GoFundMe bowed to pressure from progressive activists and deactivated a fundraiser affiliated with a group of Virginia parents fighting the infusion of critical race theory in Loudoun County Public Schools.
Scott Mineo created his GoFundMe in mid-March after a members of a private Facebook group called Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County launched an intimidation campaign against a number of parent groups, including his Parents Against Critical Theory. The group compiled a list of parents, identified their spouses and employers, and called for members to find ways to shut down their websites, the Daily Wire reported.
GoFundMe did not specify which term of service Mineo’s page violated. Like other online platforms, GoFundMe can remove any user posts that it deems “in its sole discretion to be unacceptable,” according to its user guidelines. GoFundMe did not respond to the Washington Free Beacon’s request for comment in time for publication.
GoFundMe is the latest tech company to censor users whose speech does not conform with progressive orthodoxy. In February, Amazon cited its hate speech policy as justification for banning a conservative scholar’s book on gender dysphoria.
Mineo’s page had raised nearly $4,000 by March 22 when former Loudoun County School Board Equity Committee member Charlotte McConnell urged current committee members and the school board to report the page. Three days later, GoFundMe informed Mineo via email that his fundraiser was taken down because it constituted “prohibited conduct.”
Mineo told the Free Beacon that the campaign to shut down his fundraiser proves that critical theory advocates in Loudoun County are worried about opposition to their views.
“[The district] pissed off a lot of people that were very supportive and this was a grave mistake on their part,” Mineo said. “At the end of the day, it further underscores the level of deception they are engaged in. Otherwise, why shut them down?”
The conflict began last June when Loudoun County Public Schools adopted a “Culturally Responsive Framework,” which called for the school community to dismantle “white supremacy, systemic racism, and hateful language and actions based on race, religion, country of origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, and/or ability.” The framework asks teachers to audit and update the K-12 curriculum to include lessons on identity, power, and privilege—tenets of critical theory that Parents Against Critical Theory and others oppose.
Superintendent Scott Ziegler in September proposed changing the district’s professional code to prohibit teachers from speaking out against the district’s new framework. The district’s interest in abolishing systemic racism would “outweigh” a teacher’s First Amendment right to free speech, according to a draft of that policy.
Ziegler later defended Loudoun County employees who joined Anti-Racist Parents of Loudoun County’s blacklisting campaign, claiming their actions constituted First Amendment-protected speech.
On Friday, Loudoun County Public School’s Minority Student Achievement Advisory Council announced plans to “silence the opposition,” referring to the group of parents who oppose critical theory.
Loudoun County—the wealthiest county in the United States—has spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on critical race theory-based diversity training in recent years, according to documents reviewed by the Free Beacon. The district paid The Equity Collaborative $314,000 for coaching and training sessions and paid $120,000 for a “Systemic Equity Assessment ” in 2019.
The Loudoun County Public School Board did not respond to the Free Beacon’s request for comment in time for publication.