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3 Reasons Parents Are Absolutely Right To Demand Informed Consent To What Schools Do To Their Kids


REPORTED BY: EMILIE KAO | MARCH 10, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/10/3-reasons-parents-are-absolutely-right-to-demand-informed-consent-to-what-schools-do-to-their-kids/

kids

A parent can look at the label on a juice box to decide what ingredients to allow into her child’s body. He should also be able to decide what ingredients a teacher puts into his child’s mind, but that isn’t the case in a growing number of public schools.

When Covid-19 brought the classroom into the kitchen, parents’ eyes were opened to some unsettling revelations, including that their children are being indoctrinated into critical race theory, and that some schools are secretly treating girls as boys and vice-versa.

Food labeling helps parents make informed decisions about what their children eat. In the same way, transparency helps parents make informed decisions about what their children learn. Yet some schools are resisting calls for transparency. Corporate media and teachers’ unions have inaccurately disparaged parents, but these critics are wrong. Here are three reasons why.

1. Children belong to their parents, not to the ‘community’ or the state.

Former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry infamously called on her viewers to “break through our kind of private idea that ‘kids belong to their parents,’. . . and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.” Her pitch was strikingly similar to that of Terry McAuliffe, former Virginia governor and chair of the Democratic National Committee, who said parents shouldn’t be telling schools what to teach.

This view of parental rights is at odds with parents’ fundamental right to direct the education and upbringing of their children. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized this in 1925 in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, stating, “The child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

As Professor Melissa Moschella writes, parental rights stem from the uniquely intimate relationship between parents and children. Children belong to their families, which are headed by their parents. Therefore, parents have the most direct obligation and authority to care for children until they are mature enough to direct their own lives. Until then, parents mediate a child’s relationship to the larger political community.

The failure to recognize that the family is distinct and relatively independent from the political community, and that parental rights are pre-political and natural rights, is not just wrong, but dangerous. Moschella notes Hannah Arendt’s observation that eliminating the intermediary structures between the individual and the state — namely the family and the church — is the essence of totalitarianism.

2. More schools are crossing the boundary line between education and indoctrination.

If schools just taught the “three Rs” (reading, writing, and arithmetic), parents would not suspect schools were undermining their values, beliefs, and authority. But, as parents in Albemarle County, Virginia, recently learned, some schools are indoctrinating students with so-called “anti-racism” ideology.

Instead of condemning all racism, “anti-racism” replaces one form of racism with another. Following “anti-racist” logic, Albemarle County schools used race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity to label students as “dominate” or “subordinate.”

Parents from five families of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds challenged the policy. The school undermined what these parents believe and teach their children — that all people are created equal and should be treated as such. The school even threatened to punish students for not supporting the policy.

Yet, as Judge James C. Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit wrote in Oliver v. Arnold, “Schools should educate—not indoctrinate. Teachers can teach. And teachers can test. But teachers cannot require students to endorse a particular political viewpoint.”

Parental rights don’t end at the schoolhouse gate. Parents must be able to protect their children from policies that place burdens and privileges on them according to their immutable characteristics.

3. Backed by the Biden administration, schools are even engaging in unauthorized treatment of students’ mental health.

The U.S. Department of Education has promoted “gender support plans.” An official fact sheet instructs schools to maintain “confidentiality” for students who identify as transgender at school by not using the student’s birth name or “sex assigned at birth if the student wishes to keep this information private.” But there is no mention of notifying, much less involving, parents in such a consequential decision to adopt a new name and pronouns that correspond to the opposite sex.

The agency tells schools to support a student’s gender transition by using “a checklist of issues to discuss with the student or their family” (emphasis added). Without an explicit requirement that schools inform and obtain parental consent to treat the child as a member of the opposite sex, it is reasonable to assume that notification to parents is optional. The schools may also perceive parental notification as a matter that depends on whether the child views their parents as “affirming” of gender transition.

Schools’ use of “gender support plans,” like those recommended by the Biden administration, have shocked parents around the country. After learning that schools sought to hide their children’s emotional distress from them, they challenged these policies in WisconsinFlorida, and California courts.

Alliance Defending Freedom recently informed Virginia’s Harrisonburg City School District that its policy of using different names and pronouns amounts to “a psychosocial treatment that will increase the odds of long-term persistence,” according to Dr. Kenneth Zucker, an expert in treating gender dysphoria in children. Up to 90 percent of children with gender dysphoria eventually become comfortable with their bodies if they aren’t encouraged to live as the opposite sex. Schools should not endanger students by hiding information from parents about their mental health or engage in unauthorized treatment of gender dysphoria.

Lockdowns allowed many parents to see the ingredients inside their children’s education. That prompted them to support laws that provide more transparency into curriculum and policies. Parents should be able to decide on the education that best suits their child and their family’s beliefs.

Too many schools are hiding crucial information. They must be held accountable through policies that require transparency, so parents won’t receive more nasty surprises.


Emilie Kao is senior counsel and vice president of advocacy strategy with Alliance Defending Freedom.

Wisconsin School District: Parents Are Not ‘Entitled to Know’ If Their Kids Are Trans


REPORTED BY: M.D. KITTLE | MARCH 08, 2022

Read more at https://thefederalist.com/2022/03/08/wisconsin-school-district-parents-are-not-entitled-to-know-if-their-kids-are-trans/

Eau Claire, Wisconsin street

Madison, Wis. — Parents are “not entitled” to know their kids’ gender identity, according to a recent training session in Wisconsin’s Eau Claire Area School District.

Empower Wisconsin obtained a copy of a training slide from a late February staff development session. The 2021-22 Equity session on Safe Spaces reminds teachers that “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities. That knowledge must be earned.”

“Teachers are often straddling this complex situation. In ECASD, our priority is supporting the student,” the professional development facilitator guide states. Teachers were encouraged to “Talk amongst yourselves!”

The lesson — that teachers know better than parents about what is best for their kids — is not sitting well with some community members.

“We are appalled that ECASD would display such blatant disregard for the parents and guardians of our community’s children. We are equally dismayed that current school district leadership would pressure teachers into breaking a social contract that we all know and understand—that parents and guardians hold primary responsibility and decision making for the welfare and care of their children,” said parents and school board candidates Nicole Everson, Corey Cronrath, and Melissa Winter in a joint statement.

The district’s training session is also legally suspect. A district court in 2020 issued a partial injunction against Madison Metropolitan School District’s policy allowing children of any age to transition to a different gender identity at school — without parental consent. The full case is now before the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) and the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed the lawsuit on behalf of a group of parents challenging the gender identity policy “that violates the rights of parents to make important healthcare decisions on their children’s behalf.” The policy includes the following provisions:

  • Children of any age can transition to a different gender identity at school, by changing their name and pronouns, without parental notice or consent.
  • District employees are prohibited from notifying parents, without the child’s consent, that their child has or wants to change gender identity at school, or that their child may be dealing with gender dysphoria.
  • District employees are even instructed to deceive parents by using the child’s legal name and pronouns with family, while using the different name and pronouns adopted by the child in the school setting.

It’s not clear whether the Eau Claire Area School District has a similar policy.

The school board candidates are demanding district administrators issue an apology to teachers for “placing them at odds with families and also to parents and guardians for breaking the trust and partnership that is critical for thriving students and a stellar school district.”

An apology doesn’t appear to be forthcoming. ECASD Superintendent Michael Johnson issued a statement to Empower Wisconsin asserting the district is upholding its responsibility to maintain an educational environment that is “equitable, safe and inclusive for all students.”

“Our staff often find themselves in positions of trust with our students. The staff development presentation shared extensive data and information to assist our staff members in our ongoing efforts to create a safe and supportive learning environment for all students,” Johnson said in the statement. “The ECASD prides itself on being a school district that makes all students feel welcome and safe in our schools.”

The superintendent said the staff training focused on data showing students who identify as non-heterosexual have a higher incidence rate of mental health issues than heterosexual students. But critics say a school’s commitment to “equity and inclusiveness” does not give license to educators to hide important information from parents and guardians.

Cronrath, Everson, and Winter are among seven candidates, including two incumbents, running for three open seats on the school board next month. The three jumped into the race because they were concerned about the eroding of parental rights in the district. They say Eau Claire schools’ “blatant disregard for parental rights and responsibilities” has been creeping into the district’s classrooms. The latest training session sends three very dangerous messages to parents and the wider community, the candidates assert.

1. Schools are in control of children, not parents and families—When you entrust your child into the walls of ECASD, you no longer have the right as a parent to be informed of major developments in your child’s school life. In fact, you must ‘earn it.’

2. Current Leadership is willing to pit teachers against parents—Open communication between the classroom and home has always been critical to healthy school communities and student development. ECASD is putting teachers in a difficult and dishonest position by instructing them to actively withhold information from parents.

3. What goes on in the walls of ECASD is privileged information—By indicating that information about your child is ‘knowledge that must be earned,’ ECASD is setting a dangerous precedent. If identity questions for your child can be hidden from you, is diet, curriculum, healthcare, inappropriate relationships, mental health concerns, etc. also no longer the business of parents? Just what are parents and guardians allowed to know and when?

The Republican-led state legislature passed a Parental Bill of Rights that would prohibit school policies that infringe on a parent’s or guardian’s role as the primary caregiver of their child. Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat and the former state superintendent, is likely to veto the bill.

Eau Claire Area School District has a history of overreach. Last fall, school officials worked with the local health czar in removing a 14-year-old girl from school after someone in her class tested positive for Covid-19. The girl and her mom resisted, accusing authorities of abusing their powers. The county health director then sought a court order to have the girl forcibly removed from school.

Transgender Rights: Judge Warns Girls Have No Right to ‘Visual Bodily Privacy’


Reported by DR. SUSAN BERRY |

In Lebanon, Russia uses softer touch to win influence / AFP JOSEPH EID
 

A federal judge is allowing a lawsuit against transgender facilities in a school district to proceed, but warned the student-plaintiffs that, if the government allows boys who claim to be female to use the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms, then the girls have no right to “visual bodily privacy.”

Judge Jorge Alonso of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division is allowing a lawsuit to proceed against the school district that adopted the Obama-era transgender policy permitting boys claiming to be female to use the girls’ bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms.

However, the judge informed the girls, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), that, “[s]o far, the right not to be seen unclothed by the opposite sex is not on the Supreme Court’s list.”

The judge wrote:

The crux of this suit is that defendants seek to affirm the claimed genders of students by allowing male students who claim female gender to use privacy facilities (i.e., bathrooms and locker rooms) designated for use by the female sex and female students who claim male gender to use privacy facilities designated for the male sex … District 211 adopted the policy solely to affirm the claimed genders of those students claiming a gender different from their sex at birth.

Alonso continued, saying the school district has adopted the policy of allowing all transgender students to use the restrooms, locker rooms, and showers of their choice, while it insists all other students “must use the restrooms and locker rooms designated for their sex.”

“Before adopting the policy, District 211 did not investigate the reliability of the science underlying gender-affirmation treatments,” the judge wrote. “Nor did it make any effort to understand the impacts such a policy would have on students exposed to opposite-sex, same-gendered students in locker rooms and restrooms.”

The judge acknowledged the school district’s enforcement of the transgender policy has caused the students “embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, fear, apprehension, stress, degradation and loss of dignity.”

The students “are at continual risk of encountering (and sometimes do encounter), without their consent, members of the opposite sex while disrobing, showering, urinating, defecating and while changing tampons and feminine napkins,” he added.

Christiana Holcomb, ADF legal counsel, said, “a compassionate approach to protecting students’ privacy” is needed.

“We welcome the court’s decision to allow key claims to move forward,” she added in a statement. “The district officially authorizes opposite-sex use of school privacy facilities, and that violates Title IX. Letting boys into girls’ showers, restrooms, and locker rooms is sexual harassment. Students should be confident that their school will protect their privacy and dignity. So far, this school district has failed to do so.”

Alonso did not allow all the claims of the plaintiffs to move forward. He threw out the students’ argument made in the case that they have the right to “bodily privacy,” saying that right refers to physically being touched by others, “not visual bodily privacy.”

Additionally, the judge dismissed the students’ claim that parents’ right to direct their children’s education applies in this case. Alonso said that right refers only to parents’ choice of type of education or schooling.

As Breitbart News reported in 2016, the district opened its schools’ bathrooms to boys claiming to be female without informing parents. Later, it allowed a boy claiming to be transgender into the girls’ locker room after the Obama administration’s Department of Education threatened the district’s federal funding in the amount of $6 million. Initially, the school district arranged for a private dressing area in the girls’ locker room for the boy, but federal officials complained the arrangement stigmatized the student. Consequently, the district allowed the boy to use the girls’ locker room openly as if he were a biological girl.

The Trump administration has rescinded the Obama administration’s policy and restored Title IX to the understanding that “sex” means biological sex – male or female – rather than perceptions or beliefs about one’s gender.

Since Donald Trump won the 2016 presidential election, former President Barack Obama admitted his unpopular transgender policy helped to defeat Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton.

As the College Fix reported, Tom Petersen, director of community relations for the school district, said, “The District will continue to defend our practices that affirm and support the identity of all our students.”

In a “backgrounder” on the case, ADF wrote, “If our government is powerful enough to command innocent school children to disrobe in the presence of opposite-sex classmates, then there will be little it will not be powerful enough to do.”

“The restroom policy and locker room agreement thus threaten our very liberty to live our lives in accordance with the most basic expectations of common decency, dignity, and privacy in our bodies,” the law firm added.

The case is Students and Parents for Privacy v. School Directors of Township High School District 211, No. 16 C 4945, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division.

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