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Policies and Parents: A Time to Speak, Part I

Sharon Supp
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Parents, not schools or governments, have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

This article is part one in a two-part series on parental rights. Read part two here.

School boards across the nation are routinely adopting policies that endanger children’s minds, bodies, and family relationships. Now is the time for concerned parents, educators, and school board members to speak.

These harmful policies include mandating that school employees hide critical information about a student’s struggle with gender identity from their own parents. They even compel school employees (in violation of the First Amendment) to disregard parents’ preferences by using a name and pronouns for a student that correspond to the opposite sex. Such policies can cause irreparable harm to children by cementing gender confusion that might have been temporary. Pushing a child to adopt a different gender identity can also increase division with their parents.

These school policies also violate the privacy, safety and equal opportunity rights of students by opening private, female-only facilities to males who “identify” as female and allowing them to compete against girls in sports. Biology typically renders boys stronger and faster than girls, giving them a large and unfair advantage in athletic competition. These policies also increase the risk of physical injury to girls in sports such as soccer and basketball. And eliminating single-sex locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms diminishes the privacy and dignity rights of both girls and boys to change, shower, and use the restroom outside the presence of the opposite sex.

After the adoption of such radical policies, parents in Wisconsin’s Madison Metropolitan School District were forced to challenge the district for disregarding their rights and concealing information regarding their minor children’s gender confusion. And parents in Virginia’s Harrisonburg City Public Schools are having to threaten legal action over a policy that requires school officials to intentionally hide information and lie to parents if their child expresses confusion at school about their gender identity.

The stakes are high in the struggle between parents and schools over control of children’s mental health and identities. Some schools do not understand that there are limits on their power. Schools do not have the right to change a child’s identity, or to decide how to treat their physical and mental health. These schools are deceiving and isolating parents and excluding them from important life-altering decisions which affect their child’s entire well-being and the essence of who they are. Simply put, some schools are usurping parents’ authority to control these profound dimensions of a child’s life.

The current struggle exists because some school boards fail to recognize the nature and scope of parental rights. Parents, not schools or governments, have the fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children in accordance with their personal, moral, and religious beliefs. The U.S. Constitution protects these rights.

Parents want what is best for their child and they know their children much better than a school official ever could. Parental rights are fundamental because children are entrusted to their parents by nature, first and foremost. Parents know their children best and are in a unique position to help them through difficult mental and emotional challenges. But schools are now violating parental rights simply because parents do not conform to politically correct ideologies. No government authority should override the authority of parents to protect the well-being of their children as these schools are doing by enacting such policies.

Parents are opposing these controversial policies because they want their children to be happy, healthy, and safe, not because of a political agenda. But many of the activist organizations pushing such policies in schools are, indeed, pursuing such a political agenda. This agenda endangers the future of America’s children on a daily basis and must not go unchallenged. Children are being irreparably harmed (both physically and mentally), and parental rights are being wrongfully undermined. To protect children from the destruction of gender ideology in schools, we must protect parental rights. So, if ever there were a time to speak, the time is now.

Sharon Supp
Senior Research Analyst
Sharon Supp serves as Senior Research Analyst at Alliance Defending Freedom