A Virginia Parent-Teacher Association official resigned after being heard in a video saying “Let them die,” a comment some believed was aimed at parents at a rally to oppose critical race theory.
Michelle Leete, who worked as the Virginia PTA’s vice president of training, said she did not want to wish death on parents who oppose teaching racial history in schools. Instead, she told the Washington Post, she hoped the right-wing “ideals” of parents died. However, the damage was already done.
The Virginia PTA announced Saturday that he had requested and received Leete’s resignation.
“While not speaking in her role with Virginia PTA, we do not tolerate word choice used at a public event on Thursday, July 15, 2021,” the statement said.
In one Tweeter, the Fairfax County Non-Partisan Parents Association added: “The actions and rhetoric of Ms. Leete and all of the like-minded SB supporters are deeply disappointing. It shows a profound lack of interest in children and parents, especially when the well-being of children and families collides with political considerations. “
Leete’s comment came during a pair of dueling protests just before the Fairfax County Public School Board of Trustees unanimously voted to allow transgender students to use the washrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity and require school staff to use the preferred names and pronouns of transgender students.
A group of protesters have come forward to oppose the school’s equity initiatives. So another group that included Leete, went to the rally in a counter-demonstration, according to the Post. The fallout from Leete’s comments was swift, with some conservative social media users condemn her online.
Leete is also listed as First Vice President of the Fairfax County NAACP. She was previously on the Fairfax County Council PTA Vice President of Communications roster, but the position is now listed as “vacant.” Neither the NAACP nor the Fairfax County PTA immediately responded to NBC News requests for comment.
The incident follows months of headline-grabbing debate over critical race theory, a decades-old framework and academic term for exploring the ways in which racism is inherent in American life. Several bills have been proposed or passed across the country to limit the teaching of concepts such as racial fairness and white privilege. These concepts have been wrongly described as “critical race theory”.
The national battle to teach racial equity in schools has spilled over to school boards, with conservative groups supporting local efforts to stop schools from allowing classes on systemic racism.
“Many of those who condemn critical race theory have not read or studied it extensively. A lot of it is based on fear: the fear of losing power, influence and privilege, ”Jonathan Chism, assistant professor of history at the University of Houston-Downtown and co-formerly told NBC News. editor of “Critical Race Studies Across Disciplines”.
“The larger problem that all of this stems from is the desire to deny the truth about America, about racism.”