Speaking up at school is scary, but it is important. You should always remember that as a parent and tax payer Public school officials, school board members and school administrators work for you. We are always afraid that we will be retaliated against. Well, you should know that there are laws against that. Retaliation is illegal.
You have a right to free speech and you have a right to address the school administration and the the school board, as this is your child, not theirs. You are your child’s best advocate. Release your inner mama or papa bear!
Where should you speak up?
Definitely go to your Parent Teacher Association meetings. There, you can talk to other parents about issues that you are facing, educate the community and try to get answers from your school principal.
School board meetings are a bit more formal, but it is critical that you go and speak. You get nervous at first, but remember you are advocating for your child and you are larger than life when you are doing that! Go to your district’s site, search for the school board’s page on the site and then find out the meeting schedule and the rules about how to sign up. You usually sign up online a couple days before the meeting. You will speak either in person or virtually. You are assigned your order based on the order you signed up. There are a limited number of spots, so sign up early. There are many types of meetings where you can speak up. They include work sessions, advisory committee meetings and, most publicly, the (usually) monthly or bi-monthly board meetings.
Find out how much time you have. Write down a first draft of your speech, even if you speak from the cuff on game day. The rule of thumb is about 200 words for a one-minute speech. You don’t want to get cut off before you’re finished, so less is more.
Always tell your story in a sentence or two — I’m the parent of a second grader who moved to the area 10 years ago for the schools — and then identify the problem, provide your solution and express your specific ask.
- Action sheet for confronting school indoctrination, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
- 10 Principles for Opposing Thought Reform in K-12, Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
Woke Schooling: A Toolkit for Concerned Parents, Manhattan Institute