Wisconsin parents are fed up with their school districts’ attempts to indoctrinate their children, and they aren’t going to stay quiet any longer.
For months, parents in the largest GOP suburban stronghold in the state, located outside Milwaukee, have tried to push back on the Elmbrook School District’s creeping shift to the left. Now, they are asking other residents to sign a petition demanding Elmbrook prioritize “education over activism.”
“It’s been a lot of very involved parents looking at what their kids are studying probably because they’ve been home and doing remote learning, but also realizing that things are very aggressively moving in a very far-left direction,” one concerned mother whose child attends an Elmbrook school told The Federalist. “Our district started this in 2012, but nobody knew it and our school board didn’t know it, so there’s a lot that the community has just been complacent in.”
In their most recent quest to hold Superintendent Mark Hansen accountable, parents raised alarms with the help of the Wisconsin Insitute for Law and Liberty about sexually explicit material located in the district’s shared online library. In their strongly worded letter filled with examples of lewd descriptions and instructions for how to use a sex app from the books, the Wisconsin Insitute for Law and Liberty demanded that Elmbrook take proper steps to eradicate the content and reevaluate any further explicit material that may be available to schoolchildren.
The school district maintains that the books “were never accessible to elementary students and were not part of our human growth and development curriculum” and told The Federalist that the books were removed. Hansen, however, did not give an answer concerning what age he believes children should begin learning about how to perform sexual acts as depicted in the books “This Book is Gay” and “Queer: The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide for Teens.”
“They’re using that LGBTQ piece as a Trojan horse to push this because so many people just look at that, as one of our local papers portrayed it, as an LGBTQ resource book,” the mother said.
The district previously ran into trouble for sexually inappropriate material after a high school teacher sent out a reportedly unapproved sex survey to students without parental permission. Brookfield Central Principal Brett Gruetzmacher told The Federalist that the teacher who was caught by parents submitted her resignation, but he did not state what further actions the school would take.
Incidents like this, the mother told The Federalist, are part of a larger failure by the district to address problems in curriculum and students’ academic performance as evidenced by falling test scores.
Initially, the mother said she stayed quiet despite mounting concern over what the district was teaching her kids, but she said she’s finally reached her breaking point.
“I’m fighting the fight because it’s the right thing to do because, from a moral perspective, I want a better world for my kids or my grandchildren,” she said. “I look at what’s happening and I’m like, I can’t be quiet about this.”
Critical race theory, the mom said, is also something she and many fellow parents are keeping an eye on after the district, which denied teaching racist material, paid for training disguised as a resource for creating “equity.”
“The Kendi version is dehumanizing. You’re asking one group to be viewed as an oppressor and the other group to be seen as the oppressed. You’re constantly perpetuating this victim and victimization narrative, right to the point even where we’ve gotten it right,” she said. “Now you’re segregating them again because … there are all these underlying messages that black people are oppressed by white people.”
Even community members whose children don’t attend Elmbrook schools are sensing the urgency and becoming involved in the fight against the district and its agenda-driven leadership.
“I care because it’s all of my kids’ peers, it’s all of our neighbors’ kids. In 20 years, this is who they’re going to be having discussions with, and what they’re doing in the schools is they’re completely destroying the cultural net and unity because the only thing that makes Americans Americans is our ideals,” another concerned mother told The Federalist. “There’s nothing else that unites us. There’s not a religion, there’s not a race, there’s not a bloodline. … How are my kids who I’m training up in with traditional American values and understandings, how are they supposed to converse with people who have no understanding of what they’re talking about and have been completely brainwashed?”
“Really what I find most disturbing is that they are keeping, they keep on pushing the agenda,” she added.
Some of the same parents who expressed concerns with the school district joined with nearly 40 advocacy groups representing more than 20,000 families in Wisconsin to rip into President Joe Biden and Democrat Gov. Tony Evers for the new wave of potential mask mandates and lockdowns facing their state.
In the letter, the organizations including We The Parents, Wisconsin United for Freedom, and No Left Turn in Education Wisconsin pledged to reject any mask requirements on children in schools.
“Simply put, these are not your children. They are ours and they too, are Americans with rights. They are our responsibility and our most beloved. They are not yours,” the letter states.
Parents also banded together in February to protest the district’s review of its social study curriculum and subsequent survey circulated by activists and the Parent Network and Leadership Council, the district’s parent-teacher association, asking parents if children should learn about “segregation in Milwaukee, past and present,” “waves of feminism and its failures, white feminism (e.g. how the 19th Amendment did not protect black/brown women’s right to vote, etc.),” and “Stonewall/LGBTQ Liberation/AIDS epidemic.”