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The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

The student news site of Pleasant Valley High School

Spartan Shield

Teachers under attack: The right-wing’s assault on education

A sticker similar to this was found on a car in the Pleasant Valley parking lot, instilling a fear of safety among staff members.
Kushi Maridu
A sticker similar to this was found on a car in the Pleasant Valley parking lot, instilling a fear of safety among staff members.

Politicians have long used education as a political playground, molding and using it as they please. Recently, within the halls of PV, rumors have been circulating that the school board was asked to put litter boxes in the school bathrooms. Students and parents alike were shocked that this question was even posed.

Even more shocking, these claims have been popping up all over the country.

Behind these false claims is nothing but a right-wing agenda turning schools into their playground.

GOP extremists perpetuated a myth about furries, a community of people that roleplay as animal characters, in schools wanting litter boxes installed in school bathrooms. Over 20 conservative candidates falsely claimed this “crisis” is engulfing schools.

English teacher Lynne Lundberg noticed these rumors taking form for a while. “Our school is not the first one in our area to be hit with the litter box myth. These rumors have been circulating all around the country for the past year, probably due to the political right pushing an agenda that is pushing a mistrust in education,” Lundberg shared.

As Lundberg noted, these allegations were nothing but a myth. Every single school district that was mentioned in these assertions denied such allegations. Furries have even come out saying that they don’t even have litter boxes at furry conventions, and there’s no need to have one at school because most of them identify as humans.

Why are right-wing politicians spreading false narratives?

The answer is simple. Furries are already looked down upon by the general public, regardless of political affiliation. By turning the masses against this community, right wing politicians are able to easily gain leverage on gender and LGBTQ legislation. By focusing on educational settings, the public simultaneously builds a mistrust in education, furthering another right-wing agenda. 

This isn’t even the first time the right has targeted educational settings.

Teachers have been at the forefront of Republican backlash since last year. Educators that teach or defend teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity have been labeled “pedophiles” and “groomers.” 

At the head of this so-called movement is the conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson. On one occasion, Carlson discussed this topic with Ohio Rep. Senator JD Vance on television.

“What I find so preposterous about this moment is that, on the one hand, the Democrats are actually advocating to teach about sexuality and crazy gender theory to seven year old children. And on the other hand, they get offended if we throw around terms like ‘groomer’ to push back against it,” Vance exclaimed.

Vance’s baseless accusations were soon backed up by Carlson calling for violence against teachers.

“I don’t understand where the men are. Like where are the dads? Some teachers pushing sex values on your third grader? Why don’t you go and thrash the teacher?” Carlson instigated.

Carlson wants fathers to go into the classroom and start beating up teachers, and this is bound to happen when he emotionally blackmails parents into thinking their kids are not safe at school. Fox News has pushed this narrative in other instances as well.

“Are they creepy? Yeah. A lot of them are super, super creepy. Should they be around kids? Absolutely not,” Carlson stated when talking about sexual education for students.

While people in power from large media outlets further false narratives, teachers that know the truth are overshadowed. Teachers are powerless, underpaid, undervalued and underappreciated, despite being individuals devoted to educating the future generations of America.

“Because teachers are individual people and because the vast majority of us want to make the world a better place, teaching is how we do that. It is one means of trying to make the world better and trying to keep forces that would control everybody from gaining a foothold. Although it’s getting tougher by the day, we are all giving it our best,” Lundberg commented.

Carlson already knows this but he doesn’t care nonetheless. It’s not about the teachers or the students for him; it’s just a way to accumulate power by setting out fear.

English teacher Robyn Samuelson believes that Carlson’s strategy is working. “I saw a car in our school’s parking lot that had a sticker that read ‘Shoot your local pedophile’ and had a gun and a target person. Especially with the news going around marketing us as groomers and pedophiles, seeing that sticker in our school is scary and unsettling,” Samuelson stated.

Samuelson’s fears are not without valid reasoning. If there’s one thing that we can learn from history, it’s that strong media never fails to stir like-minded viewers. On Jan. 6, 2021, we watched the US Capitol get raided on live television after Trump and his supporters voiced that they didn’t actually lose the election. The whole event was undoubtedly influenced by media coverage, as the dissemination of false and misleading information about the election contributed to the mobilization of Trump supporters and ultimately led to the destructive riot.

Our education system has become far too politicized and the students and educators are paying the price for these partisan antics.

“Over the past few decades, the right has gone to the very right and the left has gone to the very left. The main, problematic issues still remained unsolved, but the parties’ proposed responses to them has become increasingly polarized, stirring the general public to choose one side or the other. While the parties keep arguing and the public is engaged, people and institutions are getting hurt due to the negative political agenda,” Samuelson noted.

Samuelson’s points currently hold true. They’re banning critical race theory, they’re banning books and, now, they’re going after teachers.

They want good teachers out of the education system so they can be replaced with individuals that will blindly force feed the right’s curriculum to students. It is much easier to push out good educators and take over institutions especially if they’re set up to prop white supremacy and support capitalism. The politicians’ final goal is to change the electorate so that they’re more docile and easier to feed information and instruction.

It’s time to depoliticize education and focus on finding real solutions to problems instead of pushing partisan agendas, or hurt our future generations by keeping them in the same partisan loop. The public needs to be aware of the media they consume on a daily basis, avoiding falling victim to agendas that hurt our education system. The future of our country depends on it.

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About the Contributor
Kushi Maridu
Kushi Maridu, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Kushi Maridu, a former Site Manager for the Shield, is a senior at Pleasant Valley High School and takes up the job of being a Co-Editor-in-Chief this year. He ran for the PV cross country team for all four of his years at the high school. Kushi’s favorite classes include Journalism and Anatomy & Physiology. After high school, Kushi plans on going into the medical field and his love for medicine and sciences propelled him to co-found the Future Physicians of America club and passionately leads the club with his peers. He also actively engages in Math Club and Ethics Bowl, leading Math Club and contributing his knowledge to Ethics Bowl. Outside of school, Kushi enjoys going to the gym, watching movies and TV, and playing chess. Kushi is very excited to co-lead the Spartan Shield this year!
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Teachers under attack: The right-wing’s assault on education