Gone are the days of cheerily sending our children off to school and trusting public educators to prepare them for success by focusing on traditional pedagogy. Pesky fundamentals such as reading, writing, and arithmetic are being submerged under a tsunami of cultural Marxism.
Parents—once viewed as the natural authority figures in their children’s lives—now find themselves largely spectators: locked out, lied to, and gaslit in a national effort to secretly gender-transition children in public schools behind their parents’ backs. But parents are fighting back.
In at least 6,000 public schools across the country, children are being encouraged to inch toward fateful decisions with lifelong impact, all without their parent’s knowledge or consent.
Could these clandestine transition policies and practices be the reason for the alarming spike in the number of high schoolers identifying as transgender? The U.S. saw a nearly five-fold increase in gender transition surgeries for teens from 2016 to 2019 alone. And a new report indicates that approximately 300,000 adolescents between the ages of 13 and 17 now identify as transgender.
It is not surprising, then, that disenfranchised parents have finally had it. They are filing lawsuits from coast to coast to restore to parents what has always been rightfully theirs: the authority to parent their own children. The family, after all, predates government and public education itself.
In Foote v. Ludlow School Community, the parents of two minor children sued a school district for violating their civil rights based on a policy at Baird Middle School in Ludlow, Massachusetts. That policy: secretly promote and facilitate gender transitions without parental consent.
In this case, both parents had specifically directed the school not to discuss gender identity with their children. They sued in federal court for violations of their rights under the U.S. and Massachusetts constitutions, including their right to religious freedom, familial privacy, and what the Supreme Court has long recognized as the fundamental right to direct the upbringing of one’s own children.
One defendant, the superintendent of public schools, publicly decried the parents’ concerns as “intolerance of LGBTQ people thinly veiled behind a camouflage of parental rights.” As if we had any doubt about how trans-happy public educators feel about nosy parents.
The trial court dismissed the plaintiffs’ case, categorizing the middle school’s policy as “curriculum” over which parents would not ordinarily exercise control. But this argument, parroted by the defendants, cleverly obfuscates the fact that policies such as these impinge on historically sacrosanct areas of parental authority.
A century of Supreme Court jurisprudence supports the notion that parents enjoy the fundamental constitutional right to direct the upbringing, health, and education of their children. As recently as 2000, in fact, the court called it “perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized.”
The list of similar lawsuits continues to grow. In the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, another group of parents has appealed a decision dismissing their lawsuit with similar claims against Montgomery County, Maryland, public schools.
In the 8th Circuit, parents have appealed the trial court’s denial of their request for an injunction against an Iowa school district policy that not only facilitates secret social gender transitions but punishes students who don’t toe the party line. Specifically, students face punishment for “misgendering” others, defined as “intentionally or accidentally us[ing] the incorrect name or pronouns to refer to a person.”
The fight has even found its way to Congress. The Prohibiting Parental Secrecy Policies in Schools Act, sponsored by Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), would withhold federal funding from schools that fail to require parental permission before a student can change their name or pronouns at school. The bill was offered in response to a lawsuit filed by Aurora Regino, who is suing California's Chico Unified School District after a counselor allegedly helped her 10 (yes, TEN) year-old daughter secretly transition.
The National Association of School Principals vocally backs these policies. It advises keeping parents in the dark about their children’s gender identities and calls on schools to remind parents that not supporting the rights of transgender students “runs contrary to the values of the school.” Apparently, NASP believes a school’s “values” trump a parent’s constitutional rights.
For American educators bent on quietly transitioning children, it’s time to face the music. So, to battle-weary parents, I say: Play on.
This piece originally appeared in the Washington Examiner