Teacher Leave Those Kids Alone
Elementary school students like these would be protected against gender ideology indoctrination in schools in Florida by the proposed Parental Rights in Education bill before the Florida Legislature. Children are being targeted with sexual content—not just in social media, but also in school curriculums. As with other recent controversies, however, leaders in Florida are fighting back. Lawmakers in the Sunshine State have introduced a new bill, Parental Rights in Education. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, that may be because big media have mislabeled it as the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. The bill would not ban the word “gay.” Rather, it would protect children from teachers and other school officials who seek to sexualize and bombard themwith gender ideology. In particular, it would require schools to be transparent with and get permission from parents for any health services students receive. It would also prohibit elementary school teachers from pushing classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity. Want to keep up with the 24/7 news cycle? Want to know the most important stories of the day for conservatives? Need news you can trust? Subscribe to The Daily Signal’s email newsletter. Learn more >> Liberal activists are claiming that the parental rights bill would harm kids. Nonsense. It would protect young kids from what is, in effect, sexual grooming—whether in the classroom or the nurse’s office. The fact that this has become a partisan issue is a sign of how bizarre our culture and politics have become. In recent years, sexually explicit and age-inappropriate material have flooded America’s classrooms. For example, last year in Washington state, a first-grade teacher read students “I Am Jazz”—an infamous children’s book that promotes transgenderism. Sexually Explicit Content Harms Kids Anyone with common sense knows that we should protect young children from sexual content. Scientific evidence confirms that wisdom. We know that early exposure to sexual content can harm young students. It has been linked to poor “mental health, life satisfaction, sexual behavior and attitudes, and pornography-viewing patterns in adulthood.” Decent schools used to know that kids need visual and intellectual space to flourish and mature into healthy, balanced adults. Unfortunately, times have changed. Schools are now often a pipeline for sexualizing kids as young as kindergarten. The fact that activist-educators do this in the name of “compassion” or “gender equity” doesn’t change what’s really happening. Bad Medicine What’s more, the fashionable gender ideology peddled by many schools is contrary to the best medical evidence. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 88% to 98% of those struggling with gender dysphoria will reconcile with their biological sex after going through puberty. Trendy gender interventions can prevent this healing and set children of a lifelong path of surgeries, hormone treatments, costly and painful medical treatment, and physical illness. That’s the problem with all three stages of the transition trifecta—puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgery. But even prior social transition can lead to harm. If a girl spends her teen years presenting and imagining herself as a boy, she will be more likely to take the next steps on the path to gender “transition.” She won’t get those years back, even if she changes her mind. She will be out of sync with her peers. Then there’s the physical harm. Puberty blockers have been shown to reduce bone density, which can lead to lifelong problems. Cross-sex hormones can sterilize those who receive them. And removing sex organs is just sterilization—full stop. Parents have the most interest and incentive to weigh the options, the risks, and the irreversible, life-altering consequences of these methods. A healthy culture recognizes that parents—not teachers and school nurses—have the chief responsibility for helping their children who struggle with their sexed bodies. Transparency Of course, there’s honest debate about what is age-appropriate and about what is the best treatment for those with gender dysphoria. So, in short, who should decide: teachers, administrators, or parents? The Florida bill sides with parents—as it should. That’s why much of it is about transparency for parents. Parents can then decide when, if, and how their kids will be exposed to sexually explicit content and referred for therapy and medical treatment. In a normal world, a law mandating transparency wouldn’t be needed. Teachers would share the values and priorities of the parents in their communities. Today, however, many public schools treat parents as hostile and reactionary impediments to gender indoctrination. Those schools aid and abet in the “social transition” of kids who request it—using and enforcing “preferred pronouns” and the like—while hiding it from parents. Parents in Wisconsin and Florida are currently suing their school districts for doing just that. Such deception strikes at the natural bond between parents and their children. Moms and dads, not teachers and principals, know their children best. Moms and dad have the right and responsibility to raise their children. They may delegate some of the details to schools, but that does not mean they give up their prerogatives. The new Florida bill recognizes the well-being of children and the right of their parents to raise and teach them. Other states should ignore the liberal media trolls and follow Florida’s lead.