The parents of two victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre issued a statement Thursday condemning the House Republican leadership's appointment of Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene—who endorsed the appalling lie that the 2012 mass shooting was "staged"—to the Education and Labor Committee, calling the move an attack on those who have lost family members to school shootings.
"Having a Sandy Hook and Parkland denier on the House Education and Labor Committee is an attack on any and every family whose loved ones were murdered in mass shootings that have now become fodder for hoaxers," said Mark Barden, father of Daniel Barden, and Nicole Hockley, mother of Dylan Hockley.
Barden and Hockley went on to praise "people like Rep. Jahana Hayes who understand that hateful conspiracy theories and suggestions that our children's violent deaths never happened have no place in our society, much less the United States Congress."
On Thursday, Hayes (D-Conn.)—who represents Newtown, Connecticut, the home of Sandy Hook Elementary—began circulating a letter demanding that the House Republican leadership reverse its elevation of Greene to a seat on the education panel, a decision that the Democratic chairman of the committee denounced in a rare rebuke of a minority party appointment.
I'm so sorry to my Sandy Hook families, my constituents & my colleagues in education that have to experience this all over again. My House colleagues agree that this dangerous rhetoric should not be accepted. Thank you for supporting my call to not seat her on @EdLaborCmte.
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— Jahana Hayes (@RepJahanaHayes) January 28, 2021
"Giving Representative Greene the platform to spread dangerous dogma only rewards and normalizes this abhorrent behavior, places already vulnerable groups in danger, and further traumatizes survivors," the letter reads. "As leaders of this country, this body, and Republicans in Congress, we call on you to denounce the deplorable actions, statements, and pattern of behavior Representative Greene has demonstrated and underscore that such appalling behavior is unacceptable in the United States House of Representatives and the country as a whole."
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), a member of the Education Committee, was among the lawmakers who quickly backed Hayes' letter and demanded that Greene be stripped of the committee assignment.
"Conspiracy theorists who deny that deadly school shootings ever happened do not belong on the Education and Labor Committee," said Takano.