RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said he wants parents to keep an eye out for “divisive practices” within schools and report them to his office.
His comments have sparked criticism from teachers in Hampton Roads.
In an interview with conservative radio host John Fredericks, Youngkin touted an e-mail helpline as a way for parents to report concerns they have about their child’s school to the state government.
Kathleen Slinde of the Virginia Beach Education Association said Youngkin’s comments are a cause for concern.
“Having a tipline like this pits parents against educators and undermines the professional respect and integrity of our educators," Slinde said.
“We have great confidence in the professionalism and integrity of our teachers and to have our governor question that is demoralizing to teachers and shows a great lack of respect for us.”
Youngkin told Fredericks that he wants parents to send his office “reports and observations” about “divisive practices” within Virginian schools for his team to catalog so they can be sure they’re “rooting it out.”
Later in the interview, Youngkin pointed to Critical Race Theory (CRT) as an example of an “inherently divisive teaching practice," CRT is something he promised to ban through an executive order he signed on his first day in office.
“Critical Race Theory isn’t even taught in Virginia public schools," Newport News teacher Mary Vause pointed out.
Vause also took issue with Youngkin’s comments.
"I feel like he is undermining our public schools," Vause said. “What really worries me is we have a major teaching shortage here and a major school worker shortage in general here in Virginia and actions like this are just going to scare more teachers and school workers out of schools.”
A spokesperson for the governor said the e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, is “a resource for parents, teachers, and students to relay any questions or concerns.”
The statement said: “Governor Youngkin was elected to serve all Virginians and has utilized a customary constituent service, to hear from Virginians and solicit feedback.”