Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin promoted an email address Tuesday where parents can send concerns and complaints about violations of students’ "fundamental rights" and any "divisive practices" in schools. Critics questioned whether the tip line was set up for anyone but the new Republican governor’s supporters.
The governor explained the purpose of the new tip line email addresss, firstname.lastname@example.org, in an interview with conservative radio host John Fredericks.
"... [It's] for parents to send us any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected, where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools," Youngkin said.
Youngkin brought up a recent, controversial "privilege bingo" assignment in a Fairfax County high school.
"We're asking for folks to send us reports and observations that they have that will help us be aware of things like privilege bingo, be aware of their child being denied their rights that parents have in Virginia. And we're going to make sure we catalog it all," Youngkin said.
Critical race theory was a major topic of Youngkin's campaign. Within hours of his inauguration, he issued an executive order banning CRT in schools, though it’s not part of any public school curriculum.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry about how many emails the tip line had received.
Educators, John Legend, Others Criticize Tip Line
On Wednesday, some of the state's educators and school officials had strong words about the email.
"Hotline, tip line, snitch line - whatever you want to call it," Prince William County School Board Chair Babur Lateef said. "I don't see how this will solve any real problems."
"We question why he has singled out Virginia's educators," Virginia Education Associated President James Fedderman said.
Youngkin’s tip line also drew pushback from a local NAACP chapter, singer John Legend and others, and included calls for Black parents to share their concerns and for people to spam the email address with irrelevant information.
Loudoun County NAACP President Michelle Thomas questioned why parents would need the new email address when they can turn to the attorney general’s civil rights division with concerns.
"This tip line has to be for everybody, not just for his supporters, right?" she said.
Legend took to social media to urge Black parents to flood the email address with complaints "about our history being silenced."
"We are parents too," Legend wrote on Twitter.
The Virginia Teen Democrats and Texas activist Olivia Julianna, who has 170,000 TikTok followers, were among those who urged their social media audience to bombard the line with irrelevant emails.
Fierce Fight Continues Over Masks in Virginia Schools
Several school districts in Northern Virginia that kept mask mandates in place have filed suit against Youngkin, saying his order allowing parents to decide whether their children wear masks or not is unconstitutional and endangers children.
On Monday, Loudoun County parent Heather Jermacans blasted school administrators when they isolated her children after they came to class without masks.
"No! I'm not picking my child up. She has an IEP and I will call my lawyer next," video shows Jermacans shouting to her daughter's school administrators.
Jermacans said Tuesday that she and her sister, whose kids also attended school unmasked, plan to register complaints through Youngkin’s new parent email portal.
"They are being segregated. They are in a room. They don’t go outside for breaks," she said. "I can’t even explain the stories they come home with, and it's only been two days."