Protecting the Children

Parents reject schools' anti-family policies

Protecting the Children

Parents reject schools' anti-family policies

In a September interview with the Associated Press, the Biden administration’s education secretary, Miguel Cardona, questioned the motives of parents who are “acting as if they know what’s right for kids.”

Cardona added, “There’s a team that’s fighting for kids and there’s a team that’s fighting against kids.”

As parents nationwide increasingly stand up against the government’s assault on parental rights, victories are being won for the sake of children and parents. But experts say much more work needs to be done.

About two years ago, local school boards from California to Florida began facing a groundswell of opposition to curricula infused with LGBTQ ideology that encouraged students to question their gender identity, and Critical Race Theory ideology that divides kids by their skin color into one of two camps—oppressor or oppressed.

When parents began pushing back, the National School Board Association classified them as “domestic terrorists” and sought the help of U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, who issued a 2021 FBI memo directing law enforcement at all levels to monitor parents who publicly oppose these ideological trends at local school board meetings.

A few months before Garland’s directive, a Loudoun County, Virginia, dad was handcuffed and arrested at a school board meeting for protesting the board’s attempt to conceal his daughter’s sexual assault in a girls’ restroom by a male student who identified as female.

In early September, Virginia Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin pardoned the dad, Scott Smith, who was convicted of disorderly conduct in August 2021 after he vehemently criticized Loudoun County school board members’ handling of the investigation.

“We righted a wrong,” Youngkin told Fox News Sunday host Shannon Bream. 

“Mr. Smith did what any father would do, what any parent would do, which is stand up for their child,” Youngkin added. “This was a gross miscarriage of justice.” 

The Loudoun County school superintendent was eventually fired for failing to properly report the crime and placing the male student in another high school where he sexually assaulted another female student.

Since Youngkin’s inauguration in January 2022, he has worked to fulfill a campaign promise and Biblical conviction to ensure that parents, not government, can fulfill their God-given responsibility to raise their children. 

In July, Virginia’s Department of Education (DOE) endorsed Youngkin’s guidelines requiring school administrators and staff across the state to inform parents when their child expresses issues with their gender identity. The policy also requires students to use the restroom or locker room and play school sports consistent with their biological sex.

But in Virginia, the DOE’s regulatory policies could change with the next governor. That’s why The Family Foundation of Virginia, a nonprofit Christian organization affiliated with Focus on the Family, has been lobbying state legislators to pass a bill that would prioritize parental rights and protect children from aggressive transgender indoctrination.

The proposed bill, known as Sage’s Law, is named after a former ninth-grade female at Appomattox County High School, who in 2021 ended up being sex-trafficked across two states and kept away from her parents for 344 days. Sage had begun presenting as a male at school, and her school had encouraged her new identity without notifying her parents, despite the fact that Sage was being bullied for identifying as a male.

According to her lawsuit against the Appomattox County School Board, Sage’s mom, Michelle Blair, had previously notified the school that her daughter had been struggling with depression, eating disorders, self-harm and hallucinations, yet school officials neglected to tell Michelle that her daughter was identifying as a boy at school.

When Sage ran away from home to escape the abuse at school, she ended up being sex-trafficked in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore before FBI agents rescued her. Unfortunately, they placed her in a Maryland juvenile facility for young men because of her transgender identity, where she was sexually assaulted again before running away. She ended up in Texas, where she was trafficked again. When U.S. Marshals finally rescued her, she had been raped, drugged, starved and tortured.

After Sage was found, she was admitted into a residential treatment facility away from her family in Virginia, where the staff continued to push transgenderism despite Sage’s and her parents’ objections. It was then that lawyers with The Family Foundation of Virginia intervened to help return Sage to her parents, where she is healing mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually and no longer identifies as male.

Todd Gathje, vice president of government relations with Virginia’s Family Foundation, said that the state’s Nov. 7 election for the entire 100-seat Virginia House of Delegates and 40-seat Senate could garner the Republican majorities needed to pass Sage’s Law next year. This year, the proposed law passed in the Republican-led House but was blocked from a vote in the Democrat-led Senate.

Gathje says commonsense laws that protect parents and kids will be passed only when voters change the composition of the state Senate. 

Such an election made a difference in Southern California, where a 4-to-1 conservative majority took their seats in January on the Chino Valley Unified School District’s school board. Newly elected chairwoman Sonja Shaw led the board in July to adopt a parental notification policy requiring school officials to notify parents within three days if their student asks to identify as any gender “other than the student’s biological sex or gender listed on the student’s birth certificate or any other official records.”

The policy—which is currently unenforceable while being litigated in court—has garnered protests from California’s superintendent of public instruction, a lawsuit from the state’s attorney general, and vulgar death threats toward Shaw, her family and pets.

“When we started going through this battle, there would be no way in the world that I think my family and myself would be able to endure what we have if we didn’t have Christ,” Shaw told Decision.

A self-described soccer mom and former fitness trainer whose own childhood included foster care and a drug-addicted single mom, Shaw said she is fighting for parents and children who are being victimized by anti-family policies. Another policy she has led her school district to adopt is one that limits flag displays on school grounds to the U.S. flag and California state flag—thereby eliminating Pride flags and other controversial emblems.

“I’m just doing what I can to protect kids and protect the family unit,” Shaw said. “The enemy is going after the family unit and trying to break it up so they can have control of our children. I see that as a Christian, and I’m not going to stand and allow these things to happen.”

For Quisha King, a mother of two school-aged daughters from Jacksonville, Florida, it was a question from her daughter’s teacher that compelled her three years ago to be vigilant about holding schools accountable for what they’re teaching.

During her daughter’s first week of eighth grade, a teacher asked her daughter what pronouns she preferred. A few weeks later her daughter recorded the same teacher asking her students to describe how they had been oppressed.

King took her concerns directly to the Florida Board of Education, where she delivered a two-minute speech calling Critical Race Theory (CRT) a racist ideology. The 2021 speech went viral. King has since spoken nationally for parental rights in schools and eradicating indoctrination from public education. But the national spotlight on King’s advocacy has also brought death threats her way.

“We don’t know the time or the hour when Christ is coming back,” King said. “Until He comes, I just feel compelled by the Holy Spirit to keep going.”

Kate Anderson, director of Alliance Defending Freedom’s Center for Parental Rights, said a Wisconsin judge’s ruling in October should be a precedent for future court rulings. The Waukesha County Circuit Court ruled that the Kettle Moraine School District, west of Milwaukee, violated a mother and father’s constitutional rights by affirming their daughter’s desire to identify as a male despite the parents’ objections (see page 4).

“This first one being such a clear win for parents’ freedom to protect their kids is a good indicator of where courts should go and can go after this,” Anderson said.

Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council (FRC), said that with 14,000 local school boards and at least 80% of America’s children enrolled in public schools, there is a vital need for Christian influence in education policy. FRC’s legislative affiliate, FRC Action, has trained about 2,500 people through it’s School Board Boot Camp online for that reason.

“To whom much is given, much is required,” Kilgannon said. “We need to engage the public education system for the sake of the children trapped there and the country they will grow up to lead. We must ensure they are educated in a way that makes it easier for them to encounter Christ, not harder.” ©2023 BGEA

Above: Sonja Shaw, president of Chino Valley Unified School District, is applauded at a news conference at the California state Capitol in August 2023.

Photo: Renée C. Byer/TNS/Newscom

Subscribe to Decision Email Devotional

Subscribe to Decision Email Devotional

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

About Us     Contact Us     Privacy
©2024 Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. BGEA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.