"A raucous school board meeting in Hernando County, Fla., on Tuesday night captured what’s striking about this new phenomenon. The scene featured teachers pointedly declaring that right-wing attacks are driving them to quit, even as parents and students forcefully stood up on their behalf, demanding a halt to the hysteria," they wrote.
The writers also quoted local social studies school teacher Victoria Hunt, who told the meeting that "'I have never seen such fear from my colleagues as I have seen in the last two months."
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This school system is where a local teacher, Jenna Barbee, became a focus of a campaign of threats and intimidation, and an investigation by the Florida Department of Education, after she showed her students "Strange World," a recent Disney film about generational family tension and environmentalism that also happened to feature a prominent gay character.
Local teacher Daniel Scott, citing the recent culture-war campaigns being launched against his profession, said that "I don’t feel that I can adequately provide a safe environment for my students anymore,' Scott said, before going on to denounce the "draconian working conditions that are causing many such as myself to abandon this honored career."
And Alyssa Marano, a former local math teacher who recently resigned, shredded MAGA activists for accusing her of "indoctrinating" children into LGBTQ lifestyles.
"No one is teaching your kids to be gay!" she told them. "Sometimes, they just are gay. I have math to teach. I literally don’t have time to teach your kids to be gay."
All told, some 50 teachers in the county school system are making plans to resign. But the teachers weren't the only ones pushing back at the meeting: parents and students stepped up to condemn the right-wing activists as well.
“War on woke? More like war on your children’s future,” said one student at the meeting.
This comes as similar pushback from parents against far-right attacks is happening in schools all over the country, and as "nine Democratic governors representing nearly 9 million students have sent a letter to leading textbook companies decrying 'the negative impact that censorship and book-banning has on this nation’s students,'" Sargent and Waldman noted.
DeSantis is currently trying to leverage his war on classrooms into a campaign for president — although as of now, polling shows him distantly behind former President Donald Trump among Republican voters.