As a conservative, Pat Proctor never did feel welcome at Leavenworth’s David Brewer Elementary School in Kansas. It’s only gotten worse now.
After they blew the whistle on pro-LGBTQ student artwork on school library walls, neither Proctor nor Vanessa Reid may be welcome back – despite the fact that Proctor is an elected state representative and Reid is on the Leavenworth Board of Education.
On a recent visit to bring donations and tour the school, Proctor tells The Lion he and Reid “walked into the library and I turned to my left and there’s an entire wall of drawings by kids, and a good two-thirds of them were pictures of pride flags – and some of the kids had even written out what LGBTQ stands for. It was kind of shocking to me.”
Proctor mentioned it in his newsletter to constituents, and Reid raised concerns – apparently raising the ire of the district and the mostly liberal board.
“Even before this thing hit my newsletter, they barred her from returning to the school,” Proctor said of Reid. “They won’t let her go back in. That came from the current superintendent.
“She raised objections to what they were being clearly taught in the school, based on the fact that most of the kids had drawn this – and they basically didn’t want her to go back in there, I assume, and collect more evidence that that’s what was going on.”
Proctor said both of them were shocked by the pride flag art, a theme that coursed through much of the fourth-grade display hanging in the school library. At least one student’s art spelled out the words associated with LGBTQ.
Proctor said it’s clear evidence of sexual indoctrination in early grades at the school.
“You know, I find it impossible to believe that those kids all spontaneously drew the same picture without being coached,” Proctor said. “We’re talking about 8- and 9-year-olds. I can’t imagine that they would be able to spell out what LGBTQ stands for without being told by a teacher.”
Proctor says with only two conservatives on the seven-member board of education, there’s little that can be done until there are more conservatives elected.
The Lion asked what the Republican-led Kansas Legislature might do.
“Honestly, you know, this is so deeply ingrained, it’s going to have to be fixed at the local school board level,” he said.
Proctor did cite what he called a “watered-down” parental rights’ bill that’s passed the House, which he said “makes explicit the parents’ rights to object to materials being taught to their kids, and allows them to take their kids out of curriculum that is offensive to their values and beliefs without the child being penalized academically. So that’s a start.
“I would really like to see a much more robust Parents’ Bill of Rights, where parents are able to opt in to these things, instead of having to find out about them and opt out.”
The bill, which hasn’t yet passed the Senate, might be vetoed by Democrat Gov. Laura Kelly, since the House vote on it didn’t attract a veto-proof majority. But Proctor says “several of the members were absent that day and the folks who were absent, I’m pretty sure would vote for it. So I think we do have a veto-proof majority in the House.”
A Kansas City Star story last week framed the artwork as “pictures on the theme of who is welcome” at the school – which appears not to include elected representatives who disagree with sexually suggestive topics being taught in younger grades.
The story said some are angry at both Reid and Proctor – the latter of whom, The Star said, distributed a photo in his newsletter of “a child’s artwork without consent to advance his political agenda.”
Opponents want Reid to resign – apparently for blowing the whistle on the alleged indoctrination, but also for a joke she made at a recent board meeting. When asked what quality board members would like in a new superintendent, Reid quipped, “blue eyes.”
Her critics, as amplified by The Star, consider the throwaway remark racist, however playfully she meant it.
The Lion couldn’t reach Reid, but Proctor stood up for her.
“She made the comment really just to kind of break the tension and lighten the atmosphere,” Proctor said. “I think that it was just the first thing that popped into her head.
“This idea that The Kansas City Star has tried to perpetuate – that it was a statement that she wanted a white person as the superintendent – is just, first of all, ridiculous, but second of all, clearly reading more into it than she intended.”
Proctor actually pointed to another remark at the Feb. 1 board meeting in which a female member said humility would not be seen as a positive trait of a superintendent who is a female or minority – a comment that seems to broadly attribute sweeping prejudice to white men.
“Humility is one of those things that, it’s great if you’re a white guy. It’s perceived well,” the board member told her colleagues. “But humble women? No. People of color? No. It’s not seen as a strength; it’s seen as, actually, as a negative. … Humility is not viewed as a positive trait when it’s applied to women or people of color.”
Proctor said he alerted The Kansas City to that board member’s stereotyping, but that the newspaper did not report on it.
“They totally ignored it because it didn’t fit their narrative. It’s pretty shocking,” he said. “I don’t think The Kansas City Star is concerned about racism in the Leavenworth School Board. I think they’re concerned about perpetuating a narrative that conservatives are racists.”
Neither Proctor nor Reid is going away, he says.
“You know what? You can only be canceled if you bend the knee and you submit to their worldview. And I refuse to submit, and I know that Vanessa refuses to submit, to this radical woke gender ideology, because it’s wrong and it’s hurting kids.
“I swore an oath, and she swore an oath, to fight for her constituents. And so, I don’t see either one of us backing down.”