You have to hear the speech that a parent delivered at a recent school board meeting in response to one board member’s religious tirade against her daughter.
To make sense of it, you have to understand that Colorado Springs has long been a hotbed for white evangelical Christianity. That brand of bigotry has now crept onto local public school boards. A couple of months ago, in the span of a two weeks, the Freedom From Religion Foundation sent multiple letters to those boards warning them about board members using their positions to foist their personal religious views on students.
In the case of District 49, for example, Board Treasurer Ivy Liu advertises prayer circles before meetings just outside the building where those meetings take place. FFRF attorney Chris Line said those promotions “would be perceived by any reasonable observer as an endorsement of religion.”
But it’s the situation with another board member, Jamilynn D’Avola, that’s relevant here. When she ran for the board in 2021, her campaign website said “one of my top priorities would be to make sure children are assigned to different bathroom based on their biological sex,” a direct attack on trans kids. She also condemned comprehensive sex education, the “LGBTQ+ agenda,” Black Lives Matter, and “social justice.” Just a total moral monster on every level.
Last year, a student in the district wrote a heartfelt letter to D’Avola urging her to reconsider her positions now that she was on the board. The letter ended by saying, “Some students do not receive this information at home and need to learn it at school so that they stay safe and healthy. I know this is a lot, Mrs. D’Avola, but please, at least consider the things I have said. The mental health of the district’s students is potentially on the line.”
D’Avola could easily have responded with, “Thank you for your message.” And then she could’ve ignored it.
Instead, her response included this Christian-tainted pseudo-sermon:
God cares very deeply about every person and wants them to know who they are in Him… All people are created equal and no one can take that away from them because it was given to them by God. When someone fully understands who they are in Christ, then they will know they are valued and will be able to overcome depression and thoughts of suicide. They will know that there are only two genders and that there is absolute truth that comes from the Word of God. There is great freedom that comes from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father expect (sic) through Him. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free, but with this freedom comes great responsibility. We are not free to do whatever we feel like, we must uphold the values and truth of the Bible. I know that you may not agree with me, and that is ok. I will still see you as the Lord sees you, as a child of the most high God who is loved and valued above all. You are unique, and God has given you special gifts and talents. I pray that God would reveal Himself to you so that you too can experience the love of the Father.
She downplayed the seriousness of mental health. She dismissed the existence of trans people. She implied the student needed to convert to her religion. It was just completely inappropriate bullshit from someone speaking as a government official. Maybe if a Muslim board member did the same thing, she would recognize how out-of-line such a response is.
That’s why FFRF sent a letter to the district telling the board to knock it off.
But on Thursday night, the mother of the student who sent that email stood up during the board meeting to condemn D’Avola’s actions herself. Lacy Carroll’s speech is a breath of fresh air compared to the people who have power in that room: