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Parents, teachers flood Gov. Youngkin's tip line with stories of 'positive things'

Gov. Glenn Youngkin said he wants parents to keep an eye out for “divisive practices” within schools. But parents say they're going to report the good things.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin is facing backlash after he encouraged parents to report “divisive practices” in Virginia schools, but a new social media trend is taking his e-mail tip line in a different direction.

Dr. James Fedderman, the president of the Virginia Education Association, called on teachers and parents to instead “report the amazing things going on" in Virginia classrooms.

RELATED: Gov. Youngkin asks parents to report 'divisive practices' in Virginia schools via e-mail tipline

“Despite his efforts with this tip line to divide us, these stories of kindness, professionalism, perseverance, and exceptionalism bring parents, students, and educators together," Dr. Fedderman said. "That is the hallmark of who we are.”

Across Facebook, parents and teachers said they plan to send in positive tips to the e-mail address, highlighting the good happening in Virginia schools.

Newport News parent Lynn Lambert is one of them.

“My kids’ teachers changed my life and my kids’ lives," she said.

Lambert said the past two years have been stressful for everyone, including teachers, and they need all the encouragement they can get.

“I immediately thought this is such a great opportunity – even if it’s not exactly what he [Youngkin] intended – to let teachers hear about how much parents appreciate them," Lambert said.

“It’s so great when something starts out as something potentially negative and it turns into something that supports people, supports our children, supports teachers, supports the community.”

RELATED: Virginia Education Association: Gov. Youngkin's tip line to report 'divisive practices' is designed to intimidate teachers

Teacher Sara Flores-Betzold said she also plans to send in a positive tip to the e-mail helpline. She said teachers are always creating "positive communities" within classrooms.

"When I saw what the governor had done I had a moment where I felt defeated but quickly remembered how we help our students when they feel the same way," Flores-Betzold said.

"By focusing on all the wonderful ways that educators have impacted the lives of students and parents alike, it can create a powerful movement with a positive effect."

Dr. Fedderman said called the tip line a “blatant attempt” to pit parents against teachers and he won’t let anyone downplay the good work teachers are doing across the Commonwealth.

“While we were not shocked, we were highly disappointed," Dr. Fedderman said. “It’s a clear indication he has no idea what goes on in our classrooms. Virginia is currently ranked fourth with regards to public education in the nation. We didn’t get there by teaching divisive content. We got there by teaching truth.”

A spokesperson for the governor said the e-mail address, helpeducation@governor.virginia.gov, is “a resource for parents, teachers, and students to relay any questions or concerns.”

The statement said: “Governor Youngkin was elected to serve all Virginians and has utilized a customary constituent service, to hear from Virginians and solicit feedback.”

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