Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Parents Bill of Rights Act by a vote of 213-208 “to ensure the rights of parents are honored and protected in the Nation’s public schools,” according to the bill’s text. Wisconsin’s six Republican representatives (Bryan Steil, Derrick Van Orden, Scott Fitzgerald, Glenn Grothman, Tom Tiffany, Mike Gallagher) voted in favor of the bill, while the two Democrats (Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore) voted against it.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urged his colleagues to vote for the bill, saying that it would empower parents to always remain aware of what their children are learning in school and how their taxpayer money is being spent.
“Once you are a parent, you will give your life for your child,” said McCarthy. “You have a right to get the basic information about your children’s education….the Parents Bill of Rights is an important step towards protecting children and dramatically strengthening the rights of parents.”
The Parents Bill of Rights outlines five key rights that all parents nationwide should have, including the right to know what’s being taught in schools and to see reading material, the right to be heard, the right to see a school’s budget and spending, the right to protect their child’s privacy, and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school.
This is common sense legislation that would help protect children from activist teaching by empowering parents to be involved.
This bill comes in response to the many school districts across the country, including a numbere in Wisconsin, that have been caught hiding or withholding pertinent information about students from their parents.
For example, last year the Eau Claire Area School District was sued for directing teachers and school staff to allow students to change their preferred pronouns, name, and “gender identity” without parental involvement.
Similarly, in November of 2021, the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) was sued for a policy that allows minor students to “transition genders” at school, even despite the parents’ objection. A hearing for this case is scheduled for April 19th, and a ruling is expected in the late spring or summer.
In a third case, the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) was sued for its policies that allow children to change their “gender identity” at school without parental notice or consent. The policy also instructs district staff to hide information about students’ “gender identity” from parents. This case is ongoing after the Wisconsin Supreme Court sent it back to the Dane County Circuit Court for further action.
Across the nation, there are at least 6,000 schools that allow or require teachers to hide students’ “gender identity” from parents. Clearly, a parental bill of rights is urgently needed.
While the Wisconsin Constitution protects the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control,” it’s clear that parental rights need more protection. A relatively strong Parents’ Rights Bill passed in the Wisconsin legislature last session, but Governor Evers vetoed it. The Assembly author, Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger), has indicated an interest in introducing the bill again this session.
While legislation can certainly help, parents should never rely on it alone to keep their children safe from harmful ideologies. Parents should always remain deeply involved and keenly aware of what is going on in the classroom and during any meetings with school staff. For the sake of children’s safety and well-being, parents must be the primary decision-makers when it comes to their children’s upbringing, education, and mental health.
It’s also crucial that parents make their voices heard during this year’s Supreme Court election on April 4th. The balance of our State Supreme Court is on the line, which is our last chance and our strongest defense against liberal policies that have resulted in gross violations of parental rights and put our children at great risk in public schools.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a taxpayer-funded federal agency, is promoting a tool for “school and district staff who are interested in facilitating a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ students” on social media.
The “LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool” provides a general assessment for anyone to use and specific assessments for school staff. The purpose of the tool is to quickly gauge supposed inclusivity at one’s school and “enhance future work to support LGTBQ youth in schools.”
Some of the items from the assessment tool read as follows:
- “I cannot assume a student’s gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
- “I use students’ chosen name(s) in all school environments, including abbreviations and pronouns.”
- “I participate in my schools’ Gay Straight Alliance/Genders and Sexualities Alliance.
- “The policy(s) in place allows students to use the bathroom/locker room which aligns to their chosen gender.”
- “The technology policies allow student access to age-appropriate LGBTQ content and information (e.g., LGBTQ-specific media, public health and education organizations, and entertainment sites).”
- “My classroom or learning space includes visual labels (e.g., rainbow flags, pink triangles, unisex bathroom signs) marking it as a safe space for LGBTQ students.”
- “I attend training and professional development focused on creating safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ students.”
- “During sexual health education lessons, I present information on all types of sex, not centering on penis/vagina penetrative sex.”
- During sexual health education lessons, I describe anatomy and physiology separate from gender (e.g., “a body with a penis,” “a body with a vagina”).
Once they respond to each of these statements, users can score themselves and their school with an “A,” “B,” or “C.” If they receive a “C,” the tool says they should “commit to change.”
The tool also offers a “collection of curated resources and tools to help schools enhance LGBTQ inclusive policies, programs, and practices.”
The CDC is meant to protect Americans from health, safety, and security threats; yet here it is promoting an unscientific political ideology that leads individuals—mostly minors—to believe lies about themselves and even seek harmful gender “transition” procedures that cause permanent damage. The agenda that the CDC is trying to advance causes serious physical, emotional and spiritual harm.
While indoctrination runs rampant in our schools, Congress needs to pass legislation to stop state governments from violating parents’ rights to protect their kids from radical gender theory. Thankfully, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has introduced the Parental Right to Protect Act. This bill would protect parental rights by ensuring that parents are not penalized for protecting their children from gender ideology and “transition” procedures.
Last session, the Wisconsin legislature passed a parental rights bill that included this type of protection for parents and their children. Unfortunately, Governor Evers promptly vetoed the bill. Legislators are talking about bringing the bill back this session.
Regardless of whether or not Congress or Governor Evers steps up to protect children, parents must become aware of what their children are being taught in school, take action, and have difficult conversations with their children about these topics.
Here are a few resources parents can use to help guide conversations with their children:
Responding to the Transgender Issue: Parent Resource Guide by Minnesota Family Council, Family Policy Alliance, The Heritage Foundation, WOLF, and others
Talking To Your Kids About Transgender Issues by Focus on the Family
Transgender Movement, Understanding and Responding by Family Research Council
How to Talk to Your Kids About Gender by Gospel Coalition
When Harry Became Sally by Ryan T. Anderson
God and the Transgender Debate by Andrew T. Walker
Transgender: Christian Compassion, Convictions and Wisdom for Today’s Big Questions by Vaughan Roberts
Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaria Butterfield
Schools across the country seem to be hyper-focused on race and sexuality. Most recently, a Rhode Island private school told its students not to send Valentine’s Day cards that showed only white people or perpetuated gender “stereotypes.”
Parents received guidelines from Moses Brown Lower School stating, “Please coach your child if purchasing commercially produced cards to select something that does not feel ‘gender normative’ (with separate ‘boy cards’ vs. ‘girl cards,’ for instance.) Also, consider talking to your child about avoiding cards that portray only White human characters.”
Parents have understandably expressed their frustration with these guidelines and with the school’s culture as a whole. “Why does my four year old tell me the teacher said that someday she might want to marry another girl?” said one parent. Moses Brown often promotes progressive ideology about transgenderism and sexual identity. The school even hosts a Gender Sexuality Alliance club.
Stories like this one are becoming extremely common around the country, and even in Wisconsin. Children are inundated with harmful lies about race and gender. They are taught to view one another based on these immutable characteristics, rather than as individual children lovingly created by God. Many public schools, and sadly even some private schools, cannot be trusted to educate our children and act in their best interest.
This is why Wisconsin Family Action is working to pass vital legislation and combat the evil ideas that children are learning in school.
We are actively working to support the “Help Not Harm Act,” which is essential for children who are suffering from gender dysphoria in Wisconsin. The bill protects children who are confused about their biological sex by protecting them from harmful drugs and mutilation surgeries, which the left affirm are part of “tolerance.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.
What these children need is the exact opposite of what their schools are teaching them. They need the truth about God’s design, not affirmation of the lies they believe about themselves.
Schools here in Wisconsin are not only feeding children harmful lies about their sexuality, but are even hiding information from parents.
The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) published a policy stating that children are allowed to “transition” to a different gender at school and teachers are prohibited from telling parents. It even indicates that school staff should lie to parents about how their children are presenting in school.
Similarly, Kettle Moraine School District’s gender identity policy allows children to “change” their gender identity at school without parental consent. Again, employees are prohibited from sharing this important information with parents and even instructed to override parents’ objections.
Thankfully, our good friends at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and the Alliance Defending Freedom filed lawsuits challenging both of these policies, and they are now before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Just this week, we testified in support of the newly introduced “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” Assembly Bill 963, a bill that lays out 15 specific parents’ rights when it comes to their children. Several of these rights are specific to education and schools. One says parents have “[t]he right to determine the names and pronouns used for the child while at school.” A number of parents spoke at the hearing as well, supporting the bill and noting that too often their voice and their rights are either ignored or infringed.
Please pray for the success of the “Help Not Harm Act,” the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” and favorable outcomes in these two Supreme Court cases.
Parental rights and the well-being of our children are under attack. We must be diligent in overseeing our children’s education and demand and be part of necessary change when our schools espouse dangerous ideas. Few things are more important than the education of the next generation, and it’s up to us to hold our school officials accountable.
Of course, the very best situation for children is to be brought up in the homes of their married biological or adopted fathers and mothers. Marriage is good for kids! So, as we near the end of National Marriage Week, it’s important we promote marriage and family as God designed it, as well asGod’s design for human sexuality and raise our children to believe and know that they were created in His image.