MADISON — Melissa Murray, principal at Lincoln Middle School in La Crosse and the La Crosse School District’s supervisor of Cultural & Family Connections is on her “journey through understanding her role in dismantling her own racist thinking.”
This white, middle-aged woman (her pronouns are She/Her/Hers), also is a member of La Crosse’s Waking Up White Collaborative, which is “so excited” to host the “White Privilege Symposium” on Dec. 3-4 in at the La Crosse Center. The symposiums are day-and-a-half regional gatherings held all over the country, “allowing communities to come together to discuss what white privilege is, how it is systematized in our culture …”
It’s pretty much a race-focused cult, mostly made up of self-loathing white liberals, where members drone on about “inclusion” and “equity” while insisting America is a land of white supremacy and “systemic racism.”
People like Melissa Larson are why divisive, identity politics like antiracism, critical race theory and white privilege have infiltrated our schools — and they are exhibit A, critics say, why it’s absolutely critical that reasonable human beings take back local school boards.
“These things matter, and I think (conservatives) have finally come around to realizing it matters,” said Mark Jefferson, executive director of the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Conservative school board candidates had a strong showing around the state in April’s spring elections, the strongest in some time, Jefferson said. The RPW and local parties put more support behind races, and grassroots conservatives were highly engaged, he said. That has much to do with the shared fear that if the right doesn’t start taking back local government, their communities will be consumed by leftists and their Woke agenda.
Winning in liberal land
While traditionally conservative strongholds like Waukesha County saw key conservative pickups countywide, from school board races to county board contests, Jefferson said the party at the state and local levels also targeted left-leaning communities such as Wausau and La Crosse.
In La Crosse, Assistant Chief Of Police Rob Abraham won a seat on the school board. Abraham has been a vocal critic of the campaign to remove police from La Crosse schools and the district’s decision to lock students out of in-person learning for nearly a year.
In Wausau, voters ousted School Board President Tricia Zunker, a far left Democrat who ran and lost twice in 2020 to U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua) in the race for the 7th Congressional District seat. Zunker led the “systemic racism” narrative during her time on the school board.
But liberals still hold a lock on a lot of school boards, and have gotten elected in some of the more conservative districts in the state. A report by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty found election results for conservative challengers were mixed.
“Even though several groups of Wisconsin parents pushed back on their local school board decisions on re-openings, and even mounted real challenges to current board member seats, many of these efforts were defeated by the public-school establishment,” WILL’s Libby Sobic wrote in the review.
Stakes are high
Post-spring election, however, things have heated up. School district residents tired of power-abusing board members and never-ending mask mandates — in communities like Poynette, Waukesha and Tomahawk, have vowed to take back control of their schools in the next election.
“At the grass-roots level, they need to change these board members,” said Poynette resident David Pinheiro. “It’s the only way you’re going to get it done. It’s the only way you’re going to replace these administrators and superintendents.”
Until then, places like La Crosse are stuck with administrators like Melissa Murray and the middle school principal’s Woke politics. Murray, of course, has the full backing of La Crosse Superintendent Aaron Engel and a parent group known as the District Wide Parent Committee. Engel unveiled the district’s so-called “educational equity plan.”
The left’s divisive, race-based indoctrination campaign is becoming more and more entrenched in schools throughout the state. Can conservatives turn the tide? Can their drive to take back local government be sustained?
Jefferson believes so. There’s really no other choice. And there is a ripple-effect, the RPW executive director said.
“The more ogranized we get at the local level the more effect we will have on statewide elections,” he said. “The stakes in these local races are getting increasingly higher.”