TikTok users and activists are intentionally blocking an email inbox set up by the Republican governor of the state of Virginia that allows parents to report teachers they believe are “behaving in an objectionable manner.”
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin campaigned to stop Critical Race Theory in public schools, an easy task considering CRT is not taught in K-12 schools, and established an email address that parents could use to report teachers they deem inappropriate.
“…[It’s] that parents send us any case where they feel their fundamental rights are being violated, that their children are not being respected, that there are inherently divisive practices in their schools,” Youngkin told conservative radio host John Fredericks.
The governor’s move provoked rejection from defenders of teachers’ rights and freedom of expression. Activists, spurred on in part by singer John Legend, are filling the state’s email inbox with bogus reports in an effort to render the reporting system useless.
“Black parents need to flood these tip lines with complaints about the silencing of our story,” the singer wrote in a tweet. “We are parents too.”
According to Well-informed persona 21-year-old woman from California automated the disruption process by creating a website that floods the government inbox with false reports.
The emails your website sends include the name of a Virginia public school, along with a vague accusation of “teaching racism” or “teaching race,” followed by the lyrics of a pop song.
Sofia Ongele, the woman who created the website, said Well-informed person which has attracted some 1,500 people every half hour, meaning that at least 24,000 people have visited since Thursday morning.
She told the outlet that she was “unspeakably angry” at conservative figures in the media who are “stoking a non-existent divide”.
“Seeing as Glenn Youngkin was trying to vilify educators, I thought I’d do everyone a favor and remove that information,” he said.
TikTok users are also getting in on the action; several have shared videos urging their supporters to submit false reports to the tip line.
The same method was used in the fall when Texas was trying to implement a similar reporting system targeting doctors who perform abortions. TikTok users shared contact information and flooded the status with false reports, rendering the reporting system useless, at least for a while.
Critics of the governor have said that the email reporting system mistreats teachers, and some teachers have confirmed that this is exactly how they feel.
Oveta Scott, a Prince William County high school teacher with more than a decade of teaching experience, spoke to ABC 7News about the reporting system.
“We are human beings too. We are going through it too,” he said. “Why are we being vilified and attacked? What are we doing? We’re trying to stay afloat. We have a shortage of substitutes. We have a shortage of bus drivers. Every day, I have to look up an email to see if I’m covering the kind of someone. Every day.”