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‘I Hate These People’: Bad Apples In South Carolina Schools Assail Parents

“The parents submitting the complaints are the problem …”

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My media outlet has penned multiple articles and columns over the last few months addressing the proliferation of taxpayer-funded “porn propaganda” being pushed on South Carolina school children by the state’s woke-educational complex.

Conflated by those on the far left as some sort of discriminatory censorship (or “book banning”), the crux of this issue is age appropriateness – and beyond that, whether children should be exposed to certain materials without parental consent (and at their expense as taxpayers).

In addition to covering these ongoing indoctrination campaigns, I’ve also published reports detailing institutional and individual efforts to push back against them (see here and here) …

One of the districts which has landed on my radar during this process is Anderson County school district one – which is located in the professedly “conservative” Upstate region of the Palmetto State. After being confronted by some exceedingly explicit content located in the school library at Powdersville High School, district superintendent Robbie Binnicker claimed these inappropriate titles were “part of the ‘adult’ bookshelf in the library backroom that is only available to adults in the building.”

“The librarian adds a few titles every year for staff to check out,” Binnicker wrote on Facebook.

Binnicker further noted the school had “removed” these controversial titles from its electronic card catalog to ensure there was “no confusion” about whether these explicit books were available to students.

Problem solved, right? Wrong …

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First of all, taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing an adult bookshelf for anyone – certainly not students, but not teachers and administrators, either. Beyond that, the reference by Binnicker to titles being removed from the card catalog was concerning – especially as it soon became clear district officials were not actually removing these titles from the school library.

Was the district really endeavoring to keep explicit material away from students? Or was it trying to keep parents in the dark about the explicit materials it was providing to children?

In the aftermath of our reporting last fall, one state lawmaker – representative April Cromer – submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the district seeking information about its indoctrination efforts.

Cromer – whose children graduated from Anderson one – told us the district had until recently been “renowned for its conservative values,” which according to her included “shielding our children from controversial topics like critical race theory, indoctrination and preferred pronouns.”

Last spring, though, Cromer was approached by a concerned parent about the district’s controversial “book review policies” – and about escalating hostilities toward parents (and students) who had the temerity to challenge the district’s decision to stock sexually explicit materials.

(Click to View)

State representative April Cromer. (Facebook)

“Over the past year, I’ve actively participated in school board meetings, engaged with the superintendent, and listened to concerned parents and teachers,” Cromer said. “The community is distressed by the developments, especially the denial by those in authority.”

According to Cromer, the district’s response to her FOIA request “unveiled more than anticipated.”

“Mostly what parents knew to be true, they now have the receipts for proof,” she told us. “Most importantly, it only takes a few very bad actors to change the fabric and makeup of a school district.”

The documents obtained by Cromer’s FOIA illuminated the extent to which taxpayer-funded employees have been conspiring to keep parents from finding out about the materials their children are being exposed to on a daily basis. They also revealed that these efforts have been underway for several years – long before a group of local parents organized in opposition under the banner of a national organization.

As early as 2021, Wren High School librarian (and 2020 S.C. Teacher of the Year finalist) Tamara Cox was emailing school librarians in other districts encouraging them to limit access to online card catalogs by restricting searches to students and staff only.

This was accomplished by requiring a login for catalog searches and removing all permissions for “guests.”

“Students and staff can access as normal,” Cox noted (.pdf).

Take a look …

(Click to View)

(Anderson County School District One)

Cox also encouraged librarians to de-list specific titles that could potentially prompt parental objections.

“You may want to remove it from (the) catalog in case they’re searching there,” Cox wrote to another school librarian in August 2022, urging this taxpayer employee to adjust the search terms of the card catalog to limit parents’ ability to find offensive titles.

“Anyone can get to our catalogs,” she warned (.pdf).

Cox, incidentally, is the immediate past president of the S.C. Association of School Librarians (SCASL) – a left-leaning group which was recently ditched by the S.C. Department of Education (SCDE) due to its “continued lack of discernment” regarding the debate over sexually explicit content in the Palmetto State’s government-run schools.

Powdersville librarian Jen Chesney – the taxpayer-funded employee who received Cox’s card catalog message – was no stranger to these efforts (or their objective). Months earlier, she wrote an email to a science teacher in which she made it abundantly clear why certain titles were no longer appearing on the internet.

“We had to remove our card catalogs from online so parents can’t scour it for critical race theory books,” Chesney wrote (.pdf) to the teacher.

According to Chesney, parents complaining about the materials their children were (are) being exposed to “need to find some other hobbies outside of clutching your pearls over books.”

Another librarian was far more blunt in her assessment of those pushing to keep porn propaganda out of government-run, taxpayer-subsidized schools.

“I hate these people,” 2022 S.C. ‘Librarian of the Year’ (and current SCASL president) Jamie Gregory wrote to several of her colleagues as she forwarded a message (.pdf) to them from state representative Jay Kilmartin.

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“I hate these people …”

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Gregory had written to all members of the S.C. House of Representatives encouraging them to oppose H. 3718 – a bill which would ban explicitly pornographic material from school. What did Kilmartin say to warrant such a definitionally “hateful” response? He merely asked whether Gregory’s school library contained “inappropriate materials” – and whether she had defended the materials or sought to have them removed.

That hatred referenced in that email apparently extends to the children of concerned parents. In April 2022, Cox traded emails with Gregory and others about a student who was “taking photos of all my LGBTQ books.”

“After some uncomfortable conversation he finally said it was because he and his dad had been talking about the horrible books that were available in student libraries now,” she wrote (.pdf).

Cox proceeded to refer to the student as “creepy” while Gregory described him as “a jerk … (who) had nothing better to do with his time.”

In yet another email – one of many sent on taxpayer time using her taxpayer-provided email address – Cox responded to a message sent on behalf of University of North Carolina professor Sandra Hughes-Hassell. According to the email (.pdf), Hughes-Hassell was seeking out “a school librarian who is subversively (or discretely), or even quietly working to support their LGBTQIA+ students while working in a conservative/ oppressive environment.”

Cox listed herself and Gregory as two librarians fitting that description – along with Greenville’s Jill Tyner (last year’s ‘Librarian of the Year’ in South Carolina), Loni Lewis of Berkeley County and Christy James of Charleston County.

This was just one of dozens of emails obtained by the FOIA which showed government employees engaging in overt political activity on their taxpayer-provided accounts.

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RELATED | CAMPAIGN TO CLEAN UP S.C. SCHOOLS UNDERWAY

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In yet another series of exchanges uncovered by the FOIA, a teacher at Wren High School exchanged multiple messages with a student – including some messages sent in the middle of the night – encouraging her to speak out against “censorship” at a 2023 district board meeting where nine controversial books were up for debate.

“We’ve started the ball rolling on a student-led group,” teacher Matthew Truesdale, wrote to the student, thanking her for being “the first official member of this unnamed and (as of now) unauthorized club.”

“Even if we lose these nine books, the fight will continue,” Truesdale wrote to the girl. “Just as books can be taken from a shelf, they can also be put back on. And I don’t think that they’re going to just stop going after books either.”

Who is “they?”

“The parents submitting the complaints are the problem,” Truesdale wrote in one email to the student. “But obviously those aren’t the kinds of things we can say as directly as we might like.”

As we reported last fall, one of the leaders in the fight to remove explicit content from South Carolina schools is Carly Carter, chairwoman of the Anderson County chapter of the Moms for Liberty organization. Carter, 37, is originally from Greenville, S.C. She recently launched a statewide petition website entitled ‘Clean Up SC Schools’ which is endeavoring to get “vulgar and sexually explicit material removed from school libraries.”

According to Carter, the documents obtained from Cromer’s FOIA reveal just what parents are up against in this ongoing battle. She also said they highlight ongoing attempts by educrats to demonize Moms for Liberty – a group which hadn’t even organized in Anderson County when these concealment efforts were initially undertaken.

“These individuals have been very intentional and systematic about ushering in this sexually explicit agenda on our children, while simultaneously scheming on how to get away with it once parents caught on,” Carter told me. “The emails from this FOIA request date back to early 2021. We didn’t start the Anderson chapter of Moms for Liberty until the end of 2022. They had changed policies and procedures, organized with other like-minded educators within their schools and district to form alliances, hand-picked who they wanted to serve on the book review committee, and locked parents out of their online catalogs long before our group even existed.”

(Click to View)

Carly Carter (Facebook)

According to Carter, school officials participating in this concealment campaign “knew that the vast majority of parents in Anderson County didn’t want their children exposed to this inappropriate content, which is why they were so intentional about trying to hide it.”

Carter agreed with Cromer a handful of “bad actors” were to blame for the ongoing deception.

“There are hundreds of wonderful educators in this district who want nothing to do with this agenda,” she said. “Reading through these emails showed us how it only takes a few to organize and push this content on our children. If it can happen in Anderson district one, it can happen anywhere. Parents need to get involved, attend school board meetings, organize with other parents in groups like Moms for Liberty, ask the questions, and never assume it ‘won’t happen’ at your school or district.”

Once again, all of the public employees referenced in this report – each of whom receives their salaries, benefits and retirement money from taxpayers – are laboring under the misapprehension that parents seeking to remove wildly inappropriate/ hyper-sexual/ gender confusing materials from school libraries are somehow engaged in censorship. Or some sort of discriminatory book-banning campaign.

Neither of those presumptions could be further from the truth …

“As much as the indoctrinating neo-Marxists wish it were otherwise, keeping porn out of schools is not book banning,” I noted in a recent column. “It is protecting our children from things they shouldn’t be exposed to – certainly not at taxpayer expense.”

Parents can still purchase whatever books they wish for their children – and share whatever material they feel is appropriate within the confines of their own homes, generally speaking. What they cannot do, however – and what they must never be allowed to do – is force taxpayers to subsidize pornographic content for kids, or expose people’s children to such content without parental consent.

“I have given much thought of what can be done to stop the grooming and sexualization of our children,” Cromer told me. “Holding school board members more accountable for allowing porn in schools, removing the American Library Association as an accreditor for librarians and terminating immediately anyone who is spreading false narratives, i.e. book bans.”

Again, as noted earlier, this issue is far less about discrimination against certain “oppressed” or “marginalized” constituencies as it is about the basic appropriateness and suitability for children of the materials under discussion.

“This isn’t just about porn – it’s about propaganda,” I’ve written in the past. “It’s about institutional grooming … it’s about amplifying the programmatic woke onslaught being mainlined into our children’s minds via their smart phones, tablets and televisions 24/7/365.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.

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17 comments

M4Lsucks March 4, 2024 at 2:35 pm

Another one sided paid endorsement for school vouchers in the form of attacking the public school system. Moms for Liberty is just a front. Cromer and the other Carly weirdo are faker than the color of their hair. Does being called a news site prevent you from being sued? Will find out soon.

Nothing to see here folks, just another Clown article from a Clown author.

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Shannon Harman Sharpe March 4, 2024 at 3:25 pm

Well stated!

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Said No One Ever March 4, 2024 at 5:03 pm

You know what would help kids learn? If learning was just a by-product of a few really well connected rich dudes bilking parents for millions upon millions.

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JustSomeGuy Top fan March 4, 2024 at 4:32 pm

This is a story about two groups of people that I find irritating. And here’s FITS with a logical take, but also a mega flair for being overly dramatic.

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Deb C. March 4, 2024 at 6:08 pm

The outright fallacies are astounding. There is no “pornography” in our libraries. “Porn” has a very specific connotation (re: Miller Test). This is outrageous pandering once again by Mr. Folks.

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TigerLil March 9, 2024 at 3:53 pm

Whether intended as pornography or not, books like the adult graphic memoir Gender Queer with depictions of sexual experiences have no place in a school library. SC librarians who “subversively” supported LGBTQ+ groups urged others across the state to add books donated by GLSEN Rainbow Books to their shelves. Some did, without reviewing them.

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The Colonel Top fan March 4, 2024 at 8:12 pm

Dang Will, you’ve upset the LGBTQASAPCRT book crowd! One wonders is they doth protest too much? awful lot of push back if there isn’t something to it.

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Anonymous March 6, 2024 at 11:50 pm

Very one sided arguments. It’s easy to see that you are on the side of April Cromer and Carly Carter.
I find it Very Interesting that you linked to the person Facebook and Twitter Pages of the people that you disagree with and linked to the political pages of the representatives you support and linked to articles and not the persona pages of the person you support.

You should be held liable for any harassment that those people receive as a result of this article.

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DearAbby March 9, 2024 at 4:19 pm

“Never write when you can talk. Never talk when you can nod. And never put anything in an e-mail.”

— Eliot Spitzer

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austin tripp March 15, 2024 at 2:42 pm

Free Mr Truesdale he ain’t do nun

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Shae L Williamson March 7, 2024 at 2:46 pm

This is absurd!! Fiction at its finest.

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SuzyQ March 9, 2024 at 4:01 pm

What part is fictitious? We can see from these email exchanges what some of the leadership among school librarians really thinks about parents and legislators. The fact that the NC supervisor seeking input about those adding LGBTQ+ materials equates conservative with oppressive speaks volumes.

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Mom of Two March 12, 2024 at 9:01 am

I have still yet to see anyone of these loons name the books in question. And are their kids so dumb that they don’t believe their parenting is instilling good values? All I know is I raised my kids with a mind to think for themselves and I raised them with good Christian values – but I also raised them to respect the differences of others. We may not agree with every topic or lifestyle but didn’t Jesus try to bring people together not tear them apart? My kids had a fantastic education at A1 and they are not weak minded that I have to live in fear that my parenting is going to be overtaken by a school.

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Anonymous March 15, 2024 at 1:06 pm

This is ridiculous. Mr. Truesdale is one of THE BEST teachers I have ever had, and Mrs. Cox is one of the most loving souls in Anderson D1. Give me some real evidence that these fabulous teachers have done any actual harm, not quotes taken out of context and biased bigotry. Don’t take away my teachers, you don’t even know them. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

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Give me my teachers back. March 15, 2024 at 3:58 pm

Have you even met any of these teachers that you’re attacking? Mrs. Cox, also known as THE teacher of the YEAR 2020, single-handedly manages an entire library for YOUR children. Does she get paid well? NO. Does she get the credit she deserves for not only running multiple school clubs on her own time but also doing a job where mest schools give her one if not two assistants? NO. Mr. Truesdale, a well read animal lover whose first AP Language class wrote a BOOK about how amazing he was. I bet you would ban that too if you knew it was written by a man who advocated for something other than your conservative bigotry.

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Anonymous March 15, 2024 at 4:01 pm

By this logic you could ban the Bible. Go read Leviticus and all of its exploits of “unclean” women and sexual relations. If you’re going to ban “pornagraphic” books, then by that reasoning ban the Bible too. I suppose we won’t be seeing that any time soon though, but of course, Mrs. Cox (teacher of the year) and Mr. Truesdale are the far left marxists. Make it make sense.

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Anonymous March 19, 2024 at 8:03 pm

I’m all for banning pornography from schools, obviously children shouldn’t be reading porn and it shouldn’t be supplied to them. The issue i’m seeing with this article is the accusations being thrown towards these two are so severe and yet they are not backed with enough evidence. The students who were in the club showed the text messages that had been exchanged with Mr Truesdale for the club to show that no innapropiate behavior had occurred, the usage of the world children to make it seem as though they were showing this to 5-12 year olds when in reality it was 17-18 year olds in the club, teenagers, in other words. None of the books were named in this article but I would like to hear of what was shown. The only book I know related to this was “1000 Setting Suns” and students were offered an alternative book to read if they were not comfortable. Mrs Cox is a sweet librarian, and unlike this article portrays her she isn’t stalking around the hallways looking for young innocent kids to lure into the library and force them to read 50 shades of grey. I go to Wren, I am a student there, I’ve been in that library and i’ve gone through those shelves many times, and i’ve talked to Mrs Cox more times than i remember, she has clothes in the library for students who need clothes, and had bagged food in there for students struggling for food. A school librarian isn’t a millionaires job, she does it because she wants to, and creating her out to be this evil psychopath who wants to ruin the next generation, if she wanted to do that she’d be a politician.

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