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Push for Radical Gender Policies in K-12 Education a Top-Down Effort, Mastriano Says

Parents in several Delaware Valley school districts have complained about their children being exposed to a “woke” gender agenda and explicitly sexual books and materials in their classrooms.

Now critics are pointing to materials from the state Department of Education under Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf that appear to make it look like a top-down effort.

For example, the DOE website lists genders as “ne, ve, ze/zie and xe,” as well as “he/him, she/her” that they label “traditional.”

State Sen. Doug Mastriano, the Republican candidate for governor, called out the Wolf administration and is touting bills he’s introduced to empower parents and end these programs.

“Once again, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration skirts the legislative process to implement a far-left agenda behind the backs of the 13 million Pennsylvanians,” Mastriano said in a statement. “These guidelines encourage school districts to proselytize radical ideas about gender identity to children in all grades, all under the guise of school safety.

“The department touts the left’s twisted vernacular as objective fact, while the governor’s Democratic allies demonize parents as too bigoted to teach their own children about these sensitive topics,” Mastriano said. “We can teach kids to be tolerant, accepting, and kind to others – no matter what – without indoctrinating an entire generation.”

Mastriano said he stands behind several Senate-led bills to prioritize and empower parental involvement in our public education system, alert families about explicit material available in school libraries and limit formal conversations about gender identity and sexual orientation to middle and high school curriculum only.

He also introduced legislation earlier this year to establish a Parental Bill of Rights. It would give families statutory rights to “direct the upbringing of their children free from bureaucratic overreach,” the release said.

“Our schools need to focus on closing the learning gaps that worsened as a result of the governor’s ill-advised pandemic school closures, not forcing elementary-age children to engage in inappropriate conversations about gender identity,” Mastriano said. “It is up to parents, not the state, to engage with their children on these complex social issues and I will never stop fighting for their right to do so.”

Casey Smith, a spokesperson for the Department of Education, defended the gender policy. “The children who attend our schools represent the diverse backgrounds and cultures of our commonwealth, and that includes Pennsylvanians with various gender identities and expression. It is incumbent upon us to support all learners and make them all feel welcome in their schools and communities.

“The Wolf administration supports equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts in every school, and one way we can better serve our learners is by providing resources so that schools can support students who come from all walks of life.”

Fenicia Redman, a parent with a son in the Great Valley School District, told DVJournal she believes there is an intentional effort to influence children with an extreme ideology. “There are wolves among our children masquerading as Granny. I’ll see them soon in federal court.” Redman said she plans to sue the district over sexually explicit books found in school libraries.

Jim Jacobs, who took his son out of the West Chester Area School District because of a gay pride celebration at Stetson Middle School that encouraged boys to wear dresses, agrees this is not education.

“I know teachers who tell me personally – in private – they hate this garbage and agenda. But they want to retain their jobs,” Jacobs said. “Everyone I have spoken to, regardless of political party, has a huge issue with this being taught, but they’re afraid of standing up because of repercussions and being canceled. These are our youth coaches, shop owners, and just everyday working Americans who want to live their lives and educate their kids. Its indoctrination on top of indoctrination- how does this get passed to be taught to our children without parents being involved?

“Yes, it’s important to be tolerant and accepting of different religious beliefs and sexual preferences- but introducing this in school for kindergarten, middle school, and high school? Insanity,” said Jacobs.

The  Central Bucks School Board voted last week to keep graphic books out of elementary and middle school libraries.

A campaign spokesman for Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democrat running for governor, did not respond when asked whether Shapiro would keep the Wolf administration policies in place.


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FLOWERS: Media Get FL’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Story All Wrong

In the era of Google, it’s usually easy to find what journalists call the “source document.” Whether it’s the exact working of a law or a Supreme Court decision or even a classic TV jingle (“Plop Plop Fizz Fizz, Oh What a Relief It Is”), it’s all at your online fingertips.

Strangely, I had the hardest time finding the precise text of what the left-leaning media have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law.  You would think that it would be simple to locate that phrase in the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation. While plenty of media headlines popped up in my Google search, the law itself did not.


Because, despite the media coverage, it’s not there.

The closest I got to a media outlet reporting that fact was, surprisingly enough, NPR. It opted for “Florida lawmakers pass controversial so-called ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.” The subtle insertion of “so-called” left open the possibility that the law does not ban the word “gay” in the great state of Florida. (As an aside, that’s great news for Snow White and the Dwarves, who live in a condo in Orlando.)

So forget the headlines. Here are the facts:  The “Don’t Say Gay” bill is actually the “Parental Rights In Education” Act. Here is some of the actual text, which I was finally able to find by going directly to the state’s legislative website. (Note to self: Don’t be lazy. Stop Googling and go to the source).

“Parental Rights In Education … prohibits school district personnel from discouraging parental notification or involvement in critical decisions affecting students’ mental, emotional or physical well-being; prohibits classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in certain grade levels; requires school districts to notify parents of healthcare services; authorizes parents to bring action against school districts to obtain declaratory judgments; provides for additional award of injunctive relief, damages, and reasonable attorney fees and court costs to certain parents.”

Nowhere in the new law does it say the word “gay” cannot be mentioned. Critics point to the part of the law that says sexual orientation or gender identity cannot be taught in certain grade levels. Which grade levels? Kindergarten through third grade. That’s usually the 4- to 8-year-old range. Please tell me what 4-year-old needs to know about sexual orientation? Please enlighten me as to what 8-year-old needs to know about gender identity?

Is there a reason we can’t simply teach kids this young how to read, write, draw pictures, sing, make ceramic mugs, and kick a soccer ball?

The media bias is obvious. If New York or Massachusetts passed a law banning prayer in school (no need to thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, of course), does anyone honestly believe CNN would call it the “Don’t Say God” bill?

And where are the news stories about a new Morning Consult/Politico poll showing that — despite the mountain of misleading media coverage — Americans support the bill 51-35 percent.

Progressives are demanding that 5-year-olds must have the “Heather Has Two Mommies” conversation. Many parents believe it is simply not age-appropriate. Why should these moms and dads have their wishes overridden by classroom activists with a political agenda?

The war on parents’ rights is nothing new. For years, abortion activists have pushed laws allowing children (that is the legal definition of a 15-year-old girl, by the way) to have abortions without their parent’s knowledge or consent. That was a bridge too far even for the same Supreme Court that rescued Roe in its Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling. It upheld the right of states to protect a parent’s role in the medical procedures their children undergo.

Let’s be very clear: The opponents of the Florida law are deliberately misleading the public and misrepresenting the nature of the legislation in order to play the homophobia card. Nothing in this law defames or diminishes the LGBTQ community. Nothing prohibits the word “gay.” It simply says that in certain grades, where these issues are entirely inappropriate and largely irrelevant, parents have a right to think about what their K-3rd graders are learning in school, not about what NPR or People magazine think is important.

In an age where Merrick Garland’s Justice Department has called parents “domestic terrorists” and the media labels mothers and fathers who speak out at school board meetings “white supremacists” (even the parents of color) it’s good to know at least one state still believes parents have a small role to play in their children’s lives.

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