Virginia’s Democratic state lawmakers sat silently during Governor Glenn Youngkin’s address to a joint session of the General Assembly when the newly sworn-in Republican leader noted his belief that parents have a “fundamental right” to make decisions regarding their children’s education.
The issue of parents rights was a focal point of Youngkin’s campaign against Democrat Terry McAuliffe last year and many credited the former’s staunch support for parental rights with his impressive win.
During the debates, McAuliffe stated flatly that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” He also criticized Youngkin for his opposition to critical race theory in schools.
Virginia has been a focal point of the nation’s debate over critical race theory, LGBT issues in schools, and controversial sex ed curricula as a battle in Loudoun County, Virginia has received national attention.
Loudoun has been the site of many spirited protests at school board meetings and scandal erupted last year when it was revealed that the daughter of a father who was arrested at one of the meetings was raped in a school bathroom by a male student wearing a skirt.
Youngkin’s election was seen as a reckoning against school boards and activists working to enact trans bathroom policies and controversial curricula despite vocal objection from parents and electrified the debate over the role that parents ought to be able to play in what is taught in their local schools.
So it was noteworthy that so many members of McAuliffee’s party appeared so sullen when Youngkin emphasized the role that parents ought to play in their children’s lives.
“We must also recognize that the people most responsible for a child’s education are parents,” Youngkin told the assembly.
“My message to parents is this: You have a fundamental right enshrined in law by this General Assembly to make decisions with regard to your child’s upbringing, education and care, and we will protect and reassert that right,” he said.
While Republican lawmakers stood and cheered at this point, Democrats sat silently.
WATCH: Democrats refuse to applaud when @GovernorVA @GlennYoungkin tells parents they “have a fundamental right, enshrined in law by this General Assembly, to make decisions with regard to your child’s upbringing, education and care. And we will protect and reassert that right." pic.twitter.com/TMTVLkI5U4
— Matt Wolking (@MattWolking) January 17, 2022
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