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Midterm Election Dominated DVJournal’s 2022 Coverage

Looking back at 2022, the most significant stories the Delaware Valley Journal covered involved the midterm election.

The primary campaign for governor and lieutenant governor on the Republican side brought out many candidates. In contrast, on the Democratic side, only Josh Shapiro ran for governor while a few Democrats contested for the lieutenant governor’s nomination. Many Republicans supported Shapiro, who ran as a moderate.

The race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R) drew several candidates in both parties. Democrats fielded Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who suffered a stroke during the campaign, Montgomery County Commissioner Val Arkoosh, Philadelphia state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, Philadelphia physician Kevin Baumlin, and western Pennsylvania Congressman Conor Lamb.

Among area Senate candidates, conservative author and commentator Kathy Barnette, Montgomery County businessman Jeff Bartos, Philadelphia lawyer George Bochetto, and Montgomery County lawyer Sean Gale all took part in a debate sponsored by the DVJournal that was broadcast on Pennsylvania Cable Network.

Celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz and hedge fund CEO Dave McCormick duked it out, spending massive amounts on television ads. With former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, Oz prevailed by a slim margin, only to lose in the general election to Fetterman. Fetterman’s poor showing in a late October debate failed to move the needle since many voters had already cast their ballots via mail-in voting before seeing it.

The DVJournal also sponsored an online debate for Republican lieutenant governor candidates.

The wide field of men and one woman running for the Republican nomination for governor also debated several times. State Sen. Doug Mastriano (R-Franklin) came out on top in the primary despite a last-minute play by party leaders to back former Congressman Lou Barletta. Locally, Delaware County businessman Dave White made a strong showing and Chester County attorney Bill McSwain enjoyed the deep-pocket financial support of Commonwealth Partners Chamber of Entrepreneurs.

Shapiro, who spent millions on television commercials to paint Mastriano as an extremist, went on to handily win the governor’s race. Many believe redistricting in the Delaware Valley collar counties gave the Democrats a new advantage. Democrats defeated several incumbent Republicans, notably Todd Stephens in Montgomery County, Chris Quinn in Delaware County, and Todd Polinchock in Bucks County.

Other 2022 stories in the region included the saga of private utility companies buying up municipal sewer and water authorities. The DVJ has highlighted Pennsylvanians’ likely higher energy bills with Gov. Tom Wolf’s decision to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), despite opposition from the state legislature.  And the state’s crucial Marcellus Shale natural gas industry remains under assault from the Biden administration’s embrace of the Green New Deal.

This year, many other DVJournal articles focused on parents who are at war with “woke” school boards and school administrators who impose critical race theory (CRT) and gender-fluid ideology on their students and critical race theory (CRT) and gender-fluid ideology on their students as well as stocking school libraries with obscene books.

The Delaware Valley Journal also brought readers the saga of the state House versus progressive Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner that culminated in the House voting to impeach Krasner for mishandling of his official duties, which they allege is a significant factor in the skyrocketing crime rate in the city. An impeachment trial for Krasner is set in the Senate for Jan. 18.

While crime has been a big issue for DVJournal’s 2022 reporting, inflation was also a hot topic with skyrocketing prices for gas, food, and other goods biting into Delaware Valley residents’ budgets.

Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision weighed on the election, causing a rise in Democratic voter registration and driving some women, particularly women in the Delaware Valley suburbs, to the polls. Conversely, the increase in arrests of pro-life activists by the Biden Department of Justice has stirred up passion on the other side of the abortion issue.

And the local reaction to the war in Ukraine is also a concern, with many Ukrainian immigrants living in the area. DVJournal also brought our readers letters from a Ukrainian mother about what it was like to live in that war-torn country.

Amid all the other news vying for attention, the DVJournal has kept its eye on the sad case of the death of Fanta Bility, the 8-year-old girl hit by a bullet fired by police officers. Three Sharon Hill officers pleaded guilty in that case, and a federal lawsuit brought by Bility’s family is pending.

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POLL: Americans Don’t Want Obscene Books in Their Kids’ School Libraries

A debate has raged across the Delaware Valley between parents and education officials over the presence of sexually-explicit books in school libraries. Now a new national poll finds most Americans are on the side of local upset moms and dads.

A new Rasmussen Research poll finds most voters don’t want obscene books in public school libraries.

The survey, in conjunction with the Capitol Resource Institute, of 1,000 likely voters conducted Sept. 20-21 found 77 percent are concerned school-age children are being exposed to sexual material that is not age-appropriate. Of those, 55 percent were very concerned. Only 20 percent were not concerned.

According to Rasmussen Research, it is an unusual issue on which people from all political and demographics agree. For example, 79 percent of Whites, 73 percent of Black and Hispanic voters, and 72 percent of other minorities were at least somewhat concerned that school-age children are being exposed to sexual material that is not age appropriate.

And 85 percent of Republicans, 56 percent of Democrats, and 69 percent of voters not affiliated with either major party believed it is very important that public schools fully inform parents about what is being taught to their children in classrooms.

The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

“From my experience on the school board and recently working with some parents, I believe this Rasmussen poll reflects the reality that a significant majority of parents want to know what is in the school libraries and what is being taught to their children,” said Bruce Chambers, former president of the Great Valley School Board. “The library issue is prominent in the Great Valley School District with the federal lawsuit filed by a mother regarding the sexual content of books in the library.

“You can also go to the Great Valley High School Library TikTok site and see that the librarian posts information about Queer Graphic Novels in the library. So, this issue is prominent in Great Valley and some information is available to parents, but it is not provided regularly by the administration.

“Those parents who have discovered the TikTok site have expressed their objections to the sexually explicit books in the library. Unfortunately, the administration and school board have not acknowledged the problem and, like in other issues, they ignore those whose tax dollars are paying for everything,” Chambers said.

Fenicia Redman, the mother who filed that suit, said, “This poll confirms what we all know: the majority of Americans, no matter their political affiliation, agree that obscene material, the kind I call out in my federal lawsuit have no place in public classrooms or school libraries. To quote a now deleted April 6, 2022 tweet by a Great Valley High School activist employee, ‘So called ‘literary value’ is a made up thing that doesn’t actually exist (or at least it doesn’t matter). There’s no such thing as ‘good books’ or ‘bad books.’  A book’s value can be determined solely by each reader for themselves,’ Knock Knock. Anybody home? You might want to brush up on 18 U.S.C 1470: Transfer of obscene material to minors before you show up in Federal Court.”

Jamie Walker, a Chalfont mother, said, “The (teachers’) union hated parental involvement in masking and in-person education. It really should come as no surprise they continue to believe parental involvement should be nonexistent.”

Megan Brock, a Northampton mom, said, “After two years of disrupted learning and unprecedented learning loss, parents want schools to focus on teaching students math, reading, history, and STEM. Parents understand the influential role schools play in their children’s lives and want transparency within schools, as they would with any person or environment they entrust their children.”

Parent Shannon Grady of Chester Springs said, “Yes, this issue is becoming a top priority for many parents across the political spectrum. The point on this issue is that the books in question contain obscene and explicit content that is not age appropriate for minors. Most agree that diversity of thought should be presented in schools but the selection of textbooks and supplementary materials in schools are to be used almost exclusively by minors. Schools have a vast number of options to select materials available to support and enrich the curriculum. The schools should prioritize materials that enrich the curriculum and choose materials that do not expose minor students to certain age-inappropriate content. Our goals are to have clearly defined criteria for the selection of textbooks and resource materials and content that do not include materials that are prohibited by criminal laws.”

The poll also showed 48 percent of parents and 68 percent of grandparents oppose public schools teaching children about homosexual lifestyles; 56 percent of parents and 74 percent of grandparents are opposed to public schools teaching kids about transsexualism. And 70 percent of parents and 74 percent of grandparents are against schools teaching kids how to perform sex acts.

Also, 55 percent of parents and 59 percent of grandparents believed children should not be exposed to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual lifestyles before age 14, the poll found.

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Great Valley Schools Sic Cops on Parent Being Interviewed in Parking Lot

The East Whiteland Police Department sent three cars to the Great Valley High School District Wednesday where Fenicia Redman, the mother who is suing the school district over obscene library books, was being interviewed by a TV reporter.

The interview took place after school hours.

The Malvern mom brought friends to hold the posters she had made that showed graphic pictures from the books. Redman and her friends, along with the Epoch Times video journalists, were told by a police officer that they had to leave.

“We had just completed the (filmed) interview and the journalist was asking me a few more questions,” said Redman. Her friends holding the posters called out to her that the police were there.

“I turned around and an officer, Sgt. Mitchell, comes out of his vehicle and I walked toward him,” said Redman. “He said, ‘The district wants you off the property.’”

Redman told him she was the parent of a student at the school and a taxpayer and that she was being interviewed about her lawsuit against the district. The officer told her they had to leave. So they left peacefully.

“I was not afraid,” said Redman. “We were talking about a real problem, which is inside the school (the obscene books).”

“It’s incredulous,” said Redman. “I brought these very pictures to the police department and they did not go into the school to investigate.” Instead, the police turned the matter over to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, which did not find it to be a criminal offense.

“I’m not giving up,” said Redman, who has a Go Fund Me page to raise money for her suit. “This is ludicrous. I’m thankful they (the police) were polite…We won’t be intimidated. We won’t be silenced. We’re just getting started.”

Lily Sun, the Epoch Times reporter who was interviewing Redman, said she was startled when the police came.

“It was a surprise for me,” said Sun. “To be honest, those pictures in the books were a surprise for me, too. That’s why I wanted to report it.”

A spokeswoman for the school district did not respond to requests for comment.

Former Great Valley School Board President Bruce Chambers was there for the interview, holding a poster.

“We were set up in the lower parking lot away from the high school and middle school buildings and in an area that had a bench for seating,” said Chambers. “We were not disturbing anyone, and indeed, the school day was over so the parking lot was nearly empty. A camera and microphone were set up so it was obvious what was happening.

“Sending the police is indicative of the bunker mentality of the school district and its refusal to engage with the public. Their first reaction was to send the police. Ridiculous. All they had to do was send a staff person to talk with Fenicia and they would have immediately found out what she was doing.

“This further confirms for me that the school district has no respect for the public who is paying for everything. They are incompetent and their reaction was pathetic.”

In her suit, Redman describes and includes pictures from the books: “Gender Queer” with graphic pictures of sexual acts, “Tantric Sex,” which is a manual describing sexual acts, “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” which also shows details of sexual acts, and “PUSH” that includes a female child who is raped by her father. In “Fun House” there are scenes of women having sex with women.

When she and the group of other concerned parents took the book posters to the state Capitol to show lawmakers exactly what schools have in their libraries, a Capitol police officer ordered her to remove some of the posters because children might see them.

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Malvern Mom Threatens Lawsuit Against Great Valley Over Sexually Explicit Books

Fenicia Redman learned from another parent about obscene books in the libraries at Great Valley High and Middle schools about 10 months ago.

Since then, she has made it her mission to have those books removed and is now preparing to file a federal lawsuit.

Redman’s son attends Great Valley High. She was determined to do something about the books that she deemed offensive. So, the Malvern mom went to the school board and complained but got nowhere. The books remained.

Redman also filed a police report and went to the Chester County district attorney, who took no action.

She spoke to Republican gubernatorial candidates about the books and finally, with a group of other parents, Redman held a protest at the state capitol in Harrisburg. That protest has gained some support for her cause among legislators, including state Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican running for governor, and state Rep. Barbara Gleim (R-Camp Hill).

But with the books remaining in Great Valley School District libraries, Redman is taking another step. In March, she served the school board with a notice of intent to sue. Now she plans to launch a lawsuit in federal court.

“You’d better believe it when I say I will crawl on broken glass,” said Redman. “I’ll walk barefoot. I’ve got Lady Justice on my side, and if she knew what (the school officials) were doing to our children, she would lock them up.”

Bruce Chambers, a former Great Valley School Board president, said, “I greatly admire Fenicia Redman’s determination to pursue this issue through litigation. I find it ironic and sickening that the Great Valley School Board refused to listen to her at a school board meeting and actually left the room when she displayed pages from the books. They weren’t willing to look at the images from the books, yet they make them readily available for the children in their library.

“You only have to go to the Great Valley High School Library’s TikTok page to see what is important to the school district in the ‘education’ of our children. The first video you access on the site is ’10 Sweet Queer Graphic Novels’ which will display each of these novels for the children to check out. This is what we are paying for with our taxpayer money. It is outrageous, yet the school board and the district won’t even address the issue.

“They should not be surprised that a taxpayer is pursuing litigation against them,” Chambers added. “The district is more concerned with social indoctrination than educating the children for their future.”

Redman is basing her complaint on federal law that makes it a crime to show obscene materials to minors. It includes Section 1466A of Title 18, which prohibits anyone from knowingly producing distributing, receiving, or possessing with intent to transfer or distribute, visual representations, such as drawings, cartoons, or paintings that appear to depict minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and are deemed obscene.

And Section 1470 of Title 18 prohibits anyone from knowingly transferring or attempting to transfer obscene material using the U.S. mail or any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce to a minor un16 years old.

Redman said she cited those statutes to the school board for several months, “so they’ve had this knowledge of this federal law.”

And Redman said if she needs to, she will take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Her are exhibits ready, Redman said. They are enlarged pictures of scenes in various school library books, such as “Gender Queer,” that depict sexual acts in graphic detail, which she has taken to the state capital. While the posters were being displayed, ironically, a capitol police officer told her to take the exhibits down because children might see them.

And there are books with graphic prose as well as books with obscene pictures, she added.

One book, “Push,” tells the story of a girl who is raped by her father.

“And that is heterosexual graphic, criminal material,” she said. “What literary, scientific or educational, or health purpose does it have? That is traumatizing to a child who has no idea.”

“That is a question America needs to hear,” said Redman. “And how many other books are they hiding?

To fund her lawsuit, Redman has started a Go Fund Me page. A spokeswoman for the school district did not respond to a request for comment.

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