As many on this blog are aware, I have long been an advocate of public education and we feel deeply fortunate to have sent all four of our kids to public schools in Alexandria and McLean in Fairfax County. I still have one child in the Fairfax system. I was therefore shocked like many Fairfax parents to see the videotape of Michelle Leete, Vice President of Training at the Virginia PTA, Vice President of Communications for the Fairfax County PTA and First Vice President of the Fairfax County NAACP as she lashed out against those who oppose critical race theory and identity divisional lessons in school. What was even more unnerving is the applause from other parents to her “let them die” declaration.
The video was taken by a Fairfax parent, Asra Nomani, whose son recently graduated from Fairfax County Public Schools and helps run the watchdog group Parents Defending Education. The speech was reportedly held at a counter-protest a meeting billed as “STOP CRT RALLY.” Nomani included the video in her posting below.
Leete railed against those objecting to the identity-based lesson plans. Notably, Leete fell back on the same shaming of parents with opposing views — accusing them of hating everything and everyone because they do not want this material to be taught to their children. Keep in mind that this would encompass the majority of parents according to recent polls.
“So let’s meet and remain steadfast in speaking truth, tearing down double standards, and refuting double talk. Let’s not allow any double downing on lies. Let’s prepare our children for a world they deserve. Let’s deny this off-key band of people that are anti-education, anti-teacher, anti-equity, anti-history, anti-racial reckoning, anti-opportunities, anti-help people, anti-diversity, anti-platform, anti-science, anti-change agent, anti-social justice, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-children, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-admissions policy change, anti-inclusion, anti-live-and-let live people. Let them die. Don’t let these uncomfortable people, don’t let these uncomfortable people deter us from our bold march forward.”
It is incredibly sad to see this type of reckless rhetoric in our school district. Many of us came to Fairfax because it has always been viewed as a district that put academic excellence as the highest priority. We have found the schools in McLean to be terrific and the teachers to be incredibly supportive. I hate to see that long-successful approach swamped by the unrestrained rage and divisions of our contemporary politics.
Update: The PTA has announced that it has accepted Leete’s resignation. The Virginia Parent-Teacher Association declared that
“Today, the Virginia PTA executive committee requested and received the resignation of Michelle Leete, who served as Vice President of Training. The actions & rhetoric of Ms. Leete & all of the like-minded partisan supporters of the SB are deeply disappointing. It evinces a deep lack of concern for children & parents, particularly where the wellbeing of children & families clash with political considerations.”