Long Island Loud Majority leader Shawn Farash at a rally...

Long Island Loud Majority leader Shawn Farash at a rally to support then-President Donald Trump on Oct. 15, 2020 in Massapequa.  Credit: Morgan Campbell

Thank you, Randi Marshall, for identifying where a local hate group has shifted its focus ["Masks off, but school wars rage on," Opinion, March 3].

The face of Long Island Loud Majority believes he is an expert on children and transgender youth, yet he has no children and on his recent podcast acknowledged that he hasn’t educated himself on transitioning.

He attacks transgender youth in our communities in the name of conservativism. That’s not it. He is simply following a playbook. We knew he was coming for our innocent children next.

I am the dad of a transgender kid. Shawn Farash and his followers don’t seem to want my son to use the girls’, boys’ or all-gender restrooms. His use of propaganda to spread fear and lies is similar to tactics used throughout the bad parts of world history.

I will stand up to such hate in the name of love for my amazing son. I hope others join me on the right side of history.

— Jay Fried, Kings Park

More attention must be paid to Shawn Farash’s hate-filled remarks, which are distributed over many social media outlets and his podcasts. He is an inherent danger to our schoolchildren.

Unfortunately, he already has successfully brainwashed many parents about masks (calling them "face diapers") and unfounded claims that critical race theory is taught in our Smithtown school district.

He obviously intends to spread this and other misinformation to other parents across Long Island, similarly turning their school board meetings into mini-battlegrounds.

Although I am concerned that the free publicity may radicalize more parents, Long Island Loud Majority’s repulsive right-wing agenda must be exposed to parents in our communities who are unaware of the group’s reach and its intent on overturning school board elections in May with board of education candidates who espouse the same repugnant messaging.

We need to galvanize these parents to start attending school board meetings to repudiate this messaging and to vote against the candidates supported by this group.

— Barbara Coniglio, Smithtown

We can expect tough fights for critical seats on school boards that impact our children’s education and learning environment. A key to offering our kids the best possible education and preparing them for work, leadership roles and relationships in a global community is ensuring that our schools remain diverse, equitable and inclusive for all students.

Such culturally responsive teaching and diverse classrooms have been shown to narrow test score disparities, develop stronger critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, decrease risk of mental health issues, and promote empathy and respect. Higher-performing and more engaged students prove more attractive to competitive colleges, as well as boost school quality and reputation — which in turn increases property values.

Few Long Island parents don’t want to reap these benefits. Sadly, some vocal groups are intent on upending this. One leader isn’t even a parent. Keep this in mind during their likely appearances at upcoming board meetings, where our efforts should remain focused on supporting our schools in successfully creating, nurturing, and maintaining culturally responsive environments to benefit all kids.

— Jennifer Gidman, Commack

Groups such as Long Island Loud Majority divide communities, in my opinion, so organizations outside Long Island can get out messages from right-wing think tanks whose ultimate goal is defunding public schools.

Thus, when public school funds are decreased, profits for charter schools are increased. What’s even worse is that LILM’s harmful actions are at the expense of children.

Thankfully, there’s something people can do.

First, let’s play offense. Instead of responding to the LILM’s complaint of the week, we can say what we support. For example, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) fosters empathy and kindness, and it helps children thrive so all will benefit, not just a chosen few.

Second, find friends who believe that school districts should implement DEI and join an organization that believes in DEI (they’re on social media).

Finally, go to board of education meetings and vote in upcoming elections. Perhaps run for the school board yourself.

Together, we have the power for our community to reflect kindness and compassion of an actual majority, not a minority who happens to throw a lot of tantrums.

— Mike Lane, Amityville

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