This week, Twitter silenced another prominent conservative voice — this time, one relied on heavily by parents and older generations distant from today’s social media fads. Libs of TikTok, the social media account that offered parents insight on what the world was exposing to their children through educators and pop culture, was suspended for 12 hours on Twitter. The social media giant said that the account’s content violated rules on hateful conduct: promoting violence against, threatening, or harassing other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliatoin, age, disability, or serious disease.
Effectively, Twitter implemented its “account-level enforcement” of “placing an account in read-only mode.” Twitter noted that it saved these account-level tactics for “particularly egregious” or repeated violations of its rules.
The account launched in November 2020, reposting videos from the Chinese social media app TikTok in order to display a more comprehensive view of the left’s political ideology. It began to pick up more popularity last summer, jumping from under 100 likes to several hundred to thousands within months. The account owner’s identity remains anonymous, but virtual anonymous interviews revealed that the owner is female.
According to social media analyses, Libs of Tiktok’s most-used words included, in order: teacher, students, school, parents, and kids. At the time of her suspension, she had close to 612,000 followers. The highest number of retweets achieved on one tweet revealing that a school nurse was suspended over “transphobic comments” reached over 6,000, while the highest number of likes reached over 26,000 on a clip of Fox News host Tucker Carlson praising her work.
News of the account’s suspension came from Seth Dillon, CEO of The Babylon Bee: a satire news company that was banned from Twitter. The satire site’s ban occurred after it published the story, “The Babylon Bee’s Man Of The Year Is Rachel Levine,” poking fun at the current U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) assistant secretary of health.
As evident, the offending content of both Twitter accounts remain available. However, Twitter stipulated to The Babylon Bee that it must remove the offending tweet before it may access its account. Twitter placed no such stipulation on Libs of TikTok — the suspension functioned as a warning to moderate future content.
AZ Free News has relied on Libs of TikTok and even TikTok itself for our reporting. In October, we discovered that the teacher nominated by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs for a national youth leadership award was pushing the vast majority of popular left-wing political ideologies in her elementary school classroom. Libs of TikTok helped notify Arizonans and the world of the three female students at Arizona State University (ASU) who harassed two fellow students for being white males with perceived conservative attire in their multicultural center.
Most recently, Libs of Tik Tok revealed an American government class at ASU telling students that state efforts to require voter ID, get rid of permanent early voting lists, restrict early voting, remove mail-in voting, and close primaries were forms of voter suppression.
Around three weeks after privately sending an apology to its members for its controversial letter asking the Biden Administration to investigate parents for domestic terrorism, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) posted their apology memo on their website’s news page and backdated it to make it appear as though they’d publicized the apology on the same day they’d sent it.
After state associations began disaffiliating with and denouncing the NSBA for its letter, the NSBA sent its members an apology memo on October 22. Per our original reporting on October 30, the NSBA hadn’t publicized that apology memo on their news page. They also hadn’t deleted their celebratory press release about the Biden Administration heeding their call to investigate parents. As of press time, the apology memo was listed as one of their most recent news releases.
Archived versions of the webpage on October 23 show no record of the apology that they allegedly publicized on their site on October 22. Rather, the news at the top of NSBA’s page that day concerned the appointment of Dr. Viola Garcia to the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB). In fact, the memo wasn’t published on their news page until some point between November 11 and 14. That’s when they also chose to delete their celebratory press release about the Biden Administration heeding their call to investigate parents, although as of press time they hadn’t deleted the affiliated tweet or Facebook post issued the same day as the press release.
“@TheJusticeDept’s swift action is a strong message to individuals with violent intent who are focused on causing chaos, disrupting public schools & driving wedges between school boards & the parents, students, & communities they serve,” read the NSBA post.
Over the last few weeks, school board members and other education leaders have received death threats and have been subjected to threats and harassment, both online and in person. The individuals who are intent on causing chaos and disrupting our schools—many of whom are not even connected to local schools—are drowning out the voices of parents who must be heard when it comes to decisions about their children’s education, health, and safety. These acts of intimidation are also affecting educational services and school board governance. Some have even led to school lockdowns. The U.S. Department of Justice’s swift action is a strong message to individuals with violent intent who are focused on causing chaos, disrupting our public schools, and driving wedges between school boards and the parents, students, and communities they serve. We need to get back to the work of meeting all students’ needs and making sure that each student is prepared for a successful future. That’s what school board members and parents care about.
They’d also tweeted and posted to Facebook about their letter to the White House on the same day that they publicized the letter on the website.
However, NSBA didn’t announce the apology memo on either their Twitter or Facebook. Initial news reports on the apology memo didn’t link to the post allegedly available at the time on NSBA’s website, either.
Unlike some of NSBA’s other state associations, the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) hasn’t denounced or withdrawn from the NSBA over the White House letter, only publicizing their support for it.
Instead, ASBA has remained silent on that issue indicative of the conflict between public schools and parents – even as those tensions have come to a head in their own backyard. Last Tuesday, it was discovered that the father of newly-demoted Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) Governing Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg had compiled a secret Google Drive dossier on parents and other political enemies. Greenburg reportedly had access to the drive and sent a picture of it to one of the targeted parents.
One day after the initial news of the Greenburg dossier broke, ASBA announced a webinar event educating members on how to be a good school board president on Facebook and Twitter. The webinar occurred Wednesday – two days after SUSD demoted Greenburg from the presidency in a special meeting. Greenburg refused to resign his membership, claiming that the board didn’t have “all the facts” and making multiple remarks insinuating that investigations currently underway would exonerate him. Both SUSD and Scottsdale Police Department (SPD) are investigating the dossier; Greenburg inferred that at least one private investigation was also underway.
“Being board president used to look easy, even though it wasn’t,” read the webinar description. “Now being board president is even more complex given the amount of public interest in school board meetings. Learns [sic] the ins and outs of board presidency and decide if it’s right for you.”
The event will be hosted by ASBA Leadership Development Manager Julie Bacon and ASBA Interim Director of Legal Services David DeCabooter.
After vigilant parents sounded the alarm about a consent form they were asked to sign electronically that would have asked their children highly personal questions, Scottsdale Unified School District leadership apologized.
The District’s leadership advised parents that they would not be asked to authorize the District to “complete an emotional health and wellness screening of my child and to collect personal information, medical history or medical information, mental health history or mental health information, and quality of home and interpersonal relationships, student biometric information, or illegal, antisocial or self-incriminating behavior critical appraisal of individuals within a close relationship and gun/ammunition ownership.
The District claims those issues were mentioned inadvertently in a portion of students’ annual verification packet:
On May 4, 2021, Scottsdale Unified School District’s (SUSD) administration recommended that the Governing Board approve the FastBridge program as a social emotional learning screener for students in Kindergarten through 12th grades. It was already being used as an academic screener for grades K through 3.
This social emotional screening program, which the Board voted to adopt, is used to evaluate students overall general behavior including but not limited to, social, academic and emotional behavior. Screening is typically completed within three minutes, with results available immediately to parents and staff. These findings enable our teachers, social worker and guidance counselor professionals to help identify students who may be in need of additional support and intervention programs and to make that support available as early as possible.
The screening tool is optional and one that parents have a choice to authorize for use with their children each school year.
Notwithstanding this, SUSD’s initial parent acknowledgment form incorrectly stated that the FastBridge screener might ask for personal information about income family matters, medical or family medical history, mental health history and other categories of private information.
To be clear, the FastBridge screener does not and has never sought this information. The waiver form that initially appeared in ParentVUE as part of the parents’ annual acknowledgment was a standard waiver form that had not yet been properly tailored to SUSD’s use. The form has since been amended to reflect the information that is actually collected. We apologize for this oversight and offer our services that SUSD does not support, endorse or collect any family personal information through FastBridge.
Leadership goes on to claim that Scottsdale parents “have stressed to us how important it is for schools to support their students social emotional learning.”
“Our sole goal in acquiring FastBridge,” wrote leadership, “is to be able to support the whole child and offer help to students sooner when we see that academic and behavioral issues in the classroom are limiting their opportunities to learn and grow.”
This “apology” raises too many questions and red flags. From the implication that a child’s social emotional well-being can be assessed in three minutes, to the claim that leadership is responding to parents’ pleas that the schools support their students’ social emotional learning, the missive misses the mark for any discerning reader.
Any educator who believes that they can assess a child in any meaningful way in three minutes is misguided at best and likely committing educational malpractice at worst.
The fact that our schools continue to cater to the fear-mongering teachers’ unions, thus strongly encouraging masks and vaccines for students K-8, clearly shows that they have put the students’ social and emotional well-being far down their list of priorities.
While the apology is appreciated by many parents, I fear that it will prompt them to drop their guard and not look carefully at the other consent forms they are asked to sign. There is also the danger that parents might assume that their children are not turning over this information in their classrooms at all when nothing could be further from the truth.
Parents need to be on guard at all times, and at all times they must assume that their children are products – the data they produce, the insights they give, the very supplies they prefer to bring to school are all of value to those who benefit – in one way or another – from the education industrial complex.
School age children and their parents are facing multiple issues and making difficult decisions as schools officials, school board members, and teachers’ unions wreak havoc with their schedules and learning environments. As a result, many students are falling behind and many parents are struggling to keep up with all of it.
It seems every week, the news is filled with headlines related to school openings, school closings, and teacher “sick outs.” Rarely do we hear from the families that are affected by the decisions reflected in the headlines.
Those families are facing the hard choice of keeping their jobs to support their families or losing their jobs to stay home and teach their children. Many parents are feeling hopeless and see themselves in a lose-lose situation, especially single parents.
Parents are also getting frustrated at the lack of consistency. While school unions claim its unsafe to return to in person school, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci doesn’t agree.
“The default position should be to try as best as possible within reason to keep the children in school or to get them back to school.” Stated the controversial but always overly cautious Fauci, “If you look at the data, the spread among children and from children is not really very big at all, not like one would have suspected.”
So why then are schools not opening? Many teachers are refusing to go back into the classroom and with the pre-existing teacher shortage already in high demand its putting school district administrators, parents and students in a rough position.
While parents are trying to be positive and agreeable, the schools are providing little support. According to Melissa, the teachers seem to be more lenient when it comes to assignment deadlines, but that is about it. outside of that. Melissa, like countless other parents, is certain her kids aren’t learning as much as they usually would if they were in school.
Katie, a single mom, had to make a very difficult choice. Without her kids in school, she would have had to pay for daycare, paying out more than she earned in the collapsing service industry.
Katie has decided on homeschooling for now, saying she felt like the pandemic was being treated as more of a political issue then a community safety issue.
According to care.com childcare cost averaged $215 a week in 2019, or $10,320 annually. Paying for a nanny is averaged $565 a week in 2019, or $27,120 annually. Creating an impossible situation for parents that need to work outside of their household.
After school programs have also been placed on hold during the pandemic making it even more stressful on parents and creating a negative effect on children’s mental health.
According to teachersforopenschools.com, “students are experiencing many increased risks: up to 14 months of learning loss; food insecurity rates have doubled from 18% to 35%; emergency department visits related to mental health have increased 24 percent for children aged 5-11 and have spike 31 percent among adolescents aged 12-17.”
Instead of the focus being on providing the best and safest education to students, schools seem comfortable leaving many unanswered questions while keeping school doors closed.