A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) lists some parents’ rights organizations as “hate and anti-government groups” akin to neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.
With the release of their “Year In Hate and Extremism 2022” report on Tuesday, SPLC appeared to change their infamous “Hate Map” to now be a map of “hate and antigovernment groups.” After counting 733 “hate groups” in 2021, the number increased to 1225 “hate and antigovernment extremist groups” in the 2022 report, many of which were focused on education.
According to the new SPLC report, schools “have been on the receiving end of ramped-up and coordinated hard-right attacks.” After being “spurred by the right-wing backlash to COVID-19 public safety measures,” parental rights groups appeared to have “grown into an anti-student inclusion movement that targets any inclusive curriculum that contains discussions of race, discrimination and LGBTQ identities.”
“At the forefront of this mobilization is Moms for Liberty, a Florida-based group with vast connections to the GOP that this year the SPLC designated as an extremist group. They can be spotted at school board meetings across the country wearing shirts and carrying signs that declare, ‘We do NOT CO-PARENT with the GOVERNMENT.’ The group hijacks meetings, preventing officials and parents from conducting their normal proceedings,” the report read.
“Galvanizing supporters around supposed ‘parental rights’ and ‘family values’ is nothing new – similar rallying cries were adopted by those who opposed school desegregation during the civil rights movement and by the Moral Majority of the 1980s. These political slogans have been used repeatedly because they are effective, framing the organizing of far-right activists as something done solely out of real concern for children,” the report read.
It added, “But Moms for Liberty activities make it clear that the group’s primary goals are to fuel right-wing hysteria and to make the world a less comfortable or safe place for certain students – primarily those who are Black, LGBTQ or who come from LGBTQ families.”
In a press release, Margaret Huang, president and CEO of the SPLC and SPLC Action Fund, celebrated the report as a way of “taking on” and “exposing” concerted efforts by extremists.
“Two-thirds of Americans think the public education system is on the wrong track today. That is why our organization is devoted to empowering parents to be a part of their child’s public school education. That is our fundamental goal, which began just two years ago when teacher’s unions locked students out of schools during the pandemic. Empowering parents continues to be our mission today and that has fueled our organization’s growth – like wildfire to now 45 states in the country,” they said.
The statement continued, “Name-calling parents who want to be a part of their child’s education as ‘hate groups’ or ‘bigoted’ just further exposes what this battle is all about: Who fundamentally gets to decide what is taught to our kids in school – parents or government employees? We believe that parental rights do not stop at the classroom door and no amount of hate from groups like this is going to stop that.”
Various education groups were designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. ((AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez))