A Pennsylvania school district board member, Richard Robinson, recently authored an op-ed calling concerned parents “offensive and vile.” According to critics, having heard concerned parents voice their views at board meetings, Robinson is attempting to silence them.
Robinson’s op-ed piece was published on January 20, 2022, and he came out swinging at parents. His main claim is that he does not work for taxpayers, including parents. In his words: “With all due respect to men and women who snarl, ‘I’m a taxpayer! You work for me!’ No, I don’t work for you.” He then mentioned his role as a taxpayer, appealing to a whole family of taxpayers, ultimately diverting the subject. He followed these statements by saying that he represents tax-paying parents, rather than works for them.
Robinson’s snarky observation of concerned parents supposedly validates his claims: “Some members of my community appear to interpret (the public comment) part of board meetings as the occasion to tell board members why they have the collective intelligence of a village idiot and how the school district ought to be addressing real problems.”
He also took issue with the belief that parents know what is best for their children. “With all due respect to the parents who make the pretentious statement, phrased as a foregone question, ‘Don’t parents always know what is best for their child?’ No, we don’t,” Robinson wrote. He went on to say that parents should simply withdraw their children from school if they disagree.
Robinson’s final attack on parents was his most aggressive. He claimed parents who vocalize how pandemic policies have taken significant tolls on their children’s mental health are justifying “their own social agenda.” He then calls such parents “the most offensive and vile of all.”
Richard Robinson’s comments come after teachers unions and government agencies have recently worked to diminish parental involvement. Dating back to last year, associations like the NEA and NSBA have coordinated with government agencies in what critics say is an attempt to silence concerned parents. However, parents around the country continue to stand up for their rights to direct the education of their children.