New Hampshire state representative Tommy Hoyt, a Democrat, has come under fire after his recent response to a concerned parent advocating for a proposed parents bill of rights. The incident unfolded when a parent of four emailed Hoyt, urging him to support SB 272—a bill aimed at establishing a parents bill of rights to prevent public schools from withholding information about students, as reported by the NH Journal on Thursday.
In a heated exchange, Hoyt responded angrily to the parent’s message, dismissing their concerns and making derogatory remarks about parents’ ability to educate their children during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Do you know why children’s results tanked during COVID? Their parents were incompetent teachers. Do your children a favor, let the teachers teach, and shut up. You’re clearly no professional,” Hoyt wrote in an email to the parent.
When questioned about the authenticity of the message, Hoyt confirmed its accuracy to the NH Journal, acknowledging that he “probably could have used better words.” He explained his viewpoint, citing the significant decline in children’s test scores during the pandemic due to the lack of professional teachers. However, his dismissive tone and derogatory language have drawn criticism from various quarters.
The proposed bill, SB 272, faced opposition from teachers unions and LGBTQ activists who argued that it could inadvertently reveal information about questioning students, potentially causing harm. The bill was ultimately defeated in a close 195-190 vote on Thursday.
Tommy Hoyt’s response to the concerned parent has drawn comparisons to former Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe’s blunder during the 2022 campaign. McAuliffe’s statement, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” ignited controversy and contributed to his eventual defeat by Republican Glenn Youngkin.
It’s worth noting that Hoyt is endorsed by the National Education Association, the largest labor union in the US, and narrowly won his seat in the statehouse by a margin of only 18 votes last year. The backlash against his response highlights the ongoing debate surrounding education and parents’ rights, an issue that resonated strongly with voters in the recent Virginia gubernatorial election.
As the controversy continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how Tommy Hoyt will address the criticism and engage with concerned parents regarding their involvement in their children’s education.