What Parents Don’t Know Can Hurt Them–and Their Children

Julaine Appling

2020 | Week of October 5 | Radio Transcript #1380

“Do you know what they are teaching to kindergarteners in our local public schools?” an irate parent said to me at one of our community events recently.  Sadly, I was pretty sure I did know what that school was teaching in kindergarten, especially when this mother went on to say it was part of the so-called “human growth and development” program.

If you’re not aware, in Wisconsin we euphemistically call “sex-ed” in our government schools “Human Growth and Development” programs.

The first thing parents need to know is that no school district in Wisconsin is required to have a sex ed program. It’s totally voluntary.

However, if a school district decides to have a sex-ed program, then state law mandates a few things. For instance, there must be an advisory committee that includes representation from parents, clergy, and medical personnel. In addition, the law restricts how many school-district-related people can be on the committee.

Further, the law requires, among other things, that abstinence from sexual activity be presented as the preferred choice for unmarried students and that abstinence from sexual activity before marriage is the only reliable way to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

To help parents, the law also requires that school districts supply parents with an outline of what will be covered in any human growth and development course, information on how to get the details of what will be taught, as well as on their right to opt their child out of any or all human growth and development class or course.

Essentially, the law allows school districts to have a true abstinence-focused human growth and development program or a much broader and more liberal so-called “comprehensive” sex-ed program that actually encourages sexual activity with a “be safe” message.

The way the law is written, it is really up to individual communities to ride herd on their local school district to ensure full compliance with this law.  Getting informed and involved Christians on the advisory committee is critical. Beyond that, parents are, as always, their children’s best defense.  I believe it is imperative parents see not just the outline of what will be taught in these courses, but the actual materials that will be used.

More and more frequently, school districts are using materials, even in kindergarten, that are graphically explicit—and quite frankly, in any other context would be deemed pornographic or at least unsuitable in a public place, especially when children are involved. But parents won’t know this unless they press the issue.

As usual, it’s what parents don’t know that can hurt them and their children. That’s exactly why Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit earlier this year on behalf of a group of Madison parents against the Madison School District for adopting and implementing policies that violate the rights of District parents.

The district’s policies adopted in April 2018 enable children, of any age, to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent, and then direct District employees to conceal and even deceive parents about the gender identity their child has adopted at school. The lawsuit also argues that the District may not enable a gender identity transition at school without parental notice and consent.

Here’s the good news. Late last month, the Dane County Judge issued an injunction in this lawsuit. That injunction forbids District employees from lying or deceiving parents about the gender identity their child may have adopted at school. The court chose not to act on the other issue in the case; but still, this initial ruling sends a clear warning message to the District that its policy is problematic, and that parents can expect transparency and honesty from teachers and District staff about their children. This case is ongoing, but in the meantime, parents and their children at least have some measure of protection. Suffice it to say, it is never right or in any way ok for school officials to lie to or deceive parents in any way about their children.

This lawsuit happened because an alert parent of a child in a Madison elementary school discovered this illegal policy online—and then alerted others, which ultimately resulted in this very significant lawsuit.

So back to where we began: Do I know what is being taught to kindergarten students in our public schools when it comes to sex ed? While I unfortunately do, that’s not really the question that should be asked. The question that should be asked is do the parents of kindergarteners—and kids in every other grade—know what their children are being taught? Ignorance isn’t bliss; it’s dangerous.

This is Julaine Appling for Wisconsin Family Council, reminding you the Prophet Hosea said, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

Julaine Appling has taught on the junior high, high school, and college levels, and for five years was the administrator of a private school. In 1998 she was asked to become the Executive Director of Wisconsin Family Council, where her mission is to advance Judeo-Christian principles and values in Wisconsin by strengthening, preserving, and promoting marriage, family, life and liberty. In addition to regularly being interviewed for Wisconsin television, radio, and newspapers, she is the host of "Wisconsin Family Connection," aired weekly on almost 50 radio stations in Wisconsin including the VCY America radio network.

Learn more at WIFamilyCouncil.org

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