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State education superintendent to speak at ‘extremist’ Moms for Liberty chapter meeting

Louisiana Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley speaking at the state's school safety summit in June 2023.
Louisiana Department of Education
Louisiana Superintendent of Education Cade Brumley speaking at the state's school safety summit in June 2023.

Louisiana’s top K-12 education official will speak at a local meeting of Moms for Liberty, a conservative group that the Southern Poverty Law Center recently labeled as extremist.

Superintendent Cade Brumley has spoken to the group’s East Baton Rouge chapter before and will be the featured speaker at its meeting Monday, according to a department spokesperson.

“I have a long track record of speaking with a broad range of groups and organizations throughout Louisiana,” Brumley said in a statement. “I look forward to sharing educational successes and opportunities with the moms and hearing from them as well.”

Brumley added that it’s wrong to characterize the organization as a hate group, “as they seek to be involved in their child’s education. Parents are their child's first — and foremost — teacher and I’m appreciative of their interest in the school system.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Florida-based Moms for Liberty and 11 other self-described parents’ rights groups as “anti-government extremist” organizations in its annual report last month.

The report describes the groups as promoting an “anti-student inclusion” agenda by “wielding coded language for white, cisgender, straight rights above all others.”

Moms for Liberty initially launched in 2021 to protest pandemic restrictions in Florida schools. Since then, it’s grown to include more than 120,000 members across 285 chapters in 45 states, according to its founders. Louisiana’s only branch is located in East Baton Rouge Parish.

The group advocates for the rights of parents to decide what their children learn — or don’t learn — in public schools. Moms for Liberty has become a leading voice in the fight over what’s taught in schools and advocates for bans on books and curricula that mention LGBTQ rights and racial inequality.

Moms for Liberty members have worked to elect conservative school board members and advance legislation aligned with the group’s beliefs. That included Florida’s parental bill of rights, which requires school libraries to pull books if an objection is filed and restricts lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the state’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Louisiana’s chapter has expressed support on social media for anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, including two state bills that would have limited discussion of gender and sexuality in schools. Gov. John Bel Edwards vetoed both, and override efforts by lawmakers failed earlier this week.

Brumley sent a letter to Moms for Liberty’s national leadership last August offering the group “encouragement.”

“I appreciate the advocacy your organization provides and your appreciation for education as a local enterprise; one where those closest to the children are best suited to make the best decisions,” he wrote.

“Please stay the course,” he wrote. “Let me know if I may be of support in the great State of Louisiana.”

Brumley said Wednesday that he stands by the letter even after the group's extremist designation.

Aubri Juhasz covers K-12 education, focusing on charter schools, education funding, and other statewide issues. She also helps edit the station’s news coverage.