For those of you who have been following the ongoing brawls between school boards attempting to implement the LGBTQ agenda and the parents who are pushing back, this report by Cathy Ruse, a senior fellow for legal studies at the Family Research Council, is a must-read. It lays out precisely what is unfolding across the United States, how parents are trying to fight back, and how little power they actually have. The frustration and in many cases desperation felt by parents who simply want their children to get an ordinary education is palpable. From The Daily Signal, here are a few excerpts:
I live in Fairfax County, Virginia, which has the 10th-largest public school district in the nation, but I never focused on our public schools. My kids go to Catholic schools, and that was the center of our universe. I never focused, that is, until I heard that the Fairfax County School Board voted to let boys into the girls’ bathrooms. The vote was 10-1. Was there only one sane person on the Fairfax County School Board? I had to find out. So I began attending school board meetings.
And there I saw moms and dads begging the school board to stop threatening their child’s privacy and safety in intimate spaces and on the sports field. They pleaded with the board to stop the pornographic reading assignments. They tearfully asked board members to respect their family’s religious beliefs.
These were my neighbors, fighting to stop their school board from playing sex politics with their children. This shouldn’t happen anywhere in America. I resolved that it wasn’t going to happen in my county, on my watch, without a fight.
Fairfax County, just outside Washington, is the second-richest county in America. But most parents here don’t know that every year, beginning in seventh grade, their children will be taught lessons on “transgender theory.”
How did this happen? It started with a vote in 2015 to add “gender identity” to the Fairfax County school system’s nondiscrimination policy.
You can watch the vote on YouTube. Hundreds of parents, filling the room, occasionally shouting, trying to be heard. You can see the board chairman gavel them down and threaten to kick them out. You can see Ryan McElveen, the sponsor, scolding them, telling them they’re on the wrong side of history.
And you can see board member Elizabeth Schultz, the bravest woman I know, raise her hand alone and vote “no.”
Trans Pressure Groups Target Public Schools
All across the country, pressure groups are getting transgender mandates into public schools by targeting their nondiscrimination policies. Well-funded national groups such as the Human Rights Campaign, the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, Gender Spectrum, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Advocates for Youth.
They claim students are being harassed and demand that the only way to make schools “safe” is to adopt the total transgender agenda:
- Open all private spaces to the opposite sex.
- Let boys compete as girls in sports.
- Cancel free speech by forcing the use of false pronouns.
- Teach children that some people are born in the wrong body.
The Fairfax County School Board rushed the transgender policy to a vote with no hearings, no impact study, no public engagement.
They claimed that trans-identified kids were being bullied, and that the nondiscrimination policy must be changed right away.
A Freedom of Information Act request revealed there were no reports of harassment of trans-identified students. Not a single one.
No one wants to see a child in distress, especially a child suffering from sex confusion. But solutions such as dedicating private bathrooms or strengthening anti-bullying policies were shut down.
Because it’s not about bathrooms. It’s not about bullying. It’s about forcing all children and families to change their behaviors, their speech, and ultimately their beliefs to conform to the new government-mandated social orthodoxy.
It’s about power and politics.
…Fairfax County public schools don’t use the term sex education, or sex ed, anymore. They call it “Family Life.” And beginning last year, they stopped using the terms “male” or “female” in the context of biological sex. Last spring, the school board voted 10-2 to remove the concept of biological sex and replace it with the term “sex assigned at birth.”
“Sex assigned at birth” is a term pushed by trans pressure groups to support their agenda. You’re not born male or female, someone assigns a sex to you. You can change it later. But students aren’t given any information about the possible health risks and permanent effects involved in hormonal and surgical sex transition. The school board’s curriculum drafters voted 12 times to exclude that information.
The transgender lobby group Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, celebrated the change. The group told The Washington Post that Northern Virginia public schools are used as “laboratories” for their transgender policies. What does that make students in the school system? It makes them lab rats.
Another new sex ed lesson voted in by the Fairfax County School Board last year involves a daily sex pill known as PrEP. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is designed for a particular high-risk population: gay men with multiple sex partners of unknown HIV status. It’s a controversial drug even in the gay community. Even with a 10% failure rate, it lowers the risk of infection enough to encourage some to abandon the use of condoms. Michael Weinstein, founder and director of the AIDs Healthcare Foundation, said PrEP “will cause a ‘public health catastrophe’ by triggering a dangerous increase in risky sex.” And yet the school board voted 10-2 to promote it to students every year, beginning in ninth grade. Even when the drug was not approved by the FDA for their use.
80 Automatic Hours of Sex Ed
The Fairfax County School Board automatically enrolls every child in 80 hours of sex ed without their parents’ permission. Think of the mischief that can be done in 80 hours. Think of all of the real education that’s not being done in those hours.
Here are some examples:
- Sixth-grade lessons talk of “sexual partners.”
- Seventh-graders get a lesson with 11 references to “oral sex.”
- Beginning in seventh grade, students are taught their sex was assigned at birth and about transgenderism as a healthy sexual identity (a lesson repeated each year).
- Eighth-graders get a lesson with 22 references to “anal sex” and 20 references to “oral sex.”
- Check out this fake abstinence message for eighth-graders: What are the benefits of abstaining from sexual activity “until in a faithful, monogamous relationship?”
- 10th-graders get lessons promoting abortion and getting an abortion without telling their parents.
- In another anti-abstinence message, for 10th-graders, students are asked to consider abstaining from sexual activity “until in a mutually monogamous relationship.”
- By 11th grade, it’s about choice: “individuals who choose to be sexually active.”
- 12th-graders are told that whether “to be sexually active is a very personal decision.”
Opting Out Isn’t Easy for Parents
What may come as a surprise is that none of this is required by law. No federal or state law requires Virginia schools to amend their nondiscrimination policies to include transgender identity. The Fairfax County School Board did it because they wanted to. And because they could. Neither is sex education required. The commonwealth of Virginia leaves to each school district whether to teach it.
If a school district does decide to teach sex ed, the commonwealth gives broad guidelines that should be followed, including teaching abstinence before marriage. But the guidelines are a floor, not a ceiling. Even if Fairfax County can be said to meet the basic guidelines, they’ve gone far, far beyond them. In Fairfax County, opting your child out of sex ed is not obvious or easy. This is because of the sheer volume of material and because of the limited, sometimes deceptive lesson descriptions offered to parents—beginning with the name of the program itself.
How many parents really understand that declining to opt out of “Family Life” means that their children will get transgender sexuality lessons every year? How many immigrant families–who provide 50% of the school population–learn what their kids are being taught in time to opt them out? Even parents who discover the dangers of Fairfax-style sex ed in time to opt out their kids will find that their child is still getting sex-related lessons. For several years the school board has been shifting lessons out of “Family Life” into other classes such as health or history. This may defeat the “opt out” given to parents by the school board. But it certainly doesn’t defeat the fundamental constitutional right that parents have to direct the education of their children.