TikTokers say thousands of them are spamming the tip line set up by Virginia's GOP governor to report teachers over critical race theory

·3 min read
olivia julianna virginia tip line glenn youngkin
TikToker Olivia Julianna urged her followers to spam the new tip line.@0liviajulianna/TikTok
  • Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin set up a tip line for parents to report their kids' teachers.

  • Gen Z activists are pushing back, urging people on TikTok to spam the tip line.

  • One made a website that generated emails with song lyrics. She said thousands had visited the site.

Thousands of people are spamming the tip line set up by Virginia's new Republican governor to report public-school teachers over critical race theory, TikTok activists told Insider.

Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who assumed office earlier this month, announced an email address that parents could message to report teachers who they believed were "behaving objectionably."

The move has prompted widespread criticism, including from the singer John Legend. James Fedderman, the president of the Virginia Education Association teachers union, said he believed the tip line was "designed to intimidate educators simply trying to do their jobs."

Now, Gen Z is also mobilizing.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin American flag
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters

Sofia Ongele, a 21-year-old from Santa Clarita, California, said she set up a website that automatically generated emails to send to the tip line.

Each email includes the name of a Virginia public school and the lyrics of a pop song. You can see three examples — which use the lyrics from "Hey Ya" by Outkast, "Material Girl" by Saucy Santana, and "Bonfire" by Childish Gambino — here:

final tip line v
Examples of automatically generated emails to send Gov. Youngkin's tip line, which include the names of three Virginia public schools and lyrics from three songs.Sophia Ankel

Ongele said her website, which launched on Wednesday, had so far attracted about 1,500 people every 30 minutes, which meant some 24,000 people had visited it as of Thursday morning. It's unclear how many emails each person sends.

"I'm indescribably angry with right-wing pundits trying to stoke nonexistent division while the US is actively being labeled a backsliding democracy," she said.

"Seeing that Glenn Youngkin was trying to vilify educators, I thought I would do everyone a favor and take that tip line down," Ongele added.

Youngkin's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

'Gen Z is not for the weak of heart'

Olivia Julianna, a 19-year-old from Houston, has also been urging people to flood the Virginia tip line. She's posted several TikToks over the past week, one of which has been viewed more than 37,000 times.

She told Insider, "Gen Z digital organizers consistently outperform these older politicians in using social media as a tool, and I would highly recommend they stop trying to beat us at our own game because it has consistently become a source of embarrassment for them."

Julianna is no stranger to TikTok activism: Last September, she published similar posts calling on people to flood a tip line set up by Texas Right to Life to report abortions after the state passed a law banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. That website was taken down shortly after and hasn't gone back up.

Both Julianna and Ongele are part of Gen-Z for Change, a group of more than 500 TikTokers that works to educate young people on social and political issues.

"Gen Z is not for the weak of heart," Julianna said. "Glenn Youngkin is a newly elected governor, and if he wants to start his time in office by challenging young activists in our spaces, like the internet, and playing by our rules, then game on."

Read the original article on Business Insider