Steve Makoski sees the role of a school board member as protecting schoolchildren – even from the president of the United States.
He feels he and three of his Springfield, Missouri, Board of Education colleagues did just that Tuesday night, by somehow managing to table indefinitely a proposed federal rule setting out “sexual orientation and gender identity,” or SOGI, as a protected class for purposes of discrimination.
It’s a rule that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been attempting to foist on school districts across Missouri and the rest of the country – with the supposed threat, inferred by many school officials, of having federal lunch funds withheld if they don’t comply.
Armed with a letter from Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who says the rule is not only not mandatory and not needed, but illegal – and in front of a bustling crowd of citizens largely opposed to the rule – the Springfield board voted 4-3 to simply table the matter indefinitely. It took one board member to switch his vote from the board’s September meeting.
Makoski has been doxxed and threatened – and has tallied up a total of 16 slurs that have been hurled his way – since he began standing up against sexual indoctrination of Springfield school students over the past year.
“I want to help protect the safety and welfare of the children while I’m on the board of education,” Makoski told The Heartlander Wednesday. “And you can come and attack me all you want, but that doesn’t diminish my ability to be able to protect the kids within our school system.”
Judging from the feedback, Makoski is hardly alone. He’s received phone calls of support from one corner of the nation to the other, from Oregon to Georgia.
“Absolutely. I couldn’t sleep last night, to be honest with you,” for all the support coming his way, he said. “Many people around the United States are watching and listening to what happened last evening, and they are in support of not including SOGI” in official school policies.
The hatred coming his way, he says, is “a typical tactic of somebody that doesn’t want to have the opportunity to listen to somebody. So, they’re going to try to degrade you and put you down in hopes that it would silence you. To me, that’s really pathetic that they would go to the point of [harassing] a public official – who doesn’t get paid, mind you – and attack and even threaten you.
“I am not going to be silenced. I am on this Earth to protect those children, and I plan to do that.”
Before voting Tuesday, the board broke for 10 minutes to digest the attorney general’s letter, which Makoski said “definitely” had an influence.
The AG’s letter to Springfield school officials was characterized by Bailey’s office as “urging them to reject Joe Biden’s Department of Labor’s flawed guidance attempting to hold Missouri children’s free lunches hostage in favor of a radical sexual ideology.”
“It is clear that the Biden Administration is willing to threaten school children and use them as pawns in its wider culture war,” Bailey’s letter reads. “I am here to say that such divisiveness and fearmongering has no place in our state. Even the suggestion that a child would be denied a school lunch based on any classification of race, religion, national origin or sex, is absurd. Yet federal bureaucrats at the USDA are apparently willing to engage in such tactics of fear and manipulation to arrive at their desired outcome.”
Bailey’s letter notes that, in a lawsuit by him and various other attorneys general fighting the USDA’s SOGI rule, a court has declared that the rule is not a “command” that school districts must follow.
Thus, the letter alleges the Biden administration “is basing its flawed guidance on a threat that in order for schools to feed their children, they must acquiesce to a radical sexual ideology.”
Addressing the school board members directly, Bailey’s letter says, “It concerns me greatly that you are being pushed to adopt policies with no basis in the law.”
In an interview with The Heartlander Wednesday, Bailey said all school board members in Missouri and across the country need to know what he said in his letter – specifically, that the USDA can’t force them to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity policies.
What nearly happened in Springfield shouldn’t be happening at all, Bailey says.
“I absolutely think it’s happening in other districts in Missouri, because the Biden administration has lied and told everyone that they have no choice but to adopt a policy that may or may not be consistent with the parents-of-the-students’ values that go to that school. And that’s what we’re fighting against here.
“Number one, we’re fighting against President Biden’s unelected federal bureaucrats running our schools. Secondly, we’re fighting to protect parents’ rights to have a say in the process.
“And at the end of the day, the USDA rule is guidance. It is not a command … and it’s important that school board members and parents understand that.”
Makoski couldn’t agree more, saying it’s important that local school boards stand up to even the president of the United States on such a matter.
“Who has priority here?” asked Makoski. “It’s our district. We should run the district the way that we want to run the district, and we should not have the federal government in our business to tell us that ‘you have to include certain language and if you don’t, we’re not going to feed your kids or we’re not going to provide you with the federal funds to feed [your] children.
“That, in itself, is immoral.”