Governor Glenn Youngkin’s tip line for parents with concerns about in-school practices is triggering outrage on social media, CNN, and the floor of the House of Delegates.
In a Monday appearance on The John Fredericks Show, Youngkin said the email hotline is “for parents to send us any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected, where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools.”
“We’re going to make sure that we catalogue it all,” he added.
Youngkin said it was part of the administration’s work to root out divisive practices, and as an example, referred to a game called privilege bingo that he said was played at Fairfax County High School.
In the House of Delegates Wednesday, Delegate Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax) said the tip line was one of Youngkin’s more provocative actions.
“It’s scary. It is scary, Mr. Speaker, to those of us who have studied history in school,” Simon said. “It reminds anyone who has studied history of some really unpleasant periods in the world history where you have governments encouraging their citizens to rat each other out.”
Delegate Kathy Byron (R-Bedford) said, “We might need to remind you that Governor Northam put up a hotline not too long ago for the business community to call in and talk about things that they saw happening in the public eye. Governor Youngkin encouraged members of the public to reach out if they have concerns about their childrens’ education.”
“How did some in the other party react to this? They called it all kinds of awful. Spying. Mr. Speaker, I’m almost at a loss for words. When did what goes on inside a classroom become a state secret?”
Delegate Don Scott (D-Portsmouth) said Republicans were using race as a wedge issue, and questioned Youngkin’s Christianity.
“When I was here about a month ago with freshman, unexpectedly the governor, governor-elect at the time, he came in this chamber with the freshmen who were being trained and taught and talked about how we do things on the floor. And the first things that I recall him saying was that he had a strong prayer life. And that he was praying for everybody. And so far, what I’ve seen from his day one activities is not someone who is a man of faith, not a Christian, but someone who wants to divide the Commonwealth, someone that wants to cause division in this Commonwealth. I know the truth hurts, I don’t want to say Critical Race Theory because I know it hurts your feelings,” Scott said.
Some in the chamber began to boo, forcing Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah) to bang the gavel for order.
After Scott’s speech, Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) said, “When these claims are made, they’re not just made against Governor Youngkin, they’re not just made against us. They’re made, in part, against the people that elected to send us here.”
He continued, “Just so I’m very clear: will I be nice this session? I would certainly like to be, but I’m not about to sit here and listen to that, Mr. Speaker, and then go home to my constituents and have them ask me, ‘Why didn’t you stand up and defend us?’ So let’s have a robust policy discussion, but if you’re going to question the faith or the intentions of anybody that happens to disagree with you on policy, then you don’t get to lecture us on compassion, tolerance, or an open debate.”
Sources close to the Capitol told The Star that after Youngkin heard Scott’s comments, Youngkin met with Scott at Scott’s office. Youngkin is keeping the details private but Youngkin and Scott had a good conversation and agreed to disagree without being disagreeable.
Other Tipline Reaction
On Tuesday, CNN’s Jim Acosta reacted on Democracy in Peril. In video shared by Mediaite, Acosta said, “I seem to remember Glenn Youngkin campaigning in a fleece vest, he was running as a different kind of Republican. I was told there was going to be a vest, not a Soviet-style police state across the Potomac from Washington.”
Social media users encouraged efforts to overwhelm the hotline with fake reports.
“Governor Youngkin has set up a new tip line to report ‘divisive concepts’ being taught in the classroom. Whatever you do, DON’T spam them or whatever at [email protected],” the Virginia Teen Democrats hinted on Twitter.
Speaker of the House Todd Gilbert told The Virginia Star, “I’m sure CNN would have no problem with an anonymous tip line reporting people not wearing their masks if there was a mask mandate. I’m sure you would not hear a story about that.”
“I think we want to welcome people being free to report things that are either in violation of the law, or a governor’s order. We do that in all kinds of other areas, but when it’s something divisive, all of a sudden everyone decides that they don’t believe in anonymous tips,” Gilbert said.
“Promises made, promises kept. Governor Youngkin put parents back in charge of raising their children, not the teacher’s union, and not bureaucrats that have no business in how a child is taught or raised,” The Virginia Star’s Publisher John Fredericks said. “It should have happened thirty years ago. I want to know what is going on in my classroom, teaching my child.”
He said, “This is a brilliant move, it should sweep the nation, and once again, Governor Glenn Youngkin is way ahead of the curve.”
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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Del. Marcus Simon” by Dalia Palchik. Photo “Del. Don Scott” by Friends of Don Scott. Background Photo “Gov. Glenn Youngkin” by Governor Glenn Youngkin.