“They’re playing chess and we’re playing Go Fish.” — Women’s Campaign Fund
School boards across the U.S. are under siege. They’re facing a rash of hostile threats from aggressive forces that are disrupting — and dominating — school board meetings. The list of demands is ratcheting up, and we can’t be certain the mayhem stops there.
How bad are the scare tactics?
A February special report from Reuters graphically details death threats to school board members — and their children. One sample we can share: “We have a mass of people who know who you are. They will f***ing see your head swing from a pole. . .”
Now, a nationwide network of more than 300,000 women is training other women to counter delirium with decorum. The idea is to get off defense. “I think the other side has an engine that is always moving,” one network member said. “They’re playing chess and we’re playing Go Fish.”
The threats are shocking but — like chess — driven by a deliberate strategy. The end game a few national players push down a pipeline to the local level is to channel fury over mask mandates and diversity education into victories at the polls in 2022.
Remember this: however you feel about what your school board intends, you, yourself, can set the bar at “respect.” Male or female, suburban or rural, Republican or Democrat, parent or not, you have the rights to share your opinion, to have it heard, and to:
- Stand up for a civil and safe environment so that effective women and men will continue to serve on our school boards. Show up — and speak up — whether or not you have kids in school.
- Contact school board members and ask how you can support your community.
- Use the urgency of extreme events as an empowering, rather than intimidating, force for women considering a school board run. Talk to good candidates. Encourage them to take on the challenge of uplifting the institutions we all rely on to ready our next generation.
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