Impassioned parents turned out for a March 28 meeting to express anger and frustration with the fact that the Mat-Su School District offers graphic sexual books to children without parental notice or consent.

The joint Mat-Su Assembly/School Board meeting included 15 public comments that were critical of controversial materials that promote LGBTQ ideology in area schools. Four people, including one teacher, spoke in support of schools that are willing to introduce and explore controversial gender identity themes with children.

Many of the comments stemmed from a March 23-24 book fair at Teeland Middle School in which educators presented children with the opportunity to purchase controversial LGBTQ-themed books without parental involvement. Others spoke about highly sexualized books that are currently in circulation in many Mat-Su school libraries. The Watchman ran a story about this on March 22, showing that highly graphic sexually-themed books are available in many local school libraries.

Several speakers warned that these books may be a violation of state law against distributing material to minors which depicts sexual penetration, masturbation or exhibition of sexual organs. Others pointed to Alaska Statute, which says a school must provide parent notification “not less than two weeks before any activity, class, or program that includes content involving human reproduction or sexual matters is provided to a child.” The law also emphasizes that parents have a right to “review the content of these activities or programs before they are offered to their child.”

“It’s not a question of whether or not you can do it,” Mat-Su resident Dave Johnson emphasized. “The law says you can’t.”

Todd Smoldon

Todd Smoldon, who serves as the director of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s Mat-Su Valley office, spoke during the public comment period. He said the governor recently introduced his parental rights bill – HB 105 – to address some of the very issues parents were raising.

“What you have seen in this testimony is exactly why the governor introduced HB 105 this legislative session,” he said. “Clearly there is concern by people in the community about what is and is not being presented to their children.”

Smoldon said the governor introduced his bill because “he felt it was really important for parents and schools to have a conversation about what is being taught to their children and to give parents the opportunity to say, ‘Yes, this is something that I want my child to be taught,’ or, ‘No, it’s not.’”

Smoldon added that Dunleavy wants open and honest communication between educators and parents.

“He actually sees it as a unifying conversation because it will create more transparency between parents and their schools, which is really important,” he said.

A few people spoke in favor of the Teeland book fair, while defending schools and educators that promote exploration of LGBTQ sexual identities and orientations.

Tony Petroccia who teaches ROTC at Colony High School dismissed parental concerns surrounding the books.

Colony High School ROTC teacher Tony Petroccia

“There’s not an issue here,” he claimed. “People have a choice to read whatever they want. It’s your choice. No one is foisting anything on these kids.”

He added that children should have the option to “learn and read whatever they want.”

“I don’t know what happened at the Teeland Middle School book fair, but I’m sure it wasn’t a curriculum that was pushed on kids,” he said. “If you don’t want to buy a book, then don’t buy it. I think the community needs to wake up a little bit. The world’s changing, and there’s a lot of change, societally, in this younger generation, and we’ve got to embrace it.”

He asserted that parents who don’t accept LGBTQ sexuality actually contribute to the mental health struggles of teens who are trying to figure out their gender identity.

“So parents, please, I mean help these kids out and help  them embrace their struggle a little bit,” he said. “You know, what I’m hearing, it’s scary as an educator. We’re not telling people to choose a lifestyle, but be informed about what the changes in society are.”

Shortly after Petroccia’s testimony an ROTC student echoed many of his points. It was not clear whether she was one of Petroccia’s students.

“We deserve to choose who we want to be, whatever gender we want to be, and who we can love,” the student said. “I know most kids these days are different. They want to be a different gender or they want to love somebody else who is the same gender or different.”

“It’s my right to decide what my children see and what they read … It’s my responsibility as a parent and I take that very, very seriously.”

Ron Johnson, chair of the Alaska Republican Party’s Region 2, noted that the fundamental issue comes down to protecting and defending parental rights.

“Don’t forget the fact that it’s the parents responsibility and it’s the parents right to educate their children,” he said. “It’s my right to decide what my children see and what they read … It’s my responsibility as a parent and I take that very, very seriously.”

Several school board and assembly members addressed the issue during closing comments.

Borough Assemblywoman Stephanie Nowers was one of several assembly members who did not mention the parental concerns raised about the books, but she did say there was a need to “change the narrative” and focus on the positive work being done in Mat-Su schools. Nowers later told the Watchman that her comments were not intended to be dismissive of parental concerns regarding controversial books, but more to encourage renewed focus on good work being done in area schools.

School Board Member Ole Larson, however, blamed social media for stirring up needless controversy.

“Everybody likes this – and go after each other and yell at each other,” he said, while advising the district to promote positive public relations campaigns in order to “get ahead of social media.”

Assemblyman Morkie Tew also dismissed parental concerns.

“Yes, there was some negative input today at the beginning, and that was kind of hard to sit here and listen to,” he said.

Assemblywoman Dee McKee pushed back against these comments.

“There was a lot of negativity in the beginning but I think it was well deserved,” she said. “These parents are dreadfully worried about their kids and they have to show up to make themselves heard. The stuff that’s in some of the books that I’ve seen – it’s just – I would be afraid to send my child to a public school that would have that stuff on hand. So, I think they need to be listened to. They are very sincere. They’re going to be strong and they’re just going to get stronger, and they should. So, bless them.”

Assemblyman Rob Yundt advised the school board to put together an independent community advisory board that could review books and curriculum and share ideas with the school board.

“To the parents that spoke tonight, I can only imagine how frustrating that must be,” he said. “We know we have a very active parent base out here. That’s a good thing. That’s a good problem to have, and they need to be heard.”


— Click here to contact members of the Mat-Su School Board.

Click here to support Alaska Watchman reporting.

Upset Mat-Su parents adamant that schools remove graphic LGBTQ books

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Ruth Ewig says:

    The parents in the Mat-Su are once again provides a good model for the rest of us in the state. Thank you for your boldness and courage. This push to pervert the children is an attack by the atheists on Christianity. Christians have a moral standard but atheists do not. The atheists are rebelling against Christianity and against a Christian the schools. Our children are the “tools” used in education to change the direction of our country. Evolution is the foundation for this attempt to push immorality on parents’ children. Evolution has been taught to us in the government schools even though the theory has been proven to be false. If you know we were created in God’s image then you know that there are no races. We are all one blood, one race (Acts 17:26). The skin pigments (caucasian, black, etc.) are just that-pigments. Evolution argues that there are races. The fact is that all of us are brown with different pigment variations called melanin. The atheists such as the Obama/Biden “educational transition team has put on America” have invented Critical Race Theory (1619 Project) and white supremacy which is based on evolution and meant to divide us and to stigmatize groups of people. (See Ken Ham’s research quoting Dr. Ambroise Wonkan, a medical geneticist at John Hopkins University, and president of the African Society of Human Genetics : . If you know that we were created then our Creator has given us a standard and moral principles to live by and pass on to our children. Creation through the Scriptures defines the meaning of life, standards, marriage and laws. Evolution, with no god leads to evil practices : abortion, pornography, homosexuality, and lawlessness, The secular education from college on down boldly disregards the boundries of parents and disregard any boundries that should exist.. Keep up the good work, Mat-Su Valley!!!

    • Lucinda says:

      It totally pisses me off that you think morals are the sole domain of Christians. that kind of arrogance is why Christian’s have a history of persecution. Your virtuous arrogance further alienates you from the rest of your community. You make enemies with that arrogance.

      I’m an atheist and have given more to my community than I’ve ever taken.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Lucinda, you sure are starting to get more and more vicious in your comments. I thought that Ruth’s comments were good. She points out that we are all one blood and one race. I think that explains a lot of the rest of her comments. Thank you Ruth for a well thought-out statement!

      • Lobo says:

        Well, now, there you go again, Lucinda.. Showing your lack of “virtue” … Pretending that only Christians have a history of persecution .. You may.. (or maybe not).. find the history Atheism, and Atheistic violence interesting .. “League of Militant Atheists”, who ofttimes took a “violent” position to anyone who refused to accept their messages.. Many look back to the Spanish Inquisition as one of many examples of religion leading to violence.. The deaths were horrific, but if one looks to history, those deaths were “dwarfed” by those committed in the name of “no God”… Perhaps do a little research on “Atheism”, the history of violence, and death embedded therein before lumping all apples into one basket..

      • DaveMaxwell says:

        Just curious about your morals Lucinda!? Please tell me how reliable your morals are? The same yesterday today and forever? Or do they change like wind direction? For planning purposes you do understand that even roads are built to a spec for reliability and safety right? What are the reliability and safety specs you suggest for the morals of a society to operate from???

      • micah6v8 says:

        Based on what I have read of your “morals” it is no wonder that Christians are among the few in the breech and pointing to a brighter future. Your “morals” we can see play out in our society every day recently and it is a catastrophe. We can all pray to good riddance to bad garbage- and soon.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Hey smolden have you decided whether your a man or not? Part of what makes a man is his integrity! Has your conscience spoken to you yet? You lied to me!

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    Thank you for covering this Joel. I do not appreciate Morkie Tew’s comment that it was “negative.” Only in the eyes of those who do not mind grooming or groomers. I appreciate Dee McKee standing with the parents on this issue. Years earlier, parents were being ridiculed for not being involved in their children’s schooling and upbringing and now parents are being told that what their children learn is none of their business. This is outrageous. ROTC teacher Tony Petroccia is in a very concerning position in my mind. His position is allowing him to groom these children before they even get into the military, thus weakening our military even more so. I felt heartache to hear a young lady saying that she felt intimidated, unwelcomed, and judged in that room during the meeting. This was not about her – it was about what is being taught to her and that these kids are being lied to to complete the takeover agenda. The left is poking the bears and the bears are getting angry. The bears are going to protect their cubs.

  • Neil DeWitt says:

    So this to me says the Mat-Su assembly has been corrupted already and only one or two still have some brains left. It’s obvious the Mat-Su school board like Anchorage has gone overboard already. Kids don’t have a chance in this world. Parents are trying yo do the right thing and raise normal children and Mat-Su bourgh and school district is force feeding the kid SMUT. The state constitution was written to cover just this kind of thing. Now the parents have a right to know what teachers are teaching their kids. It’s obvious teachers and the school board are not doing their job and it shows with test scores. Then they have guys enough to ask for $500 million more fir SMUT training. That is wrong. How many sexual predators do we have in the court system or prison? I think these teachers and school board members need to be tried to the full extent of the law. How many kids are being sodomised and now thing it’s ok because what teachers are saying it’s ok? Think about that! Is your kid one? why do you thing Anchorage schools lost do many kids? Parents are against this SMUT being taught/forced down their children’s throats. We have some real problems to look at in our schools. I’m sure glad my kids are all out of this system of Smut training.

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    I could hardly get past Tony Petroccia’s comment about kids should be allowed to read whatever they want. Seriously? Spoken like a man who obviously has not raised kids. Our children need parents, and good teachers, to guide them safely toward adulthood. Throwing adult themes at them as kids before they have the maturity to handle them is irresponsible and dangerous. I read recently a research paper by a social psychologist, concluding that identity issues in general are common among kids as they head into, and through puberty, and post puberty they fade away. The insanity of the gender identity cult, pushing confusion as reality, is evil and destructive and parents should be the ultimate authority in what their kids are ready to read. I would be pulling my kids out of the classroom today after the comments at that meeting, many from the decision makers we have elected.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      What was really sad was that “his” ROTC students were the ones going up to the podium and saying how uncomfortable, unaccepted, and judged the parents in the room made them feel because of all of the adult testimony against the narrative. I think that ROTC “teacher” needs to be removed from his position because he obviously is teaching more about how to be LGBTQ+++ then teaching his ROTC material. I am glad that the video was available for us to watch because it really cemented the issues for me. I feel for the kids because they don’t understand that the parents do not hate them or are judging them. The parents are trying to protect them from the lies and abuse that the kids are already being put through. God help the children please. We need more Mat-Su Parents to join in and help drive this evil out of our community.

  • Lobo says:

    Perhaps a few lawsuits would help resolve the issues. If I am not mistaken.. Alaska Law: addresses this subject as a violation of state law(s)… Also, as per DOJ: Federal law strictly prohibits the distribution of obscene matter to minors. Any transfer or attempt to transfer such material to a minor under the age of 16, including over the Internet, is punishable under federal law. 18 U.S.C. 1470 addresses transfer of obscene materials to minors, and it’s punishments… As per DOJ, Obscenity is not protected under the 1st. amendment. Making the materials available, or viewable to minors is a violation of federal law(s) . I don’t have children attending public schools anymore, therefore, I have no standing, but it seems to me that with all of the current laws on the books, state, and federal, there are plenty of resources for prosecutions… Put them behind bars.

  • Burt says:

    If it’s against the law then make the Police report. It’s the only way to get their attention, a day in court and the possibility of having to register as a sex offender the rest of their life.

  • DoneWithIt says:

    Tony Petroccia needs to be watched and investigated for supporting deviancy and perversion amongst minor children.
    He has succumbed, and it appears, he is actively encouraging and supporting decisions by the youth he is responsible for
    that go against the Bible, common sense, and traditional values.
    when I was growing up – he would be labeled a pervert and a scumbag- and he certainly would not be in charge of the ROTC.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      I agree. I hope that he is not a pedophile also. He sure seemed to be speaking out strongly against the parents wishes to remove the inappropriate books from the schools. He is obviously grooming them to run with the narrative!

    • Lucinda says:

      Ooooo, gestapo Christian brown shirts policing the thoughts of others. Very nazi.

      • Friend of Humanity says:

        Stand down Lucinda. Truth will win in the end.

      • Susan Weir says:

        Spoken like a true socialist, Lucinda! The true brown shirts were the socialists in nazi Germany. Nazi only means the German socialist party. Thought you might like to know that YOU are the brown shirt here. Obviously a ignorant, and moralistic failure as well. Get better.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Great idea Burt try it!

  • Dorothy DeBlauw says:

    Thank you Mat-Su Parents! The law is on your side. Stay informed, involved and expose any thing that harms the children. Your children are under your protection until they are 18.

  • Dorothy DeBlauw says:

    Thank you Mat-Su Parents! The law is on your side. Stay informed, involved and expose any thing that harms the children. Your children are under your protection until they are 18. We are in a war and it is over the children.

  • mhs says:

    It’s really sad the schools are not teaching the children how to be happy and proud of the way they were born. They are not teaching the children to accept themselves but instead are teaching them it is preferable to undergo expensive, dangerous chemical ‘treatments’ and physical mutilation. The people pushing this are the ones causing confusion and unhappiness not the people trying to teach the children to be happy with themselves just they way they are.

    • Lucinda says:

      You underestimate the intelligence and discretion of your children. They will confront sex in all its forms. And they should. Why not let them come to you with questions when they observe goofy stuff like trans? Explain to them differences and your values. Why restrict the freedom of others? Why impose your rigid religious beliefs?

      • Lobo says:

        Interesting that you seem to be lecturing someone else on the proper parenting of their children ..Seems to be the same attitude of the so called public school system.. Instead of teaching math, and English, “let’s teach them how to be public perverts”,.. “but the parents have no right to know what is being pushed upon them”… Take a look at the rankings of Alaskan public schools student grading scores, as compared to the national average, and explain to us why this has, and is happening.. And the average national scores have been lacking as well.

    • Lucinda says:

      School are NOT teaching that it is preferable to undergo those nasty treatments you listed. No teacher anywhere is doing that.

      You do a disservice to your claims by misrepresenting the truth.

      • Lobo says:

        Nice to know that you “seem” to be “policing” the classrooms, and seem to know what is being “PUSHED” upon the children.. BTW, to publish the name(s) of said teachers may result in lawsuits.. That’s why news outlets include the words “alleged”, “suspected”, “reported” in their news feeds.. Even on a thread such as this, you may become liable.

      • Andy says:

        how about you stop shoving LGBT garbage down everyone’s throats?

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Bill 105 written by dunleavy himself or his useless goons sure has given persuasive powers back into the parents hands now hasn’t it!??? The books are already written (gender queer) the curriculum is already being presented, the counselors/advisers are in place, the rotc perversion has already been instilled, the assembly has drank the poison, and now the governor presents a useless tool to do what??? What the hell are we doing? Start over!!! Impeachment for dunleavy now!!!

  • Liz says:

    Thank you for this article. Making us aware of the statements and positions of folks at the meeting empowers us to speak up and get involved. I just wrote a letter to the assembly and the mayor supporting McKee and Yundt for supporting us.

  • Independent Observer says:

    This whole issue is an exercise in reshaping society by changing cultural norms. We need to take a page out of the lefties playbook – publicly protest in mass every time they’re caught doing something that goes against the grain of our parental ethic. Examples: Obama attempted to raise the debt ceiling and the TEA Party protested in mass and forced him to sequester the debt. Recently, Netanyahu wanted to reform Israel’s horrible justice system and 3% of the nation protested and forced a stay. Conservatives in this state need to do similar and start showing up to these things just like the lefties do. The wheel with the loudest squeak gets oiled. I know we’ve all got jobs, but those too will be on the line next if we don’t get ahead of those who are costing us more than we can afford every time they show up, and that goes double for the Spend-o-holic legislators, both state and local. Remember the old adage about how to eat an elephant; One bite at a time. How much elephant remains? As for those Assembly-persons in support of undermining parental authority and grooming our children to become accepting of pedophilia via pornographic indoctrination, your days are numbered. And maybe a craftily worded letter to the Regional Director of the ROTC is in order for the pervy Commo Branch classroom advisor. As for Dee McKee, she fell on the right side of this and we should hold her up because the left will be coming for her. Regarding any “independent community advisory board,” we need to make sure parents occupy seats on such a board or the fox will also run that henhouse. Wake up does not mean aWOKEn!

  • Now We Are Two says:

    I think parents should listen to Dee’ comment: “I would be afraid to send my child to a public school that would have that stuff on hand.” PULL YOUR KIDS. Even if you win this battle, what will they do next that you won’t find out about? Homeschool with another school district to thus ensure the state money allocated to your child does not fund the salaries of a school district that pushes that agenda. Hit them where it hurts: in their wallet.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      The bare minimum is removing from the system! The reality is that the system needs to be burnt down, and begin again

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Looks like dunleavy’s bill was resoundingly rejected as per the testimonies! My question for this halfassed governor is are you beginning to see the light in terms of the middle of the road type leadership vs actually being a true leader? Your bill is a picture of you and your incompetent and ineffective leadership! Will you ever get the point?

    • Kgak100 says:

      I don’t think it was ever met to pass it was just to shore up support because he is doing a terrable job as you point out at being a leader of any kind he has no idea what he is doing he being led by the bit

  • Ceak says:


  • Johnny Furlong says:

    Thank you Alaska Watchman for naming who are the pedophiles and groomers so we can actively work to remove them.

  • KGAK100 says:

    Assemblyman Morkie Tew you are a disgrace to this community and I hope you find the guts to resign I simply am not interested in what other people feel is correct or appropriate to teach my children teach that perverted crap to your own children not mine you are free to damage your own families but you don’t have the sovereign right to cause harm to mine as parents we need to band togather and remove these books oursefs if the cowards on the school board are afraid to stand for the rights of parents I will personally donate money to any one running against schoolboard members that support these books being in schools Assemblyman Morkie Tew if you had any sand in your bags you would resign

  • Kgak100 says:

    100% agreed Tony Petroccia is a pervert and a scumbag and should not be any where near any children not his neighbors children and sure as hell not in or near a school full of children he is a coward and should resign why do people like him feel it is OK to damage children any other time he would be run out of town I am surprised no one has published his address yet so we can start putting pervert signs in his front yard

  • Mary says:

    Lucinda, Morkie, Dunleavy, Murkowski, Sullivan, Peltola, etc. Say what you want but never doubt the Truth teller. God always wins!

    • Lucinda says:

      Whose truth Mary, by which I know you’ll claim your Christian mythology is the truth. Could be different than you expect. I am deeply insulted that you lump me in with dunleavey and sullivan. But maybe that is evidence of your political myopia. There is you and then there are others.

  • Lucinda says:

    DaveMaxell, up the thread you asked me about my morals. Made me think. I’ve never analyzed or defined or listed my morals. Seems more of a social and environmental operating system for me. Not sure these two statements are morals, but: I give way more than I take and the golden rule. Pretty good way to live I think. Didn’t need the Ten Commandments or any other religious teaching to arrive at a life generously and peacefully well lived.

  • Shelia says:

    So where was the support needed by the Governor during the public comment time for HB105? The ADN reported “overwhelming” opposition to the bill. Conservatives, support the governor and don’t sit this one out. The kids deserve a chance for an innocent childhood. Let the kids learn by playing sports together, not studying sex together.

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      Between Shelia and Lucinda, I’m perplexed as to who agitates me more!!!? Shelia you win the prize for being the most naive of the group! Believe me it pains me to try to inform you of this! Bill 105 is completely unnecessary as myself as a parent of 4 children do not need governor dunleavy to give me what is already mine!!! My God given rights to raise my children according to my convictions!!! What dunleavy should be doing is telling his AG to prosecute the people in the school system for exposing children to hardcore pornography!!! Is dunleavy stupid, naive of the existing law, or simply afraid of the crime syndicate known as public education? Remember this dunce was an educator himself! I with thousand of others did not call in to “support “ this idiot because he’s not a conservative or for that matter doesn’t give a crap about these kids!!! The parents actually do and that I believe should help bring you Shelia up to speed on the issues!!!