An official with the Virginia Parent-Teacher Association resigned after a video revealed her saying “Let them die” in response to a rally by parents who oppose critical race theory.
Michelle Leete worked as the Virginia PTA’s vice president of training, but the Virginia PTA announced in a statement on Saturday that it had requested and received Leete’s resignation.
“While not speaking in her role within Virginia PTA, we do not condone the choice of words used during a public event on Thursday, July 15, 2021,” the statement said.
This comes just days after Leete gave a speech prior to a Fairfax County school board meeting. At the meeting, the board was scheduled to vote on whether or not transgender-identified students should be allowed to use bathroom and locker room facilities that matched the sex they identify with – rather than those that match their biological reality. The group ultimately voted to require that transgender children should be allowed to use the facility of their choosing and that school staffers be required to address the students by their names and preferred pronouns.
Prior to the meeting, a group of parents came together to oppose it in a “STOP CRT” rally, while Leete and others faced against them in a counter protest.
“Let’s meet and remain steadfast in speaking truth, tearing down double standards, and refuting double talk,” Leete said in the video of her comments. “Let’s not allow any double-downing on lies. Let’s prepare our children for a world they deserve.”
Leete then moved on into a long string of emotive buzzwords regarding ideals she believed the parents were against – which, based on her comments, is pretty much everything under the sun. She then highlighted her soliloquy with a simple suggestion: “Let them die.”
“Let’s deny this off-key band of people that are anti-education, anti-teacher, anti-equity, anti-history, anti-racial reckoning, anti-opportunities, anti-help people, anti-diversity, anti-platform, anti-science, anti-change agent, anti-social justice, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-children, anti-healthcare, anti-worker, anti-environment, anti-admissions policy change, anti-inclusion, anti-live-and-let-live people. Let them die. Don’t let these uncomfortable people deter us from our bold march forward” (Repeats are not typos).
Leete’s comments were met with cheers and applause by her fellow counter-protestors. However, not everyone was as excited to cheer on her speech. Leete not only resigned from the Virginia PTA, but the vice president of communications position for the Fairfax County Council PTA was also listed as “vacant” – a position which had contained Leete’s name until at least July 16.
Though most took Leete’s comments to be a call for those who oppose CRT to die, Leete defended her comments to the Washington Post, claiming that she was meaning to wish death on the parents’ “ideals,” rather than the parents themselves.
According to the Post, Leete explained in an email that her “Let them die” comment referred to “the ideals that show a disregard and lack of support for our teachers who have a truly difficult job to do even without a pandemic.” She also provided the Post with a copy of her speech, which read, “Let them (ideals) die,” and it was followed by a paragraph which instructed Leete to “ad lib – referring to ideals that would have schools open during a pandemic, guns in schools, not supporting teachers…etc.”
Unfortunately for Leete, though the speech she was holding in her hand and reading from allegedly shows her referring to the ideals, she apparently skipped over the word when she called on them to die, which would have cleared up a lot of confusion. However, in case anyone was wondering, she helpfully put the omitted word in parenthesis – perhaps if anyone were to ask?
Regardless, her explanation was more than enough for the Fairfax County NAACP. Leete is the First Vice President for the group, which tweeted out its support of her on July 18.
“The Fairfax NAACP firmly supports our 1st Vice President and continues our fight against harmful rhetoric and injustice wherever it appears,” the group said in the tweet, linking to its complete statement on the matter.
“Fairfax County NAACP does not condone or support violence of any kind, whether we agree with an individual’s ideas of not. We believe in peaceful demonstrations and activism in order to achieve social justice and equity. But we will always stand in opposition to anti-diversity and anti-equity rhetoric, and any ideas or policies that further an inequitable agenda.”
Screenshot from Twitter