The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has named nearly a dozen groups that advocate for parent's rights in public education as "extremist" "hate" groups. That designation puts such groups alongside the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis for wanting to be involved in their children's education.
School board debates have thrown parental rights groups like "Moms of Liberty" in the national spotlight for boldly protesting against the inclusion of sexualized content in children's curricula.
But the SPLC flagged the group for speaking out, claiming they intimidate and harass school officials. They added the Moms group to its "Hate and Anti-Government Groups Map" in their "Year in Hate and Extremism 2022" report.
"Schools, especially, have been on the receiving end of ramped-up and coordinated hard-right attacks, frequently through the guise of 'parents' rights' groups," writes SPLC Director Susan Corke.
"These groups were, in part, spurred by the right-wing backlash to COVID-19 public safety measures in schools," she continued. "But they have grown into an anti-student inclusion movement that targets any inclusive curriculum that contains discussions of race, discrimination and LGBTQ identities."
"At the forefront of this mobilization is Moms for Liberty, a Florida-based group with vast connections to the GOP that this year the SPLC designated as an extremist group," Corke added. "They can be spotted at school board meetings across the country wearing shirts and carrying signs that declare, 'We do NOT CO-PARENT with the GOVERNMENT.' The group hijacks meetings, preventing officials and parents from conducting their normal proceedings."
Moms for Liberty said the SPLC's claims are simply not true.
— Moms4LibertyNorthumberland (@M4LNorth) June 7, 2023
"Two-thirds of Americans think the public education system is on the wrong track today. That is why our organization is devoted to empowering parents to be a part of their child's public school education," Moms for Liberty co-founders Tiffany Justice and Tina Descovich told Fox News.
"Empowering parents continues to be our mission today and that has fueled our organization's growth - like wildfire to now 45 states in the country," they said.
The SPLC report includes 523 "hate groups" and 702 "antigovernment extremist groups" totaling 1,225 organizations–up from 733 in 2021.
No Left Turn in Education, Parents Involved in Education, and Parental Rights in Education are also on the list.
We consider it to be a badge of courage," Parents' Rights in Education's National Executive Director Suzanne Gallagher told Fox News "That just means we're doing our job."
The left-leaning civil rights group is receiving pushback for adding parent's rights groups to its list.
"The SPLC report compares Moms for Liberty and similar organizations of today to pro-segregationist parent groups that flourished in the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education," one NPR writer admitted.
"The Southern Poverty Law Center has contemptibly labeled groups that defend children from sterilization and mutilation as so-called hate groups. It is a despicable move," Heritage Foundation President Dr. Kevin Roberts wrote.
"They are not hateful. They are patriotic parents concerned about the education of their children," he added.
"We can surmise why the SPLC continues to do this. The groups it smears are succeeding in their mission to save children from the scourge of toxic sexual and racial ideology. The SPLC will do whatever it can to defeat them, even if it risks the lives of anyone who dares challenge its woke orthodoxy," Roberts continued.