A Democratic lawmaker in New Hampshire compared a prominent parental rights group to the Taliban and called its members "assholes."
Liberal state lawmaker Catherine Sofikitis on Sunday responded to a tweet that asked users to give their thoughts on Moms for Liberty, a political organization led by former school board members that aims to advance "parental rights at all levels of government." Sofikitis compared the group to terrorists. "Assholes with casseroles, taliban in minivan," Sofikitis said.
Sofikitis’s outburst comes as New Hampshire Democrats reject parental rights measures in the state legislature. State Democrats in May, for example, narrowly defeated a bill that would have prevented public schools from withholding information from parents, including when a student exhibits a change in his or her gender identity. The vice president of New Hampshire's American Federation of Teachers chapter threatened to pull support for any state Democrat who supported the legislation.
Moms for Liberty cofounder Tina Descovich on Monday condemned Sofikitis's tweet, saying in a statement that the Democrat should "work with parents to ensure a brighter future for all children instead of demonizing parents." Sofikitis, who did not return a request for comment, nonetheless defended her remark. At 1:09 a.m. Tuesday morning, the Democrat took to Twitter to respond to a self-described "progressive activist" who commended Sofikitis for "telling the truth about hate group Moms for Liberty." "You are my hero, thank you," Sofikitis said in response. She also shared a video that called Moms for Liberty members "Momzis" and promoted a liberal candidate for state legislature who called the group "extremist."
Sofikitis is far from the only New Hampshire Democrat to disparage parental rights advocates in recent months. Her liberal colleague in the New Hampshire House, Tom Hoyt, in May lashed out at a parent who urged him to pass a parental rights measure. "Do you know why children's results tanked during covid? Their parents were incompetent teachers," Hoyt told the parent. "Do your children a favor, let the teachers teach, and shut up. You're clearly no professional."
In addition to New Hampshire, Democrats in other northeastern states have spent the summer challenging parents who seek more involvement in public schools. New Jersey attorney general Matt Platkin has, in the last two months, sued four school districts over policies that require teachers to inform parents if their child publicly changes his or her gender identity. Platkin in June also issued a guidance warning public school officials that they could face legal action if they issue blanket bans on flags, posters, and other symbols in an attempt to keep classrooms politically neutral, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
Moms for Liberty is no stranger to controversy. The Southern Poverty Law Center last month placed the group on its "hate map," which includes the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi organizations.