Just outside Washington, D.C., in Fairfax County, Va., the public schools are on the leading edge of a strategic and well-funded push to indoctrinate students in the thinking of the 21st-century’s sex and gender revolution. In this brave new world, all things LGBTQ and gender-bending are welcome and encouraged. Parents, meanwhile, are suspect.
Fairfax County fifth-graders, usually 10 and 11 years old, learn about “sexual partners” and safe sex. One eighth-grade sex-education lesson mentions anal sex 18 times, according to a review of materials compiled by Fairfax-area parents who posted their findings on a website called ParentandChild.org.
David Aponte of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of Northern Virginia told the Washington Postthat Fairfax County schools are among the “laboratories” for its LGBTQ initiatives.
Fairfax County may be ahead of its peers in pushing boundaries, but it is far from alone.
For more than a year in San Diego, parents have fought a sex-ed curriculum deemed “pornographic” and “misogynistic” by some but praised by the state of California as conforming to recommendations in its Healthy Youth Act, passed in 2015.
“To have adults talk to sixth-graders about sexual pleasure—too much,” said Ashley Bever, a parent and substitute teacher, during a school board meeting May 29.
Dozens of other examples have occurred nationally.
In Fort Worth, Texas, a similar controversy arose over a sixth-grade lesson that covered sexual orientation and gender fluidity. After parents alleged the district was avoiding showing parents the material, per state law, the state attorney general in June requested a copy of the material for his review, warning the district of state law requiring parental access.
And it’s not merely sex ed where a clearly anti-Biblical ideology has taken root. The noble endeavor of creating safer schools and reducing bullying has largely been co-opted by homosexual and transgender activist organizations under the guise of nondiscrimination.
GLSEN, which sponsors gay-straight alliance clubs in schools, along with the influential Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the world’s largest gay lobbying group, among others, has successfully convinced state legislatures, state and local school boards, textbook publishers and big teachers’ unions that their agenda is on the right side of history.
“Welcoming Schools,” produced by the HRC for elementary schools, aims to produce LGBTQ-friendly and “gender inclusive” schools by training elementary educators in its curriculum. According to HRC, the program is used in schools in Oakland and Berkeley, Calif.; Madison, Wis.; Houston; Plantation, Fla.; and others.
Anti-bullying campaigns have become the “wedge issue” for sexual diversity indoctrination, says Cathy Ruse, an attorney and senior fellow for legal studies at the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council (FRC). Ruse has attended numerous school board meetings in nearby Fairfax County.
“We hear a lot that schools should be safe for everyone,” Ruse says. “And the idea is if you don’t agree to all the demands of the LGBT agenda in schools, then you’re threatening the safety of children in schools or you are allowing the bullying of children in schools.”
A year before President Obama’s directive threatened public schools with lawsuits and loss of federal aid if they did not change their sex discrimination policies to include sexual orientation, gender identity and compliance with restroom and changing room access for transgender students, Fairfax County schools had already led with the policy.
“And they did it all under the guise of anti-bullying,” Ruse says, adding that a Freedom of Information Act request granted to the mother of a Fairfax student showed no instances of recorded bullying in the district related to transgenderism.
Candi Cushman, director of education issues at Focus on the Family and creator of a website called TrueTolerance.org, where model anti-bullying and parental rights resources are available, says the social agendas and identity politics of adults are often being forced on kids.
“As a result, kids learn that their worth is based on how they identify politically—or how much power and control they can maintain in society—rather than the unchangeable fact that they are a creation of God with intrinsic eternal value,” Cushman says.
Such a secular mindset emerges in such things as radical sex-ed curricula. “They learn their existence is an accident, that nothing is sacred about their life, and that they have no better destiny than to give in to their most basic instincts.”
Cushman contends that a loss of respect for life, coupled with a lack of civic education for much of the population, has led to diminished salt and light in public education. Thus, Christian teachers are increasingly facing difficult decisions.
One example is Brownsburg, Ind., teacher John Kluge, who is fighting to get his job back after being forced to resign for calling his students by their last names to avoid using preferred gender pronouns.
“This case shines the spotlight on the tension between schools’ gender identity policies and educators’ religious freedom rights,” Cushman says, adding that Christian parents and grandparents have multiple avenues to respectfully engage public schools, from running for school board to volunteering for curriculum committees to attending board meetings.
“Come prepared to offer solutions, not just a complaint,” Cushman says. “Oftentimes, educators are responding to outside pressure and threats of lawsuits, and they may not have a full perspective.”
Nationally, FRC’s Ruse says there is a movement among concerned parents to convince states to require the written permission of parents for students to attend controversial classes, most notably sex education. Many states require that school districts offer parents the chance to “opt out” their kids, yet Ruse cautions that such policies haven’t shown to be effective. To be respectful of busy parents and ensure they are fully informed, states need to go further by enrolling students whose parents sign an “opt- in” document.
“Parents are the problem as the activists see it,” says Ruse, adding that most parents don’t know how bad things are.
“Public schools should be for everyone,” Ruse says, “but increasingly they are hostile places for a significant portion of the public, some of whom don’t have the means to make other choices.”