North Carolina’s education system was in the spotlight at a Moms for Liberty townhall event in Raleigh on Wednesday evening, where panelists expressed concerns over student proficiency levels and disciplinary barricades. 

Over a third of North Carolina’s $30 billion state budget is spent on education, but it’s still not enough to keep teachers around. The conservative group’s co-founder, Tiffany Judge, moderated the event and said that discipline and violence issues are the number one reason why teachers continue to exit the profession in North Carolina.

Panelists discussed the 38% increase in acts of crime and violence at school as compared to before the Covid-19 pandemic. Brooke Weiss, Chair of Moms for Liberty Mecklenburg County, said she left teaching after a student threatened her for an entire year and eventually attacked her partner teacher. 

“Children need consequences. Restorative justice has been an utter failure. You can’t just send a kid to an office to talk it out and send them back to class with a lollipop, which is what happens,” Weiss said. “Children need to be told no, and they need to face consequences for their behavior, or they do not learn. We are seeing out in society now what happens when kids don’t learn.”

Annette Albright spoke of an experience in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District, where she wanted to reach kids earlier on than her prior job in the prison system. One day, she instructed a group of students to get to class, prompting one student to slap her. She pushed back at the girl, and the group of eight teenagers went at her. 

“They all just started attacking me. I still did not get help until a student opened the door and said, ‘help, they’re jumping Ms. Albright.’ I had a concussion. I had scratches. I had bruises, so many bruises through my head.”

Speaker Kenny Xu said that the $10 billion in education funding rewards administrative staff and top officials like superintendents rather than the teachers working directly in the classroom. Xu highlighted the student from Davidson County, North Carolina, who was suspended last week for using the term ‘illegal alien,’ as the Carolina Journal previously reported

“In my research, what I found is that money is increasingly and increasingly going to administration. It’s to the point where teachers feel like if they want to move up in the world, if they want to get paid more, they have to go into administration. And that’s pretty sad,” said Xu.

Rep. Julie von Haefen, D-Wake, attended the conservative group’s event and said on X that she was there to “learn about what this group has planned to attack our education system.” Also in attendance was the Republican candidate for state superintendent Michele Morrow. 

As the evening concluded, protestors made a scene and were escorted out by police. 

Other issues addressed were the infiltration of critical race theory and gender ideology in schools and the financial burden of accommodating undocumented immigrant children. They also questioned the motives of organizations and individuals getting involved in schools, including nonprofits and unions, and highlighted inappropriate materials found in school libraries.