OPINION

Amid teacher shortage, folks who called them 'groomers' should say sorry. Here's how.

'I sincerely apologize for that time I called you an un-American radical Marxist groomer hellbent on turning my child into a genderless liberal drone. That was both unkind and inaccurate.'

Rex Huppke
USA TODAY

For months, parents and politicians have leveraged ginned-up fears about "critical race theory" and issues of sexuality in education, accusing teachers of being everything from America haters to porn pushers. 

That harassment, shockingly enough, has contributed to a teacher shortage in school districts across the country, prompting everything from crowded classrooms to lower standards for who gets to come in and teach.

Of course, it's all fun and games until there's nobody left to teach your kids, which is the position many parents now find themselves in.

To help smooth things out, I’ve put together the following letter of apology that folks who’ve been screaming conspiracy theories into school board microphones and typing furious Facebook posts about “groomers” can use.

Perhaps an apology is in order

Dear teachers I’ve offended with my unhinged gibberish:

First, I sincerely apologize for that time I called you an “un-American radical Marxist groomer hellbent on turning my child into a genderless liberal drone.” That was both unkind and inaccurate, and I regret any pain it may have caused.

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In my defense, I heard Fox News host Jesse Watters say on Aug. 2 that teachers are “exhibiting the same types of behaviors that people do use when they do groom children to exploit them for sexual purposes.” I now realize I should not have relied on the word of a man who once walked around New York City’s Chinatown asking people if they know karate.

Sorry about all the threats – my bad

I also hope you can forgive me for writing several threatening Facebook posts directed at you. That was inexcusable and cruel, and I will forever feel embarrassed about it. I heard Fox News’ Tucker Carlson say teachers are pressuring kindergarteners into seeking gender-affirming medical care and say: “You talk to a normal person's kids about sex in kindergarten, you get beaten up. You should be beaten up, please.”

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I now know his claims were nonsense and his call for violence against teachers reprehensible, but at the time I felt the man who said in 2018 that immigrants make America “poorer and dirtier and more divided” was a thought leader I should trust.

That was a big mistake on my part. Please come back and teach my child math.

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Also sorry about the lawsuits – those were rude

At this point, I would also be remiss if I did not apologize for reporting you to the state’s Critical Race Theory Tip Line every time you attempted to teach my child that slavery happened. In retrospect, that was a sizable overreaction on my part. I am also encouraging the state to drop the seven lawsuits you are now facing because I reported you for saying the word “gay.”

In my delusional state, I didn’t recognize the crucial role you play in my child’s education. That became apparent when you left the profession and were replaced by a dishonorably discharged Marine corporal who called my first grader a “maggot” and forced him to do 200 pushups in the mud on the playground.

A class on conspiracy theories? Oh dear.

It became even more apparent when my son’s social studies teacher was replaced by a retired auto mechanic who changed the name of the class to “History of QAnon” and proposed a field trip to his gun closet.

I recognize now that teaching is a hard job and you were trying to do your best under difficult circumstances. I beg you to please, please return as soon as possible.

My fourth grader just brought home a math pamphlet titled: “Do Triangles Really Have Three Sides? That’s What the Illuminati Want You to Believe.”

I’m getting a little worried.

Sincerely,

–Apologetic parent

More satire and humor columns from Rex Huppke:

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Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook: facebook.com/RexIsAJerk