Schools are shaping students’ beliefs on sex-related matters such as abortion and gender identity, and whether parents know it or not, they will soon see the results. The Heritage Foundation recently hosted “National Education Survey Results: Gender Identity and Life Issues in Schools” as part of a three-part series to investigate issues American students are facing in school.
One of the panelists, Wall Street Journal writer Abigail Shrier, discussed her findings from research in California. She concluded that parents are utterly unaware of how their children’s schools teach gender identity. The extent to which children and their families have suffered from damage imposed by their school system, Shrier said, transcends political boundaries.
“It goes far beyond liberal and conservative. The parents I interviewed, dozens and dozens and dozens of them are overwhelmingly politically progressive and when they call me almost always they end up sobbing on the phone, telling me about what happened to their children and very often their daughters.”
In public and private schools across the country, gender education is far more radical than parents presume, and it leaves students confused. Rather than teaching tolerance and acceptance of others, Shrier said teachers encourage alienation from families and “something much closer to child endangerment.”
Shrier provided the stunning example of a kindergarten class in California where teachers inform their five and six-year-old students that their sex was randomly decided at birth and tell them it is now their mission to find what their gender is. They’re then instructed that anyone who questions this is abusing them. If one of their parents inquires about their gender identity quest on religious grounds, Shrier said it’s considered spiritual abuse.
“This is all done under the guise of anti-bullying, which means that child’s parents cannot opt their children out. It is mandatory,” she said. “…The pretext is that in order to protect children, you need to indoctrinate the entire student population in gender confusion.”
The result is an “explosion” of young girls identifying as transgender, despite not experiencing any such feelings early in childhood, and embarking on a journey with permanent consequences. Shrier recently assembled her research in “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.”
Schools are so reticent regarding gender identity education that teachers have had to sneak information out of California Teachers Association meetings to warn parents. In June 2019, the California Teachers Association voted to support a proposal for allowing children leave school during school hours to receive transsexual hormones, without parental permission.
Not only are students discouraged from their biological gender identity, but due to radical school board policies undermining parental authority, parents often have no clue of their children’s transgender identity until after it’s too late.
Teachers demonize students’ parents and home life, encouraging students to place their trust in schools instead. Shrier said they are taught that their house isn’t always a safe place, which is why it’s important for schools to remain an “anti-bullying” environment where students can act differently.
“These teachers are being coached on keeping things specifically for parents — it is California policy to not inform the parents — and in fact to create a separate identity for a child who decides to identify as transgender, and they do that on separate forms,” Shrier said. “That is policy in New York as well and I’ve heard from parents in New Jersey they’re doing it as well.”
The Heritage Foundation’s Director of the Center for Education Policy Lindsey Burke presented results from a survey. They asked parents if they believe their child’s elementary school should provide instruction on sexual activity, including sexual orientation and gender identity. A whopping 66 percent of the parents said no, despite the fact that such a curriculum has likely already been implemented in many of their children’s classrooms.
Ryan Anderson, the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation, said schools that embrace this teaching are acting explicitly against students’ best interests.
“No adult should be telling a young person that they might be trapped in the wrong body. It’s inherently unjust to that child to be suggesting to them that they might be wrong… The maturation process of a child developing an image storing instant adult is difficult enough as it is,” he said.
Beyond the confusion that the touchy and difficult subject matter brings, Anderson argued it isn’t within the school’s jurisdiction to engage in sex education. The responsibility belongs to parents and their private organizations such as civil society and religious groups.
“It’s going to be next to impossible in our culture, where we have such deep disagreements about human sexuality, to have the public schools teaching anything about human sexuality that isn’t going to undermine those other institutions’ parental authority and religion.”
Many of the teachings that public schools force upon students defy what most Americans’ religions teach. Brittany Vessley, the executive director of the Colorado Catholic Conference, said gender ideology contradicts the church’s social doctrine. For public schools to push such concepts on Catholic students, she said, infringes on their freedom of religion.
She noted that most Christian children attend public schools that undermine their faith instead of Christian schools that affirm it, “which is why the Catholic Church has an intrinsic interest in religious liberty across all sectors.”
Anderson echoed the sense of urgency for parents who are aware of the permeation of gender ideology to take charge in reforming the curriculum. Given the potential for strong political losses on the horizon, he said the response from parents and activists must be powerful.
Legislation to tighten this sexuality ratchet is on the rise not only in states but at the federal level as well. The Equality Act, which was recently introduced in Congress, could lead to federal courts ordering this curriculum to be taught in schools. Furthermore, the United Nations is pushing for “comprehensive sexuality education” that incorporates the same kind of gender identity teachings.
“People who are opposed to it will need to organize, politically, and then demand that, you know, our representatives, do something about it and right now,” Anderson said. “There’s a stunning lack of courage on the part of our elected officials to do much about this, and that’s something that strikes me that needs to change.”
This article has been corrected since publication.