Williams: Here’s a tip on what to do with Youngkin’s snitch line: Get it over with. | Columnists

A teacher in Russia, Marina Dubrova, said that “Ukraine is a country apart”.

“That is no longer the case,” retorted one of his students. And soon after, Dubrova was dragged into court, where she overheard a recording of that classroom conversation. She was fined for ‘publicly discrediting’ the Russian military and expelled from school, she said, for ‘unemoral behaviour’, according to a narrative in the New York Times.

“It’s like they’ve all gone into some kind of madness,” Dubrova said.

Another Russian teacher, Irina Gen, told her class: “We live in a totalitarian regime. Any dissent is considered a crime.”

Security agencies received footage of his lecture, according to a narrative in The Guardian. Russian prosecutors opened a case against her – essentially proving her point. The Guardian reported that at least four Russian teachers critical of that country’s war on Ukraine have been fired or prosecuted after students came forward to tell their parents or authorities.

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Is that why we’re going to Virginia?

Governor Glenn Youngkin’s line of advice to teachers is straight out of the totalitarian state’s playbook in the way it turns citizens against citizens in an effort to stifle the truth.






Governor Glenn Youngkin’s line of advice stems from his executive order banning “inherently divisive concepts,” a phrase designed to discourage discussion of our country’s history of systemic racism.


BOB BROWN/TIMES-DISPATCH



Youngkin’s line of advice stems from his executive order banning “inherently divisive concepts” — a vague, catch-all phrase designed to discourage discussion of our country’s history of systemic racism. But what could be more divisive than encouraging students to denounce their teachers?

A coalition of news organizations that cover Virginia sued Youngkin over his administration’s refusal to release copies of the teachers’ Whistleblower Line submissions under the Freedom of Information Act. The lawsuit, first reported by The Virginian-Pilot, asks a judge to force the administration to turn over the records. Media outlets joining the pilot include the Daily Press, Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, NPR and The Associated Press. (The Times-Dispatch and its owner, Lee Enterprises, are not parties to the lawsuit.)

Youngkin denied the requests, citing a FOIA exemption for working papers.

“I reiterate that this is a constituent service,” Youngkin spokeswoman Macaulay Porter said via email Friday, before referring me to an earlier statement from the administration: “When a constituent writes to the governor, he treats that communication as confidential and would not share the contents with the public.There is an expectation of confidentiality that he takes very seriously.

The whistleblower line has received its share of bogus advice, such as that of a prankster linking Arabic numerals to “creeping Sharia law”. I am not aware of any school districts that have taken action against an employee as a result of tipping Youngkin, who raised the issue of “parents’ rights” in the Executive Mansion. I always thought the goal was to preemptively chill class discussions.







protesters

Parents protested at a school board meeting in Loudoun County last June. Glenn Youngkin raised the issue of “parental rights” in the Executive Mansion.


FOX NEWS



In Russia, it has become very clear that those responsible are ready to act, creating a sword of Damocles on the teachers there.

In 1950s America, the Red Scare created an environment of fear, suspicion, and the search for a communist in every crevice. The neo-McCarthyism rampant in public education today would insert would-be race-critical theorists into every classroom, blaming white students for guilt or persecuting them with racial hatred.

It’s absurd, of course. But just as most Russians who apparently did not flee are convinced of the rightness of their nation’s brutal assault on Ukraine, too many of our fellow citizens have bought not only the lie of the stolen election, but the CRT myth gone mad in K-12 education.

Russia suffered surprisingly high losses during its invasion of Ukraine. But he continues to exert undue influence on the American political system, whether through his disinformation campaign on behalf of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, the bizarre spell Vladimir Putin wields on Trump, or the embrace of autocracy that culminated in the US Capitol insurrection. . The Conservative Political Action Conference meets next month in Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orban is a Putin ally presiding over the erosion of civil liberties in his country.

This insurrection has reminded us that democracy requires constant vigilance. I guess we should be thankful that the Virginia media could sue a governor – or that the independent media wasn’t kicked out or completely extinguished. But if we model the behavior of the Russian government by encouraging students to report teachers, what they really learn is Totalitarianism 101.

This trial should not be necessary. The government that turns parents and students against teachers is a form of madness.

So here is my advice to the governor: if the answer to “What would Putin do?” that’s what you’re doing, stop it.


Williams:

Michael Paul Williams – columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch – won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for commentary “for penetrating and historically insightful columns that guided Richmond, a former Confederate capital, through the painful and complicated process of dismantling monuments of the city for white supremacy.”


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Michael Paul Williams – columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch – won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for commentary “for penetrating and historically insightful columns that guided Richmond, a former Confederate capital, through the painful and complicated process of dismantling monuments of the city for white supremacy.”


Williams: The ring road truckers' protest was destined to stagnate.  It's time to tackle the real problems rather than the fabricated problems.

Michael Paul Williams – columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch – won the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for commentary “for penetrating and historically insightful columns that guided Richmond, a former Confederate capital, through the painful and complicated process of dismantling monuments of the city for white supremacy.”

Michael Paul Williams is a Pulitzer Prize Winner columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Richmond, Virginia; learn more about his columns on Richmond.com.


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