‘We are war moms’: Moms for Liberty battles school boards across US
A war for control of public education between school boards and parents has been raging over the last couple of years, and a lack of organization has always been the parents’ Achilles heel. But over the last year and a half, a Florida-based parental rights group called Moms for Liberty has been on the rise, backed by a federal super PAC, experienced political players, and nearly the entirety of the GOP.
It’s the salient political group of the moment, aiming to gather enough weight to change the country’s course on educational issues. Started by two Moms in 2021, Mom’s for Liberty claims 215 chapters in 40 states, with over 95 thousand members.
The group primarily focuses on issues of “parental rights” and “indoctrination”; the organization’s Twitter banner reads “2022, the Year of the Parent”
The conservative activism group first blasted onto the scene in Florida, the modern bastion of right-wing effectiveness, leveraging COVID-19 and racial issues in its to rise to prominence. The organization confronted school officials on these conflicts regularly and now has the express aim of removing any officials who attempt to go over parents’ heads with partisan policies.
ATTENTION School Boards, City Officials, State Legislators, Governors, Congressmen, and every single unelected bureaucrat in between, this message is for YOU. #moms4liberty #FearlessMoms #fearless4liberty pic.twitter.com/4XCfLA4RB7
— Moms for Liberty (@Moms4Liberty) August 2, 2022
It was during COVID-19 that parents began noticing how much control schools had over their children, and exactly what was being taught. Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, a school board member in Sarasota County, Florida, noticed this awareness rise but also pinpointed the problem. A few disgruntled parents could not alone create meaningful change in the system.
“We realized there was a real need and opportunity … to help families understand how best to advocate for their children … while at the same time help find elected officials who truly understand the need to serve families,”
Despite broad support from the GOP, the group maintains that it is issue focused and non-partisan. Its mission is to educate and unite parents to be effective watchdogs over the activities of school officials. However, not everyone takes them at their word.
“They’re certainly partisan,” said Florida state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando. “They’re not supporting Democrats. They are an arm of the Republican Party of Florida.”
While Rep. Smith is correct that the organization is not helping democrats, that does not necessarily mean the group is partisan. From COVID-19 to CRT, it is left-wing overreach that’s most common in the current political moment, meaning Moms for Liberty incidentally winds up on the right side of the aisle. It’s fair to assume that the group would oppose any attack on parental rights, no matter where it stems.
The group has also taken a serious interest in school board elections on the political front as well. Group co-founder Tiffany Justice explains why this interest is necessary to their mission, not merely a political stunt.
“Our focus is educating and uniting moms, but school board elections have an impact, and we’d be remiss to not be paying attention to that,”
Throughout its existence, Governor DeSantis and the rest of the GOP have thrown their weight behind the organization. DeSantis headlined multiple events for the group as they share a common interest; both are champions of parental rights in education.
With Moms for Liberty now truly firing on all cylinders, it’s impacting school board elections and everyday parents. Kourtney O’Hara, chair for the group’s chapter in Lexington County, South Carolina, said this about the organization.
“Before Moms for Liberty, when I called legislators, nobody would ever return a call,” s“Now they do call back. Moms for Liberty was really able to open doors to get those conversations.”