Lauren C. Moye, FISM News
Twelve days ago, an Alaskan school board voted to shut down a community father for his concerns over a pornographic book found in the school library that encouraged teenagers to watch porn and to use photo-editing while sending naked pictures to their peers. The moment highlights the divisiveness of what used to be a commonly recognized parental right and the fight ahead of states and parents who wish to enshrine this right.
On Feb. 7, Jay McDonald stood in an Anchorage school board meeting with an example of “diversity, inclusion, and equity” recently purchased for the school library. The book was “Let’s Talk About It” and is billed as a “teen’s guide to sex, relationships, and being a human.”
McDonald began reading selections from the book, including that porn is a “fun sugary treat” that can help teenagers learn about their sexuality. Meanwhile, the book encourages teens to research sexual fantasies and kinks on the internet, which can connect minors to people who can give them advice about their interests.
“This is a book for kids,” McDonald declared, before reading from a section of tips on how to send nudes.
“So before you start sending your naughty masterpieces around the world, take some time to get friendly with photo editing, software and apps,” the book stated.
This is the point where the vice president of the board, Carl Jacobs, intervened to shut down the Dad’s comments according to Fox News.
“Just sounds like you have a concern about a book. I’d be glad to get you connected to the superintendent or team to go through the appropriate process,” Jacobs said.
The statement missed the point. Most parents don’t have the opportunity to check in on library acquisitions or to closely investigate gender identity and sexuality lessons. When parents are forced to go through closed-door meetings to voice concerns, it prevents the larger outrage that can spur a community into action.
For example, California parents pressured a school into canceling a Planned Parenthood vote. Parents also banded together to demand accountability from the Loudon County School Board in Virginia when a biological male identifying as a female sexually assaulted a female student in the women’s bathroom. This is significant because the father of that girl was also once thrown out of a school board meeting and then vilified by LGTB+ activists as violent.
In Alaska, one school board member named Dave Donley stood up to the vice president and cautioned him that McDonald had not broken any rules. Eventually, the moment went to a vote with the school board voting to silence the Dad in a 5-2 vote.
PARENTAL RIGHTS LAWS
While many parents may recognize that encouraging teens to send out nude pictures, talk with strangers about sex on the internet, or watch pornography are risky behavior, the book central to the Alaskan school board controversy is only one example of a larger issue of a parent’s right to guide a child’s upbringing being under attack by liberal ‘woke’ education movements.
This has led to a host of legislation in an attempt to enshrine this right. The most well-known example of this is Florida’s Parental Rights in Education – inappropriately nicknamed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill – there are numerous examples of states attempting to codify a parent’s rights to have a say both in their child’s education and regarding transgender issues.
On Feb. 14, Georgia State Sen. Carden Summers said he was planning to rewrite Ga. Senate Bill 88 after criticism. However, he is adamant that a law must be passed to prevent teachers from promoting gender fluidity in the classroom or to stop teachers from hiding a student’s gender dysphoria from their parents.
The law would require written permission from parents before a teacher could provide this kind of information to a student. It would also prevent a school from changing a child’s name or gender on school records without written permission.
“We’re simply trying to limit the exposure that person would have on a child regarding gender,” Summers said. “That’s where it’s at. They’re not supposed to … talk to that child about your gender without permission from the parent.”
Meanwhile, Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee introduced a plan earlier this month to overhaul education in the state. Her plan calls for a $14,000 raise to the starting teacher salary, offers education freedom accounts, and also strengthens parental rights to guide their child. The plan has been critiqued for similarities to Florida’s parental rights law.
Mississippi House Republicans have included a parents’ right to review school curricula and to opt children out of sex education lessons in a “parents’ bill of rights” in January.
The bills are just a few examples of parental rights laws that conservatives are attempting to enact at the state level. In fact, Future-ed tracked over 80 related bills introduced during 2022 but it is unclear if the tracker is still active for the new legislative section.