WWDB Radio Features Pennridge Transphobia On Its ‘Don’t Back Down’ Program

Republican Pennridge school board director Ricki Chaikin was one of the guests.
protect trans kids
A handmade poster reads: "Protect trans kids! Let them play; love and support them." | Photo by Sky Mandel.

WWDB Talk 860’s Don’t Back Down radio program hosted a discussion about the Pennridge School District’s Policy 720, “Use of Restroom and Locker Room Facilities.”

The policy was adopted less than one year ago, and a revision of that same policy by the newly elected Democratic school board was introduced at the last Policy Committee meeting.

The policy concerns what bathrooms LGBTQ+ students may use.

Guests on the program included current Pennridge board director Ricki Chaikin, along with community members Richard Byrnes, Janelle Montigney and Shannon Harris – both of whom were previously listed as Bucks County Moms for Liberty members according to a leaked membership  spreadsheet.

READ: Moms for Liberty Bucks County Leaders Think Public Schools Are Trying to Bring Pedophilia Into the Classrooms

But someone was missing and that someone is a representative from the Independence Law Center who helped the previous right-wing Moms for Liberty school board draft Policy 720 in 2023.

The Independence Law Center has gained notoriety of late for meddling in school district policies across Pennsylvania to discriminate against children who identify as LGBTQ+.

ILC, the legal arm of PA Family, has close ties to the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., deemed a hate group by Southern Poverty Law Center.

There have always been religious groups who lean to the political right and vocally objected to LGBTQ+ individuals, however restrooms in public schools had not been an issue prior to the appearance of Moms for Liberty.

Interestingly, there have always been complaints of vaping, smoking, drug sales, bullying and even sex in Pennridge bathrooms that unfortunately remain unaddressed to this day.

Once, the gender-based bathroom policy was implemented, students from the high school came to school board meetings and spoke out against the new rules they believed were biased during public comment period.

READ: Today, Tomorrow, and Yesterday as a Transgender Youth – in Bucks County and Across the Country

If you listened to the WWDB “Don’t Back Down” program yesterday, you would not know that anyone – students or members of the community – disapproved of the 2023 policy.

Pennridge resident and parent Ed Lawson conveyed this message to the school board, “Today Director Chaikin was on a podcast and openly lied to the public that she never heard any complaints about policy 720 around the bathrooms from LGBTQ students.”

image 4 - Bucks County Beacon - WWDB Radio Features Pennridge Transphobia On Its ‘Don’t Back Down’ Program
Ricki Chaikin displaying her transphobic bigotry on social media.

Lawson is referring to the WWDB radio host who asked school board director Ricki Chaikin a question. “So, Ricky, just to follow up with that, so the students that needed to be accommodated, when you approached them and gave them the new bathroom policy, were they accepted? Did they accept it? Were they okay with it?”

Chaikin responded. “As far as I know if there were any issues, it was never brought to the board’s attention. It seemed that the kids who didn’t want to use the bathroom of their biology were okay using the single-use bathrooms or went back and used the bathroom of their biology. There was [sic] no issues brought to our attention. As far as we know, nobody was using… no males were using female bathrooms for the past year or so.”

Chaikin’s recollection is wrong. Chaikin attended the June 21 school board meeting remotely and had the ability to listen to public comment.

READ: Florida May Provide a Window Into How Pennsylvania’s New Right-Wing School Board Organization Might Operate

At least seven members of the community, including students, specifically challenged the passage of Policy 720. There were many others who referred to “biased” and “discriminatory” policies. Many comments were interlaced with complaints that five board members were forcing Vermilion Education’s curriculum, a whitewashed version of American history, down the throats of every student, parent, teacher and taxpayer in the district.

“Well, before they passed the policy last year, there was no policy. So apparently, the high school was doing things on a case-by-case basis,” Chaikin said, but she should know if that did or didn’t happen as she was a seated board member in 2022.

READ: Keeping Kids in School PAC-Endorsed QAnon Follower & Bigot Ricki Chaikin Is Unfit for Pennridge School Board

Richard Byrnes, another guest of the program, once again promoted Dr. Miriam Grossman. Grossman’s positions align with The American College of Pediatricians, and she is the author of Unprotected.

“The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) is a fringe anti-LGBTQ hate group that masquerades as the premier U.S. association of pediatricians to push anti-LGBTQ junk science, primarily via far-right conservative media and filing amicus briefs in cases related to gay adoption and marriage equality,” notes the Southern Poverty Law Center.​

In an article by the National Review, readers learn that it was Dr. Laura Schlessinger who first identified Grossman as the author of Unprotected. Schlessinger, if you recall, stepped down from her radio program after repeatedly using the “N” word in a tirade with a caller.

The National Review wrote that Grossman’s newest book did not provide her real name and used instead ‘Dr. Anonymous,’ “because she was fearful of professional and employment reprisals for her stunningly candid picture of college health today. But with Dr. Grossman’s permission, Schlessinger revealed her identity on her radio program.”

Janelle Montigney made vague allegations that in the 2023 municipal election, the Democrats seeking election to the school board ran a somewhat opaque and generic campaign. However, from the primary through to the general election, candidates from the Pennridge Community Alliance weren’t cloistered, they were out and about, shaking hands and talking with residents.

READ: Civil Rights Complaint Filed Against Pennridge School District

Montigney’s claim that because one board member’s husband is affiliated with a not-for-profit that she happens not to favor – and has demanded that board member to resign – is meritless. Pennridge electors didn’t vote for the board member’s husband, they voted for her, just as people voted for Jimmy Carter, and not his brother Billy.

Sadly, Montigney’s criticisms didn’t end there. She also called out two additional community advocates who just happen to see the world through a different, albeit kinder and less judgmental, lens.

In 2021, when Chaikin, Blomgren and Baticki took their seats, no one had any idea they would attempt to introduce a new curriculum into the district. Fortunately, their endeavor failed because it was too over the top.

For Republicans to now complain about the new school board’s attempt to undo policies of the former board, several of which were crafted by the ILC, is nothing short of hypocrisy in action.

Support progressive, independent media.

Picture of Jenny Stephens

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.

Top 5

Follow Us

Sign up for our weekly newsletter

* indicates required