'Conspiracy theories do not belong in our schools.'
Two of the nation's largest teachers unions representing more than 4 million teachers sent a letter to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday asking him to remove conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) from the House Education Committee.
Presidents of the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) co-signed the letter. "Conspiracy theories do not belong in our schools," they said.
The letter comes after Media Matters for America unearthed Greene's support for "false flag" conspiracy theories related to deadly school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Newtown, Connecticut, suggesting that they were fake events designed to take guns away from people.
"She (Greene) does not have the judgment, empathy or wisdom to be entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing legislation to provide the secure, supportive learning environments that students deserve," the teachers unions wrote.
A recent CNN report also noted that Greene had "liked" a 2019 Facebook comment that said, "a bullet to the head would be quicker" to take out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from her role. Last September, Greene also posted in a since-deleted photo of her with a rifle next to three Democratic congresswomen, calling in for "offense against these socialists."
She is an adherent of the baseless QAnon conspiracy that claims a secret cannibalistic cabal of prominent Democrats and celebrities are engaged in international child-sex trafficking.
Alarmed at Greene's support for such conspiracy theories, NEA and AFT urged swift action against her.
"The eyes of millions of educators, parents and students are on you, and we sincerely hope that you will lead by taking this bold and decisive action immediately," they wrote.
Others have similarly spoken out against the Georgia congresswoman, calling for Republican leaders to take action or for Greene to resign.
Linda Beigel Schulman lost her son Scott, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher, in the 2018 Parkland shooting that left 17 dead.
"She's demeaning my son's memory and demeaning memories of all the other children from Parkland and from Sandy Hook. And it's wrong," Schulman told CBS in an interview on Monday.
Shannon Watts, the founder of the gun reform group Moms Demand Action, said in a statement on Jan. 21, "Dangerous conspiracy theorists who peddle disinformation like Rep. Greene ever further damage the credibility of Congress. [Greene's] lies traumatize the survivors of shooting tragedies and put their safety in danger. She must resign immediately."
Thus far, McCarthy has refused to commit to any actions against Greene, despite mounting pressure for him to deal with the backlash. The House minority leader instead told Axios that he would have a "conversation" with Greene.
Although Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday denounced Greene's "loony lies and conspiracy theories" as a "cancer for the Republican Party," he stopped short of calling for any concrete actions against her.
Meanwhile, Democrats are taking matters into their own hands.
On Monday, Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ted Deutch of Florida, along with Connecticut Rep. Jahana Hayes, introduced a resolution to strip Greene of her committee assignments.
"If Republicans won’t police their own, the House must step in," Schultz told reporters.
Deutch's constituency includes Parkland, Florida, while Schultz serves a neighboring district, the Baltimore Sun noted. Hayes represents Newtown, Connecticut, where the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting took place.
House Education and Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott has also urged Republicans to rescind Greene's assignment on his committee.
House Republicans and McCarthy "must explain how someone with this background represents the Republican party on education issues. He is sending a clear message to students, parents, and educators about the views of the Republican party," Scott (D-VA) said in a statement on Thursday, noting that the assignment is supposed to be for a member "who can make a positive contribution" and "commitment" to serve.
As of Friday, at least 50 House Democrats have signed on to a separate resolution calling for Greene's expulsion from Congress.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.