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Grapevine

Author: NBC News

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In August 2022, at a packed school board meeting in Grapevine, Texas, a mom approaches the microphone and describes the exact nightmare that Republican politicians have been warning about. She accuses a teacher of convincing her child to change genders. As a result, she says, “I lost my son.” But when NBC News reporters Mike Hixenbaugh and Antonia Hylton look into this mother’s allegations, they find a different story: of a transgender child desperately wanting to be heard, a mother determined to put God first — and an English teacher caught in the middle. And they discover this isn’t just a story about one broken family. It’s also a story about a fringe religious movement wielding newfound power and the revival of a long-simmering quest by evangelicals to remake American education based on their version of biblical values. From NBC News Studios and the team behind the Peabody Award-winning series Southlake, Grapevine is a podcast about faith and power — and what it means to protect children — in an American suburb.
7 Episodes
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Introducing: Grapevine

Introducing: Grapevine

2023-09-2603:192

Two years after conservative activists turned critical race theory into a right-wing rallying cry, the political fight has shifted. The team behind the Peabody Award-winning podcast Southlake tells the story of one family broken apart in the midst of a new anti-LGBTQ culture war, and the high school English teacher caught in the middle.
A mother named Sharla publicly accuses a high school teacher in Grapevine, Texas, of using a graphic novel called “The Prince and the Dressmaker” to convince her child to change genders. Reporters Mike Hixenbaugh and Antonia Hylton set out to investigate the allegation. Sharla’s child, Ren, and Ren’s English teacher, Em Ramser, tell them a different story.
The Seven Mountains

The Seven Mountains

2023-10-0446:083

Conservatives are gaining power in Grapevine, fueled by a once-fringe movement that calls on evangelicals to control the seven key “mountains” of American society — including education. A cellphone company with a Christian nationalist agenda heeds that call and sets its sights on winning school board seats in Grapevine, following an example set a year earlier in the neighboring city of Southlake.CORRECTION (Oct. 4, 2023, 08:40 p.m. ET): A previous version of this episode misstated the amount of money Patriot Mobile Action spent in school board elections in North Texas in spring 2022. It was nearly $500,000, not $600,000.
A Harvest Is Coming

A Harvest Is Coming

2023-10-1149:272

Amid a growing anti-trans backlash, Ren devises a plan to get out of Texas — and away from her mother. In Grapevine, Sharla’s claim that teacher Em Ramser “infected” her child with lies about gender triggers online attacks, leading Ramser to consider leaving the profession.
A Raging Fire

A Raging Fire

2023-10-1345:032

Weston Brown, 28, sees a video of his homeschooling mother calling for dozens of books on sexuality and gender to be banned from public schools in another Texas school district. To counter her political activism, Weston publicly shares his story of growing up gay in a fundamentalist Christian family. Feeling pressured by parents and school officials, Em Ramser removes LGBTQ symbols from her classroom and no longer recognizes the teacher she’s become.
Open The Floodgates

Open The Floodgates

2023-10-1846:374

Evangelical activists open a new front in their campaign to impose their version of biblical morality in public schools — at the Texas statehouse. While legislators debate bills requiring the Ten Commandments and banning mention of gender identity in classrooms, three nonbinary students share the trauma they’ve endured at Grapevine High. Meanwhile, a coalition of progressive parents and disillusioned conservatives pledge to retake control of their school system.
A Final Lesson

A Final Lesson

2023-10-2051:074

Grapevine goes to the polls in a contentious school board election driven by the fight over the role of religion and LGBTQ inclusion in public schools. As the dust settles, Ren reflects on the impact of her mother’s allegations. And, after months of feeling as if she’s had to erase herself, Em Ramser reclaims her voice.
Comments (4)

Justin Gizinski

More of an Op Ed than an objective piece of journalism.

Oct 28th
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Staci BAMS

Live and let live. Come on people!

Oct 20th
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Mark Saltiel

Do they not realise the 10 commandments are not Christian. They are in the Old Testament. These people need to be stopped. It's horrific.

Oct 18th
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J. B.

this is an absolutely amazing series that dives deep into the 7 Mountains decoration and proves how we are starting to see the rise of Christian Sharia Law and the distortion of American patriotism, bastardization of American traditions, and the hateful conversion of America symbols.

Oct 4th
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