By Mike De Felice
Special to Kitsap Daily News
PORT ORCHARD – Most 13-year-olds are focused on learning dance moves on TikTok, binge-watching the latest Netflix series or glued to their smartphones messaging friends.
But Bremerton Fairview middle schooler KellyAnna Brooking dynamites that stereotype.
The eighth-grader is an outspoken conservative concerned about the movement to defund the police and critical race theory (CRT) being taught in schools. The young teenager admits she stands out in what she describes as “a super liberal” community and school.
Brooking has shared her views on national conservative TV programs. She has also rubbed elbows at conservative events with former president Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren. Appearances on far-right television have helped rocket the number of followers on her Instagram page to 10,000.
“My classmates are not political. I don’t think it’s a thing most 13-year-olds care about. Middle schoolers usually are about after-school activities and sports, which is also great,” Brooking said.
“I don’t bring up politics unless someone asks me,” noted the 4.0 GPA student, who has been a cheerleader and enjoys playing soccer.
CHOP/CHAZ led to politics
In June 2020, six blocks of Seattle’s Capitol Hill area were occupied by protesters, which led to the closure of Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct. The area — known as CHOP and later CHAZ — was referred to as the Autonomous Zone. CHOP made quite an impact and ignited her interest in politics.
“I really enjoyed going to Seattle. Me and my family would go there all of the time. Then it started getting so crazy and political. I didn’t feel safe going down there,” she recalled.
She was upset that CHOP protesters had demanded that funding of the Seattle Police Department be cut in half.
“Defunding the police is never a good idea. We need police. They protect us from so many things. It’s just crazy that people want to take their resources and money away so they can’t protect us.”
She was also troubled by violence done by some demonstrators in the Autonomous Zone.
“I don’t think it’s okay to be a hypocrite. If you are saying you want to be peaceful and happy, and then you go rioting, stealing and destroying buildings and being so negative, [then] saying it’s okay because it’s love — it’s not okay,” she said.
Another issue that makes her bristle is the move “by liberals” to teach critical race theory in schools. She believes teaching CRT actually promotes racism.
Critical race theorists say that law and legal institutions in the United States are inherently racist and create social, economic and political inequalities between whites and non-whites, especially African Americans, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
Brooking said, “Critical race theory is the idea that America is built on racism and racism is everywhere. If you are Black person, you are a victim. If you are a white person, you have white supremacy. And I just think that’s not fair because kids don’t think that way. We don’t care about skin color or what someone looks like. We are just friends with someone if they have a good personality.
“I feel that teaching [CRT] to elementary schoolers and even high schoolers or college students, that’s just crazy because nobody thinks that way. That’s what teachers, the media and leaders are trying to tell us. I just don’t think that’s fair at all.”
Her school does not teach critical race theory, according to Brooking. However, she said that her dad learned from school officials that CRT-related material will be taught during the upcoming school year. Should the topic become part of the curriculum, she intends to voice her opposition.
Brooking believes most teachers and the school administration at Fairview are liberal.
“The school leans more left because at school we have gay pride flags everywhere and Black Lives Matter signs and stuff and they don’t get in trouble with the teacher’s union. But I have a feeling if a teacher were to have a Trump flag up or something like that, they would have consequences. I just don’t think that is fair.”
The Brooking family lives in East Bremerton. Her dad, Adrian, works as a recruiter for a health care company in Seattle. He is a self-described conservative, Trump supporter and backer of the America First movement. Her stepmom, an office manager with a landscaping company in Silverdale, is also a conservative. Meanwhile, her 11-year-old stepbrother could care less about politics and is mostly concerned about video games and baseball.
Brooking has become something of a media darling of conservative media outlets since delving into politics last year. She has appeared several times on a number of far-right national media outlets — One America News network and Newsmax, both of which have been promoted by Trump — largely talking about what it is like to be a young conservative. She has yet to appear on Fox News, “but I would really love to. That would be so amazing.”
She has flown to Texas and Florida with her father to attend events sponsored by Turning Point USA, a nonprofit organization that advocates for conservative values. In June, Brooking met McEnany and Lahren in Dallas at TPUSA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit.
Brooking has an interview show on her Instagram page, “A Few Words,” where she interviews conservatives. Among those she has interviewed is Fox News commentator Lahren.
Being outspoken about conservatism has not always endeared her to classmates.
“Some students are definitely not very happy with me. I’ve had hate pages made about me on Instagram,” she said. Kids posted screenshots of her political work and made fun of her, she explained.
“If I see one, I just block it. I just don’t like to see that type of negativity.”
“People only have the confidence to be mean to me on social media. Usually, the people who are really negative on social media don’t have the confidence to address me in person.”
On one occasion, however, some older students walked up to her when she was wearing a Trump MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat. They attempted to grab the hat, but she was able to walk away.
None of her teachers have reacted negatively to Brooking’s conservative stands but she fears that may happen. She has heard about conservative students in high school and college being given lower grades for their political views. “I am concerned about that,” she admitted.
The unabashed conservative hasn’t decided whether she will one day run for political office. “I still have a long time to figure that out,” she pointed out.