CUSD board confronts Twitter war, big crowd The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

CUSD board confronts Twitter war, big crowd

January 12th, 2020 Mesa Tribune Writer Staff
CUSD board confronts Twitter war, big crowd
City News

By Kevin Reagan, Arizonan Staff Writer

Chandler Unified School Board member Lindsay Love is pushing back against her critics by engaging in a Twitter war with members of the Purple for Parents organization.

For the last couple weeks, Love’s been tweeting incessantly and going after people she refers to as “trolls and bigots.”

The digital exchanges escalated to insults being hurled by both sides and the formation of a fake Twitter account parodying Love.

“These people coming after me aren’t mad because of a policy issue. They’re manufacturing issues with me because they’re mad that I’m black, a woman and in leadership,” Love wrote in a tweet on Dec. 27.

Love’s primary antagonist, Scott Weinberg, is an Ahwatukee resident and member of the Purple for Parents organization. The group formed a couple years ago in reaction to the Red for Ed movement.

Weinberg and other Purple Parent members criticized Chandler Unified over how it implemented its equity and diversion program and Twitter usage to publicize their opposition.

Weinberg, whose children attend Kyrene Schools, is also a regular critic of the district’s equity program while at Kyrene Governing Board meetings.

Last fall he was ejected by the board during a meeting after he called its members “cowards.”

During another Kyrene board meeting early last year, he complained the district’s science textbooks did not have enough white males represented in them.

Chandler Unified is introducing equity initiatives meant to reduce performance and discipline disparities among different student demographics. Love publicly expressed support for these initiatives.

But individuals like Weinberg chastised CUSD for equity training materials they consider to be racially divisive and counterintuitive.

On Dec. 12, Weinberg asked Love on Twitter to provide examples of school policies that specifically target African-American students.

“If you spent less time harassing politicians, parents, teachers and children online and more time doing your own research, you won’t need to ask me,” Love told Weinberg after a back-and-forth exchange.

The feud continued with Love calling Weinberg a troll and he accusing Love of libel.

“Not used to not having the power to stalk and harass women Scott? It must be hard,” Love wrote in a tweet.

Love went on to describe Weinberg as a misogynist who believes women “should be in the kitchen instead of active community leaders.”

Weinberg fired back.

“Make me a sammich,” Weinberg wrote in a tweet on Dec. 22. “And while you’re at it, make yourself a salad.”

In an interview with SanTan Sun News, Weinberg admits he poked some fun at Love in his tweets. But he said he’s “shocked” by how his online feud with Love escalated and finds the board member’s behavior “unethical.”

“As an elected official, I think that’s part of the job – you open yourself to some criticism,” Weinberg said. “She has a real hard time handling that.”

Love did not respond to requests for comment.

Weinberg added Love blocked his profile on Twitter, preventing him from seeing her tweets.

An elected official’s right to block critics on social media has come under legal scrutiny in recent years.

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in July, President Donald Trump violated the First Amendment rights of individuals he blocked on Twitter.

Because Trump uses Twitter to discuss presidential business, the court ruled his profile should be accessible to all citizens.

“We remind the litigants and the public that if the First Amendment means anything,” the judges wrote in their ruling, “it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less.”

In a Dec. 6 tweet, Love explained her reasoning for blocking certain people.

“Black women face terrible harassment in online spaces,” she wrote. “So yes, I blocked the people responsible for stalking and harassing myself and my family.”

Purple for Parents members recently demanded Love abstain herself from any future decisions involving sex education because of her sister’s association with Planned Parenthood, which offers sex-ed programs.

Local school districts were scrutinized in the past for having any association with the nonprofit medical provider.

Conservatives lambasted the Tempe Union High School District in 2014, for inviting a sex-ed specialist from Planned Parenthood to meet with its school board.

During a school board meeting last month, Love has said she won’t be recusing herself from any sex-ed decisions because Planned Parenthood has not had any business with CUSD.

A search of CUSD records indicates the district has not had any recent matters tied to Planned Parenthood.

Love further avowed her support for medically accurate, age-appropriate sex-ed curriculum and won’t be intimidated out of her stance.

“I will not be bullied out of supporting what I believe to be true,” Love said.

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