By Parent and Former Congressional Staffer Amy Haywood,
Did you know that the California Department of Education wants every public school child as young as five to be taught that sex is assigned at birth and that gender is on a spectrum?
The CA State Board of Education is revamping its Health Education Framework to align with the California Healthy Youth Act, a law that requires sex education that includes lessons on gender identity. This Framework, scheduled to be adopted by the Board in 2019, is used to guide school districts on how this new law is to change school curriculum. Here is an example.
The Framework tells teachers to talk about gender identity with kindergarteners and notes that some kindergarteners may be transgender. Here is an excerpt from the framework:
While students may not fully understand the concepts of gender expression and identity, some children in kindergarten and even younger have identified as transgender or understand they have a gender identity that is different from their sex assigned at birth. This may present itself in different ways including dress, activity preferences, experimenting with dramatic play, and feeling uncomfortable self-identifying with their sex assigned at birth. However, gender non-conformity does not necessarily indicate that an individual is transgender, and all forms of gender expression should be respected. …
Discuss gender with kindergarteners by exploring gender stereotypes and asking open-ended questions, such as what are preferred colors, toys, and activities for boys/girls, and then challenging stereotypes if presented. Throughout this discussion, show images of children around the same age who do not conform to typical gender stereotypes. Examples do not have to be exaggerated or overt. Simple differences, such as colors or toy preferences, can demonstrate acceptance of gender non-conformity.
It additionally recommends teachers read a book called My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis and invite people from the community to be guest speakers…including those who identity as transgender.
Some teachers in elementary schools around California have started using this type of material, but to others this is quite a shock, as most believe such material is not age appropriate. Children who are just beginning to read don’t understand gender dysphoria; nor do they understand the concept of being trapped in the wrong body, sex-change operations that are risky and require a lifetime of medical intervention, or the unproven notion of a gender spectrum.
Yes, you say, but “my district is ‘conservative’ so we don’t have this issue.” Unfortunately, that’s what many think, but even conservative-leaning districts like Poway Unified School District (just north of San Diego) are implementing new gender policies. In May of 2018 the PUSD School Board quietly adopted a gender identity administrative regulation to allow students to come out as transgender at school without parental knowledge, and staff will be directed to call transgender students by their preferred pronouns.
Many teachers falsely believe that their union will protect them from having to abandon their religious beliefs by forcing them to refer to students with incorrect pronouns. Actually, many teacher unions are in full support of these changes and have likely advocated for them.
Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schools is sponsored by the National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest teacher’s union. This document warns that parents should not always be notified about a student’s decision to transition because the home environment might not be supportive, (page 14, 15) and these transitions can and should take place at any grade level because younger children are more flexible in their thinking (page 15). Staff is also directed to call students by their preferred pronouns—to NOT do so will make students feel “unsafe and unwelcome” (page 22). One way schools can protect transgender students’ privacy is by keeping separate records, and here is one of the suggestions:
Use the student’s chosen name and gender in the student information system, but switch it to the student’s legal name and gender just before uploading the information to the state department of education’s database. Schools that choose this approach pull that student’s testing booklet before it is distributed and correct the name and gender marker on the label to ensure that the student’s privacy and identity are respected. (page 21)
In addition to the NEA, the California Teachers Association (CTA), California’s largest teachers’ union, also wholly supports this line of thinking. The CTA is on the steering committee of the California Safe Schools Coalition, an organization that heavily promotes sexual orientation and gender identity ideology in public schools.
Teachers and parents need to fight back against teaching this gender identity ideology. It’s not age appropriate; it’s unhealthy; it’s abusive; and it’s immoral. Here are some options for fighting back:
- Thanks to the Janus vs. AFSCME ruling at the U.S. Supreme Court last June, teachers can now drop their union membership with NEA and CTA, and take their dues to an alternative teachers’ association, such as the Association of American Educators, Christian Educators Association International, or National Public Employee Alliance.
- Parents and teachers should let the California State Board of Education know what they think about the proposed Health Education Framework. Please mail or email your comments during the 60-day public review from November 2018 to January 2019 to:
Instructional Quality Commission
1430 N Street, Room 3207
Sacramento, CA 95814 Fax: 916-319-0172
- If teachers are feeling threatened (i.e., with job loss) or bullied to teach this ideology, or if teachers feel like they are being coerced into using pronouns and thereby affirming this ideology, please contact a constitutional attorney who can counsel you on your legal options. Many constitutional attorneys (Alliance Defending Freedom, Pacific Justice Institute and National Center for Law and Policy) offer their services free of charge. According to Alliance Defending Freedom:
School officials cannot “prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” W. Virginia State Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943). Indeed, just a few months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court reiterated that the Constitution forbids the government from compelling individuals “to mouth support for views they find objectionable.” Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, 138 S. Ct. 2448, 2463 (2018). When the government “prevents individuals from saying what they think on important matters or compels them to voice ideas with which they disagree, it undermines” the right to free speech.(http://files.constantcontact.com/ef34b463001/e5fa729f-265c-4a64-b461-e5f593896103.pdf)
Activists are counting on parental and teacher silence and inaction. This ideology has entered many of our schools without the knowledge of parents, so teachers with a front row seat to these changes need to stand up to this injustice and let their communities know what is happening. For the sake of our children, please resist this harmful ideology.