A recently filed lawsuit is a good example of the ways in which the administration and leftists generally have made it difficult for those who dare to disagree with them. A Michigan special needs parent was harassed by government officials after she protested the COVID-19 lockdowns that had harmed her son’s education. This outrageous incident is another example of government overreach as a parent to two daughters, one with a disability.
Sandra Hernden filed suit against Chippewa Valley Schools Board. Conor Hernden, her autistic son, was unable to attend in-person classes because the district had shut down in-person learning due to the pandemic. His GPA dropped from 3.5 percent to 1.5 when he enrolled in virtual classes.
Conor’s poor performance was rightly frustrating his mother. She contacted the school board to complain about Chippewa Valley insisting on closing schools. What did the school board do to Hernden’s objections? They took legal action against Hernden for speaking out.
According to the lawsuit, Hernden’s secretary complained about Hernden’s comments to school board members. Hernden was a local officer of police. The secretary claimed that Hernden was expressing anger, disrespect, and veiled race and asked Hernden’s supervisor for guidance.
The Chippewa Valley School Board chairman went even further. Hernden sent him a link to the federal court decision against another school district that limited public comments last October. Hernden asked him to take “a little more due diligence and caution at [school board] meetings.”
Ms. Hernden used heated language at times in her remarks. These remarks were made out of frustration, first from watching her son struggle in school and secondly because her concerns were largely ignored by the district. The school board has not accused her or the Mothers of Liberty of threatening violence against anyone.
Chippewa Valley’s schoolboard chairman asked the Justice Department to “anything that could possibly be done to curb the behavior of these people,” effectively asking federal officials for silence against the board. His actions are, as the lawsuit states, “retaliation against Hernden’s” exercise of her First Amendment free speech rights.
It is not surprising that the Board Chairman’s referral to Department of Justice came after Attorney General Merrick Galrland sent a memo asking the FBI to investigate protests against school boards, as possible instances of domestic terrorist. We now know that Hernden was referred to the Justice Department by the Chippewa Valley School Board Chairman, hours after Garland sent his memo.
I am a mother to a child with special needs and welcome parents’ involvement in education matters. Many parents were shocked by the negative policies that local school boards pursued after the pandemic. These ranged from constant lockdowns and hiding requirements to curricula that indoctrinate their children with offensive and racist theories about white privilege.
The Chippewa Valley suit is a clear example of how the Biden administration works to criminalize dissent in communities and poison relations across the country. Schools should listen to parents and not ignore them.
Conor Hernden, Hernden’s son, has moved to a new school where he can hopefully start to heal from the damage that COVID lockdowns caused to his learning. We hope that Chippewa Valley school boards and others will learn that criticizing them is a violation of both the Constitution as well as the principles that families hold dear.