“This is a movement that’s been formed online, so it’s not so much about these activists moving online as it is shifting the target from schools to teachers and librarians,” Friedman says. “And it’s not going to stop there.”
Vera has seen the effect of this first hand. In the week after the events in the Pride book, she says, she was bombarded with threatening Facebook messages and phone calls. In an effort to protect herself, she now carries Mace and has installed home security cameras.
Other conservative groups also monitor the teacher’s social media accounts. Moms for Liberty and its offshoot group, Moms for Libraries, have engaged in this kind of monitoring and have also begun distributing “liberty-friendly books” with the conservative publisher Brave Books, which claims to be “empowering the youth of this generation with conservative values” while ” we glorify the Lord in everything we do”.
The Leadership Institute is another conservative group that has justified this tactic. “Anyone who enters the public discourse using social media is putting their personal or political views out there for all to see,” Matthew Hurtt, director of alumni relations at the Leadership Institute, said in an email to me. “If teachers, administrators and elected officials are espousing objectionable views on social media, there’s a good chance they’re espousing them in the classroom or at school board meetings.”