Moms for Liberty pushes right-wing agenda in Washington state school board elections
They claim that sexually explicit material is being taught to kindergartners and support students wearing shirts with the phrase “there are only two genders” to school.
Under the motto “we do not co-parent with the government,” Moms for Liberty has become a growing force in education.
There are at least 11 Moms for Liberty chapters in Washington state, including in Kitsap, King, and Pierce counties.
Across the country, members have increasingly confronted school administrators at board meetings and advocated against school curriculum including subjects like diversity, equity and inclusion, racism in the United States, and LGBTQ+ issues.
Critics argue that the group uses misinformation about what kids are learning in schools to support their political goals.
Moms for Liberty was founded in 2021 in response to Covid-19 mandates requiring masks and vaccines.
"Once those Covid mandates became a non-issue, they started setting their sights on other things such as targeting school curriculum that includes anything that's referencing LGBTQ rights, or what they perceive as books that might be aimed at critical race theory," said Shauna Sowersby, a McClatchy state government reporter who covered the organization for The News Tribune in Tacoma along with Craig Sailor.
During the election season, Moms for Liberty has focused on endorsing and electing school board members.
"If they can flip the school board in their favor, they can pretty much decide policy, overrule paid professional school administration's and librarians and bring in their own review process," Sailor said.
Sailor reached out to multiple Moms for Liberty endorsed candidates in Pierce County and only heard back from one, Noa Bunting, who is running for a seat on the Clover Park School Board in Lakewood, Washington.
Bunting is a 24-year-old paralegal with the Army at Joint Base Lewis-McChord who sought out Moms for Liberty's endorsement.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled Moms for Liberty an anti-government extremist organization, though Bunting refutes that claim.
"He doesn't feel like they are a hate group. He says his political platform aligns with them quite a bit, though. He says he's pro DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion]. He says he has many friends who are in the LGBTQ community, and he will not do anything to harm them," Sailor said. "But at the same time, he's pro book banning. He specifically mentioned Maia Kobabe's 'Gender Queer' as a book that he would ban, although he had never seen it."
Listen to Soundside’s full conversation with Craig Sailor and Shauna Sowersby by clicking the play icon at the top of this story.