They met at the back of a sports bar in a town two hours north of West Palm Beach mere weeks after they’d made national headlines for having a highly distasteful Holocaust book removed from their school library.
Jennifer Pippin, chairman of Florida’s Indian River chapter of Moms for Liberty, told the 30 odd parents assembled at their monthly meeting that an organization called Community One Initiative – which engages in Holocaust education – reviewed the book and said it was not to be on the (school library) shelves for children.
The book is called Anne Frank’s Diary, The Graphic Adaptation. It is a highly inappropriate, bordering on distasteful, cartoon adaptation of “The Diary of Anne Frank,” which was written in 1947.
It includes pictures of Anne strapped into an electric chair so someone can feed her and of showgirls in hot pants showing off their lean figures from eating rations, among other things.
“We made national news with this,” Pippin said.
She said the media reported that “Anne Frank was banned in Indian River County,” and they “killed Anne Frank again.”
The newspaper reports, which never provided examples of the book, used inflammatory words like “censored” and “banned.”
Pippin says they were called Hitler, anti-Jew, against history and Holocaust deniers by the woke for having this highly objectionable book removed from the school library.
“I’m sure I’m missing a few (names),” she adds.
Their efforts even made a recent segment on school book bans on CBS Sunday Morning. The highly skewed report portrayed the Moms for Liberty members as far-right zealots.
She said to date, they’ve had 52 pornographic, sexually explicit and Critical Race theory books removed from local school libraries and 200 more are being reviewed.
“These books are being put on the shelves without being vetted,” she says. “We’re finding rape, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, oral and anal sex…to have them in the hands of unaccompanied minors could be harmful.”
The highly organized local chapter has an entire committee consisting of parents and grandparents who read every questionable book.
The Indian River chapter got up and running two years ago as part of a larger Moms for Liberty movement across the United States.
Founded by Florida moms Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich it now has 285 chapters in 44 states and some 120,000 members.
Their efforts to champion “parental rights” in education has made them a major player in the 2024 presidential campaign.
In an interview with True North last year, Justice said the Covid pandemic made parents realize they were being ignored whether it involved masking mandates, quarantines or the push to embed critical race theory and harmful gender ideology into the curriculum.
Justice said at the time that when their members walk into a school board meeting with their “Moms for Liberty” shirts, school staff and administrators realize they mean business.
This is certainly the kind of organization sorely needed in Ontario, where brave parents and teachers have been cancelled, harassed and intimidated for raising any issue about highly sexualized (mostly LGBTQ books) in elementary school libraries.
Retired Waterloo teacher Carolyn Burjoski, one example, is in the midst of fighting a defamation suit against the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) and its former chairman Scott Piatkowski for cancelling and labelling her transphobic after she raised the issue of two such books at a board meeting last year.
Waterloo parent, David Todor, became the subject of a defamatory open letter posted by the WRDSB earlier this year after he, too, spoke to trustees about sexually explicit material contained in elementary school libraries.
Even non-woke trustees in boards like Durham, Ottawa, Waterloo and Toronto have found themselves up against a brick wall whenever they endeavour to obtain that kind of information.
In fact, last week, Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) trustee Cindy Watson tabled a motion asking that parents be informed about sexual health teaching and class discussions and that those who wish to be accommodated should be not just based on religion but their concerns of age appropriateness.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has brought in legislation that bans the teaching of gender ideology and same-sex relationships in the primary grades – known by activists as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Pippin says that characterization couldn’t be further from the truth. She said all the legislation does is ensure that the “fundamental right” to discuss gender ideology and same-sex relationships is left to parents or guardians when they feel it is age-appropriate.
I asked her what she would recommend parents do who are being shut out by their local school boards here in Ontario.
“Don’t give up… get a group together … there’s power in numbers,” she said.
“Send e-mails … bring children in and have them tell (school board administrators) what they’ve seen in their classrooms.”
She says, laughing, that it has certainly been an uphill battle trying to make school boards accountable.
But they’re showing up at school board meetings and having peaceful protests.
“I say I’m driving a bus and it’s on fire and get on if you want to,” Pippin said. “But parents and grandparents have gotten together across the country and are taking on these issues one at a time.”