A Californian mother of three, who asserts she was dismissed due to her vocal stance on the education curriculum at her local school board meeting, shared with Fox News Digital that she finds herself unjustly painted with the labels of racism, homophobia, and transphobia by members of her community. These labels have been disseminated through letters sent to her employer and featured in local news sources, creating an atmosphere of stigma around her.
Janet Roberson, speaking during a session of the Benicia Unified School District (BUSD) on April 20, raised concerns about the district’s sexual education program, contending that it imparts “gender confusion, not gender clarity.” Her qualms stem from the curriculum’s suggestion that ten-year-olds can opt for their own gender and access puberty-blocking treatments. She firmly voiced that “teaching vulnerable children that a lifetime tethered to medical intervention is an acceptable path is wholly unacceptable and morally wrong.”
Roberson lamented, “Children are now mandated to identify their pronouns within the framework of the ten-year-old curriculum. This thrusts gender discussions beyond the purview of state mandates and complicates an already burdened classroom atmosphere.”
She continued, “The inclusion of gender identity conversations in math classes is of great concern. This diverts attention from core learning and does no service to our community’s students. Instilling the idea that there are no standards or truths and that any belief is valid, is neither scientifically accurate nor medically sound. For instance, the notion that a girl can merely choose to be a boy, or vice versa, lacks truth and shouldn’t be taught.”
Roberson stressed the importance of personal freedoms but drew a line when it came to children and the educational content disseminated in public schools. She has since constructed a website and accompanying video to convey her narrative, which has garnered traction on various social media platforms.
Describing herself as a mother of children spanning elementary to high school ages, her website states, “On April 20, I addressed a school board assembly to express my reservations regarding the inappropriate sex education curriculum aimed at 10 and 12-year-olds. Subsequently, local bullies initiated a campaign against me.”
In a letter to the Benicia Times-Herald, community member William “Billy” Innes branded Roberson’s speech as a “bigoted rant.” He likened her beliefs, showcased on her website and Facebook page, to a range of prejudices, including racism, homophobia, transphobia, and anti-COVID sentiments, along with inclinations towards Eugenics.
Drawing an unsettling analogy, Innes paralleled her views with those of physicians who operated in concentration camps during World War II. He went so far as to speculate that Roberson’s unapologetic bias could hinder marginalized individuals from acquiring homes, contingent on whether they met her “racial/sexual purity test.”
Innes concluded with a hope that these ideological descendants of Hitler were a limited and narrow-minded minority in the city of Benicia.
Roberson expressed that she hadn’t been contacted by the news outlet but responded to Innes’ letter, clarifying her opposition to: “1) Mandating 10-year-olds to declare their pronouns, 2) Teaching that a boy can be a girl and vice versa, 3) Instructing 10-year-olds about puberty blockers, 4) Delivering lessons on oral and anal sex to 12-year-olds.”
On May 1, a mere ten days after her appearance at the school board meeting, Compass, the real estate agency she was associated with, informed Roberson that her collaboration with them was terminated. The company’s explanation purportedly did not tie her dismissal to her performance but withheld any specific reasons for the decision.
Nathalie Christian, who held the position of treasurer in the Progressive Democrats of Benicia, and who identified herself as a story development coordinator for The Benicia Independent, approached Compass’ Benicia branch with concerns about Roberson’s “conduct” and her use of “inflammatory language” to advance what Christian deemed an “anti-equity, anti-trans, anti-Black, and anti-choice” agenda.
Christian stated, “It strikes me as unfair that Compass, whose diversity, equity, and inclusion policies I’ve scrutinized extensively, would be associated with an individual harboring such animosity.”
Christian concluded in her letter, “The public ought to be informed on how Compass intends to mitigate someone’s internalized aversion towards transgender children and equity-seeking Black Americans (particularly Black children), to guarantee a fair and respectable experience for Compass clients in real estate transactions. This is disconcerting.”
Compass upheld the assertion that Roberson functioned as an independent contractor, not an employee of the agency. In a statement to Fox News Digital, Compass reiterated that the decision to disassociate her license was initiated by her team leader in late April 2023, aligning with Roberson’s status as a contractor.
Roberson conveyed her “utter astonishment” upon reading the statement and found it significantly discordant with her own understanding of the situation.
She pointed out, “Most real estate agents are essentially independent contractors, and most contracts in the real estate sector feature provisions that allow either party to terminate the agreement at any juncture for any reason.” Her local manager informed her that the decision largely emanated from corporate level determinations.
“To witness the corporate entity distancing itself and passing responsibility to the local team is disheartening,” Roberson said. “Evidently, no one at the corporate level stepped forward to advocate for retaining my affiliation. Remarkably, no one there championed my cause, highlighting that a mother speaking at a school board meeting should not face job loss over her statements.”
Kathy Kerridge, the chair of the Progressive Democrats of Benicia, clarified that their organization bore no connection to Roberson’s termination. While acknowledging that one of their members penned a letter under their own name, Kerridge underscored that it didn’t reflect the group’s stance.
She stated, “As an organization, we did not author any letters or contact her employer. The letter sent to the local paper was not composed by a member. A letter directed at her employer was indeed written by a member, but they acted independently. We don’t mandate that our members seek organizational consent prior to exercising their freedom of expression. We also do not wield authority over our members’ activities.”
Kerridge continued, “The Progressive Democrats of Benicia staunchly uphold LGBTQ+ rights. Recently, we hosted a speaker to discuss the ongoing challenges and assaults faced by this community. The content on the resident’s website aligns with the views of the American College of Pediatrics, which has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Our belief is rooted in transparency; the truth is, we played no part in the resident’s dismissal. However, we do wish she refrained from promoting hate groups on her platform.”
Roberson dismissed the statement as disingenuous. “I’m not remotely taken aback that they are now seeking to distance themselves,” she remarked. “It’s unsurprising that the progressive Democrats are endeavoring to absolve themselves from association. Yet, the threads connecting everyone are evident.”
Roberson acknowledged the limitations posed by California’s anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuits against public participation) legislation. This legislation renders her powerless to counteract those who have impugned her professional reputation through political rhetoric.
She remarked, “In the grand scheme, my aspiration is to embolden other parents to raise their voices. Tolerance and inclusivity should encompass hearing divergent