MEA, schools preach diversity and inclusion, but treat dissenters with scorn

Are parents bullies, or are they the bullied, on the school board meeting playground?

The advent of social media created a new fear of being exposed, singled out, or embarrassed for the world to see.

Unfortunate incidents have the potential to reach a worldwide audience. The person who was bullied as a child knows all too well the bully’s tactic: Select an attribute that distinguishes a person from the group — some way in which the victim differs from others — and make a mockery of it. Then, cajole bystanders into siding against the targeted individual.

This is what’s happening now to parents who step forward to oppose what is being taught in the classroom. The Michigan Education Association recently wrote on its website that “Parents, education advocates and several candidates for office came together during a break in the monthly State Board of Education meeting on Tuesday to speak out against organized right-wing attacks that are attempting to divide parents and educators.”

The union adds that it wants to “push back against the vocal minority attacking educators and schools.”

Sound familiar? The MEA admits that parents who voice concerns that their children are being ideologically indoctrinated in schools are in the minority. So what is its response to that minority stating its frustration publicly, at school board meetings? It could be to sit down and have a discussion with them. The MEA could try to come to an understanding with parents, to ensure that parents and schools work together for the betterment of the children. But it won’t.

Instead, the union’s response is effectively “my way or the highway.” It uses the authority of the State Board of Education, as well as advocates and other parents who agree with public education’s ideology, to intimidate a smaller group of people by “speaking out” and “pushing back.”

The irony is that schools and teachers unions are dedicating ample time and money to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The same organizations that say they want to promote diversity and inclusion are openly calling for those with divergent views to be “pushed back.”

Attempting to silence those who do not want the government teaching their kids its ideologies and morals (or lack thereof) is not practicing diversity or inclusion. It is the exact opposite; it’s groupthink.

Parents who want schools to stick with reading, writing and arithmetic — and leave the morals and values to be taught at home — are targeted, and not only by the MEA.

Media outlets have picked up the torch and use every tool at their disposal to bully parents. Headlines such as ‘Parents Attack Nonbinary Teacher At School Board Meeting’ and ‘School Boards Are No Match For America’s Political Dysfunction’ paint parents as insurrectionists.

Sara Clark Pierson, the former Grand Ledge Board of Education president, claimed that parents stormed the stage of a board meeting in their own “mini January 6 insurrection.” WILX-TV ran with the allegation and never bothered to fact-check what really happened. In its reporting it never uses the word “alleged.” Instead, it says, “The Grand Ledge Public Schools Board had to cancel its June 14 meeting early after people took over the stage where the board was seated.”

Video of the meeting shows parents never took over the stage. In fact, it shows school board members chatting with parents after the meeting. The claim put forth by the board president and broadcast by the TV station was so egregious that a fellow school board member came forward to Michigan Capitol Confidential. What Pierson claimed never happened, he said. WILX never issued a correction.

When parents didn’t back down and allow themselves to be bullied on the playground, the popular kid, President Joe Biden, got involved. The National School Board Association wrote a letter to Biden, saying some parents are engaging in domestic terrorism. Biden then wrote a letter to the Department of Justice, asking it to investigate parents as potential domestic terrorists.

So now we have teachers unions, the media, the National School Board Association, the president of the United States of America, and the Department of Justice breathing down parents’ necks. Who needs to be heeled and pushed back? Who is the bully?

It is cliche to say the eagle needs a right wing and a left wing to fly. A cliche, yes, but true. We have checks and balances in this country for a reason. Whether it those on the right side of the aisle who are in power or those on the left, a dissenting voice is always needed to check power. Here’s another irony: Schools teach important history lessons about countries that effectively silenced a minority group expressing its concerns about the direction of its government.

If educators are in the right, they should not fear, and in fact, should welcome parents who bring their concerns forward. If school officials fear what the minority has to say, they should rethink what they are teaching.

In its newsletter, the MEA talked of “organized right-wing attacks that are attempting to divide parents and educators.” While the truth may divide parents and educators, it will rightly divide.

Jamie A. Hope is assistant managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential. Email her at

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.