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Tipsheet

Doug Emhoff Likens Angry Parents at School Board Meetings to ‘Hatred’ That Caused the Holocaust

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

On Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, Doug Emhoff, said in remarks that the hatred that led to the Holocaust is “interconnected” to the “hatred” from parents who are speaking out in the United States at school board meetings. 

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Emhoff made the remarks in a panel with Harris’ former staffer, Symone Sanders-Townsend, at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. Emhoff was discussing antiSemitism and recalled meeting Ukrainian refugees and survivors of the Holocaust during a trip to a concentration camp.

“I met one woman who was saved in the Holocaust in Germany, settled in Ukraine and is now a refugee again back in Berlin where she originally left as a Jew in the Holocaust,” Emhoff said at the conference. 

“These are the stories that are happening out there, and so, this stuff is so important. This hate is interconnected, you see it in the discourse in the country right now. You see it in the divide that we have,” he continued. “Just going to the school meetings, you see that hate that is out there. We’ve got to step up and speak out and we’ve got to call out the cowards out there, people as my wife likes to say ‘these-so-called leaders,’ but she’s right. ‘Cause you can’t be in leadership if you’re not going to lead.”

In 2021, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) sent a letter to President Joe Biden where it compared parents who were speaking out against “woke” policies to “domestic terrorists.” The intense school board meetings began after lockdowns, when parents saw firsthand what their children were learning in school, including Critical Race Theory (CRT) and sexual orientation and transgender ideology.

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Shortly after, Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin (VA) debated the issue of parental rights in education against former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat. In the debate, McAuliffe said “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” Youngkin ended up winning the election. 

This month, Republican lawmakers introduced H.R. 5, known as the “Parents Bill of Rights” to protect parents’ involvement in education. The legislation gives parents the right to know what’s being taught in schools and to see school reading materials, the right to be heard, the right to see the school budget and spending, the right to protect their child’s privacy, and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school.

“You have a say in your kids' education, not government and not telling you what to do," McCarthy said in remarks at the Capitol.

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