In recent years, we have heard about shocking incidents involving the undermining by public school personnel of the basic rights of parents by, among other things, implementing policies that allow minor students to change their name and gender pronouns at school without parental consent.
I wondered who on earth could possibly be in favor of such secrecy and violation of such a fundamental right of a parent to be kept informed about the troubles of his or her child.
As it happens, the other day I ran across an op-ed piece by a Princeton undergraduate in the campus newspaper, The Daily Princetonian that provides an insight into how those in elite circles regard the rights of parents. The article is entitled, Learning from Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill: The importance of queer spaces and education.
I realize that it might seem silly to dissect the opinion piece of a single first-year student at one school. But it was published in the student newspaper of a quite influential university and provides insights into the attitudes being inculcated in students in the upper echelons of academia. It is, therefore, useful to examine what is considered to be acceptable discourse about American education at many levels among Ivy League students. Pretty scary stuff given that many of these students go on to control the levers of power in law, government, media, etc.
So here goes.
Note that the writer uses the term “concerning language” to characterize a bill working its way through the Florida legislature. The bill is called Parental Rights in Education:
The bill also contains some concerning language regarding parent notification policies, which implies that educators will not be permitted to withhold information about a student’s sexual orientation or gender identity from parents.
On what planet would such a basic right of any caring parent be contested? How are such fundamental rights in any way problematic?
Moreover, how would it benefit public schools to enshrine the right of school officials to keep vital information from parents? Does the writer want to create the conditions for a mass exodus of families from the public school system? Sowing distrust between parents and teachers and administrators is hardly in the best interest of anyone, save the homeschooling movement.
The student uses the sort of hyperbolic language that opponents of parental rights routinely employ:
For students who have already begun to question their identity, these constraints are incredibly dangerous.
And driving a wedge between parents and their children is totally fine? Assigning strangers the ability to determine the fate of one’s children is not dangerous?
Note that isolating children from their parents does not concern the writer in the least:
By eliminating schools as a safe place to question their identity, the bill forces students to grapple with their emotions alone and isolates them from peers and mentors.
Also, note that we are not given any examples of “the vocabulary” that the writer regards as vital:
A further cause for concern is that this bill bans any true education about sexuality or gender identity at all. It completely removes the vocabulary needed for current and future exploration.
And remember, this bill is primarily concerned with primary grade levels—children as young as five or six. What would they be doing discussing sexuality at all? When will this obsession by the sexual left with the sexualization of childhood end? What is “true education?” You can bet it would not be anything "heteronormative."
To her credit, the writer does not hide her radical agenda the way many proponents of same-sex marriage did. She says flat out:
…it’s essential that all schools — from elementary schools to universities like Princeton — maintain safe spaces for exploration and prioritize queer education.
As is usual in pieces by those who refer to themselves as “queer,” there is a good deal of self-pity and then the highly predictable passage about the need to triumph over heterosexual sexual norms followed by an instance of endless fussing over sexual identity—which rather weakens the case for how this radical agenda is supposed to contribute to the mental health of young children:
…grappling with one’s sexuality is hard. It involves a deprogramming of heteronormative standards and ideals, the loss of the ease that comes with conforming to those standards, and the ever-challenging issue of labeling
Notice that the use of the word “deprogramming” not so subtly likens heterosexuality and non-radical sexual politics to a cult. This gives you an idea of the mindset of people who regard stripping average parents of their rights as imperative.
The scope of the sexual identity crusade by the aggrieved legions who label themselves queer is staggering, ranging from demanding that public schools be made parental-oversight-free to insisting that Ivy League schools be transformed into havens and centers of advocacy for the sexually confused:
It’s absolutely crucial that schools create safe places for this kind of exploration and that they provide students with the basic vocabulary needed to begin one’s journey. Princeton is no exception. Indeed, in many ways, Princeton now has an obligation to compensate for this bill and others like it.
It is hard not to get a chuckle out of the contradictions within the op-ed. We read about the need for indoctrination on the tenets of “queer visibility”:
…perhaps by better integrating queer education into the First Year Residential Experience (FYRE) sessions, advisee group meetings, or mandatory discussion sessions for other groups
even while we are told this about such indoctrination:
For those not a part of the community, it means being open to learning and practicing tolerance and acceptance.
And if parents are not “tolerant,” it is perfectly okay for teachers and school staff members to conspire to become the secret “confidants” of other people’s children.
And if you are a Princeton student who simply wants to study and not have to be plunged continually into the psychological and sociopolitical struggles of those for whom queerness is all, you had better get used to this sort of environment:
…as Florida moves backward, it's important for Princeton to move forward, by pushing for campus to be a safe space for all students to be queer and explore sexuality
Maybe this was a simple slip and not something more sinister:
pushing for campus to be a safe space for all students to be queer
Let us hope so.
This is the kind of thinking that the editors of The Daily Princetonian think worthy of printing. I wonder if any of them will become parents someday and if consigning their children to a shadowy system in which parents are treated as meddlesome bothers at best or as reactionary impediments to the envisoned paradise of the sexual left at worst is what they always had in mind.