Parents Defending Education (PDE) Action, a nonpartisan policy organization, is launching a $15,000 ad campaign targeting several Virginia Democrats who have spoken out against parental rights in the classroom, the organization told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
The two 50-second ads aim to expose Jessica Anderson, a Democratic Virginia House of Delegates candidate, and Democratic state Sen. Monty Mason, for mocking parents who are fighting to have a say in their child’s curriculum and restrict pornography online. The ads, obtained by the DCNF, feature polls that show a majority of parents favor policies that restrict children’s access to social media accounts and give them a say in their child’s curriculum.
“When candidates running for public office are bold enough to call parental concerns ‘crap,’ or imply that parents are not smart enough to make informed decisions about their child’s education, we think parents everywhere should hear about it,” Alex Nester, political director of PDE Action, told the DCNF. “Voters should know what their leaders really think of them before electing them to public office.”
The first ad begins with a label that reads “anti-parent content coming,” while playing a 2021 video of Anderson that resurfaced on Twitter in May.
“I’m sorry, but I’ve seen some of the parents that live in Virginia,” Anderson said in the 2021 video and at the beginning of the ad. “You should not … be dictating what your daughter and son’s curriculums look like. If you want to do that, there is a thing called homeschool.”
Her comments are followed by a WPA Intelligence Poll conducted in August 2022 which states that 83% of parents believe that curriculums in schools should “adhere to their values.”
“Virginia Parents have the fundamental right to direct the care, upbringing and education of their children,” the ad stated.
“I want to be clear that the video in question was not me speaking out against parental rights in the classroom,” Anderson told the DCNF. “As a public school parent myself, I have been a loud advocate for parental involvement and have been personally involved in my own children’s school system by speaking out at school board meetings, advocating for my daughters’ individual learning needs being met and being in continual communications with my children’s educators, support staff and admin. My video, which was taken out of context and tried to imply I was a teacher, which I am not, was actually about me not wanting other parents to dictate the entire curriculum of the classroom, that would directly impact my own children.”
Another ad launched by PDE Action features Mason’s reaction to a Republican bill, now law, that requires pornography websites to verify that a user is at least 18- years-old before allowing them to access its content. Mason was caught on a hot mic in April calling the bill “parental garbage.”
The ad notes that Mason celebrated killing a bill that would have required children to have parental permission before accessing social media. Across the political spectrum, 67% of parents believe that social media negatively affects children, the ad showed, citing a September WAPi Intelligence poll.
The ad notes another poll that shows at least 80% of parents back policies that would require social media platforms to receive parental permission from minors.
Education became a hot-button issue in the 2021 Virginia governor’s race. Republican Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s opponent, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, said during a 2021 debate that he doesn’t believe “parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Parents began to push back at school board meetings, protesting transgender policies and the teaching of Critical Race Theory in the classroom.
“Our partner organization, Parents Defending Education, has been incredibly effective in many ways,” Nester said. “One of those ways is simply putting information in parents’ hands. My mission for PDE Action is to do the same: Give parents and advocates the information they need to make decisions.”
Mason did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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