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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A week after obtaining confirmation that she had successfully withdrawn her kids from public school, Harris received a phone call from a Child Protective Services representative, demanding to know why her children had been absent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.

There Was a Certain Rape: A Look Inside the Transgender Movement

by Silence

For reasons of personal safety and livelihood, I can’t tell you who I am. 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.

Yet, I’ve known for a while that questioning the official narrative of transgender activism (a cause championed wholeheartedly and without question by nearly everyone on the left) can get you blacklisted from media and political work.

People I thought of as friends and colleagues have turned into thought police, and anyone who dares to question the official line is intimidated into capitulation and silence — or forced to find another line of work. So I’m writing you like this, here, to ask you to think carefully about the public safety impacts of the story you’re about to read.

On March 26th, 2016, there was a certain rape. Let me be more specific: a prominent transgender (born male) activist raped another transgender (born female) person and bragged about it on the Internet.

Both the details of the event and the larger circumstances matter, because the truth matters.

Transgender activist and admitted rapist Cherno Biko is still making appearances on behalf of the transgender movement.

Cherno Biko is a transgender woman. As Co-Chair of the Young Women’s Advisory Council for New York City, Biko is deeply embedded in a movement that strongly invests in forcing all public speech to contort itself around the idea that transgender women, who are biologically male, are instead biologically female and always have been.

In New York City, where Biko lives, it is a crime, punishable by a fine of up to $250,000, to intentionally refer to a transgender person in a way that causes offense.

Transgender ideology itself hinges on the assumption that a person is transitioning to live under gender roles normally prescribed to the opposite sex. The public has been led to believe that ‘transgender’ is another word for ‘transsexual’, someone who has an overwhelming compulsion to have a full surgical transition. But this is false.

Here’s what happened:

During what started as consensual intercourse, Biko told the victim – whom we’ll call “J” – that he wanted to get “J” pregnant with his children. Biko then removed his condom, and continued the act over the victim’s objection. (“J” is a transgender man, but otherwise biologically and anatomically female.)

“To be honest, I’m relieved that I can now speak directly to these issues, from the perspective of both a victim and abuser,” Biko wrote afterwards. This expressed relief was short-lived. That sentence was removed, and, as of July 28, read as follows:

“As I began to learn more about consent I discovered that under [New York State] law it is impossible for a person who is mentally unstable to give consent. I struggled with this idea because it leaves no space for varying degrees of mental illness or for people who experience mental illness but have never been diagnosed like myself.”

In a space of days, Biko moved from admitting culpability for a serious crime to playing the victim.

Here’s Why It’s Rape

In this case, a biologically male person raped a biologically female person, for the purpose of forcible impregnation. Even Chase Strangio of the ACLU, notorious for stating that there’s no such a thing as a male or female body, knows what kind of bodies I’m talking about when I say that someone with a penis pulled off a condom and tried to get someone else pregnant during heterosexual intercourse. What types of bodies get pregnant? Everyone knows.

Transgender dogma is such that Biko’s victim, “J,” has been conditioned to believe that, although they were born female, they have acquired male privilege over biologically and anatomically male individuals like Cherno Biko, and are therefore expected to protect them in cases such as this.

But even if “J” pressed charges, knowing the nature of laws regarding transgender speech in New York City, how could a prosecutor clearly describe what happened to a judge and jury? Transgender individuals often strongly object to using either medically accurate terms for their body parts or even veiled references such as “male genitalia.”

Even in the event of a conviction, presuming that Biko’s official documents inaccurately list his sex as female, New York State laws would likely require housing Biko in a female correctional facility.

According to the Correctional Association of New York, of the women in prison in the state, “three-quarters have histories of severe physical abuse by an intimate partner during adulthood, and 82% suffered serious physical or sexual abuse as children.” Is a person with intact penis and testes and a penchant for forcible impregnation really a suitable cell or shower mate for the already-abused women held in New York State facilities?

In the likely event that nothing changes and Biko continues to roam free, what will this mean practically? The victim of Biko’s crime admitted that Biko was unable to pay $80 for potential HIV exposure. What if Biko were to lose his housing and require the services of a homeless shelter? The Obama administration has declared that all formerly single-sex crisis shelters must accept individuals on the basis of gender identity, and has made clear that questioning such claims opens shelters to civil rights complaints.

Is a person with intact male genitalia and a penchant for forcible impregnation a suitable women’s dormitory resident, when the other women there have nowhere to go?

Men can be raped, too. Yet, a male body cannot be subject to impregnation.

These simple, commonly-understood facts have been wholly uncontroversial until recently. When and why did it become taboo to look at a situation like this and accurately describe it?

When transgender woman Dana McCallum raped his wife after being served with divorce papers, everyone seemed most interested in making sure the word “male” was never attached to the perpetrator. Former colleagues issued no statements and McCallum’s writing was scrubbed from the feminist media site where it had previously appeared.

Will Biko’s name and work disappear just as quietly? Is that even possible, given his status as a media darling?

On March 31, 2016, Biko spoke at the White House for Trans Day Of Visibility. On June 14, 2016, Biko attended The United State of Women, hosted by President Obama, and First Lady Michelle Obama. That is, Biko attended two White House appearances, and not his first, since remorselessly raping “J.”

Maybe “J” is worried about Biko’s well being. Though maybe “J” also knows, like I do, that speaking out against prominent transgender activists often brings an avalanche of death threats, rape threats, and threats of economic retribution.

Will the transgender movement ever wake up to the consequences of the stifling silence they’ve created, now that a self-described rapist has represented them twice this year at the White House?

To date, the transgender community doesn’t seem to want accountability. They want problems to go away as quickly and quietly as possible. When Allison Woolbert was outed as a former child rapist under Woolbert’s birth name, Dennis, the transgender community acted largely as if it had never happened. Woolbert’s prominence in anti-violence initiatives prompted very little soul-searching.

When Chad Sevearance-Turner, the lead organizer of the Charlotte, North Carolina, effort to end sex-segregated private spaces in the city, was revealed to be a registered sex offender, he, too, was simply quietly retired from that campaign, as reported in the Charlotte Observer.

According to the transgender movement, the State of New York, and the Obama administration, Biko is a woman, who can be in a state of undress anywhere that any biological female can be in a state of undress. According to gender identity laws ending sex-segregated private spaces, even Sevearance-Turner has only to declare himself a woman to be allowed to undress in female-only spaces.

In New York City, where Biko lives, it’s a potential violation of the human rights laws to publicly mention a transgender person’s former name. Will Biko be able to change his name again and claim this protection?

Gender identity policy changes that go beyond issues of preventing housing and employment discrimination aren’t mainly (and never were) about bathrooms. Bathrooms are simply where the legal definition of “same-sex” collides most often with the paths of the general public.

But promoters of the transgender policy agenda insist that it’s wrong to discuss the possibility that predators could misuse its proposals. They’ve done this so effectively within the policy and media elite that the only questions now come from the right.

They’re the same people who will read this article about a brutal rape, and complain that the real violence is that Biko has been “misgendered” by being referred to as male, just so the facts could be clearly communicated.

This doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. Let’s just promote common sense.