Breaking: PWC School Board Chair Violates Law?Jun 20, 2017
The chairman of the Prince William County School Board has apparently decided to take a page out of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s playbook and violate the law and policy to accomplish his personal agenda.
The Board is set to vote tomorrow night on a controversial policy that would threaten the dignity, privacy and safety of school children in intimate settings like showers and locker rooms. At multiple meetings over the past year, opponents to the policy have dominated the public comment period at board meetings. Apparently, the chair of the board, Ryan Sawyers, is tired of the opposition – you know, parents and grandparents of children in the schools. (Sawyers is currently seeking the Democrat nomination to run for Congress in the First District.)
Through text messages obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request from Delegate Bob Marshall, it was revealed that that Sawyers is apparently trying to use his power and influence to place hand selected speakers at the top of the public comment list for tomorrow's meeting, instead of requiring them to sign up like everyone else.
The first person Sawyers wants to speak? The first openly transgendered candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates who just happens to be running against Marshall in Prince William County.
That would be called a politically motivated PR stunt.
At the last school board meeting, the first ten people who had signed up were able to speak during the public comment period, but several others were forced to wait until the end of the meeting to speak, at the decision of the chair. If that same thing happens tomorrow, it would mean that Sawyers' hand selected proponents of the policy would be able to speak before the vote, but all those who oppose would be forced to wait until after the vote to speak.
According to Marshall’s press release, “A Legislative Services attorney advised Marshall today that the Prince William School Board’s own regulations (133-1) in sections B and E, provide that persons are to speak in the order in which they have put in their requests to speak. Chairman Sawyers’ directive that his preferred list of supporters speak first, ‘cannot be given precedence over any speakers who signed up with the Clerk to speak before the submission by the chair.’”
Marshall said, “I asked the PW School Board Clerk today whether Sawyers’ list was submitted after others had requested to speak. The Clerk responded that other citizens had already signed up to speak prior to the Chairman’s submission. Legal counsel further advised me that if the Board failed to follow its own regulations in adopting transgender policy changes, that failure could give rise to a court invalidation of such action.”
Of course, in Terry McAuliffe’s Virginia, rules and regulations are simply a burden to be ignored. It is his administration that violated the law multiple times to roll back abortion center health and safety standards, a decision that is now being challenged in court. Apparently, now others are following his lead, knowing that the media won’t hold them accountable, and few have the resources to fight these illegal acts in court.
It remains to be seen if the Board bows to the chairman’s illegal action or follows the law.
Media reports indicate that five members of the eight member board are prepared to vote favorably on the dangerous policy, despite overwhelming public opposition.
Our parents, the State
Our parents, the State
Mississippi has become the latest test case for determining parental rights of same-sex couples where one of the adults has no biological relation to the child. Nationwide, disputes are raging about what the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to impose its redefinition of marriage on all 50 states now means for designations of parenthood, which prior to its opinion, rested on a paradigm that recognized children as the biological creation of a male (i.e. “father”) and female (i.e. “mother”).
But now with the Court’s 2015 same-sex marriage opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, and even more recently with the Court’s decision in Pavan v. Smith (2017) requiring both adults in a same-sex marriage to be listed on birth certificates, that long-standing paradigm has necessarily shifted. The “logical” effects are unavoidable: To dispense with biology in the marital union is to upend it in matters of parenthood too.
Aside from the most glaring harm of intentionally and officially depriving countless children of either their father or their mother for a lifetime, we should not fail to recognize that the further we go down this road of separating parental rights from biological ties, the closer we move towards enabling the State to usurp parental rights altogether. It’s not rocket science. Once having removed the most sacred, significant, and objective measure of parenthood from its nature – biological procreation – the State by default will delegate authority and recognize rights of parenthood however and to whomever it pleases.
This of course means that while some people stand to gain in this newly constructed system of parenthood, many others will lose and lose big, since a biological connection to one’s child can no longer be afforded any special weight for parenthood determinations in a post-Obergefell society.
This also means that children, and therefore all people, will increasingly become subjects of the State rather than citizens in a free society. (Historical Note: We fought a revolution to untether ourselves from that very kind of tyranny.) There is just no way around it; when marriage and parenthood are defined ultimately by the State, the State naturally assumes the ultimate and unrestricted role of parens patriae.
Welcome to the world, little one. Meet your Parents, the State. (who will assign to you your designated “official parents”)
We’ve seen this before (just elsewhere), and we will be no exception unless we decide to reverse course. What we should have learned by now is that the extent to which the government intrudes upon the dominion of the family, we lose in equal measure the opportunity to govern ourselves. And when that happens, we cease to be free.
Even if, in the end, we were all theoretically okay with that arrangement, we should still know that the State can never be an effective parent for any child. Contrary to the oft-quoted adage, it really doesn’t take a village to raise a child. It takes a mom and a dad. Knowing this to be true, as citizens in a free society (who wish to so remain), we owe it to every child and every parent to see that by all means – governmental and nongovernmental – they are ensured that opportunity.
Maybe it's freedom that's at stake?
Maybe it's freedom that's at stake?
There’s been a lot of banter on Virginia political blogs recently about the state of Ralph Northam’s campaign for governor and just how accurate are polls showing a statistical dead heat. Some are reporting internal grumblings among Democrats that indicate serious concerns within that party over Northam’s campaign just a few weeks out from Election Day.
A test of whether or not there is true concern can often be found in the pages of the Washington Post. And, sure enough, there have been a series of recent articles from Post reporters seeking to stir up controversy over everything from Republican candidate Ed Gillespie’s direct mail pieces to his fundraising. (Not to mention some pretty bogus polling numbers.)
Their goal: drive Northam’s base into a frenzy so they’ll actually show up to vote and discourage potential Gillespie voters who don’t want to vote for what the Post wants them to believe is a losing candidate.
But this is the Post headline that takes the cake in hyperbole:
“Future of Public Education at Stake in Virginia’s Governor Race”
Que the left wing hysteria!
Imagine that. The entire future of public education rests on our gubernatorial race.
It should surprise no one that the entire article attacks Gillespie for his support of policies that would give families more education freedom. The article proceeds with a litany of accusations about how terrible it would be if parents are provided more options than the school to which their child is assigned based on nothing more than their zip code. Everything from charter schools to Education Savings Accounts is attacked as “Bad for Kids” according to numerous quotes from those opposed to parental freedom, namely the education establishment.
The article countered with quotes from supporters of education freedom…oh wait, never mind. There are no quotes in the article from supports of education freedom. None. Anywhere. Zero.
There are, of course, lots of scare quotes about Betsy DeVos, current U.S. Secretary of Education, who has used a personal fortune to advance the cause of education freedom.
Northam makes it clear that he hates the idea of “unaccountable, private organizations” educating children. His assumption being that parents aren’t capable of holding private schools accountable, making government run schools the only option. Yet, private schools are thriving, growing, and producing students who are doing just fine, thank you, with little – and all unwanted – government involvement. All the while being held accountable by the people paying tuition. You know, sorta like a “free market.” Imagine that.
Fearing competition reveals a lack of confidence in your product. The education establishment is terrified that parents might actually get some freedom and make choices for their kids that run counter to what the establishment wants. This would mean parents are in control, not the education power brokers, and that is their real fear – and perhaps what the Post means when it desperately claims that the future of public ed is at stake.
They'll Stop at Nothing
They'll Stop at Nothing
Over the objections of thousands of Prince William County parents and students throughout the past year, not to mention a mountain of unanswered legal questions, the school board there defiantly voted (5-3) last night to push through a policy that could allow boys in Prince William County schools to use the girls' locker rooms, bathrooms, and showers, and even to be paired with females in overnight lodging situations.
And what was the Board's response to these concerns? Well, it wasn't to deny that these things would now be permissible, but instead only to dismissively declare various versions of "Oh, that'll never happen." Such a response does make you wonder if these folks really know anything at all about the experience of middle school and high school, adolescent males, teenagers generally, history, or human nature.
Or more likely, they just don't care.
The Board's action last night came after a groundswell of outrage and public pressure last September forced the Board to punt on the issue until this summer (conveniently when school would be out and parents would be less engaged with school policies, or on vacation). In that time, the Board managed to gather the cover they needed in order for a majority of them to vote to place every child in danger - ironically in the name of "safety for all." After going practically off the radar since September, the LGBT activists emerged for yesterday's meeting highly mobilized and organized, all of them showing up more than two hours early to pack the front of the room, and all of them decked out in purple. Even so, as the evening progressed, more and more opponents of the policy change arrived, ending with a crowd split about evenly.
And while the Board and proponents tried to sidestep the issue of opposite sex children in intimate settings by including “guidance” language that says bathroom and locker room policies won’t change, the reality is that the policy adopted cannot be limited in such a way.
But last night’s vote was really just part of the story. Just hours before the meeting, it was revealed that the school board chairman, Ryan Sawyers, ripping a page out of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s playbook of ignoring the law and policy, had tried to use his power and influence to manipulate who was allowed to speak during the required public comment period. Board policy states that the first ten people who sign up with the Board clerk speak, but the chair had sent text messages to the clerk demanding that the names he submitted be placed “at the top of the list.” Exposed through a Freedom of Information Act from Delegate Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), the Board then received a letter from our friends at Alliance Defending Freedom explaining that if normal rules weren’t followed, any vote would be subject to legal challenge.
Unlike Governor McAuliffe’s Board of Health, which flippantly ignored the law when it scaled back abortion center safety standards, the Board backed off and followed normal public comment policy.
But both the willingness of the Board chair to ignore the law and the mobilization of secular progressives shows that those who wish to force their dangerous agenda on our children will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal. Public outrage doesn’t matter, the law doesn’t matter, truth doesn’t matter, science doesn’t matter.
So what’s the answer? Pro-family Virginians need to re-double our efforts to organize and mobilize. Churches need to stand up and be willing to mobilize to school board meetings across Virginia. And, people who understand that the dignity, privacy and safety of our children – not to mention DNA – matter need to run for school boards across Virginia!
If science and reality don’t affect school board members, maybe a few election losses will.
Thanksgiving Transcends Our Political Mayhem
Thanksgiving Transcends Our Political Mayhem
“Behold, now, the providence of God”- William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation
This Thursday, millions of Americans will come together for a strange little holiday we call Thanksgiving. Regretfully, the current climate of American politics means too many celebrations across the country will end in bitter resentment between family members, and a deepened divide in our public discourse. Our commemoration of the 1621 harvest feast between Native Americans and Protestant Separatists is often misconstrued, and seldom understood. Americans themselves remain ignorant to the purpose of the holiday, and it is that failure which helps devolve family gatherings into political bickering.
The legacy of the Pilgrims ought to have ended in the winter of 1620. Undersupplied and thinly clothed, the small band of English settlers was on the verge of annihilation. Those that escaped the cold starved to death. Those who had food were taken by disease. William Bradford described their first winter with grim resolve.
“But it pleased God to visit us with death daily, and with so general a disease that the living were scarce able to bury the dead.”
Their numbers reduced by half, the Pilgrims, by miracle, endured. Frankly, they should have died in the insufficient and cold settlement of Plymouth. All reasonable indicators pointed to this being the only eventuality; that the settlers would go the way of the Roanoke Colony, and disappear entirely. The Pilgrims credited their survival to Divine Providence. Many today would call it luck. Whichever one’s view, the importance of the “miracle” of 1620 should not be lost.
Given today’s politics, Thanksgiving is a distinctly important reminder for the American public. It is not a celebration of material or familial blessing. Nor is it a profound metaphor for the value of diversity. Rather, Thanksgiving serves to commemorate the necessity of Providence in the winter of 1620. Without it, the values of the Pilgrims, ideas of faith and freedom and personal responsibility, may not have survived on the continent. Certainly America, which has done true good across the world, would be a radically different nation.
In those of faith, Thanksgiving should inspire reverence. In those without faith, Thanksgiving should inspire, well, thanksgiving.
By Cameron Dominy
Cameron is a Master’s Student at Cevro Institute in Prague, Czech Republic and a former Family Foundation Intern.
While the shockwaves continue to reverberate after Tuesday’s dismal election results, pundits and politicians alike have more than their fair share of opinions as to the reasons. That’s all well and good and an important exercise. You likely have a strong opinion about why Virginians voted the way they did. I know I do. But while a deep and painful discussion must take place about why things played out that way and what needs to be done in the future, it's unlikely that a constructive conversation can take place on the pages of the Washington Post, where too many seem willing to share their view.
In the meantime, we have to deal with the immediate consequences of the election.
You see, Virginians didn’t just send a bunch of new Democrats to the General Assembly. They sent some of the most aggressive, extreme leftist politicians Virginia has ever seen. From staunch, self-proclaimed socialists to pro-abortion zealots, we can expect them to introduce some of the most dangerous anti-life, anti-faith, anti-freedom legislation in Virginia history beginning in January. And with both chambers controlled by Republicans only by the narrowest of margins, the fight to stop those proposals will be extraordinarily difficult. But that is what we must do all the same.
We will be happy to work with members of both parties where we can, in particular in areas like fixing foster care and adoption law, eliminating human trafficking, addressing school discipline and any other areas where we can find common ground. But make no mistake, the so-called “progressive” liberals who were elected on Tuesday didn’t run on any of those issues. They ran to force you to pay for abortions at any point during pregnancy; they ran to force your children into public school showers and locker rooms with kids of the opposite sex; they ran to crush religious freedom in the public square; and they ran to create a far more dominant, centralized government.
If media stories are correct and thousands of voters literally “didn’t care” who was on the ballot and didn’t have a clue who they were voting for - only that they were voting against Republicans - then perhaps this is a “wave” election and can be corrected in short order. I find it bizarre that people would act so irrationally, but we live in an age where reason and common sense are obliterated by emotional outbursts, so such a possibility exists. Dislike the President? Fine. But to turn around and vote for people you know nothing about and not care what their agendas might be is irresponsible and dangerous.
In the meantime, however, that’s all the more reason why we need to stop anything and everything they try in the next two years. We look forward to working with both Senate and House leaders on preventing leftist extremism in Virginia.
Unfortunately, on Tuesday, The Family Foundation lost some key, strong leaders and key allies to our principles. Men like Scott Lingamfelter, John O’Bannon, Jackson Miller, Rich Anderson, Tag Greason, Jim LeMunyon, Bob Marshall and others were defeated. The General Assembly not only lost key pro-family conservatives, it also lost men of great experience, principle and intellect who worked hard for every Virginian. They will be greatly missed and I for one am truly saddened by their losses.
I recognize that today you may be discouraged and dejected. I am, too. But we must resist the temptation to retreat. Regardless of whether Virginia is blue, red or purple, the principles you and I share are the only hope for a thriving culture. We have no choice to but advocate for truth and righteousness even in the face of such devastating elections. And, we have no choice but to do all we can to resist the agenda of those who seek to take away our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In the long term, those of us who understand that social, tax, health care, and welfare policies that have torn families apart, prevented families from forming, or stressed families to the breaking point are contributing to the destruction of the one and only entity that gives people a deep identity, stability, security and – as John Adams (the original one!) once said – forms the moral foundation for people. The extreme left that now dominates the Democrat party believes the opposite – it believes the family is the problem and not the solution. Until we are able to once again persuade younger generations that it is only in the formation of strong families with a mom and a dad where they will find the security they so desperately seek in government, I fear for not just future elections but the future of our nation. Simply put, our society will not survive the continued assault on the family unit.
Defying our creator’s design for family will prove as successful as attempting to defy gravity. You can for a while, but eventually, you come crashing to earth. In America today, we are reaping a generation of broken families and family fragmentation. It isn’t just economic and it’s not just political; it’s moral and cultural as well. We ignore this to our own peril. At The Family Foundation, we are committed to restoring the family as the foundation of our society. It may only happen when the policies endorsed by the secular left come crashing down around us, but it will happen. I hope we don’t have to wait for the destruction of our culture before we rebuild. I hope the church gets serious about standing for the truth of God’s design for family and morality in a powerful and persuasive way. Teaching how to balance a checkbook is nice and all, but it isn’t why the church was created.
In the meantime, we fight on, politically and culturally. We can’t stop. The future depends on it.
Diversity = Uniformity
Diversity = Uniformity
All around the country, in public high schools like this one, school boards and administrators are doing away with separate-colored graduation gowns for senior boys and girls on their big day – a practice that, for many schools, has been a long-cherished tradition. But long-cherished traditions, as we know, are increasingly unwelcome in our enlightened culture, and in many cases even considered harmful or discriminatory.
Of course, multi-colored gowns are just one of the many necessary casualties in the Left’s zealous quest to stamp out all gender norms and distinctions. A lot of students and parents aren’t happy about the change, you say? Bigots! You mean, parents and communities actually kinda think there’s something special about their girls wearing one color gown and their boys wearing another? Narrow-minded transphobes!
Yet I get the impression that most school officials aren’t changing the gown tradition simply so that they can actively champion the new gender-neutral orthodoxy. For the most part, the monochromatic gowns are a reaction – a move they see as a necessary solution – to requests by boys to wear the girls’ color or by girls to wear the boys’ color. These are generally students who self-identify as being the gender opposite their own, and who obviously feel justifiably entitled to have long-established cultural and biological morés transformed to meet their latest teenage desire, even at the expense of everyone else’s reasonably justified desires.
We have to empathize with the school officials here. They’ve been put in a no-win situation. They can:
1) Say no to the “transgender” student and continue with their long-established tradition, but face a lawsuit in federal court, and worse, the concentrated scorn of the cultural Left (and possibly lose their career within education).
2) Allow the student to wear the colored gown designated for the opposite gender, and thereby give credibility (and undue attention) to this gender theory that says there is no functional difference between girls and boys (and thereby undermine the entire reason for separate color gowns). OR,
3) Opt for a “middle ground,” a “compromise,” a “silver bullet” that can avoid the negative consequences of a yes or a no (or so they think). They can just scrap the whole two-color gown thing and make everyone wear the same gown.
Faced with these choices, many high schools are opting for Option #3. And who could blame them? So there we have it, problem solved!
Not so fast. We must be very careful not to miss what’s happening here. It’s the classic tactic of “two steps forward, one step back.” And frankly, it’s brilliant, because it’s working.
As society attempts to formally recognize every possible viewpoint and identity as having equal validity among all others – all in the name of “diversity” (as if diversity is somehow intrinsically good) – the inevitable consequence is that we go from real diversity to uniformity and then conformity. Without fail, you can bet the farm, this happens every time. "Diversity" is now being overshadowed by "inclusiveness." Yet what results is "sameness." Forcing everyone to wear the same colored graduation gowns is just one recent example.
When school officials decide not to stand up for the truth about human nature (in this case, with gender differences), they will predictably be seen doing what thereafter naturally flows: rushing to establish a one-size-fits-all standard for students based upon the “least common denominator” (instead of striving for truth and excellence), avoiding potential conflicts at all costs (instead of addressing the underlying factors creating the conflict), and eradicating all traces of actual or perceived “inequalities” (instead of challenging students to excel and holding them accountable for their actions).
When this happens, the good and healthy forms of diversity, as well as excellence itself, become necessary casualties. Uniformity is exalted as the greatest value. And then, well, you know the rest. All you have to do is take a look across the pond at most other places in the world, whose people by the way will do just about anything to get into the "land of the free" and the "home of the brave."
Be very careful not to miss what's happening under our noses. We’re a frog in a pot, and the water is already simmering. The path of least resistance is often the path to our own undoing.