Candidate’s education plan revealed at Burke rally
Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn Youngkin unveiled his education plan to an enthusiastic crowd in Burke Tuesday night and outlined specifics when it comes to caring for kids in Fairfax County and the importance of education.
Nearly half of the 1,000 people in attendance gathered outside the Burke Volunteer Rescue and Fire Department and spoke with others who waited for a chance to meet Youngkin and get a yard sign after his speech.
Amid a sea of people holding Parents for Youngkin and Latinos for Youngkin signs, Loudoun County resident Brandon Michon introduced the candidate telling the audience Youngkin wants to empower parents in Virginia, raise the bar on education in Virginia and lift up the Commonwealth. Some parents were gathered on a platform behind the stage with lieutenant governor nominee Winsome Sears and attorney general candidate Jason Miyares.
Youngkin entered the room and shook hands with many supporters before jumping up on the stage. Shortly after his entrance, he told the group that chaos seeping into our schools for months has now escalated into violence. “A young teenage girl had been sexually assaulted in her Loudoun County school – and worse, the school administrators covered it up,” he said, which elicited boos from the audience. “Those who are entrusted with not only her education, but her safety quietly moved the offender to another school where he was able to do it again. Two young girls have been sexually assaulted because our system failed to protect them.”
Noting that he is heartbroken for these girls and their families and how government failed them, Youngkin said he is ignited with resolve. “It is an unwavering resolve to not just fix this, but to hold those who have failed our children accountable,” he said, which garnered cheers from the group. Youngkin then called for an immediate investigation into the Loudoun County School board for their gross negligence, drawing a louder response from people.
As the noise from the crowd died down, Youngkin told them that political operatives, disguised as school boards, have been inserted into our school systems. “They shut parents out, and concealed the truth,” he said. “The time for closed door conversation and silencing parents is over. We must fix this now. Those who are responsible must be fired or resign immediately. Virginia’s children can’t wait until January 15 to feel safe in our schools.”
Other items Youngkin outlined during his speech included requiring school resource officers in every school, requiring annual school safety audits to be conducted in coordination with local law enforcement, and mandating that every school report crimes to local law enforcement. He said he would demand the repeal of the law passed which allows school districts to cover up serious crimes. The candidate said he would withhold funding from schools who do not comply.
The Alexandria City Council recently reversed a decision they made in May to remove SROs from schools. Earlier this month they voted to reinstate them through the end of the school year after hearing from parents who wanted something done about recent fights and violent incidents both on the grounds of and near Alexandria City High School.
“As parents, we must harness that energy, we have to harness our outrage as we take back control from self-interested politicians and we produce solutions that not only meet the moment we’re in, but make Virginia schools worthy of our children and Virginia’s future,” he said. “Once we ensure our students are safe where they learn, we can respond immediately with actions on how and what they learn.”
Fairfax County resident Eric Hooks said he came out to the rally with two of his children because he was galvanized by the candidate’s platform. “I was motivated by their support for parent’s rights and for holding school systems accountable to the taxpayers rather than to special interests like the teachers unions,” he said. “The school systems have been brushing the interests of students, parents and taxpayers aside for years while sweeping sexual assaults and other forms of violence in schools under the rug to protect each other and further their political agenda. They need to be held to account for their criminal misconduct.”
Youngkin said his administration will be defined by action and that the movement will start with new leadership. “Together we will assemble a task force comprised of teachers, administrators, law enforcement, students and parents – did you hear me say parents? Because parents matter.” He then expounded on the principle of transparency, democracy, equality, investment, excellence, choice and trust. “This is no longer a campaign, it’s a movement. It’s a movement led by you, led by parents all over Virginia and all over America.”
Tuesday’s event was not without its detractors though as a handful of McAuliffe supporters showed up with a giant blowup Trump chicken, which one attendee thought was meant to antagonize supporters. “It is so lazy and shallow to equate Trump with Youngkin,” said Bethany Heim, a Fairfax County parent.