Parental rights advocates came to the defense of a California school board member who was censured by his own board for his willingness to speak at a meeting hosted by a pro-parent group.
At the Frankley-McKinley school board’s meeting last week, parents and community members came in droves to defend Marc Cooper, rebuked by the board for affiliating with Informed Parents of Silicon Valley (IPSV).
“By censoring Marc you are dividing parents from their children,” Terese Mansfield, a mother and grandmother, told the school board. “Marc was duly elected by parents who want to know what’s going on in the school. They want to opt out of things that are against their values, things that they think are harming their children.
“The Informed Parents of Silicon Valley, all they wanted to do was tell parents, ‘If you don’t like what’s happening, you can be opted out.’”
The controversy started when Cooper, along with city council member Bien Doan, agreed to speak at an event on Sept. 7 hosted by IPSV.
After public criticism, Doan quickly backpedaled and apologized for even associating with the concerned parents.
“This incident has served as a wakeup call for my office to be more diligent in researching who we meet with and we will do better,” he said in a statement.
However, Cooper defended his decision, resulting in an official censure and calls to resign from the Franklin-McKinley board.
“You’re intentionally defaming me and putting yourself in a position to be sued for defamation,” Cooper told his colleagues, according to local media. “If you vote to censure me and recommend my resignation, you’re placing yourself in that place.”
The board voted 4-1 against Cooper, alleging he violated the bylaws and misrepresented school curricula.
At last Tuesday’s board meeting, numerous citizens came to Cooper’s defense.
“We stand behind Marc for telling the parents what they need to know,” said Mike Fagundez, a youth pastor.
Jose Gonzalez, a father of two, even accused the board of “malign[ing] IPSV.”
“Mr. Marc wasn’t there to speak on the LGBT community or anything other than education,” Gonzalez added.
IPSV’s website explains the group is concerned with any material of a “high sexualized nature and age inappropriateness,” regardless of sexual orientation.
When Cooper ran for school board member in 2022, he campaigned on a platform of transparency and parental rights.
“I am a strong advocate that curriculum/school programs must be transparent to the parents,” he said. “I support the right of parents to review curriculum, including sex education, and opt their child out of any teaching they object.”
The Franklin-McKinley community appears to agree with him.
“The parental voice is a God given gift,” Elizabeth Stewart told the school board. “The right for a parent to raise their kids according to their values and principles is given by God and men cannot take that away.”
“This school board is stifling freedom of speech and freedom of association,” warned Chris Novak. “This is how tyranny begins.”