A Fox News video reporting on the retaliation parents have faced after denouncing the critical race theory curriculum coincidentally caught a live shot personifying the blowback.
Loudon County mother Jessica Mendez was speaking to Fox about how she’s been criticized by family and friends for speaking out against CRT when the camera caught her neighbor giving her the middle finger in the background.
“I thought that I had a good friend,” Mendez said after the neighbor’s gesture. “I’m really hurt right now because I thought that we had a rapport. That I could be conservative, and I could be a Republican, and she could be a liberal, and she could be a Democrat, and we could still be friends.”
“I guess I was wrong,” she said.
The mother of two said the retaliation extends beyond her neighbor, with her own family criticizing her.
“I had my own family criticize me openly and ask me, you know, what’s wrong with me? You know, why didn’t I understand?” Mendez added.
Another Loudoun County parent, Patti Hidalgo Menders, echoed Mendez, saying she’s been called a “racist” and “disgusting” by a Facebook group called “Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County” due to her views on critical race theory.
“They put three pictures of me in there, and they called me a racist,” Menders said. “They had my first and last name, the name of my husband, where my son goes to high school, what town I live in, and they called me disgusting.”
A group of Virginia parents, however, is fighting back and filed a federal lawsuit against the Loudoun County School Board, which the parents claim is violating their children’s rights to free speech.
“Our kids have the right to develop their own opinions, free from indoctrination and school-sanctioned bullying. Instead of opening young minds, Loudoun County school leaders are policing them. This is not education; it is coercion,” said Scott Mineo, a parent of a Loudoun County High School student and the founder of Parents Against Critical Theory.
Critical race theory curriculum has been spreading across the country in recent months, but some states are pushing back, including in Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently said such lessons teach “false history” and that he would not allow the education system to “denigrate” America’s founding.
“You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig,” he added.