Do Parents Have the Right to Seek Help for Their Children?

Who decides what medical or mental health care is best for your child? Would it surprise you to know that in the mental health arena the ‘age of consent’ is only 13 years of age in Washington?  Like laws surrounding abortion, parents of adolescents are potentially cut out of the decision making and mental health care of their teenage children.

When it comes to mental health treatment for issues of sexual orientation or gender identity, it could be even worse.

Conversion therapy, the use of talk therapy to help children suffering from questions of Sexual Orientation or Gender Dysphoria, was banned in Seattle as of August 2016.

The legislation sponsored by Councilmember M. Lorena González made the practice of conversion therapy on minors by licensed medical or mental-health professionals punishable by fines of up to $1,000. It also prohibits the advertising of conversion therapy.

In 2017, the Washington state senate introduced SB5722, which would extend the ban to minors statewide. When the legislature returns early in 2018, the debate is set to continue.  If such a ban were to pass, parents would not be able to seek mental health treatment for their children who may be struggling with gender identity or sexual orientation issues.

The American Psychological Association (APA) calls transgender, an “umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.” The diagnosis often assigned these individuals by the clinical community is Gender Dysphoria. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) contains separate criteria for diagnosing it in adults and adolescents versus children.

While it is typically recognized that adult citizens of the United States have full jurisdiction over their own medical choices, those under 18 are considered under the authority of their parents. A debate, on these terms, surrounding the appropriate treatment for children and adolescents who may be transgender is taking shape all around the world.

The Daily Mail recently profiled parents who felt the state-sponsored, National Health Service (NHS) in England was pressuring their kids to go through with medical procedures to change their sex. The article reports that one mother was shocked to find her child being referred to a specialist transgender clinic, after only a 40-minute evaluation. Some of the parents made claims that their children only began hating the biological sex they were born after cases of extreme bullying by other students and that NHS employees refused to listen to their claims.

The rush to label children transgender comes on the heels of the NHS signing a “memorandum of understanding,” which is nearly identical to implementing a ban on conversion therapy. The memorandum makes it illegal for staff to challenge the person’s gender confusion.

It is pertinent to note that the science on this matter has not been settled yet either. There is much debate in the medical community as to whether transgender is a clinical disorder and furthermore if those who don’t adhere to the gender binary deserve protections similar to that which is guaranteed based upon immutable characteristics like race.

Dr. Quentin Vanmeter, a pediatric endocrinologist from the American College of Pediatricians does not view transgenderism as a civil rights issue. He says that transgenderism is a mental health issue, and there is no scientific evidence that it’s a physiological phenomenon. He believes that treating it as if it’s a natural phenomenon and speaking about it as a civil rights issue is doing a disservice to the children struggling with this type of mental illness.

He’s not alone either, former Chief of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Paul McHugh, also believes that being transgender is a psychological problem, not a biological phenomenon. He thinks that transgender individuals should be referred to mental health counseling, not surgery.  A statewide ban such as Seattle’s on talk-therapy for minors dealing with gender dysphoria would make this impossible.

With a degree of doubt cast on the advocacy of LGBT groups painting transgender as a biological phenomenon and not a psychological problem, parents need to be skeptical of hormone therapies and sex reassignment surgery, which hold the potential to alter a child or adolescent’s  life indefinitely.

Parents should have the right to explore all of the options available for their children and adolescents and make the decision that seems most appropriate to them, not the state.

Genevieve Malandra is a contributing writer to Family Policy Institute of Washington.

It All Begins At Home

During the 1850’s Frederick Douglass had a series of conversations with white slave owners about how slavery would affect generations to come.

It was during one of these dialogues that he penned the words, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”  One could also offer this corollary, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair a broken society.”

Even though they were penned well over 150 years ago, these words still ring true today. As we mourn a broken society made up of broken men, we should turn our eyes to take the long view. To repair our nation, we should focus our efforts on our homes and the institutions that directly impact our children.  Raising the next generation of strong children is the best way to repair our broken society.

In fact, you could safely assume that this now famous quote is Biblically-based. Proverbs 22:6 says something strikingly similar: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

The Bible gives parents a process on how to properly instill Biblical values in their children. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Scripture commands us to “build strong children” and to raise them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. In the above passage, parents are commanded to keep God’s law always on their hearts and to instruct their children in the teachings of the Bible. God first commands that parents should discuss Scripture at home with their children. This is because the primary education of every child starts in the home. Whether intentionally or unconsciously, all parents teach their children by example, and the home environment lays the foundation for every child’s development.

God wants parents to be deliberate with their time and conscious of their example and make sure that their children are raised with a proper understanding of God’s Word. In ancient Israel, the primary mode of transportation was walking; much time was spent traveling from one place to another. Today’s equivalent would be when you are driving somewhere with your family. The Bible teaches that parents should make use of the time to discuss the teachings of Scripture.

Finally, God teaches that parents should teach their children about the things of God “when you lie down, and when you rise.” Simply put, God says to set aside a time each morning to take a bit and read the Bible to your children. Additionally, God says to take some time as you prepare for bed or assist your children with their bedtime preparations to think of the precepts and principles of Scripture.

Teaching your children about Scripture will take discipline, but the Bible promises that even a rebellious child cannot outrun or forget the principles instilled by faithful parents.

And strong children grow to be healthy men and women, leading a healthy and strong society.

Josh Denton is a contributing writer for Family Policy Institute of Washington.

Yakima School District Principal Instructs Teachers to Lie to Parents

A Yakima teacher is blowing the whistle on school administrators who he claims instructed him and his coworkers to “engage in active deception towards parents with regard to trans-gendered students.”

In a Facebook post on August 28, Jeremy Wuitschick, a teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School in Yakima, WA, gave details about an interaction with the principal at a staff meeting:

YSD [Yakima School District] PARENTS PLEASE SHARE: Today our principal instructed teachers to engage in ACTIVE DECEPTION TOWARDS PARENTS with regard to trans-gendered students that ask to be called a name of a different gender. I am a teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School.

I confirmed this by repeating this question three times to my principal in front of a group of 50 people.

Me: “Are you instructing teachers to actively deceive parents?”

Principal: “Yes.”

This issue is most troubling to me (not transgenderism but rather being told to lie to parents about what is going on at the school with their child).

One teacher raised the classic objection to dishonesty and lying; what if she accidentally makes a mistake and forgets which “reality” is the correct to articulate to a parent.

It is important to note that my objection is to intentional deception by agents of the state towards parents with regard to their own children, I HAVE NO PROBLEM CALLING ANYONE WHATEVER THEY WISH.

The school grounds its policy in federal FERPA (Family Education Rights and Privacy Act) legislation, but this is not a legally coherent argument. According to FERPA 34 C.F.R. Part 99.4, “An educational agency or institution shall give full rights under the Act to either parent, unless the agency or institution has been provided with evidence that there is a court order, State statute, or legally binding document relating to such matters as divorce, separation, or custody that specifically revokes these rights.” FERPA was carefully worded to prevent school districts like Yakima from turning it into a weapon to be wielded against parents of middle schoolers. That’s not stopping YSD, however.

This is the latest manifestation of a disturbing trend of state powers encroaching on the ability of parents to act as parents to their children. In 2010, a 15-year-old student at Ballard High School was given birth control by the school nurse without notification of the parents. The birth control failed, and the girl became pregnant. School officials then told the girl that they would cover all expenses including a taxi ride to and from the abortion clinic provided she withheld all information about what had occurred from her parents.

A few weeks ago, a California kindergarten teacher read books to her students explaining that perceptions of one’s body need not conform to the reality of their body. Afterwards, the class hosted a “gender reveal” for a gender dysmorphic boy who was attempting to look more like a girl. “My daughter came home crying and shaking so afraid she could turn into a boy,” one parent said at a public meeting following the incident, according to The Federalist. The parents of the students were not made aware that this would take place.

At Nova Classical Academy in Minnesota, lawsuits over sex-related issues have forced the school to keep all sex-education curriculum and sex-related policies hidden from parents and not allow parents to opt out of any classes or assignments regarding sexual morality. Joy Pullman at The Federalist wrote extensively on the situation:

“This month’s settlement after 16 months of litigation requires the school to make all uniforms available to both sexes, pay LGBT organizations to ‘train staff’ in politically correct behavior every three years, and ‘not adopt any gender policy that allows parents to opt out of requirements in the gender inclusion policy because of objections based on religion or conscience.’ This lawyer and Federalist contributor, after reviewing the settlement, said it appears to ban the school from even notifying parents of its sex policies.”

The sexual revolutionaries have no shame. They indoctrinate kindergartners with objectively false and harmful ideas about human nature. They push sexual activity on children as soon as young girls are old enough to take carcinogenic hormonal birth control. They put kids on a trajectory of sexual immorality and then grease the skids towards abortion. They do all of this, and you might never even know.

If it weren’t for the few brave enough to publicly reject leftist sexual orthodoxy and exclusion of parents from kids’ lives, we wouldn’t know of any of this. Legal theorists on the side of secular, anti-family “progressives” believe that the state grants you the right to be a parent and thus also has the authority to take away your parental rights. This particularly insidious understanding of the sacrosanct parent-child relationship is trickling down to the district level. It is up to parents to make sure public school officials don’t get away with it.


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.


Spokane Public Schools Consider Using Planned Parenthood Sex-Ed Curriculum

Spokane Public Schools district board members were scheduled to vote on a proposal last month that would implement a sexual education curriculum developed by Planned Parenthood. Although the vote was postponed following significant community backlash, the curriculum may still be adopted when the school board meets again this fall.

The “Get Real” curriculum emphasizes sexuality from a perspective of gender fluidity. It also represents a significant conflict of interest.

“The organization who makes this material stands to benefit when young people are sexually active and when they need abortions,” John Repsold, a member of HGDCAC, told The Spokesman-Review.

Despite the district’s decision to delay the vote, it remains likely that Planned Parenthood’s curriculum will be used to educate the youth of Spokane come September. Repsold expects only three of the committee’s 15 members will vote against the new program.

One member of the Human Growth and Development Citizens Advisory Committee (HGDCAC), which provides guidance to Spokane Public Schools on issues of sexuality, is Rachel Todd, an education director at Planned Parenthood.

Spokane children aren’t the only targets of Planned Parenthood educational programs. The nation’s largest abortion corporation is also one of the most prominent distributors of sexual education materials. Furthermore, Planned Parenthood intends to begin establishing clinics inside public schools, starting with Reading, PA.

Planned Parenthood has used its access to children and teens to sexualize them in ways that can only be described as child abuse. Its sexual education materials encourage masturbation, pornography use, sexual experimentation,  promiscuous sex, and alternative sexual lifestyles (see video below).

In 2014, Live Action published undercover footage showing Planned Parenthood employees teaching 15-year-old girls how to engage in violent and otherwise perverted forms of sexual activity. The lessons included bondage sex, torture sex, nipple clamps, horse whips, flogging, choking during sex, urinating and being urinated on during sex, defecating and being defecated on during sex, double penetration, pornography consumption, how to hide porn use from parents, pretending her boyfriend is a dog or a horse, being “punished” by her boyfriend, toddler fetishes and numerous other dangerous and dehumanizing sexual perversions.

It is unsurprising that Planned Parenthood teaches kids these things. Their business model depends on widespread sexual immorality in order to increase demand for their sex-related products. Planned Parenthood acquires lifelong customers when they expose children to these behaviors at a young age.

Yet the Spokane public school district is still considering bringing Planned Parenthood’s sexual education curriculum into the classroom.

Planned Parenthood is a billion-dollar abortion corporation that seeks to warp our children’s views of sex.  They simply cannot be allowed access to students.


It is incumbent upon us all to do something. Please contact the following Spokane Public School administrators to voice your displeasure with their decision (as always, please be respectful in your communication):

Deanna Brower (Board President): DeanaBrower@spokaneschools.org

Susan Chapin (Board Vice President): SusanChapin@spokaneschools.org

Jerrall Haynes (Board co-legislative Liaison): JerrallHaynes@spokaneschools.org

Paul Schneider (Board Co-Legislative Liaison): PaulSchneider@spokaneschools.org

Michael Wiser (Board Member): MikeWiser@spokaneschools.org

Shelley Redinger (District Superintendent): ShelleyR@spokaneschools.org

Temira Hatch (HGDCAC Chair): temira@northtowninsurance.com

Hershell Zelman (HGDCAC Immediate Past Chair): (509)-747-2234

Sasha Carey (HGDCAC Member): Sashadaniel@hotmail.com

Ian Sullivan (HGDCAC Member): Ian@OdysseyYouth.org

John Andes (Chase Middle School Principal): JohnAnd@spokaneschools.org

Robert Reavis (Garry Middle School Principal): RobertR@spokaneschools.org

Kim Halcro (Glover Middle School Principal): KimHal@spokaneschools.org

Jeremy Ochse (Sacajawea Middle School Principal): JeremyO@spokaneschools.org

Carole Meyer (Salk Middle School Principal): CaroleM@spokaneschools.org

John Swett (Shaw Middle School Principal): JonS@spokaneschools.org

Ken Schutz (Ferris High School Principal): KenS@spokaneschools.org

Marybeth Smith (Lewis & Clark High School Principal): marybethsm@spokaneschools.org

Steve Fisk (North Central High School): SteveF@spokaneschools.org

Lisa Mattson (On Track Academy Principal): LisaMat@spokaneschools.org

Lori Wyborney (Rogers High School Principal): LoriWy@spokaneschools.org

Julie Lee (Shadle Park High School Principal): JulieL@spokaneschools.org

Cindy McMahon (The Community School Principal): CindyMc@spokaneschools.org


James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.


 

When Doctors and Judges Turn Murderous

Update (06/14/2017): The European Court of Human Rights will allow Charlie Gard to be kept on life support while they consider the case.


Doctors and judges in Great Britain may kill an innocent baby boy today.

Charlie Gard is ten months old. Like many baby boys, he likes holding his stuffed animal monkey.

Sadly, Charlie has mitochondrial disease, an extremely rare genetic disorder affecting the part of cells that create the energy needed for life. Although Charlie has been on life support for months, a doctor in the United States has offered the family an experimental treatment that might save his life. Tens of thousands of people have donated $1.6 million to pay for the treatment.

Even with the possibility of successful treatment across the Atlantic, Charlie’s doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London refused to let his parents take him to America for treatment. Specialists then petitioned a British Court for permission to end his life, despite pleas from the his parents to keep him alive.

Justice Francis, the High Court judge who heard Charlie’s case, ruled that “it is in Charlie’s best interests” for the hospital “to permit Charlie to die with dignity.” In his ruling, Justice Francis rejected the objections of those who ask why courts should make these decisions and override the rights of parents:

“The duty with which I am now charged is to decide, according to well laid down legal principles, what is in Charlie’s best interests. Some people may ask why the court has any function in this process; why can the parents not make this decision on their own? The answer is that, although the parents have parental responsibility, overriding control is vested in the court exercising its independent and objective judgment in the child’s best interests.”

According to Connie Yates, Charlie’s mother, the American doctor says there is no reason why the treatment wouldn’t work for her baby boy. Yet the British doctors and judges steadfastly refuse to budge.

Connie posts regular updates on her Facebook page. Her timeline is filled with pictures of her holding her son, alongside captions like “We won’t give up on you baby boy” and “If he’s still fighting, we’re still fighting.”

Throughout the ordeal, her social media posts have kept a positive tone. At times, though, her vexation seeps into her posts. “We have had the money for over 2 months but we are NOT allowed to take OUR OWN SON to a hospital that want to try and save his life!” Connie wrote last week.

“Why can’t we be trusted as parents?? I would never sit by my Sons side and watch him suffer, I’m not like that! Why can’t the drs in America be trusted either?? Why why why can’t we try and save our Sons life??”

Connie and Chris (Charlie’s dad) are heroes. When doctors told them their son’s life wasn’t worth saving, they kept fighting. When a judge unilaterally decided it’s better to kill the baby than to allow them to seek treatment elsewhere, they kept fighting.

The Telegraph, an English newspaper, even published an insensitively written editorial by a mother who had lost a son. Her advice to Charlie’s young parents? “Sometimes in life things just don’t go as you want them to… Sometimes you have to let go.”

But these heroes keep fighting. They know the immeasurable value of their baby boy’s life.

On the other hand, if Charlie is killed, the doctors and judges involved in his case will be nothing less than murderers, perversely justifying their senseless slaughter with the fallacious claim that their murderous act will be merciful and in the best interest of their victim.

What about the parents? Don’t their wishes and beliefs count for something? Are they not ultimately responsible for their child?

We cannot stand silent as this innocent baby boy is murdered by the government that is supposed to protect him and the doctors who swore an oath to “do no harm.” This is the fruit of the culture of death. This is the fruit of the “death with dignity” movement. We have devalued life to the point that doctors and judges think they can decide whose lives are worth living.

Yesterday, Charlie’s parents were able to enjoy their first picnic with him. “Charlie was awake the whole time. It was wonderful for him to feel the sun on his face and the wind in his hair,” Connie said. “We put on some music and Chris and I lay down next to Charlie. For the first time in months we felt like a normal family.”

Charlie’s fate now rests in the hands of the European Court of Human Rights. It will likely decide today whether Charlie’s life is “worth living.”

No matter how the Court decides, we cannot give up fighting for the most vulnerable. We must keep defending life.


Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and research fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

Arizona Implements Universal School Choice; Washington Should Follow Suit

A few weeks back, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed legislation making his state the first in the nation to codify universal school choice into law. The new law expands the state’s “Empowerment Scholarship Accounts,” which were established 2011 and originally applied only to children with special needs.

The traditional education model redirects taxpayer money to government schools. State schools and districts then decide how best to use the money. Instead of maintaining the failing status quo, Arizona will be allowing parents to take control of their money so that it may be used for the education that best meets their family’s needs.

The scholarship money can be spent on private education, online learning programs, tutoring, homeschool curricula, testing fees, and more. The average amount provided per student without disabilities is $5,700. That number increases to $19,000 for children with disabilities.

The enormity of this victory for Arizona students and families cannot be overstated. School choice is the single most important reform needed to improve primary education because, as we have discovered, the problem with education is not a shortage of money. From 1970 to 2010, federal education spending per student increased 375%. Over that same period, student achievement has remained entirely stagnant. Increasing funding will not fix the systemic inefficiencies and backward incentive structures that have led to failing schools across the country.

The traditional method of funding education, which entails transferring funds from government treasuries to government schools, does not work. Throwing money at the problem simply cements this deeply flawed structure into place. The systemic inefficiency and corruption has metastasized to the point that the system desperately needs to be reset. (For great investigative reporting on education system and teachers union corruption, watch the documentary The Cartel.)

Low-income students are most harmed by the current education system. Well-to-do families can afford to send their kids to private schools if their local public school isn’t up-to-par, but those without the necessary funds have no choice but to send their kid to a failing institution.

Not only does the quality of education suffer without competition, but the content is souring as public educators become bolder pushing leftist ideology on students. Secular humanism and progressive politics pervade every academic subject, and many parents with traditional values are worried their children’s schools are promoting values at odds with their family’s beliefs.

The answer to both the quality and content problems is very simple: Give education funding to families. Make schools compete for students by giving parents control over where education funding goes. Give the districts no choice but to increase the quality of the education and provide a balanced worldview. As parents use education money in ways that best serve their children, schools that don’t provide quality education will either improve or be replaced by schools that do.

In many areas of the country, including parts of Washington, students are locked into the school that serves their community. If the local public school is terrible, too bad. Unless you’re able to pay out-of-pocket for private school education, your kid will have to settle for a subpar government education and be left behind his or her peers attending better schools in other zip codes.

Giving parents the ability to customize their child’s education to the individual needs of their child should be a slam dunk bipartisan reform for the divided houses in Olympia. There’s no reason for the current top-down, one-size-fits-all education system to continue. Families should be allowed to use their own tax dollars to decide how their child gets educated and tailor that education to their child’s needs.

Forcing them to settle for whatever education the government provides, however terrible that education may be, is not only detrimental to both family and society but also deeply immoral. We cannot allow those opposing reforms to continue robbing students, especially low-income students in failing school districts, of their potential and of the quality education they deserve.

 

James Silberman is a guest contributor to the FPIW Blog. He is a pro-life activist from Gig Harbor, WA, and a student at Whitworth University.

New York’s War on Parents

Americans have traditionally understood that parents, not the state, have been delegated the responsibility to raise their children. But government officials in the Big Apple state are not afraid of running roughshod over parental rights, especially when it comes to a parent’s decisions about their children’s education.

Last week, the story of Kiarre Harris gained national attention. Harris, a single mother, felt her two children weren’t experiencing success in the Buffalo Public Schools they attended. Like many parents concerned about their children’s education, she decided to exercise her right to homeschool.

Harris filed paperwork to unenroll her children from public school, complying with the notoriously burdensome rules governing homeschooling families in New York. Working with a homeschool coordinator, Harris successfully completed the process on December 7, 2016.

A week after obtaining confirmation that she had successfully withdrawn her kids from public school, Harris received a phone call from a Child Protective Services representative, demanding to know why her children had been absent from school. She informed the CPS official that her children were now being homeschooled and offered to furnish copies of the paperwork that had been filed with the school district.

Harris thought the issue had been resolved – that is, until one month later, when CPS officials and police came to her home with a court order to remove her children, accusing her of “educational neglect.” When she refused to comply, police arrested her for obstruction. She was jailed and has been unable to see her children, who are now in foster care, for weeks.

Harris blames Buffalo Public Schools for not properly processing the paperwork unenrolling her children.

Buffalo Public Schools denies Harris’ claim. The district alleges that Harris had an encounter with CPS before making the decision to homeschool her kids. Their statement also implies that Harris did not have full custody of her kids, which is a requirement for parents making the decision to homeschool, but Harris contends that she does in fact have full legal custody.

“As we learn more, we realize [what has happened to Harris and her children] is happening a lot more than we realized,” said Samuel L. Radford, president of the District Parents Coordinating Council.

Unfortunately, Radford’s analysis seems to be right. According to the Home School Legal Defense Association, New York has earned a reputation for “their systematic mistreatment of homeschooling families.”

HSLDA is a non-profit advocacy organization that provides homeschooling families with legal services. It is suing New York City on behalf of Tanya Acevedo, a homeschooling mom. Like Harris, Acevedo was accused of “educational neglect” and was subjected to an invasive CPS investigation after New York City failed to properly process her paperwork withdrawing her son from his public school.

Jim Mason, HSLDA’s Vice President of Litigation, worked with Tanya as she battled CPS and New York City to exercise her right to homeschool her child. He published the following statement on December 5, 2016:

“After Tanya [Acevedo’s] situation was resolved, I asked other NYC homeschooling families for their stories. What I found appalled me.

“Family after family have found themselves in legal limbo because [New York City’s Central Office of Homeschooling] simply cannot or will not follow the timelines in the regulation. More than one homeschooling family told me they had been turned over to CPS because of the office’s delayed handling of the homeschooling paperwork.

“The injustice against homeschooling families in New York City can no longer be tolerated. On December 5, HSLDA filed a civil rights lawsuit against New York City public schools over their systematic mistreatment of homeschooling families. We are asking for money damages and for a court to order the New York City bureaucracy to simply follow New York’s homeschooling regulation.”

Harris and Acevedo’s regrettable experiences shed light on the difficulties homeschooling families face. Despite the Supreme Court’s recognition that parents have a fundamental right to “establish a home and bring up children” (Meyer v. Nebraska, 1923), some elitist bureaucrats feel they can make better decisions than parents about what is best for children .

The family is society’s first and most important institution, and the parent-child relationship is sacrosanct. Parents are ultimately responsible for the education and well-being of their children. As long as parents comply with reasonable expectations, government shouldn’t interfere with this sacred relationship unless the child’s health or safety is at risk.

At present, Harris’ kids are still in foster care. New York officials should wise up, realize they aren’t the parents, and stop violating the rights of those who are.

 

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and a research fellow for FPIW. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

A Teacher’s Perspective on School Choice (It’s Parental Choice)

The liberal media pounced on Betsy DeVos after her confirmation hearing last week, alleging that Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education is a radical Christian who supports “dismantling” public schools.

I teach at one of those private, for-profit, Christian schools that Democrats and their allies in the media are vilifying as one of the greatest threats to our nation’s youth and education system.

Although those opposed to DeVos’ nomination would like to convince you that private and charter schools are designed to serve only affluent whites, in reality, my school’s student body is majority-minority. Many of these kids come from broken homes on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum.

This isn’t as rare as the media would lead you to believe. Scholarships and voucher programs, whether privately or publicly funded, allow children to succeed in schools their families would otherwise have been unable to afford. In fact, empirical evidence overwhelmingly indicates that voucher programs improve racial integration in schools.

Many of my students were unable to achieve their full potential in their neighborhood public schools. Their parents were growing frustrated with what their schools were teaching, and were growing worried about their school’s culture of drugs, promiscuity, and insubordination.

In my experience, low-income and minority families who are given the opportunity to attend schools like the one where I teach are so thankful their kids are able to receive a quality education in a safe and edifying environment.

Some of my students have shared with me their experiences attending local public schools. One of my black students carried a gun with him to school as an early teenager to keep himself safe from gang activity. Drug dogs sweep the halls of local public high schools, which also sometimes use metal detectors to check students for weapons.

Apart from concerns about their children’s safety, many families also feel uneasy about the content of their children’s education. In Washington State, for example, schools are now teaching elementary school children that they can choose their gender. Sexual education curricula teach students to use methods of birth control many parents find morally objectionable. And some teachers, schools, and educational standards distort history and science to promote their pet political agendas.

Many of the most vocal critics of DeVos and the educational philosophy she represents contend that the very existence of private schools with different educational philosophies threatens public schools and our social order. These critics oppose any system of school choice that allows parents to choose the school they want to educate their children.

Contrary to the baseless claims of her critics, Betsy DeVos has never supported “dismantling” the public school system. Instead, she is simply working to ensure that those low- and middle-income families who find their local public school insufficient can have the same opportunities as wealthier families that are able pursue other means of education.

Providing more alternatives to public schools wouldn’t necessarily cause an exodus of children from public to private schools, nor would it require that public schools be “dismantled.”

If, in fact, most public schools offer an education superior to that of comparable private schools, families will decide to leave their kids in the public school to which they’ve been assigned. On the other hand, families who worry about their son or daughter attending public school would be able to move him or her to a school that better meets their needs and reflects their values.

No school or educational philosophy is perfect, and a one-size-fits-all system doesn’t really fit all families and students. That’s why choice is so necessary and important.

I’m especially thankful schools like the one at which I teach exist to provide families with an alternative to unsafe, failing schools that teach an educational philosophy antithetical to traditional Judeo-Christian values. Voucher programs like those supported by Betsy DeVos enable families to pursue whatever means of education works best for their children – and that’s something we should all celebrate.

 

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and research fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

Satanic Temple Infiltrates Tacoma Public School

The Satanic Temple’s efforts to infiltrate public schools seem to be making headway.

Point Defiance Elementary School, a public school in the Tacoma School District, has approved the Satanic Temple of Seattle’s request to start an “After School Satan Club” at the school. An informational meeting about the club will be held for parents, students, and teachers on December 14.

Point Defiance Elementary School’s decision to approve the “After School Satan Club” comes as Centennial Elementary School, a public school in Mount Vernon, WA, tries to decide how to respond to the Satanic Temple’s request to open a chapter at their school.

I’ve written before about the Satanic Temple’s attacks on “Good News Clubs,” an evangelical after school club that offers a forum for students who voluntarily want to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The Satanic Temple contends that it is unconstitutional for a school club to promote any religious belief. Responding to the success of “Good News Clubs” in schools across the country, the Satanic Temple has been targeting any school that allows a chapter of the evangelical club to meet after school by requesting that these schools also permit Satanic after school clubs. The implication, of course, is that schools open themselves up to legal liability if they refuse the request.

Obviously, the Satanic Temple’s argument is bunk. The constitutional framers and authors of the First Amendment wanted Christian morality to be taught in public schools. Moreover, in no way can the First Amendment be construed to prohibit voluntary after school clubs with a religious basis from operating in public schools.

The First Amendment does not give religious protections to secular political advocacy organizations like the Satanic Temple (Cavanaugh v. Bartelt, 2016). In the last several years, the Satanic Temple has garnered headlines for engaging in political stunts like distributing Satanic coloring books to elementary students, displaying Satanic nativity scenes on several state capitol grounds, and organizing “porn rooms.”

And while the Satanic Temple claims that it doesn’t literally worship Satan, its philosophy is permeated with radical self-exaltation and moral relativism, ideas usually associated with traditional Satanic thought. Its adherents, who rename themselves after demons and take part in nude rituals with overtly Satanic imagery, openly mock organized religion and attack the religious foundations of the American system of law in their effort to supplant our Judeo-Christian national heritage.

Schools shouldn’t be concerned about the Satanic Temple’s threats of litigation. Liberty Counsel, a religious liberty law firm, says it will provide pro-bono legal counsel to public schools that refuse the Satanic Temple’s request to start Satanic after school clubs. “School administrators do not have to tolerate groups that disrupt the school and target other legitimate clubs,” said Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel.

On the other hand, parents should be very concerned about the recent development that a local public school has given the green light to a Satanic club. Even most reasonable parents that don’t consider themselves overly religious would find the Satanic Temple’s promotion of promiscuity, self-exaltation, and rebellion against authority utterly distasteful. Parents of students in the Tacoma and Mount Vernon school districts should call and email their school officials and ask them to deny the Satanic Temple’s requests to open these clubs.

Blaine Conzatti is a columnist and 2016 Research Fellow at the Family Policy Institute of Washington. He can be reached at Blaine@FPIW.org.

Take action by sharing your concerns with your school and school district:

Point Defiance Elementary School

Phone: 253-571-6900

Email: lboyd2@tacoma.k12.wa.us

Tacoma Public School District

Phone: 253-571-1000

Email: info@tacoma.k12.wa.us

Centennial Elementary School

Phone: 360-428-6138

Email: tjensen@mvsd320.org

Mount Vernon School District

Phone: 360-428-6110

Email: cbruner@mv.k12.wa.us

Gender Warriors Advocating Forced Genital Amputation of Children

by Silence*

Trigger warning: Zack Ford

Zack Ford’s recent post at Think Progress, where he comes out strongly in favor of sterilizing and/or amputating the genitals of minor children in response to the American College of Pediatricians, is so reflexively contrarian, I worry about what would happen if the ACP released a statement opposing jumping off cliffs.

Ford is the LGBT Editor at ThinkProgress.org, affiliated with the highly influential Center for American Progress. Think Progress is shared widely on Capitol Hill, and is a commonly-read news source for anyone working on the political left. Whether you’ve heard of the site or not, when an editor at Think Progress feels comfortable promoting chemical castration for misfit children, you can be sure that they’re speaking from within the political comfort zone of the highest ranks of the Democrat Party and its allies.

Putting aside the uncommon phrases and words you may see in stories about so-called ‘transgender children’, a large number of gender warriors ignore the fact that a common side effect of putting a young child on “reversible” puberty blockers, and then giving them high doses of cross-sex hormones throughout their adolescent development window, is lifetime sterility. That’s before anyone goes under the knife, though cosmetic genital surgery is being pushed at ever-earlier ages as well.

Transitioning teens are even being chemically sterilized in front of an adoring nation on YouTube and on reality TV. It’s a spectacle of depravity for entertainment unparalleled since the castrati sang to packed opera houses in Europe. In cruelty, it matches the British government’s chemical castration of gay WWII codebreaker, Alan Turing.

When you watch these “heartwarming” transgender child stories — the ones where the kids look like they’re 11 at the age of 14 because they’ve been on hormone blockers for years — of parents giving their children cross-sex hormones, you’re watching the likely chemical sterilization of a child as an entertainment. If you like to think of yourself as a nice liberal, you probably watch these videos to feel good about your own broadmindedness.

It’s as if Toddlers and Tiaras was co-ed and gave the pageant winner a free tubal ligation or vasectomy. Pass the popcorn!

Meanwhile, Zack Ford and the transgender activist movement seem to be suggesting that all the weird little kids need to be encouraged to have their gonads destroyed before they’re old enough to even try them out.

Here’s a seven-year-old who seems to be transitioning because he wanted a Hello Kitty backpack and had a history of liking the colors pink and purple. This sounds like punishing children’s fashion tastes with castration.

Here’s a six-year-old boy who likes Barbie and wearing dresses. Because no one wants to hurt his self-esteem by telling him that what he’s wearing is wrong, they’re prepping him for body modification as if his entire body is wrong. Why are clothing choices a medical problem?

Here’s a teenager who seems to be transitioning because she wanted to get out of shaving her legs. Why does she have to shave her legs? Why is the better option a possible lifetime of hormone therapy that makes the doctors for the former East Germany’s Olympics team look like hobbyists?

There’s a four-year-old being socially transitioned and prepared for medicalized sex alteration in Australia because … why? They are four years old. Who is standing up for this child to say that their guardians and doctors need to respect their bodily integrity?

Ford acknowledges the issue of permanent sterility but seems unworried by it because these children might otherwise look “wrong” when they grow up. This is a reason both sinister and shallow. Ford says that no families are consenting to irreversible procedures. This is wrong, but it isn’t as though he seems to care. He dismisses the question this way:

“ACP wants to force trans kids to go through the wrong puberty, which would guarantee changes that could intensify their gender dysphoria, to avoid the risk of one possible side effect if they don’t. It’s actually proof of the double standard that Serano outlined — that it’s okay for a transgender kid to go through the wrong puberty, but not a cisgender kid.”

The “wrong puberty,” in this case, means not attaining reproductive maturity at all. This is serious, where Ford and his compatriots seem utterly dismissive. It should be frightening to parents, educators, and medical professionals, who might have thought that surely no one would be cavalier about minors being denied the possibility of ever having their own children. To Ford, this is just “one possible side effect.”

So it’s worth thinking about what Ford means when he refers to transgender kids. Many people react to this term as though we’re talking about a newly discovered sex of person, or as though the word transgender meant a different species. If there were such a physical classification, there would be a lab test for it. There isn’t one, unless children’s self-reported dissatisfaction with the prospect of growing up now counts as a modern scientific revelation.

Instead, the majority of children who go through what has been classed as gender dysphoria, somewhere between 60 to 90 percent of them, once stopped identifying as the opposite sex. But according to the study Zack Ford quotes, the “best outcomes” for children with gender dysphoria, or extreme unhappiness with their expected social roles, come from hormone treatments and surgical sexual transition. In other words, he mainly means to class these children as transsexuals.

Yes, Zack Ford is pushing the idea that there are transsexual children who urgently require what are known as sex changes because they are otherwise doomed to unhappiness. Instead of suggesting treatment for what sounds like depression, transgender ideologues want kids on hormones. Though cross-sex hormones won’t give a person an alternate reproductive system, and “sex change” or “gender confirmation” surgeries can’t change sex. These treatments can damage or remove your gonads, but not give you new ones. Surgeons can remove your genitals, but replacing them is a work in progress.

I was a weird little kid once. So was Rupert Everett, and here’s what he said about that, “I really wanted to be a girl. Thank God the world of now wasn’t then, because I’d be on hormones and I’d be a woman. After I was 15 I never wanted to be a woman again.”

Statistically, Rupert Everett represents the most likely outcome for children with gender dysphoria: they grow out of it. The majority of them used to grow up to be as satisfied with their bodies as anyone else, before they began to be socially transitioned and put on treatments that block the adolescent hormone surges that act to mature the brain as well as the body.

Or too frequently, transitioning children have a condition on the autism spectrum, and they are often girls whose social delays and sensory integration problems make them feel like they’re failures at performing feminine social roles. Sometimes these young people are told lies in their so-called support groups, like that taking testosterone can grow male genitalia for biological females. When you fit in as badly at school as many autistic young people do, I can see wanting to believe that someone can give you a treatment that will fix it.

Now the misfit kids are too often being recruited and groomed at school and over social media to seek genital amputation and sterilization. Some of them are being recruited and groomed by therapists and other medical professionals. A child may end up surrounded by adults who are now forbidden by law to try to help them overcome discomfort with social expectations or their bodies, forbidden to oppose anyone encouraging them down a path of transsexual medicalization.

After an amputation or extraction of the gonads, someone who’s had a full course of transsexual medical treatment is likely to need a lifetime of urgent medical intervention.

Zack Ford writes of avoiding extreme medical intervention as “privileging” one type of person over another, as if it were discriminatory to allow puberty to take its normal, healthy course.

These children aren’t a new sex, they are girls and boys who are often being neutered, if not, groomed from a young age to seek medical de-sexing. How long will the manufacture of new labels for these children hide that from view?


*Silence is the pseudonym of a radical, progressive feminist.

“For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I cannot disclose my real identity. But I can tell you this much: I’m a progressive feminist who has spent years working on the front lines of the left. I have opposed conservatism my entire political life in the most strident of terms; under other circumstances, I wouldn’t admit to even reading this site.”