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Loudoun County mothers appalled over school system’s mobile app ad

Loudoun County mothers are infuriated by a Loudoun County Public Schools advertisement the parents say is "condescending," "sexist" and "racist."

The print ad, placed inside the LCPS annual report, promotes the school system's mobile app.

The phrase “Are you that mom?” is splashed across the top.

The ad continues, “The mom who is uncertain what the first day of school is but thinks it might be a Thursday. The mom who missed the PTA meeting. The mom who can't remember what time soccer practice ends ... Don't let your yoga pants get tied in a knot this back-to-school season! Download the LCPS app and stay ahead of the game.”

Placed right below Superintendent Eric Williams' welcome message, the ad also features a mother and daughter as tiger characters, leading to charges of racism over the “tiger mom “ stereotype of demanding Asian mothers, says one local mom.

Condemnation of the promotion was swift and sharp.

“That's one of the most condescending flyers I've ever seen,” commented Sonja Magnussen Zambrana on Facebook.

“My initial thought was that it was an old ad, from decades ago – but because it was for an app that wasn't the case,” LCPS mother Darcy Hubbard Cunningham told the Times-Mirror. “As a working mom of two LCPS kids, I found it insensitive, sexist and divisive. It really felt like something entrenched in the mommy wars -- the good moms vs. the bad moms. I could not believe that anyone in administration OKd this or thought it was appropriate. 'Don't get your yoga pants in a knot' … if a professional representing the school system spoke to me or any other woman that way, there would be a problem.”

Tina Kinney Clarke wondered, “Because only moms care about these things. Fathers? They're absent in this ad."

In the same vein, Leesburg resident Lisa Ehinger Schmidt noted, “And is it 1950? Apparently so. I guess only mom's need to know what their children's schedule is because Daddy is too busy drinking his scotch and listening to Motown on the record player?”

“ … dismissing dads entirely from the equation is part of the problem,” commented Catherine Stone McNickle.

The controversial ad produced by Loudoun County Public Schools.


The advertisement and an accompanying video were produced by the LCPS Public Information Office, according to school system spokesman Wayde Byard.

Byard said the video has been removed, and LCPS apologizes “to anyone who might have been offended.”

“We never want to cause discomfort in any of our stakeholders, which is why we removed the video from circulation today,” Byard said. “The video promoting the LCPS App … is designed to connect parents to their children’s school information in an easy-to-use platform.

Byard seemed to defend the video by saying “it had 22,143 views” and the Facebook post “recorded 160 likes or positive comments, five surprised or sad emojis and 28 negative comments. There were 740 downloads of the app during that time period.”

“We produced the video using broad satire, hoping people would not mind a little fun being poked at an outlandish depiction of the hectic lifestyle in our area,” he said.

Still, the complaints are piling up.

“Intentional or not, LCPS information office showed poor taste and ignorance in creating an ad using tigers, implying 'Tiger Mom,' which is a racist stereotype of Asian moms who set extremely high standards for their children,” Huyen MacMichael, an LCPS mother, says. “I'm embarrassed and disappointed that they blatantly disrespect families who have supported their kids and schools over the years with time, energy, and money. Clearly LCPS did not think this through and have offended many parents with their video and print ads … ”

Cunningham says the ad and controversy furthers the notion that LCPS administration is “out of touch."

“In working with the community and listening to parents, I've heard a great deal of frustration expressed over the last few years about a lack of transparency and the way things are handled -- the suicides, the boundaries, special education, the current LGBTQ language,” Cunningham said. “Given that, I was really surprised that LCPS thought this ad was a good idea. It further bolsters the argument that administration is not plugged in and out of touch.”


Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or on Twitter at @TrevorBaratko.

Comments


pilot apps in future


Is it or isn’t it okay for a father to wear yoga pants in public?  I’m a bit confused on proper protocol.


the irony of this article is that these folks complaining are reinforcing stereotypes of hypersensitivity. My gosh, “racist”? That’s just moronic. Count these folks among the growing hordes of perpetually offended thin skinned snivelers we find under every rock and around every corner these days.


For me, the ad is just clumsy.  LPCS spends a large amount of our money every year, we have paid for professional management and administration.  Once again, they missed that mark in a publicly embarrassing manner.


People look for any excuse to get upset and make negative comments. I am a mother and I really don’t care if it mentions fathers or not. I am just glad they have an app to help people. No body is perfect and lots of people arel filled with flaws, but when it comes to other people, they are so quick to judge. Lets spread love and peace, not hatred and negativity.


This is pure comedy, love it.  LeesburgLocal is spot on, think we would get along well!


Trump was right.  The media is the biggest forum for hate groups and this paper is the biggest forum for liberal loonies who want to complain about everything….


“Loudoun County mothers appalled over school system’s mobile app ad” I find the title of this article to be highly offensive. The editors at LTM obviously assume that only mothers are appalled by the ad. What about fathers? Fathers can be appalled by the ad too!  LTM is sexist and we should all be offended by that. Quick… someone create a hash tag and write to your local paper about this outrage!


Finding a situation to declare “I’m offended by this” is becoming a national sport.  Whoever can point out these scenarios to the media and get it published wins the competition.  Unfortunately, everyone else is a loser who has to endure listening to this drivel.


What appalls me is the incorrect/poor grammar in the first sentence of a LCPS ad. ‘What’ is the first day of school…its the first day of school.“WHEN” is the first day of school…might be Thursday…


I am a single dad with 3 kids currently attending County schools.  I am offended that Dads were not mentioned.  Every parent has had the situations mentioned. 
I am also offended by people who get offended.


Leesburg Local—of course, you can be offended at Clemson.  Thomas Clemson fought for the Confederacy and was the son-in-law of John C. Calhoun.  They had large plantations!  I’m waiting for all the Yankees who send their kids there to realize that, yes, if all the statues and flags come down, then Clemson should change it’s name.  No exceptions to this nonsense, you know.


I am allergic to coffee and hate sunglasses and scared of tigers – and it offends me that my tax dollars are promoting these things.

However, there are plenty of parents that are not perfect, forget things, and are late.  If you are not one of those parents, why the offense?  And if you are one of those, may this ad will help drive positive change.  One of the best things to instill in your child is not to get worked up over nonsense stuff like this.


Some people spend their entire existence looking for ways to be offended. What a miserable existence.


Thinking this through a bit more, I’ve decided to be offended by the title of the LTM article.  It clearly states “Loudoun County mothers appalled.”  As a Loudoun County mother, I was not appalled by this ad.  But I am appalled that I’m being lumped in to the group of individuals that were appalled.  And I say “individuals” because there very well may have been a father appalled.  Or perhaps people that aren’t even parents were appalled.  Maybe a child? Maybe my dog? Maybe my neighbor’s cat?

I find this entire situation appalling. LOL!

Does anyone not see how RIDICULOUS we have become????  Quit being offended, appalled, exasperated, or whatever you want to call it!

For the love, just download the app and move on!!!


With all of the terrible things happening in the world, and all of the very real problems facing our country/state/county.  I kind of envy those among us who can just ignore all that stuff and focus their energy on trivialities like an advertisement for a free smartphone app.

Keep up the good work ladies…you an inspiration to us all.


You can’t just assume somebody’s gender by the way that an article was written.  This author might self-identify as Tiger-kin and you have no right to shame him/her.  The intolerance of yoga pants wearing moms (although a lot of them should opt for a bit looser fit) is absolutely appalling and among the many reasons that our great leader #45 is having to fight so often.


Let’s not ignore the larger issue here. Everyone can chime in about what is offensive and what is not, and how everyone is too sensitive, etc. That’s a sidebar. The issue is how this could be approved. Are you telling me that this went through some type of vetting process and was approved? No one saw any issues with this? I’m sure this will land in a textbook on how to perpetuate stereotypes. The fact that this saw the light of day from a school system should concern everyone. This came out of the Public Information Office. Let’s not ever confuse public information with public relations.


Instead of tigers they should have left the people blank and just showed a phone and a Starbucks cup.  That way no one would be offended except for people that are invisible and as we know they are a large part of the population of Loudoun.


The ad was probably written by an out of touch white male who had no idea how it would come across to a large section of the populace. White people see tigers, while the sizeable Asian population here sees condescension. What if they used gorillas instead of tigers, would folks still think it was OK?

Regardless, the tone of the ad is very inappropriate and drips with sarcasm that is juvenile and highly unprofessional to say the least.

Maybe we should haul down the statue of Dr. Eric Williams in protest. Wait, there isn’t one? Build one and THEN haul it down.


  I like the ad.  The yoga pants statement was a bit over the top though.


it must be exhausting being in a perpetual state of being offended. How do people live like this?


Absolutely expected and hilarious that this has offended anybody.  Is there any way that I can sue and make some money?  I mean, this ad doesn’t include fathers.


I thought it was very clever. I also saw lots of ways they could do a series of these ads to get the word out on the app. The know it all father, who really uses the app as a secret weapon, the clueless grandmother pinch hitting for the absent parents having the 9 year old show her the app, the co-parents finally finding one thing they agree on: the app. The single mom with multiple jobs/kids discovering the app like it was a manna from heaven.  All stereotypes, all effective.

So now add to the Loudoun mom stereotype: humorless.

Bravo LCPS the goal was to get folk using the app. Winning.  If folk had taken action from the original traditional messages, there would have been no impetus to try something new.


I’m more upset that Loudoun County overpaid for this. Perhaps they should allow their students to submit marketing material to be used by the school. It is hard to believe we pay so much to the chiefs and this was the best they could come up with??? I think we have the wrong people in charge/running our schools. Very scary.


I thought the election of Trump (well, the annointing by the Electoral College at any rate) was supposed to end all this politically correct stuff.  Instead, his behavior—so offensive on so many levels—has made it all very much worse.

Was this ad copy written by a man or a woman.  That will answer the questions.


John M - I like your thinking!  Let’s head to Clemson…there must be something there we can protest! ????????????


Of course the ad is sexist, but racist?  Not sure about that one.  Then again, everyone is racist these days. Of course, we have get the LGBTQRSTUV alphabet in there as well.

Tickle Ivory, you find it sexist, yet you make a sexist comment about Dad’s not being able to last a day in Mom’s shoes.  Ironic.


This is what should get our yoga pants in a twist.

Traveler, USC’s mascot, comes under scrutiny for having a name similar to Robert E. Lee’s horse

At the rally, according to the student newspaper the Daily Trojan, Saphia Jackson, co-director of the USC Black Student Assembly, asked students not to be quiet, and reminded that “white supremacy hits close to home” and referenced the name of the Trojans mascot.

The Black Student Assembly did not respond to requests for comment, but questions about the name’s provenance have increased on social media in the midst of the national discussion on race.

 


People are just looking for ways to get offended. This is humor and it’s actually kind of funny in a “trying not to offend you” kind of way. And that it leaves men off - that’s supposed to upset us? 99+% of us just skip that part, find what the message is, and move on. Too much drama.


golden: It upsets me that you are upset that arbie is upset that you can’t be upset. How upsetting! I’m going to find a statue of a tiger and tear it down.


It’s funny!  People take everything so seriously, no wonder their yoga pants are all up in a knot


What’s strange about Byard’s comments is that the LCPS Facebook and Twitter pages are bland and dry. To just throw out an ad and video campaign that starts poking fun at stereotypes is out of character for the district. This is not the tone that has been established by Byard for communications. The reason it probably had so many views? The RHOLC FB group had a field day with this!

As for the ad and video itself - it’s clear that they were created by someone who does not have their fingers on the pulse of the community. A lot of moms and dads lead very busy professional and personal lives in this area. That would’ve been a good place to start. I would also look to the Communications Committee to have a better opportunity to review these pieces before they go to publication. Beth Huck commented in RHOLC that the committee was shown the video and voted to approve it but they did not see the ad.


I don’t find the ad to be racist, but as a mother and parent find it very inappropriate.  Mothers already have enough to worry about - especially those that are full time working moms, trying to keep up with multiple kids schedules and all of the other stuff that life brings.  The ad is insinuating that moms are forgetful, can’t keep it together, and are uptight (“don’t get your yoga pants in a knot”).  Ha!  As if I have time for Yoga anyway?!  And what about the dads?  They are perfect? Most of the dads wouldn’t last a day in the mom’s shoes!  I cannot believe in this day and age that nobody questioned this ad before it went out.


PCU should be mandatory viewing for anyone over the age of 18.  I am upset that Arbie does not think I can be upset over people being upset.


Yeah, that’s pretty bad.  Especially the yoga pants in a knot piece.  A little too close to the saying about panties.  As for the people upset over the idea that people are offended by this ad, you may get over yourselves. There are legitimate reasons why this ad comes across wrong to many people.


America: Home of the perpetually offended


OMG…..we offended someone once again.

In our society, someone is always going to be offended by someone or something. 

Just move on and worry about things that do matter.

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