Back in January, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin set up an email “tip line” for snitches — I mean, parents — to rat out educators teaching so-called “divisive subjects,” his non-subtle codeword for lesson plans addressing social inequality.
The inbox was created as part of Youngkin’s push to outlaw books and teaching material that honestly address racism and sexism, which Republicans have deliberately mislabeled as “critical race theory.”
Now, just a few months removed from this announcement, Youngkin and his administration are being tight-lipped about submissions they received. Several media outlets, including NBCUniversal (which owns MSNBC), CNN, the Associated Press and even the ultraconservative Sinclair Broadcast Group, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking access to the submissions after Youngkin’s team denied their Freedom of Information Act requests.
The governor’s spokesperson told The Washington Post that Youngkin is keeping the submissions hidden because, “when a constituent writes to the Governor he treats that communication as confidential and would not share the contents with the public.” But there’s no guarantee that rationale holds up in court.
Team Youngkin’s dubious legal reasoning aside, the Post notes the suit alleges Youngkin’s team has already shared submissions with a non-government entity: the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank.
The rest of us want the goods too, Glenn!
As I reported earlier this year, it’s entirely possible Youngkin’s tip line is mostly full of song lyrics disguised as reports. The organization Gen-Z for Change, a progressive advocacy group for young people, set up a website that sent automated, hilariously fake emails to Youngkin’s tip line.
Maybe Youngkin is trying to avoid the embarrassment of revealing most of the concerned parents who used his inbox were, in fact, meddling kids.
But it’s also possible the opposite is true, and that could also be an issue for Youngkin. If a bunch of people sent real tips that use racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory language to describe the lesson plans they fear, exposing those reports would also mean exposing the bigoted motivations of their authors.
Either way, when it comes to that tip line:
And many, many others would, too.