Republicans launch statewide ad campaign smearing public school teacher who defined LGBTQ identities

Here’s what we know. As reported by the Bangor Daily News, the Maine Department of Education has reviewed and removed an optional online lesson plan in which an elementary school teacher, Kailina Mills, discusses “Freedom Holidays,” like the Fourth of July and Juneteenth as well as LGBTQ+ identities and same-sex marriage. The video was available alongside hundreds of other optional lessons meant to help teachers during the pandemic. 

Mills broke down the LGBTQ+ acronym and the U.S. Supreme Court decision that finally gave LGBTQ+ people the right to marry. The accompanying assignment asks students to write about three LGBTQ+ activists involved in the battle for equal rights. All makes sense and seems reasonable. 

“The T stands for transgender,” Mills said in part during the video, which comes in at under six minutes. “A transgender person is someone who the doctors made a mistake about when they were born. Some people, when they get a little bit older, realize what the doctors said was not right.”

Mills has a master’s in early childhood education, but of course, Republicans don’t care about that. It’s also worth mentioning, per local outlet WMTW, that Mills apparently has no relation to the governor, but it’s certainly possible conservatives are hoping voters won’t know that. 

In fact, Republicans have already run a statewide TV and radio ad smearing the teacher and Democrats in general. As a quick refresher on Maine politics, Janet Mills, a Democrat, is the current governor of the state. The ad explicitly targets Mills and suggests she spent more than $2 million to create “radical” school lessons aimed at young children and described it as “wrong for our kids.”

Mind you, it’s as of now unclear how many teachers—if any—actually utilized the video or assignment in the classroom, as reported by local outlet WGME. What is clear is that teachers were paid between $250 and $1,000 per quarter to create these videos at the start of the pandemic, which is a far cry from $2 million.

You can watch the video below and jump into the comments to tell us what you think about the optional lesson plan for public school students.

You can watch part of the Republican ad below or the full ad over on Facebook.

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