HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — “Moms For Liberty North Carolina,” a group self-described as a grassroots movement of concerned parents, gave insight into its “legislative priorities” in a pamphlet distributed at an event where N.C. Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson and others spoke at last month.
This event was held in front of the lieutenant governor’s mansion in Raleigh on May 17 in honor of “Legislative Day,” a day when multiple groups gather and rallied for political interest in North Carolina. Robinson was among North Carolina politicians who spoke at the engagement, praising Moms for Liberty by saying that “nothing” gets done until women get involved, according to a tweet from political reporter Will Doran.
The pamphlet was shared by the Mecklenburg County chapter of the Moms for Liberty group, which has 13 chapters in the state and hundreds across the country since its founding in Florida in 2021.
The materials distributed at the Legislative Day event include a “Legislative Priorities” page, a pamphlet entitled “Myths of Gender Affirming Care” and a few pages from a group called “Coalition for Liberty,” which describes itself as a grassroots organization combating “woke” and cancel culture.
Mark Robinson will also be appearing at a Moms for Liberty “national summit” at the end of June.
Moms for Liberty North Carolina’s Legislative Priorities
The mission of Moms for Liberty North Carolina is described as “fighting for the survival of America by unifying, educating, and empowering parents to defend their parental rights at all levels of government” on the sheet entitled “North Carolina Legislative Priorities.”
“Preserve parental rights”
Moms for Liberty “supports parents’ fundamental rights to direct the upbringing, education, and medical care of their children,” it reads, going on to say that they denounce “any action” taken by a government agency to “circumvent parental rights.”
This seems to be in reference to Title IX protections extended to transgender Americans, including K-12 students.
“Students’ right to privacy about their personal information is protected by federal law. Revealing a student’s transgender status, birth name, sex assigned at birth, or medical history to classmates, parents, teachers and others may violate the federal educational privacy law, known as FERPA,” a fact sheet circulated by the National Center for Transgender Equality reads, explaining the Department of Education’s guidance on transgender students’ legal protections that was released in June 2021.
Multiple states, including North Carolina, have introduced bills that would require public schools to share medical information with parents, which would include if a student asked to be referred to by a different name or pronouns at school, which activists fear could put LGBTQ+ children in danger if they live in an unaccepting home environment.
“Education, not indoctrination”
They go on to denounce spending funds on “Diversity Equity Inclusion,” “Critical Race Theory” or “Social Emotional Learning,” saying that money spent on these would be better spent on teacher salaries and that these educational models do not fit in with “core academics.”
“Schools are not social, cultural, and behavioral training centers,” it says.
Critical race theory is “a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism.” It is an academic theory that posits that racism is systemic and that decisions not consciously motivated by racism can still contribute to racism.
Critical race theory is generally taught to law students. There has been a nationwide backlash to the perception that it was being taught to public school-aged children despite the lack of evidence that K-12 schools teach it at all, and many have pointed to conservative activist Christopher Rufo as the originator of this idea. Rufo’s website is used on the Moms for Liberty Mecklenburg County homepage as reading material.
“Diversity Equity Inclusion” or “DEI” is defined as a “conceptual framework that promotes the fair treatment and full participation of all people, especially in the workplace” that includes people from groups that have been victims of discrimination.
“Social Emotional Learning” is “a strengths-based, developmental process” according to a fact sheet provided by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. “It is the process through which children, adolescents, and adults learn skills to support healthy development and relationships. Adult and student social and emotional learning competencies include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making,” according to the fact sheet.
“Oppose medical mandates”
“Moms for Liberty NC contends that all medical and healthcare decisions for minors are made by the minor’s parent or guardian, not mandated by the government,” Moms for Liberty North Carolina says in its legislative priorities list.
They go on to claim that “mandates” and “forced coercion” in order to participate in public school and extracurriculars are an infringement upon rights and violate the state constitution.
North Carolina law requires vaccinations for attendance at public schools. Other public health measures are taken up under the authority of the Department of Health and Human Services.
“Equality is paramount”
While opposing “diversity, equity and inclusion” initiatives, Moms for Liberty North Carolina says it believes in “equality.”
“Moms for Liberty NC asserts that equality and an expectation of excellence in education are of the utmost importance. There is no race, sex, gender, religion, political affiliation, or socioeconomic class superior or inferior to any other. Every student should have equal access to school resources in a positive and safe learning environment. Anything to the contrary should not be allowed and is detrimental to individual student success.”
“Gender ideology in schools”
However, they go on to “condemn gender transition medications and procedures” for minors, as well as “biological males” on female sports teams. They also condemn what they call “drag impersonation events” among children and “queer/gender theory propaganda” in schools.
These are topics that North Carolina lawmakers have also taken aim at in recent weeks, with bills filed to classify drag performances as “adult” and outlaw transgender girls from participating on girls’ sports teams, as well as a bill that would make gender-affirming care illegal for minors.
“Age-appropriate material in schools”
They aim to “ensure that all materials available in a public school setting are free of obscenity, pornography, vulgarity and sexually explicit language and graphics.” This includes not only teaching materials but also material found in libraries and voluntary extracurricular activities.
“Minors are a protected class and should be free to learn in safe environments without exposure to these adult issues and themes,” the document reads.
Protected classes generally refer to federal and state-level discrimination laws, with protections for age based on discrimination against older adults in the workplace. Minors are not legally considered a “protected class,” and the laws do not address media parents may consider inappropriate.
“Safety and protection”
Moms for Liberty also believes in “armed security” on school properties and increased penalties for school employees or volunteers guilty of “sexually abusing children” in K-12 settings.
“We also encourage the use of proper disciplinary action for students instead of only restorative practices,” the document says.
Restorative practices are disciplinary measures that have been gaining popularity recently. These practices emphasize talking with students about misbehavior and working through things with discussions and reflection rather than punitive actions like suspensions or expulsions.
“Elected by the people, for the people”
“Moms for Liberty NC asserts that every citizen’s vote is sacred. Voting is one way we help the government remain of the people, by the people, and for the people. We support a statewide vote on a Constitutional amendment that allows the citizens to elect the State Board of Education members, rather than have them appointed by the Governor.”
A bill was filed in North Carolina earlier this year to change that law to align with this legislative goal.
“Myths of Gender Affirming Care”
In another pamphlet handed out at the event, Moms for Liberty NC claims that “affirmative care harms children and teens” and that other mental health issues are not addressed by gender-affirming care.
“Comprehensive studies show ‘gender-affirming care’ is not safe and effective despite being seen as a cure to gender dysphoria by its proponents,” the pamphlet reads. A Scientific American article notes that data from dozens of studies “consistently show that access to gender-affirming care is associated with better mental health outcomes.”
Moms for Liberty claims in their literature that “no data has shown children will commit suicide if they do not socially or medically transition.” However, Scientific American indicates that research says that teens “who had access to puberty blockers or gender-affirming hormones were 60 percent less likely to experience moderate to severe depression. And those with access to the medical treatments were 73 percent less likely to contemplate self-harm or suicide” and the Trevor Project finds that LGBTQ+ youth who have accepting support structures are significantly less likely to be suicidal.
Moms for Liberty background
Prior to the Legislative Day speaking event, Moms for Liberty North Carolina garnered attention by challenging a few books found in some Charlotte-Mecklenburg School libraries, deeming them explicit and inappropriate for high school-aged students.
Moms for Liberty was initially formed in 2021 in Florida and has grown to encompass dozens of counties across the country, primarily focusing on challenging books in school libraries, masking mandates and virtual schooling.
The first group in Brevard County formed after a co-founding member lost a school board election. They began to protest the school district’s guidelines around LGBTQ+ students. Media Matters for America, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to addressing what it refers to as “conservative misinformation in the U.S. media,” alleges that the group falsely accused a Brevard County school board member of child abuse and protested at her home.
Media Matters reports that instances of harassment connected to Moms for Liberty have been reported in different areas of the country, in addition to the allegations from Brevard County.
- In a Pennsylvania chapter, a chair was arrested after allegedly repeatedly harassing an individual with messages.
- In audio obtained by Media Matters, an Arkansas woman threatened librarians in the district, saying that if she had “any mental issues” she would have shot them by now.
- The chair of a Michigan chapter allegedly led a harassment campaign against a woman and was issued a restraining order. In 2021, the woman told school board members “we’re coming for you. Take it as a threat. Call the FBI. I don’t care!”
- In Tennessee, Moms for Liberty members allegedly harassed a different parent group, accusing them of being pedophiles and child abusers.
- Moms for Liberty’s alleged harassment at a school board meeting in Wisconsin prompted police presence.
- A Moms for Liberty-affiliated school board member in Charleston, South Carolina, said he would show up at an educator’s doorstep with a gun if his child’s teacher came out as transgender.
The Daily Beast also reported the case of a Moms for Liberty chapter chairperson who allegedly used a murdered former friend’s Facebook account in order to harass people.
Another Moms for Liberty member gave an interview on CNN where she purported that the Biden administration was intentionally making children gay. A Florida Moms for Liberty member who fought to remove Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climbed” from libraries came under fire for promoting the antisemitic Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fake document that has influenced numerous modern conspiracy theories like the “New World Order” and QAnon.
While Moms for Liberty claims to be primarily a grassroots-based organization, there have been high-profile donors like Publix heiress Julie Fanacelli and concerns about a lack of financial transparency.