By Max Eden for RealClearPolitics
The National School Boards Association (NSBA) letter to President Biden suggested that recent “acts of malice, violence, and threats against public school officials,” could be classified as “equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism,” and asked his administration to “examine appropriate enforceable actions” under “the PATRIOT Act.” The NSBA letter, however, documented only two instances of violence at school board meetings.
One of them: “In Virginia, an individual was arrested, another man was ticketed for trespassing, and a third person was hurt during a school board meeting discussion distinguishing current curricula from critical race theory and regarding equity issues.” If you consume social media, you’ve probably seen the video of the arrested man struggling with a police officer. The incident served as the lede for a Washington Post story and was also featured in Politico, USA Today, CNN, NPR, among others.
Why was this man so angry? According to a Daily Wire article, it was because his ninth grade daughter had allegedly been sexually assaulted in a school bathroom by a “genderfluid,” skirt-wearing boy.
There are too many layers of interlocking Lovecraftian horror to reporter Luke Rosiak’s story to explain here. But the reported facts provide a painful case study in how the realities of public education can be the exact opposite of the social justice storylines that many education journalists spin for a living.
On May 28, 2021, the father in question, Scott Smith received a call asking him to come to the school because his daughter had been in a “physical altercation” with a boy in a bathroom. When he arrived, the school insisted that they would handle the situation inhouse. Suspecting that his daughter had been raped, and that the school was trying to cover it up, Smith started to lose his temper. So school officials called the police. On him.
According to the Daily Wire, the police officers took the incident seriously enough to provide an escort to the hospital, where a rape kit was performed. Rosiak reported that the rape kit provided evidence favorable for prosecution, and that the young man was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy.
Less than a month later, when the school board held a meeting to adopt a policy permitting bathroom access based on gender identity, Smith and his wife attended to voice their concerns. At that meeting, school board member Beth Barts painted concerns about sexual assault as bigoted paranoia, declaring “Our students do not need to be protected, and they are not in danger.” She then asked Superintendent Scott Zielger “Do we have assaults in our bathrooms or locker rooms regularly?” Ziegler declared, either lying or speaking from inexcusable ignorance: “We don’t have any record of assaults occurring in our restrooms. … We’ve heard it several times tonight from our public speakers, but the predator transgender student or person simply does not exist.”
After this exchange, Smith was approached and allegedly berated by a woman named Jackie Schworm, a frequent poster in a Facebook group, Antiracist Parents of Loudoun County, a group that compiled a watchlist with names, addresses, and employment information of parents who opposed woke school policies. Smith told the Daily Wire that he tried to explain what happened to his daughter and “she looks me dead in the eyes and says ‘that’s not what happened.’” Smith said further that Schworm noticed the name of his plumbing company on his shirt and said “Oh… I’m going to ruin your business on social media.”
Sensing that the situation could turn ugly, a police officer moved to restrain Smith. He resisted, they wrestled, and the officer pinned him to the ground. Lost in the noise of the viral video, Smith’s wife cried out: “My child was raped at school, and this is what happens!”
It certainly can be what happens. Though no one would have ever known it if not for Rosiak, one of the only education journalists in America who cares to unearth and report unpleasant facts.
Days after this story was published, it received amplifying coverage from conservative media such as Fox News, The Blaze, Red State, National Review, Newsmax, the Washington Examiner, and the Daily Caller.
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By contrast, a Google search shows no coverage from CNN, NPR, Politico, ABC, NBC, CBS, or Education Week. The Washington Post reported that Loudoun parents were upset by revelations that the same assailant went on to allegedly sexually assault another girl at the school he was transferred to. But the Post did not mention that the first alleged assault was committed by an allegedly gender-fluid male wearing a skirt in the girls’ bathroom. And it did not mention that the reaction of the girl’s father, which previously featured as a lede in another Post story, was cited as a key example in the NSBA letter calling on the Biden administration to consider utilizing the “PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism” in response to an alleged rise in threats and violence.
The omission of these key facts, both very politically inconvenient for liberal narratives, is unfortunate. Because, as the Post says, “democracy dies in darkness.”
NSBA President Chip Slaven, however, should now know the facts of the case. I reached out to him with the story and asked if he would consider issuing a public correction or clarification to his now-infamous letter, or if he stood by using Mr. Smith’s story as an example of what the Department of Justice should consider investigating as “domestic terrorism.” He did not provide comment and the letter stands unamended.
Syndicated with permission from RealClearWire.
Max Eden is a Research Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
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