By Courtney Hildreth
I am a parent of three kids in Flagler County public schools and a registered volunteer.
Here in Florida and Flagler County, we hear a lot about parents’ rights. Just a couple of months ago, parents were in this very room, offering to fight in order to maintain these rights. Well, now is the time to stand up as rights tied to education, community, safety, tolerance and acceptance are being threatened. How are mask requirements “parents’ choice” but book availability is not?
Books are an important source of information and provide different perspectives, a view into different cultures, and to many, an escape or a way to relate, possibly even a lifeline. Books are recommended for specific ages and reading levels and should be available as specified.
We seem to be in a “copycat culture” phenomenon where certain groups are essentially copying other states in their regressions and trying to one up them. It’s popular to share and read the two sexually explicit pages from the All Boys Aren’t Blue book. Why is it okay for children to hear these words out of context by random people online and at school board meetings, but too explicit for them to read as part of a memoir?
More children have been exposed to these words because of this trend than they ever would have, had it been left alone. The only unknown at this point is the remaining 99 percent of the book. Just because you personally disagree or dislike something doesn’t give you the right to take away the benefit it might provide to someone else. These books could be a savior, provide understanding, open conversations and increase personal accountability for others.
Did you know that in a recent survey, 75 percent of parents thought their child had not yet seen pornography online, but in reality 53 percent of those children had? Did you also know that 51 percent of 11 to 13 year olds and 66 percent of 14-15 year olds have reported seeing pornography at some point? Internet safety is something we should all be able to agree on. Our children should not be exposed to readily available pornography that often promotes abuse, molestation and objectifying females. All of these books would seem innocent to some of the horrors online.
Another horror is that “Equity” was recently removed from Flagler school district goals. It’s unfortunate that “equity” is only supported if it’s for “me” and not “them.” Equity for all should be placed back as a goal to ensure all children, not just those with the loudest parents, have the chance and privilege to read, excel and succeed.
This brings me to my final concern about how all of this is diverting attention from a very real, current issue plaguing our district, which are the open vacancies and high staff attrition. Stability in our schools with teachers and administrators as well as equity is critical for our children. Over the past two years, some kids have excelled, but others have lost loved ones, been left alone without support or even been exposed to hunger and abuse.
It’s time to focus on the issues in the classroom and provide support for our teachers so kids can once again thrive, feel encouraged, be challenged and most importantly learn and grow as future leaders in our community and world. Help make Flagler County known for progress, tolerance and growth instead of ignorance and hate.
Courtney Hildreth is a Palm Coast resident and Parent. Hildreth delivered those remarks at the Nov. 16 school board meeting.
Bravo Ms. Hildreth! Please run for the School Board. Your reasoned approach to these issues is sorely needed!
James M. Mejuto says
It’s amazing how wonderful citizens can reach ‘equity’, fairness and common sense, away from the maddening
Republican bullshit !
Timothy Patrick Welch says
Seems like a good mom,
Glad that parents have awoken and are engaging in discussions concerning public schools.
These books have caused division and appear to be a distraction to the education of our youth.
The old crusty decrepit guard of FPC are incapable like a moth to the lite Racism Bigotry Lies Deception. Equity doesn’t exist in their World of False Religion White Supremacy and know it all Politics while their raiding piggy Bank when No one watches
So your argument is that because most kids have seen pornographic content, that we should make graphic sexual content readily available to middle schoolers? HS seniors is one thing, but to suggest that it’s ignorant and hateful that parents don’t want their 12 yr old reading about rape and anal sex w/o their permission is absurd. This so called leftist brand of “Tolerance” is becoming a hateful ideology in its own right, for any parents who disagree with you must be a hateful, intolerant white supremacist, right? Disgusting.
Thank you, Courtney, for speaking last night. Thank you to Flagler live for publishing the body of her remarks today. It was sometimes very difficult to hear the speakers over the obnoxious, obscenity spewing, hatemongers in the antechamber and outside of the front door.
I agree that you would make a good candidate for the school board, I think we need to replace Frick & Frack with two Courtneys.
Wow, an article about “ Help Make Flagler County Known for Progress, Tolerance and Growth Instead of Ignorance and Hate”, and look at the comments about “maddening Republican bullshit”.
You make the issues crystal clear. Thank you!
Christopher Goodfellow says
Michael Van Buren says
Well said! Please run for school board. We need people like you!
Equity, you see, is the word of the day. Not equality — that would be a traditionally American concept. The Declaration of Independence declares that “all men are created equal … endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” The 14th Amendment to the Constitution provides that all citizens must receive “equal protection of the laws.” Equality, in the traditional understanding, means something simple and easy to implement: the protection of the rights of all individuals, along with the invasion of none of those rights.
Equity means something different. The two words are separated by one syllable — but that syllable represents the difference between justice and injustice, rights and infringements, individualism and tribalism. Equity, in the common political parlance, means that each group should receive the same outcome as every other group. Ibram X. Kendi, the chief expositor of the new Democratic “racial equity” theory, explains that “Racial equity is when two or more racial groups are standing on a relatively equal footing.” Because race is a social construct, says Mr. Kendi, the chief indicator that two races are on unequal footing can be found not in proof of differential treatment by race but in differential outcome by race.
To prove racial inequity, therefore, one need not show animus or discriminatory policy. All one must show is unequal outcome. Mr. Kendi explains in his massive bestseller, “How to Be an Antiracist”: “A racist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial inequity between racial groups. An antiracist policy is any measure that produces or sustains racial equity between racial groups.” And, says Mr. Kendi, “There is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy.” All policies either forward equity or oppose it. Any policy not explicitly designed to rectify unequal outcome is therefore racist.
This philosophy is both idiotic and perverse. It’s idiotic because all human groupings — literally all of them — will result in differential outcomes. Draw a line down the middle of any room in random fashion and the result will be unequal income distribution, criminal records, educational histories. When culture takes a hand, disparities can be more deeply rooted than random chance. Discrimination would still not be the cause of such disparity. As a basic logical matter, discrimination is not the cause of all disparity.
This philosophy is perverse because it attributes malice to those who have none; it fosters policy that actively discriminates , supposedly in order to alleviate unproven discrimination. Mr. Kendi himself explains: “The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.” Ben Shapiro said it best.
Book banning and the attack on the concept of equity in education is a nationwide, coordinated effort.
The III percenters who show up to do the dirty work, like the ones Tuesday night, are useful idiots. Dangerous, useful idiots. Using the ignorant and angry to do the wet work is how every battle begins.
Woolbright and McDonald are playing with a powder keg.
Lots of luck with……………..
Progress, Tolerance and Growth in this County!
Stephen Furnari says
On behalf of the many “loud” parents who who have legitimate concerns of about the District’s inability (or unwillingness) to commit to a definition of “equity” in its Strategic Plan (or anywhere else), and in the name of “tolerance and growth instead of ignorance and hate” I extend a personal invitation to Ms. Hildreth to have a respectful dialogue, in person, to discuss our mutual differences and to find common ground (on which I believe there are many — first, and foremost, that we love our children).
I would be happy to arrange a meeting with any members of District Admin or the school board who would be willing to participate.
An in person meeting that achieves real results, rather than barking opposing views at each other in public comments or on social media, or castigating others as “ignorant” or “hateful” would be real progress.
Good luck with that! They just give people like her a platform to scream as loud as she wants about their narrative. You don’t get a say. This isn’t how this works.
FlaglerLive has published three Stephen and Kristy Furnari columns.
STOP THE INSANITY says
This is the biggest joke of all. Furnari’s have highjacked the students with disabilities group and turned it into political nonsense. I have witnessed their conversations with District leadership at their meetings and they should be ASHAMED of themselves. The behavior they have displayed – BOTH of them is ridiculous. If the district had half a brain they would disassociate and not support this group in ANY WAY!! It is no longer an advocacy group for parents with exceptional students but something the Furnari’s have highjacked for their own political purposes. PATHETIC!
Courtney Hildreath is not only wise but also quite correct in her comments. She should definitely run for school board and maybe more. I hope people understand that oppression and despotism begins
at a grass roots level with an attempt to control others through threats, intimidation and destruction of freedoms. Book burnings in Nazi Germany ring a bell? Don’t let us go down that slope. Bravo Courtney Hildreath!! BRAVO!!
Independent John says
The call for equity is moronic…It is a regressive idea that does not improve society but sets the bar at the lowest common denominator. It is a political feel-good buzz word that some try to use to make their position seem benevolent when in reality it is nothing more than the dumbing down of requirements to create a more manipulatable population.
Equality of opportunity…Good
Equality of resources…Good
Equality of instruction…Good
Equity of Outcome…Only if you neuter innovation, stifle effort, penalize ambition and make mediocrity the goal…None of which are good things.
All mankind is CREATED equal…We are born wet, cold, crying and blind…after that, there is no equality…we all have strengths and weaknesses. Some are stronger and weaker than others…All we can do is find our happiness and spot in the world with the gifts we are given and inspite of the flaws.
As far as the idea of sexually explicit books in our Elementary and Middleschools. Use your common sense. Would you out a porn mag on the shelf with your kids coloring books? I Would hope not. So the argument that bad things are out there so, what’s the point is moot.
And as far as any mention of Racism and political party…There is no greater racist notion than thinking a white person has to speak or be offended for any person of color like they can’t stand for themselves…even to the point of talking over them or being angry if they don’t agree with the same philosophy. Careful throwing that ever weakening word around.
Pierre Tristam says
Darwinism on crack. So the commenter can’t be blamed for offering analogies under the influence.
Independent John says
Pierre, I’m guess you believe that if you take 100 people given the same social advantages, living conditions, etc and no rewards for being exceptional and educating them to the standard of the slowest learner… that group of people will ultimately excel? Because that is what equity of outcome is. Finding the highest level the lowest individual can attain and making that the standard for everyone.
That or, letting those that will excel do so and then taking from them until they are at the same socio-economic level as that same lowest achiever…By definition punishing those that are exceptional…
Either idea is idiocy.
Pierre Tristam says
You’re interpreting equity according to the pulp fictions issued by the Heritage Foundation. I address the fallacy here.
Michael Cocchiola says
You have my admiration and support, Courtney.
Your argument has no logic. How can you justify the book should be availability because the kids hear or see something they should’t hear or see? Because it might do sone good? What good would that be? Being a woke child. That’s lame.
Parents need to be parents! If they don’t want their kids exposed to this stuff then they should work to ensure they aren’t exposed to it.
Truth Hurts says
Garbage opinion piece. Who wrote this article, a socialist? I hear they love socialism in California and are looking for fresh taxpayers to drain.
Pierre Tristam says
When all else fails, call it socialism. The commenter (who probably is on Medicare and Social Security, went to public school and took advantage of the mortgage interest deduction to roof a little extra unearned wealth—a trifecta of socialist programs most of their beneficiaries still confuse with Ronald Reagan, a very confused man) bears hers/his/their/its handle well, suggesting that she/he/they/it has a very, very low threshold for pain, though lucid and good writing, like Hildreth’s, makes even boo-boos on the brain disappear. Some readers may have self-inflicted immunity.