Love sisters are similar in many regards, including their predilection for embracing controversy. Chris Love made light of her use of dismembered baby doll parts for her “spooky” Christmas tree. She later tweeted that she appreciated the work of the Texas Satanic Temple for their activism to reverse Texas’s abortion law.
“A tribute to the other Love sister – Courtney Love – or the anti-abortion trolls. You pick. Still, these are getting spooked up and placed on the Halloween tree! I’ll write the headline for you. ‘Chandler School Board member dismembers Black babies for Satanic abortion tree,’” wrote Chris. “The white dolls will be ready tomorrow. I’m equal opportunity for #SpookySzn.”
“Before the antis get their panties in a bunch, I absolutely appreciate the abortion rights work of @satanic_temple_ . Have y’all even seen my #TrickOrTree?” wrote Chris.
Even with parental pushback on certain subjects, Lindsay Love has consistently doubled down throughout her tenure. In terms of her equity initiatives harmonious with Critical Race Theory concepts, Love has insisted that schools have been “built off of white supremacy” and that not seeing students for their color harms students. She’s also supported efforts to have teachers acknowledge their “unconscious bias” while students explore their racial and ethnic identities.
In an argument for a revised history that would offer a purportedly more accurate account of the harms done to minorities and oppressed groups, Love claimed that Critical Race Theory isn’t being taught in schools and that the concern for it was manufactured by parents wanting to protect white children.
“These school board meeting takeovers are manufactured by people who are afraid of the impact of our full and accurate history on white children,” wrote Love.
A little over a year ago, Love deleted a controversial Twitter account after tweeting that good manners were white supremacy.
“Hey guys! Politeness is white supremacy. Every time you prioritize politeness and civility over everything in a conversation, you are complicit in upholding white supremacy. All that to say, DISRUPT,” wrote Love.
As reported by Arizona Daily Independent, Love also likened conservative black radio host James T. Harris to a “house slave” and insisted he suffered from “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” for his differing political views. These remarks also appeared in the “Community Love” group.
Amid the surge of parent demands for curriculum reform and transparency, as well as ending mask mandates, Love shared a controversial Politico opinion piece in September titled, “The Dangerous Legal Illusion of ‘Parental Rights.’” Love posted that in her community group page for CUSD community members and affiliates, “Community Love.” In her post, Love quoted the following from the opinion piece:
“When it comes to society’s interest in protecting children, the legal precedent is unambiguous: The rights of their parents come second. Parents do have the freedom to direct the health care and education of their children, but these rights are not unlimited. As the Supreme Court said in Prince v. Massachusetts, parents are not free ‘to make martyrs of their children’ by putting them in harm’s way. Governments can and do limit parents’ discretion with the goal of protecting the health, safety and welfare of children. One example is child car seat requirements, which exist in all 50 states. Every state also has a law authorizing the government to intervene when parents abuse or neglect their children.
All 50 states also have the power to limit parental discretion to protect other children. For instance, schools and day care facilities are heavily regulated by local, state and federal laws to make sure that they are safe. Children who attend school are required to be immunized in all 50 states. These requirements have been upheld by numerous courts, including the Supreme Court. Schools also prohibit parents from sending children to school when they are sick, and a federal appeals court held that unimmunized children could be excluded from school during “an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease.” Given these legal precedents, it is clear that schools and day care facilities can require masks as a condition of attendance.” (emphasis added)
Love’s approach to governance hasn’t been complemented by the district’s efforts, either. CUSD made national news last month after it was discovered that the district coordinated with Chandler Police Department (CPD) to surveil and act against parents who protested masking requirements.
Love’s decision to leave after only one term is unusual. Former Arizona Superintendent Diane Douglas told AZ Free News that she’s observed many school board members staying on for three or more terms, because the first term is more of a learning curve.
“The first term is generally a learning curve. It needs to be a pretty quick one. At eight years you really hit your stride and get good at understanding. After twelve years – anyone that stays any longer it becomes more about the person than the community. It’s really for the wrong reasons after that,” stated Douglas.
Douglas added that she hopes Love’s replacement would better represent constituent interests.
“I would hope that the community would consider candidates that would be more reflective of the community itself. It doesn’t seem like she has been,” remarked Douglas.
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.