RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Newly released emails offer a first look into complaints submitted to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s so-called tip line.
Youngkin set up the controversial email address earlier this year as a mechanism to report parental rights violations and “inherently divisive practices in schools.”
Youngkin’s administration agreed to hand over 350 documents as part of a settlement with more than a dozen news organizations, who sued after public record requests were rejected.
It’s not clear how many submissions remain under wraps. Under the legal agreement, the Department of Education had to produce the messages in its possession but Youngkin’s office was not required to release its emails. The Virginia Attorney General’s office wouldn’t say how many messages were sent to the tip line overall.
“The Governor wants constituents to be able to reach out to him without fear that their communications will not be kept confidential,” Youngkin’s spokesperson Macaulay Porter said in a statement.
A small portion of the 350 documents released raise content-related concerns.
In one email, a Fairfax County parent demands to see detailed lesson plans to learn if teachers are complying with Youngkin’s executive order banning critical race theory in public education. Critics contend CRT is not part of Virginia’s public school curriculum.
“It was only because of COVID home-study that Parents discovered the FCPS School Board & Superintendent’s (and school’s) secret leftist, politically motivated agenda and Critical Race Theory-CRT brainwashing,” the sender wrote.
The sender, whose name was redacted, accused one teacher of forcing students to read a biased book “that teaches her sympathetic views on millions of Illegal Aliens flooding across our American borders and we should be happy that they are stealing jobs from poor Americans.”
In another email, a senior in Montgomery County accuses an English teacher of promoting “divisive topics” during lessons on the book “Beowulf.”
“All my teacher wants to talk about is how the book is sexist because it portrays the warriors as men and not women. She tries to make us believe that every scenario in the book is sexist in some way,” the student wrote.
In one email, a Spotsylvania mother calls for the removal of seven books from public school libraries.
“I am both horrified and concerned that these books depict unhealthy sexual relationships, oral, anal, and vaginal sex, rape, incest, prostitution, grooming, and pedophilia,” the parent writes.
A separate email calls on the Virginia Department of Education to prohibit any “mention or instruction” of gender identity in K-12 schools. The sender claims an 8th grade family life education course is indoctrinating kids.
“As teachers & School Administrators, it is NOT your duty or right to encourage & promote to students that they should be transgender, homosexual, or teach that the children’s gender is anything except what they were born with,” the person writes.
Emails from Sheila Jones, who was on medical leave from her job with Virginia Beach schools, pushed back on the tip line by submitting positive feedback.
“I know the tip line was designed for people to squeal on teachers or schools but I decided to use it for sharing the good things teachers do,” Jones said.
Ashley Ellis, Deputy Superintendent for Loudoun County Public Schools, thanked Jones in another email.
“It’s really hard to be an educator in Virginia right now, so anything we can do to celebrate our teachers is important,” Ellis said.
A number of emails complained about school mask mandate policies that have since ended.
The bulk of messages, many of them duplicates, came from an advocate criticizing accommodations for students with disabilities.
Porter didn’t respond when asked if Youngkin’s administration took any action as a result of these emails. Youngkin said in a previous interview that the email address was intended for “listening,” rather than enforcement.
Porter confirmed that the email address was deactivated in September because “it had received little to no volume during that time.”
“Constituents are always able to confidentially reach out to the governor’s office through various constituent service methods,” Porter said.