The Columbus Dispatch
LETTER TO THE EDITOR We must take threats seriously
As a retired public-school teacher from the Hilliard School District, I am very concerned about the frivolous lawsuit filed against Hilliard Schools (Jan. 19 “Hilliard superintendent replies to parents’ suit”, Jan. 25 “Hilliard schools seeks suit dismissal”, Feb 15 “Hilliard school board members stand against suit”).
One of the outspoken plaintiffs lost her race for the Hilliard Board of Education last year. She receives guidance as the leader of the Ohio chapter of Parents Rights in Education, also known as Parents Rights Now, an organization founded in Oregon by Suzanne Gallagher, a political organizer and former president of the Eagle Forum.
Ohio has several shady organizations that are working to turn community members against our public schools, and politicians are using school culture wars as a strategy to win elections. Many of these groups claim to be “regular parents” looking out for their children, but they are not - they are a well-funded façade for school profiteers whose goal is to privatize public education.
Other central Ohio districts are dealing with another suspicious group, Protect Ohio Children, which is run by Ohio Value Voters, a staunch supporter of school privatization. Protect Ohio Children encourages Ohioans to anonymously submit examples of what they consider as “obscene, radical or dangerous information” from area school districts which are then featured on its “indoctrination map.” It’s a clever tool for alarming voters for political gain.
We must take the threat of these organizations seriously. Their political operatives are well-coached, well-resourced, and well-funded, and they are very skilled at manipulating uninformed folks to further their agenda.
Let’s reject the misguided rhetoric of groups that seek to disrupt and diminish the exceptional education that students receive in school districts like Hilliard.
Jeanne Melvin, Columbus