Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – but let’s talk about all those yellow shirts at Board meetings:

Shortly after Access Education RRISD made the news for a Covid-safety protest outside the Governor’s Mansion, some anti-maskers started showing up to Board meetings in yellow T-shirts. 

Their group’s name – “Focus on Education in RRISD” – sounds a whole lot like ours.

Like us, they’re asking for money to elect school-board trustees.

Oh, and they snapped up the .com version of OUR web address and have been using it to confuse and deceive people looking for information about Access Education RRISD. We’re accessrrisd.ORG, by the way! First, they redirected the .com to their yellow, copy-cat website. And then, to a national, far-right website. At present it points to Dr. Xiao’s page. Where will it point to next?!

The language on their copy-cat website looks a lot like ours, too…at first. Here are just a few of their deceptive talking points, which are actually dog-whistles to the far right:

Dog-whistle #1: “Back to Basics”

At Access Education RRISD, we embrace learning with depth and complexity that’s age appropriate. The “basics” are significant for what they exclude: evolution; social studies – especially topics the yellow shirts fear would cause discomfort among white people; socio-emotional learning (kindness, respect, cultural pluralism); and fine arts.

Dog-whistle #2: “Equal Opportunity”

At Access Education RRISD, we like to talk about equity, where everyone gets what they need to meet their full potential: we care if your child isn’t challenged or needs something different to be successful. The yellow-shirt group wants every child to have identical resources regardless of their diverse needs.

Dog-whistle #3: “Parent Access”

Far-right organizations have instructed parents to demand that school employees personally send out all course content for pre-approval. One intent is to intimidate teachers into preemptively censoring lessons that could acknowledge race, gender, sexuality, or culture. Elsewhere on the yellow, copy-cat website are links to a) file complaints with the TEA and Round Rock ISD; b) contact a sympathetic member of the State Board of Education who does not represent the entire District; c) view a recent law intended to prevent teachers from talking about racism.

And that’s not all! The yellow-shirt group wants parents to send in anonymous “feedback” on teachers and administrators, creating a hostile environment for staff who promote diversity, equity and inclusion – or even allude to everyday realities that these individuals feel are taboo.

Dog-whistle #4: “God. Country. Community.”

This one is on their Facebook page, but the message is clear: the yellow-shirt group wants its brand of Christianity to dominate the other cultures and religions in our schools. (And their Facebook page has moved way beyond dog-whistles.)

What you can do: TEAL is REAL

Tell your friends that Access Education RRISD and the yellow-shirt group are NOT working together. If you care about safe access for all, equity, and the pursuit of knowledge – not willful ignorance and deceptive practices – you can support Access Education RRISD by making a donation. And be careful when sharing our website; remember – we are .ORG not .com!