For an alternate viewpoint, see “Counterpoint: There are Many Gender Identities; When Should We Share That Knowledge With Children?”
What do 9-year-olds need to know about sexual activity or gender fluidity? For most parents, the answer is, “Whatever I choose to tell them at home.”
But for millions of parents, that’s not an option. Their school districts are ignoring their wishes and engaging in conversations about these sensitive and intimate issues — often without the knowledge or consent of parents.
In response, states like Arizona and Florida have passed “Parents Bill of Rights” laws, returning the power over their children’s educations to their parents.
“Gender ideology poses new threats to children’s minds and bodies, as well as to their family relationships,” said Emily Kao of the Heritage Foundation. And polls show that, even with opponents falsely labeling the legislation the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, Floridians overwhelmingly supported its basic tenets.
Advocates for sex and gender content in elementary schools argue these discussions are necessary to help students feel safe and heard. But what about parents? Shouldn’t they feel safe and heard too? Many parents are expressing extreme discomfort with the tone and content of these classroom discussions. Yet, they are dismissed as bigoted and narrow-minded when they share that discomfort.
It isn’t bigotry to demand sensitive and controversial topics be reserved for the home. Teachers are tasked with teaching, not psychological analysis. In fact, one might consider it bigotry toward parents to silence them when they have concerns about their children and what they’re learning. Parents are not obstacles. Some parents may be more or less helpful than others Still, it is the height of arrogance for a public school employee to judge what any parent should or should not be allowed to know about their child’s school day.
These aren’t just discussions about the benignly labeled “gender identity.” That term means something, and digging into it reveals necessarily explicit conversation has to happen to open up the topic.
What kind of conversation are you having when you’re discussing gender and sexual identity? Sexual identity involves physical attraction and romantic love.
What kind of conversation are you having when you’re discussing gender identity? You are necessarily discussing reproductive organs, their function and what part they do or don’t play in your gender identity.
Most sane adults would not prefer any acquaintance, professional or otherwise, talking to their children about such private and mature issues.
Why, then, do we give school administrators this authority over our own children?
Yes, we charge them with educating our children, and that’s a special job. However, we pay them to provide a service. We appreciate what they do, but they are not the people we look to for guidance on how to raise our children or what is appropriate for their eyes and ears.
Some parents choose to give their children smartphones. Others do not. No teacher has any business having any input on the matter for any given child. Whether or not a child has a smartphone is exclusively up to the parent. There is nary a person out there who would disagree.
What would happen to an elementary schoolteacher who decided his students all needed smartphones and open internet access, regardless of their parents’ wishes and started handing out iPhones? Wouldn’t they be fired, or at the least, reprimanded?
How is deciding a 10-year-old should be talking about whether he really is or isn’t a boy any different? Isn’t it worse?
But when parents speak out, we are often branded as utterly useless or moral fascists simply because we want a say in who can talk to their children about sex and gender.
At the very least, the education system owes it to parents to defer to their judgment on any sensitive issues regarding their children. It is all well and good to endeavor to set up a “safe space” for kids to discuss their sexuality, but those spaces don’t belong in a classroom setting. It is better to err on the side of caution regarding children. We can set up extracurricular clubs or side activities to help with at-risk kids.
The classroom is for learning facts and figures, not therapy.