Opinion: Time to stand up against attacks on school board and teachers


Franky Walsh

Member of the North Penn Board of School Directors convene for a meeting at North High School during the 2021-2022 school year.

Opinions expressed in the Op/Ed section of The Knight Crier are not necessarily reflective of the views of the entire staff of the KC.

School auditoriums have never heard such appalling vitriol like that of the eruptions inundating these settings for the past year.

The public desensitization of threats towards members of the school board of directors and staff members, accompanied by intimidation tactics and hostility inflicted upon teachers and staff members is alarming. The viral onslaught of slanderous campaigns of misinformation and reactionary outrage has destroyed the credibility of due process within solving issues of the North Penn School District as a whole. False narratives presented by residents and literal strangers having no correlation to the district alike only irritate these vilifying scenarios, as public comment opportunities have turned into a right-wing echo chamber, speaking over legitimate parental concerns for the perceived betterment of pupils. There’s no plausible way to decipher how students can be shielded from these forms of hysteria if the district’s own personnel are lacking meaningful protection.

On January 20th, 2022, the North Penn School District formally introduced an apology and a subsequent explanation for a teacher allegedly asserting her masking policy by taping a mask onto a child’s face. However, with accountability taken and apologies instated, the district disclosed that this matter was to be resolved internally as per the law, in addition to protecting the wishes of the victim’s family through their anonymously transcribed statements to local news outlets.

Since then, viral disinformation campaigns have been plaguing media outlets like Fox News, spawning from misconstrued background clarifications regarding the incident by these self-righteous “defenders” of children, running segments with misinformation without complete details and first-hand accounts from within the classroom. There is no way to protect this victim after their wish, as a minor, was for them and their family to remain anonymous to avoid this daunting amount of publicity. Exacerbating already adverse issues to appropriate to false and self-instated notions once again proves that these efforts are not about “protecting” children; it’s only to exploit them in order to adhere to a predisposed political agenda. Instead of these parents striving so blatantly for their outbursts to become viral among social media accounts like Libs of TikTok, they should focus on meaningful issues within classrooms.

Yet these political opportunists have taken every measure applicable in order to carry out these agendas in question, vilifying whoever is considered a threat to their definitions of freedom and free speech. Seemingly, teachers and staff members, being those who uphold the institutions these reactionaries berated in order to let their children return to school a year prior, are next on their task list to condemn. In other words, a year ago the kids needed to be back in these classroom. But now, those same classrooms and the teachers in them have become targets of alleged “indoctrination” among other allegations.  

These false portrayals of incidents predictably didn’t cease at the infamous ‘mask-taping’ scenario, as this trend of fabricated outrage has kindled for over a year, with no indications of stopping. Instead, newly misrepresented obstacles that are met with more national attention reinforce previous indignations, particularly issues regarding a ‘privilege walk’ carried out in May of 2021. 

This walk has been a topic of conversation, or altercation, at every single public comment opportunity at each North Penn school board action meeting since its emergence. Even with district investigations concluding in support of cultural awareness with no findings of wrongdoing, tirade after tirade frequent these meetings, with accusations of indoctrinating children with ‘wokeness’ and ‘critical race theory,’ additionally including buzzwords rooted in white supremacy as a whole. Objectively, there is nothing but a benefit towards students learning about the backgrounds of their classmates, and understanding the cultures practiced by their counterparts of color, as embracing diverse standpoints and outlooks form well-rounded individuals.

Vilifying and denouncing educators, while simultaneously demanding curricular approval just because teachers are educating from culturally competent perspectives is the foundational opposite of free public education, for which these opportunists supposedly strive. When a teacher, specifically a teacher who happens to be a woman of color, receives a targeted voicemail threatening to rape and lynch her just for practicing this form of inclusive pluralism, indicating a hate crime, it yet again becomes clear that the issue has nothing to do with children, but everything to do with white fragility. 

These accentuated narratives cherry-picked out of buzz topics intertwined with public debate and outrage over the past year just enhance this performative display even further. An end to this hysteria is long overdue, and it’s time for those who care about the character of this district to speak up. As a community, with our lack of support and condemnation towards this handful of opportunists, we have essentially permitted them to tarnish this district with unfavorable worldwide attention.