McAuliffe says he doesn't believe parents should tell schools what to teach
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Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe said he doesn't think parents should control what schools in the state teach.
"I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach," McAuliffe, who previously served as Governor of Virginia from 2014 to 2018, said during Tuesday's debate with Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin.
McAuliffe made the remarks in response to Youngkin's argument that parents should be more involved in the decisions of local school districts.
"I agree with your conclusion Terry, that we should let local school districts actually make these decisions," Youngkin said. "But we must ask them to include concepts of safety and privacy and respect in the discussion. And we must demand that they include parents in this dialogue.
"What we've seen over the course of this last 20 months is our school systems refusing to engage with parents. In fact in Fairfax County this past week, we watched parents so upset because there was such sexually explicit material in the library they had never seen, it was shocking," he continued. "And in fact, you vetoed the bill that would have informed parents that they were there. You believe school systems should tell children what to do. I believe parents should be in charge of their kids' education."
McAulliffe replied that "the parents had the right to veto books" under the bill he vetoed. "I'm not going to let parents come into schools, and actually take books out, and make their own decision," he said.
The exchange came after a question about the Virginia Department of Education's newly released guidelines that call for school districts to allow transgender students to use the bathroom and locker room of their preferred gender identity.
McAuliffe said that he welcomes local school district input into such policies, but that he supports the state releasing guidance on such issues through the Department of Education.
Tuesday's debate between the two candidates was the last before the state's Nov. 2 election, with many analysts monitoring the first major election in the post-Trump era for insight into next year's midterm election.
Polls currently show a tight race between the two candidates, with the RealClearPolitics Average showing McAuliffe leading Youngkin by just under three points.