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School values transgender lessons over parental rights

Family | A California school board refuses to notify parents of in-class gender flips
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 9/22/17, 03:52 pm

A California charter school embroiled in controversy about a lesson to kindergarteners on transgenderism is not backing down. On Monday, the Sacramento-area school board rejected a proposal by parents to allow children to opt out of lessons on gender identity.

The proposal came after a kindergarten teacher at Rocklin Academy Gateway in June reintroduced a boy in the class as a transgender girl without parental notification. After efforts by the administration to brush away the incident, concerned parents spoke out to the school board in August, insisting they put the issue on the agenda for the September meeting.

Administrators moved the Sept. 18 board meeting to the Rocklin Events Center to accommodate nearly 500 people who attended, including parents and advocates on both sides of the issue.

“To teach my kid that biologically this boy was born a boy and to teach him that now he’s a girl is very confusing and I feel it’s a lie,” parent Chelsea McQuistan said at the meeting, according to KTXL-TV in Sacramento.

LGBT advocates on the front row held signs that read, “Trans rights are human rights,” and, “Trans kids have courage.”

After five hours of statements, the five-member board voted unanimously to affirm a set of recommendations from the school administration, including one that declined to adopt an opt-out policy.

Four pro-family groups (the California Family Council, the Capitol Resource Institute, the Pacific Justice Institute, and Alliance Defending Freedom) unsuccessfully proposed the board adopt the “Parental Rights in Child’s Education Policy,” which included two main provisions. The first would have required schools to notify parents about lessons related to gender, gender identity, transgenderism, and sexual orientation and to allow them to choose to have their children not participate. Currently, the school only allows notification and opting out for lessons on sex education, which the school maintains does not include transgenderism. Second, the school would have been required to notify parents if their child might be in a “state of undress” in the same room as someone of the opposite biological sex. Parents would have been allowed to request a “privacy accommodation” for their child, such as a single-user restroom.

School officials insisted that state privacy and antidiscrimination laws did not require parental notification on topics of gender identity and that to allow parents to opt out of such lessons would discriminate against transgender students.

But that is a misunderstanding of the law, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

“Nothing in California law prohibits schools from providing notice and opt-out before [gender identity and sexual orientation] issues are raised,” noted ADF in a statement on the matter. “In fact, doing so shows a proper respect for the primary role of parents in addressing controversial topics.”

A provision asking teachers to notify parents about controversial topics did pass the board on Monday, but it was “really weak,” Greg Burt of the California Family Council told LifeSite. Burt said the requirement was not mandatory and only required teachers to “try to notify parents” without any accountability if they did not.

“The school district has the option to provide all kinds of opt outs,” said Burt, noting the school provided an opt out for viewing the recent solar eclipse. “When you’re talking about something as sensitive and controversial as gender identity, for them to say they can’t provide an opt out for parents is just flat-out wrong.”

Burt said 40 families and 71 kids have left the school over the issue, and he expects that more will leave after Monday’s decision.

“We’re not giving up,” Burt said. “We knew it would be a long haul, and that initially they would reject our suggestions, but this is not the end of it.” 

Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon Associated Press/Photo by Alex Brandon Jim Mattis

Transgender troop policy in flux

The Pentagon published a memo last week attempting to clarify the tenuous state of transgender troops serving in the U.S. military.

President Donald Trump in August ordered the military to enforce a ban on any new transgender enlistments but left it up to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to set policy for current transgender personnel.

Last Friday, Mattis sent a memo to top military leaders stating that active transgender troops can reenlist and continue to serve in the military for now. Mattis said the deputy defense secretary and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will lead a panel to determine how to implement Trump’s ban by the February 21, 2018, deadline.

But a bipartisan group of legislators want to set the transgender military policy themselves.

Last Friday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) in backing a bill that would prohibit the Pentagon from involuntarily separating or denying reenlistment to transgender service members on the basis of gender identity. The bill would also require Mattis to finish his review of the effect of transgender troops on the military and report to Congress by the end of the year. —K.C.

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Less marriage, more singles

Only about half of today’s American adults are married, according to new analysis from Pew Research, which is down significantly from a peak of 72 percent in 1960. The news is fitting for this week’s annual “Unmarried and Single Americans Week.”

The report, which examined recent Census Bureau data, pointed to the usual suspects—delayed marriage and a rise in cohabitation—to explain the continued drop. The median age of marriage has risen from 20.3 for women and 22.8 for men in 1960 to 27.4 for women and 29.5 for men in 2016. And more couples today than ever before are choosing to live together and raise children outside of marriage. Four in 10 births are to women who are single or living with a nonmarital partner, according to Pew.

One new takeaway: Pew noted today’s marriage rates are more closely linked to educational attainment than previously. Among adults age 25 and older, 65 percent of those with a college degree were married, compared to 55 percent of those with some college education and 50 percent of those with only a high school diploma. In 1990, that spread was much narrower at 69, 67, and 63 percent. —K.C.

Missing babies

Finland has fewer newborns today than at any time in the last 150 years, by Bloomberg Markets reports . The number of live births fell in 2016 to its lowest number since the country experienced the great famine of 1868.

The decline is especially troublesome in part because of Finland’s eager efforts—including generous paid leave, a world-class educational system, and boxes of baby gear delivered to every new mother—to turn it around. According to Save the Children, Finland is the second-best country in the world in which to be a mother, behind Norway.

The fertility statistics are frightening, said Heidi Schauman, the chief economist at Aktia Bank in Helsinki. “They show how fast our society is changing, and we don’t have solutions ready to stop the development. We have a large public sector, and the system needs taxpayers in the future.”

In order to maintain its welfare state, Finland should have a fertility rate of two children per woman. The 2016 rate is projected to come in at 1.57.

Finland is not alone. Of Save the Children’s top 10 countries in which to be a mother, nine have an estimated 2017 fertility rate under 2.0. —K.C.

Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.

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  • JerryM
    Posted: Fri, 09/22/2017 07:58 pm

    RE: "School values transgender lessons over parental rights"

    Is the groupthink so strong that it is engulfing all board members and the majority of parents?  This is child abuse in the cause of adult ideological goals with so many efforts to cure gender identity confusion appearing to only create more of it.   Research and common sense tells us that children naturally have (sometimes widely) varying conceptions of their identity.  We need to let kids be kids and not inject our "progressive" thinking into this process.  We need to stick to the ancient, tried and tested path of child-rearing.  

    Sadly, ideology trumps so much these days.  

    For one example of parents having some success in pushing back against this ideological push, see

  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 09/22/2017 08:46 pm

    If these parents value their children, in my opinion they should remove the children from those schools immediately. 

    Thirty five years ago my wife and I heard many accounts of drugs in our local public schools, and even stories of teachers telling kids, "Don't use drugs. [wink, wink]"

    We opted to enroll our kindergarten-age son in a local Christian school and kept him there thru graduation. While the school and its personnel were not perfect, we know the Christian teaching and the support given for traditional values was strong and unqualified. 

    Today's issues are so much  more likely than drugs to take a child far from Godly values, and indeed, far from the Lord.  I would not hesitate to make the same choice, even though as a blue collar worker in Arkansas there were financial stresses 

    Our children are of immensely greater importance than nice cars, houses, and vacations.