Pennridge GOP School Board Candidates’ Masks Come Off In PA Family Council’s Voter Guide

The anti-LGBTQ Christian group’s legal arm has already influenced drastic changes to district policies and continues to meddle with the hope of instilling far-right ideology into public education.
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What do Republican school board candidates from Pennridge, Central Bucks, North Penn, and Souderton have in common? At least one contender from each district completed the Pennsylvania Family Council Voter Guide questionnaire.

If PA Family Council sounds familiar, it should. Their legal arm, Independence Law Center, has been instrumental in drafting discriminatory anti-LGBTQ policies in districts across the state, including Pennridge and Central Bucks. PA Family Council is the statewide branch of the Family Research Council, which has been  deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The Beacon first became aware of the PA Family Council “Personalized Voter Guide” when online researcher The Examiner posted a link to the survey on the social media platform formally known as Twitter.

The Republican candidate responses to these questions align with current board majority sentiment on anti-LGBTQ issues, the white washing of history via Hillsdale 1776 curriculum, and introduces two new controversial topics, religion and abortion.

The respondents’ answers are also aligned with the agenda promoted by Moms For Liberty.

Pennridge school board candidates Joshua Hogan, Barbara Vees, Jonathan Russell, and Jim York completed the survey.

Here’s a breakdown of their responses

1) Providing state tax credits and education savings accounts to enable parents to choose what school their child attends

Hogan: support; Russell: support; York: support; Vees: suppor

2) Reserving girls’ sports exclusively for biological females.

Hogan: support; Russell: support; York: support Vees: support 

3) Separating restrooms, locker rooms, and other privacy areas based on biological sex.

Hogan: support, Russell: support, York: support; Vees: support

4) Permitting students to discuss their Christian faith with others during non-class time on school premises

Hogan: support; Russell: support; York: support – “Our first amendment ‘Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the FREE exercise thereof’… It is clear to me that it is our students (sic) Constitutional right to discuss their faith freely and without fear of repercussions”; Vees: support.

5) Allowing school personnel to refer students to abortion providers

Hogan: oppose, Russell: oppose, York: oppose – “Students faced with this situation should be referred to their parents. If there are concerns for the students safety due to this situation, that matter should be addressed with local authorities”; Vees: oppose – “This has nothing to do with education (sic) our students. This is parental responsibility.”

6) Requiring signed permission (opt-in) from a parent before a student may participate in sex education classes or presentations on gender identity theory.

Hogan: support, Russell: support, York: support; Vees: support

7) Increasing transparency by requiring videos or documents shown to students [which are not part of pre-approved curriculum] be preserved for easy review by administrator and parents

Hogan: support, Russell: support, York: support; Vees: support

8) Providing curricula that advocates critical race theory and its emphasis on defining people as oppressors or oppressed based on group identity or privileges.

Hogan: oppose, Russell: oppose, York: oppose, Vees: oppose

9) Requiring teachers to use “she” to describe a biological male student who identifies as a female, even if the teacher offered a reasonable alternative.

Hogan: oppose, Russell: oppose, York: oppose, Vees: undecided – “This should be discussed with the parents. If they insist that “he” be called “she” then the teacher should respect the parents (sic) wishes. As much as this would go against my values, I would think of it as a nickname.”

10) Specifying in school policy that materials containing visual depictions of people engaging in sex acts or explicit written descriptions of people engaging in sex acts is not age-appropriate for the school’s curriculum and libraries.

Hogan: support; Russell: support; York: support; Vees: support

The GOP vision for the Pennridge School District, by way of their answers to PA Family Council questions, is abundantly clear. If elected, additional steps will be taken to transform the district into a Christian charter-like academy with an end goal, critics say, of defunding public education. Central Bucks candidates Aarati Martino and Glenn Schloeffel also completed the questionnaire, as did North Penn candidate Vince Altieri and Souderton candidate William Formica.

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Jenny Stephens

Jenny Stephens is a freelance journalist who has written for a variety of publications, including The Reporter. An avid collector of all things vintage, she resides in the Philadelphia area.