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Glenn YoungkinPhoto by Al Drago/Getty Images

RICHMOND (LifeSiteNews) – Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin excoriated Democrats in the Virginia Senate Tuesday for voting to remove one of his appointees to the Virginia Board of Education who he says “epitomizes parental involvement in our schools.”

Last July, Youngkin appointed to the board Suparna Dutta, a mother, immigrant from India, and prominent critic of the Fairfax County School District, particularly its admissions process that she said devalued merit in the name of racial “representation.”

Democrats voted to reject Dutta on Tuesday, claiming she lacked sufficient work history in education, one week after a contentious board meeting in which she argued for proposed changes to the state’s history and social studies curriculum that would, among other things, identify socialism as “incompatible with democracy and individual freedoms.”

At the meeting, Dutta spared with board member Anne Holton (the wife of U.S. senator and 2016 vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine), who had argued that “you cannot reference the Declaration of Independence and Constitution as remarkable documents without also acknowledging that they contain fundamental flaws of enshrining slavery and limiting the protections that they provided for only to white, propertied men.”

On Tuesday, Youngkin issued a statement accusing Democrats of an “appalling show of partisanship” and illustrating their “clear beliefs” that “parents don’t matter, criminals first victims last, and petty politics above Virginia’s best interests.”

“They voted to remove Suparna Dutta, shockingly claiming that a public school parent isn’t qualified to serve on the Board of Education,” the governor said. “She is a mother and advocate for parents’ rights, she is an immigrant and an advocate for Asian American rights, she is an engineer and advocate for STEM in education. She is not only qualified, she epitomizes parental involvement in our schools and we need her voice on our Board of Education.”

Youngkin also hit Democrats for rejecting prosecutor Steven Buck from the state parole board, and Dr. Colin Greene as State Commissioner of Public Health.

“I thought people celebrated diversity. Whether it’s diversity of thought, diversity of viewpoint or diversity of any of the many characteristics?” Dutta told Fox News. “Only in America can a common person be heard … I will continue to fight for education for our children.”

Representing parents against the educational establishment has been a core part of Youngkin’s brand, and part of what propelled him to the governor’s office. He defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in 2021 in part by riding a wave of discontent with leftist radicalism in public schools, and upon taking office set to work addressing that discontent. 

On his first day, Youngkin issued a series of executive actions, including a ban on the promotion of critical race theory (CRT) in public schools and a request for an investigation of the Loudoun County School District over allegations it covered up the rape of a female student by a gender-confused male. Last August, his administration unveiled model policies to ensure parents’ ability to access, review, and have alternatives to sex-related educational materials.