OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
Virginia parents ripped into former President Barack Obama as he was campaigning on behalf of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe over the weekend over what they termed as “tone-deaf” remarks regarding complaints about school curriculum and alleged sexual assaults that did not get reported.
On Saturday, Obama took aim at McAuliffe’s GOP rival, Glenn Youngkin, for his campaign’s focus on the highly emotional topic of education, dismissing them as not serious and based on “fake outrage.”
“We don’t have time to be wasting on these phony trumped-up culture wars, this fake outrage that right-wing media peddles to juice their ratings,” Obama said, going on to accuse Youngkin of avoiding “serious problems that affect serious people” while saying that outrage over the actions of various school boards isn’t justified, Fox News reported.
At that, Virginia parents and parental advocates fired back at those remarks, labeling the 44th president “tone-deaf” and “clueless.”
“Instead of stoking anger aimed at school boards and administrators, who are just trying to keep our kids safe… we should be making it easier for teachers and schools to give our kids the world-class education they deserve, and to do so safely while they are in the classroom,” Obama said.
Former President @BarackObama: "We don't have time to be wasted on these phony trumped-up culture wars, this fake outrage, the right-wing media's pedals to juice their ratings." pic.twitter.com/bmMnet8q5X
— The Hill (@thehill) October 23, 2021
Some parents responded with outrage to the former president’s remarks.
“That is the most tone-deaf statement I have ever heard,” Brandon Michon, a father of three in Loudoun County, Va., told Fox News on Sunday. “First and foremost, everything that has come up with the cover-up in Loudoun County has to do with a sexual assault on girls. To say that this is trumped-up as a political thing is laughable.”
Fox News added:
Michon referenced allegations that Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler and the school board covered up the report that a male student in a skirt allegedly assaulted a female student in a girls’ bathroom – while the board was considering a controversial transgender rule. A bombshell email last week revealed that Ziegler had notified the board about the assault about a month before he publicly declared that he had no record of bathroom assaults. Prosecutors confirmed that the same young man who stands accused in that May incident also stands accused of sexual assault in an October incident in another school.
Parents have demanded the resignations of Ziegler and the board, and Youngkin has joined them in those demands.
Wayne Byard, a Loudoun County Public Schools spokesman, told the news network that the district “reported the alleged sexual assault on May 28 at Stone Bridge High School to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office immediately.”
He further claimed that the school’s superintendent then notified the school board of the alleged assault but because “the nature of the incident was still under investigation,” the report “could not be released to the general public” at the time.
Also, he said that the Oct. 6 incident “was reported to the Sheriff’s Office immediately.”
“In the current politically charged atmosphere, a lot of claims and demands have been made. The focus of the superintendent and School Board remains the education of Loudoun County’s 81,000 students,” Byard added.
“Any parent, regardless of our political views – Republican, Democrat, Independent – wants our kids to go to school and be safe,” Michon told Fox News. “People are upset because Loudoun County covered up that they knew about sexual assaults and the question is, what else do we not know about?”
“It doesn’t feel like it’s culture war or fake outrage,” he added.
“Obama is clearly clueless or intentionally misleading the crowd,” Laura Zorc, director of education reform at Building Education for Students Together (BEST), also told the network.
“Parents are fed up with politics being forced down the throats of our kids,” Zorc added. “Parental rights is on the ballot in Virginia. This is not a Republican or a Democrat issue – it’s a parents issue.”
“Parents are craving leadership that will protect them from the wokism,” she noted further. “Youngkin is clearly the only candidate willing to fight for parents. Obama peddling this nonsense shows he is in denial that anything is wrong.”