Gender-bending sex-ed curricula used in some public schools, along with corresponding school district policies, don't meet established standards set forth in law, activists and scholars warned at recent Heritage Foundation panel.
As part of the Protecting Children in Education Summit hosted virtually at Heritage on Aug. 12, advocates detailed several efforts parents are undertaking to combat the sexualization of children and teenagers in the public school system and how left-wing interest groups are sexualizing children for their own ends.
Luke Berg, deputy counsel with the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, explained that parents in Madison, Wisconsin, are suing their school district over policies they say violate their parental rights in the case Doe v. Madison Metropolitan School District.
A few years ago, the school district announced its transgender policies, among them is allowing students who identify at transgender to use their preferred name and pronouns while at school without parental approval or notification. Among the groups behind these policies are the Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network, the ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Education Association.
"As you can bet, Madison didn't exactly promote this aspect of its policy. And the policy itself wasn't even voted on by the school board, it was developed internally and posted to its website. As far as I can tell, the district didn't get broad input from parents but instead from groups like GLSEN," Berg said.
While federal law requires parental consent to change students' names in the databases, students can be unofficially recognized and referred to by whatever name and identity nomenclature they choose and school staff must abide by that unofficial policy, the attorney explained. If staff members do not comply, they are subject to the school's nondiscrimination policy and could be subject to discipline. The school policies, he added, instruct teachers to deceive parents by swapping back to the student's birth name if or when the parents show up at school.
The lawsuit's legal theory is that with the secretive institutionalizing of these policies, the school system has violated the parents' primary authority over their children. Berg believes this argument is supported by broad judicial precedent acknowledging the rights and decision-making power of parents regarding their children's welfare.
Speaking at length on gender ideology, Mary Hasson of the Catholic Women's Forum at the Ethics & Public Policy Center, explained that gender fluidity is now widely taught in public school systems. Gender ideology, she said, puts forth a radical, fractured version of the human person and teaches that no unity exists between the mind and the body.
In the vision of gender ideologues, a person's identity is defined by feelings that supersede the material reality of the body, she elaborated, noting that gender-confused children are fast-tracked to a lifetime of medicalization such as puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones. When cross-sex hormones are added after chemical puberty suppression, the child is sterilized for life, she noted.
"So this moving sidewalk, this fast-track to transition through gender-affirmation is a huge thing. It's so consequential in a child's life and yet it's being promoted in our schools," Hasson said.
This ideology gets inserted in various courses in the school system, she noted. Even though only five states require LGBT history to be taught, most of this ideology is furthered through "anti-bullying" lessons and "inclusivity" assemblies. Teachers are trained through professional development how to infuse this into other subject areas, mainly health classes, and now some are teaching "gender-inclusive puberty education" where male and female sexual differentiation, including normal bodily processes, is erased.
She emphasized to those watching: "You as parents and activists have to be the ones to bring this to light because the schools, unfortunately, are not doing this of their own accord."
Hasson is the co-author of the book, Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Children Out of Public School Before It's Too Late.
Monica Cline, founder and president of the nonprofit group It Takes a Family, used to teach comprehensive sex-ed and was mentored by Planned Parenthood's director of sex education.
Planned Parenthood's philosophy that she learned and came to reject later has a distorted view of sex, she said.
Cline's mentor who taught her how to teach comprehensive sex-ed reportedly told her: "Monica, when you walk into a room of school-age children, I want you to imagine that they've done anything and everything when it comes to sex and if they haven't, they will. And it's your job as a comprehensive sex educator to teach them about every sexual practice and to teach them how to use condoms and lubrication to reduce their risk and then teach them how to get to the clinic to get treatment and have to abortions."
Upon hearing from her mentor about 10-year-olds who would come into the clinics to obtain abortions, she felt convinced that their approach was right and asked her mentor how she could teach these girls not to have sex, particularly since they were so young.
Her mentor replied that it was "very judging" of her and others to tell a young person that they should not have sex. Instead, their job was to meet them where they are and respect their choice to be sexually active and give them "risk reduction" education and refer them to Planned Parenthood.
Cline believed at the time that their teaching approach was legitimate because they had the federal government backing them with Title X funding.
When Cline challenged Planned Parenthood's refusal to report instances of human trafficking and statutory rape, she said staffers tried to get her to believe that young girls wanted to have sex. They even went so far as to say the girls were "empowered" by having sex with an experienced person who could pleasure her.
"Their goal is to have a customer for life," Cline said. "They are a business, so they very much need to sexualize a young generation, sexualize the children through comprehensive sex education. Teach them how to dehumanize themselves and others through the act of sex and make them dependent on needing to use their services."
"Comprehensive sex education is like Planned Parenthood's marketing tool, their vehicle. They need comprehensive sex education so they can mold that child, sexualize them so that they can become sexually active in school-age years," she explained.
Abortion and sexually transmitted diseases are but extensions to this dehumanization process. And those things are not a big deal because it has all been normalized, Cline said.
The abortion giant intentionally works to remove parents from the equation, seeing them as obstacles because parents are powerful and are the key to protecting children.
"The one thing that parents always emphasized to me is that parents, and this is a quote from them: 'Parents are a barrier to services.'"