Attention voters in the South Hero school district! If you’re looking for a school board candidate who believes there are two and ONLY two legitimate genders, the 2020 election was fatally tainted by fraud, Vermont is a totalitarian state and its media “actively censor” conservative viewpoints, and higher education has been taken over by “Marxist (i.e., Centralized Control) professors,” then cast your vote for Robert Fireovid!
On the other hand, if you think he’s a dangerous extremist, please vote for someone else. Anyone else.
Fireovid considers himself a victim of our socialist culture, and believes the schools are leading our children down the primrose path of gender fluidity. He has written that he would seek to bar teachers from teaching about “alternatives to heterosexual practices” or asking students to declare their preferred pronouns. He would examine school libraries for any materials that “contain sexual content or discuss gender fluidity.” He would also prevent the district from punishing school staff who insist on using “pronouns consistent with a student’s actual physical sex,’ which I assume means whatever they’ve got in their pants.
You want that on your school board?
In Fireovid’s view, Vermont’s government is a “banana republic” full of “political cronyism” that adds up to “totalitarianism.” Which, frankly, is a damn insult to anyone who’s ever had to live under a truly totalitarian regime where speech can get you literally murdered.
Fireovid cites personal experience for his outlandish contention. He says that he and his wife Joan Falcao (candidate for South Hero Select Board) lost a contract with the Northwest Regional Planning Commission after his essay against gender education was posted on Vermont Daily Chronicle, the only in-state media outlet he endorses. (Sorry about that, True North Reports!)
The essay warned that by teaching about gender fluidity, schools “encourage minors to disconnect from their physical reality and possibly mutilate their bodies for no good reason.” Because, you see, nobody is actually transgender.
Well, very few are. A “teeny tiny number… suffer from gender dysphoria.” He characterizes these unfortunates as “disabled.” I don;t know if his preferred treatment would be conversion therapy or Clockwork Orange-style aversion techniques or maybe lobotomy, because there is no place in the Vermont of his fevered imagination for accommodating the gender nonconforming. No word on how he feels about Drag Queen Story Hour or — horrors! — all-gender bathrooms, but one can only imagine.
Fireovid contends that his essay “did not attack or blame anyone who identifies as transgender.” Technically true, but fundamentally misleading. He didn’t attack or blame any indivicuals, but when he minimizes transgender folk as a “teeny tiny number” of “disabled” people, he diminishes the truth of trans experience and directly attacks the entire gender equity movement. Not to mention when he refers to gender affirmation surgery as “mutilation,” for Pete’s sake.
That’s hateful language, full stop. The NRPC has a policy of inclusion that condemns “racism and discrimination in all of its forms, and commit[s] to fair and equitable treatment of everyone in our communities.” It had no choice but to cut ties with a merchant of hatred. And, once again for you in the back, it’s not a free speech issue. Fireovid is absolutely free to spew hate as much as he wants. But he might face consequences for his speech.
Including, I hope, losing the school board election.
I am the “someone else” candidate on the ballot South Hero voters should chose with their precious vote. My name is RICH MONTEROSSO and I am also running for the the 3 year School Board open position. My goal of assuring quality education for our students offers voters a real choice compared to my opponent’s agenda.
South Hero has made a strong commitment to educational quality at the local level by having our own School Board. I am excited about the opportunity to provide responsible stewardship of our valued educational system. As trustees of the educational system, School Board members are entrusted to provide resources and oversight to make sure that schools are “WELL RUN,” NOT TO “RUN” the schools themselves.
As a retired professional educator with 25 years experience as a school social worker and 10 years working in behavioral health, I am qualified to serve on the Board. My extensive collaborative experience provides me with the communication and teamwork skills necessary to be an effective School Board member.
Many South Hero voters may know me through my volunteer work with the South Hero Land Trust, CIDER, and at the Worthen Library, where I co-chair
the Summer Speaker Series. Mary Andrews, my spouse, is an active volunteer with CIDER, the Worthen Library, and Granny’s Attic.
I would be honored to earn your vote and serve our community for the next three years on the School Board.
Please remember to VOTE by absentee ballot or in person at Town Hall on Tuesday, March 7. This important contested election will determine the future direction of our school community and of our town.
Quite a takedown of a fundamentally decent and spiritual person. You should try to talk to Bob one-on-one and really listen to him to better understand him. But maybe that is not what you had intended to do with this post. I believe there are many of us who don’t care to participate in categorization of sexual expressions. We don’t care about his/her/they personal beliefs or practices in things sexual; we prefer to judge people by their actions and their respect for the interdependent web of all existence.
In my experience, many people with hateful beliefs are “fundamentally decent” in person. But he has used hateful language in the public sphere, and that crosses a line.
The language in your post Mr. Walters, leaves a question in my mind as to whether you are setting a tone that intends others to be afraid or to be hateful or angry towards Mr. Fireovid because he has a different opinion than theirs. I hear that you are urging people to vote in favor of someone who shares your values which are not as clearly articulated as I need in order to understand what it is you envision for schools. Most of your post is focused on pointing fingers at what Mr. Fireovid said or what you think he meant. Please forgive me if I am interpreting your intentions incorrectly. But if so, then you yourself are also guilty of spewing hate or at the very least engaging in hate mongering.
I think you may have missed an opportunity to share your values and your vision for an increasingly inclusive and welcoming school environment for all children. Would you suggest that Mr. Fireovids grandchildren not be allowed in school if their parents would prefer to wait until their children are older to be educated in gender identify choices? Should they be forced to homeschool if they wish to avoid certain dictated curriculums? Or should trans gender children be forced to homeschool? I believe that with a well facilitated and well represented discussion, these very important fears, concerns and issues could be brought to the table and perhaps simple solutions that everyone can agree on could be discovered together. Perhaps Mr. Fireovid is not destined to be a member of the school board if he is not able to be respectful and listen deeply to the perspectives of others and consider all the potential threats and strengths of any plan before making it policy, but he can be appreciated and respected for presenting his opinion.
I would recommend that before anyone enters the public arena to voice a perspective on a difficult topic that we each consider (a.k.a., edit, revise, edit, revise and repeat) 1. whether our language is impeccable, 2. whether we are making assumptions, or misrepresenting someone else’s perspective to pass them on to others with the intention of bolstering our own agenda, 3. Whether we are doing our best to help people understand our own unique expertise and perspective rather than misrepresenting someone else’s words or actions (very young children learn this in school! It is called using “I statements” instead of pointing fingers and accusing others 4. Not taking anything anyone says personally (thus reacting with fear or anger).
Any action done in haste may only serve to frighten or force others into positions of violence. In relationship terms, criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling are the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse. It is through reciprocal relationship development that we learn to get along and work together despite our differences in beliefs, values and goals.
Schoolboards and other governing committees in a democracy are supposed to be representative of the people. So if there are others who believe the same way that Mr. Fireovid does, it is fair AND crucial that they be represented on a governing board. It is difficult and challenging to live in a democracy especially as the short history of human beings we often learn about in schools is that human society most frequently resorts to violence, tyranny and fascism.
But with our new generation of young people learning how to tolerate and embrace differences they are also learning the crucial skills of listening deeply without judgement in order to hear and fully understand with calm equanimity all perspectives before planning, designing or implementing any changes in public policy. Children don’t bring hate into the school yard. It is the confusing fears and hatred of their parents that they carry with them in hopes of someone who may be able to help them make sense of this behavior.
As I understand it, one person voicing their vision or hopes and dreams (freedom of speech) does not mean they will be allowed to impose their vision on others. In very simple terms, I think democracy is designed to prevent this, thus it is OK to say what you think. If someone believes that there is corruption in the democratic process at any level, it is very important that we not criticize them or run them out of town for speaking up. We may find ourselves thanking them in the long run for being brave enough to speak their truth. As individual citizens we can start this transformation in our schools and communities by doing a very simple thing: making it safe for everyone to speak their truth without fear of repercussion. (as Mr. Fireovid believes has happened to him). Because if we can keep the speech flowing, the violence and division of unity that inevitably follows when people are forced into silence.
I believe it takes patience, lived experience wisdom and non-violent engagement for reciprocal relationship development to happen and to truly begin making effective life enhancing change happen. We still have so much to learn about the needs of those who choose gender fluid lives. Yes, democracy is frustratingly slow, and all must be patient and accepting of the process, but when we can truly listen and hear each other without reacting with anger or fear we can begin to work together even at the personal relationship level to discover our commonly shared values and beliefs. “I love my kids, you love your kids…we agree on that! Let’s start there”.
I hope that we all can practice the four agreements when engaging in discourse on difficult topics: 1. Take nothing personally, 2. Make no assumptions, 3.Be impeccable with our word, 4.Always do our best.
Thank you for this forum and for all who are weighing in on this topic. Please keep up the good work of sharing your perspectives and using “I statements”. I believe, I envision, I think, I wonder, I am curious about, I dream, I love…and yes even, if you must be honest and have no better way of saying it: I hate… Perhaps together, we can help unpack that hate and find out what is at the root cause of it.
“You want “that” on your school board?”
The writer may not be sophisticated enough to recognize that the most successful propagandist and semantically effective tactics to dehumanize the Jews prior to the Shoah was to remove the ‘verb spielen’ ((third person)) pronoun of him, her, they, them and replace with “that”.
This word play convinced many that human beings were not human. They were vermin.
Please retract this entire essay.
Nope, sorry, “Anonymous.” I was referring to his beliefs, not his person.