". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


Two More Exhibits Showing Who Sides with Parents in the Education Wars

February 26, 2024

A three-year-old with a lapful of cookie crumbs. A government employee living in impossible luxury. A murderer still holding the smoking gun when police arrive. Some culprits are caught so red-handed that denial is useless, even if they try. Other offenders might argue their way out of punishment for a first attempt — only to be caught again doing the very same thing they insisted they would never do. Take, for example, America’s radicalized educational establishment, exemplified by two school boards in Missouri.

To set the scene, in October 2021, Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe handed Republicans an inestimable gift when he declared, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.” By saying aloud what education elites clandestinely believed — and what parents learned to be true in the Great COVID Awakening — McAuliffe not only sealed his own defeat but elevated the entire Republican Party to parity on an issue Democrats have traditionally dominated. He was caught red-handed.

Last March, Biden administration Education Secretary Miguel Cardona attempted to reverse conservative gains on education with an op-ed published in Florida’s second-largest newspaper. “Parents don’t want politicians dictating what their children can learn, think and believe,” he protested. “Parents also are speaking out about their worries that politicians are using our kids’ education as a political football.” The whole thrust of Cardona’s argument, on behalf of the educational elite, was to reframe recent education controversies from “parents versus left-wing teachers” to “parents versus right-wing politicians.”

“Yet wisdom is justified by all her children” (Luke 7:35), and “each tree is known by its own fruit” (Luke 6:44). People will claim to be all sorts of things, but if you want to know what they really are, look at what they produce. When Cardona’s op-ed was published, there were already examples contradicting his attempted reframing of the narrative, with more rank odors of the Left’s sour fruit wafting into the open all the time.

Two recent incidents come from Missouri, where ideologically captured school boards shut parents out of decisions regarding sexuality, on which the parents had a statutory right to give input. Now, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey (R) has taken up the parents’ cause against the school districts. “The school board has got to respect the parents’ rights to determine these sorts of policy decisions,” Bailey argued on “Washington Watch,” and ultimately have a voice in that process.”

Exhibit 1: Webster Groves School District

“Webster Groves [School District] showed students a video presentation that discussed gender identity and sexual orientation,” according to information obtained by Bailey’s office, “and instructed students to follow a link to a third-party website affiliated with Planned Parenthood containing information on human sexuality topics including abortion, gender identity, and sexual orientation.” Bailey explained that the website included materials which “promoted casual hookups for teens, promoted research into abortion, and LGBTQ issues.”

“They’re doing it with an obvious bent,” responded Family Research Council Senior Vice President Jody Hice, guest host of “Washington Watch.” “Everybody knows [what] Planned Parenthood is all about. And it is directly in opposition to the values of at least half of our country.” Planned Parenthood and its affiliates carry out most of the abortions in the country and recently expanded into providing puberty-blockers and other gender transition procedures to minors.

“These are direct affronts to our statute,” argued Bailey. “There are very strict guidelines built into Missouri statute that govern what can and cannot be taught, when it comes to human sexuality. And one of the provisions in the statute is a parental opt-in or opt-out procedure.” Thus, he said, “schools have to abide by the curriculum standards, … have to present that curriculum to the parents, … and the parents get to decide which curriculum is appropriate for their children.”

Missouri law (RSMo § 170.015) stipulates:

“5. A school district or charter school shall notify the parent or legal guardian of each student enrolled in the district or school of:

  “(1) The basic content of the district’s or school’s human sexuality instruction to be provided to the student; and

  “(2) The parent’s right to remove the student from any part of the district’s or school’s human sexuality instruction.

“6. A school district or charter school shall make all curriculum materials used in the district’s or school’s human sexuality instruction available for public inspection pursuant to chapter 610 prior to the use of such materials in actual instruction.”

On January 29, 2024, Bailey’s office wrote a letter demanding that “Webster Groves School District must immediately cease and desist its use of all human sexuality materials and instruction except for those portions for which the district has provided the content to parents along with an opportunity to optout.”

“We put the school on notice that we’re not going to tolerate violations of our law, and we’re going to stand up and protect parental rights here in the state of Missouri,” said Bailey. “These are issues of human sexuality. It’s not a celebration of diversity. It’s a perversion of the law.”

Exhibit 2: Wentzville School District

Last year, the Wentzville Board of Education “went into closed session and removed the public from the meeting in order to adopt a radical transgender policy,” Bailey explained. Discussion of a proposed transgender bathroom policy in closed session “continued for at least 10-15 minutes and went beyond” any legitimate reason for closing the meeting to the public, according to one affidavit. This move was “another direct affront to parental rights in the state of Missouri, and it also violates our state open meetings law,” Bailey argued.

Missouri law (RSMo § 610.011) stipulates:

“It is the public policy of this state that meetings, records, votes, actions, and deliberations of public governmental bodies be open to the public unless otherwise provided by law. Sections 610.010 to 610.200 shall be liberally construed and their exceptions strictly construed to promote this public policy.”

When some board members objected to this heavy-handed tactic, another board member responded, “Quite frankly, it’s not the parents’ business.” Three board members approached Bailey’s office as whistleblowers, and more than 40 community members also filed complaints against the school board. “These board members did the right thing … and my office didn’t hesitate to file suit,” said Bailey.

Then the saga took a turn for the worse. “As soon as that lawsuit kicked off, the other board members and some of the entrenched interests at the school began a baseless internal investigation, essentially weaponizing the personnel policies of the school against the whistleblowers,” Bailey explained. “Censorship demands have been placed on these whistleblower board members. There have been intrusive searches into their use of email.” The board even planned to “discipline and potentially remove from office the three duly elected whistleblower members of the board for certain votes they made in the course of their duties, political speech in which they engaged while in office, or providing information to my Office,” Bailey wrote.

On February 22, 2024, Bailey’s office wrote a letter demanding that “Wentzville School District and its Board must immediately cease and desist any and all attempts to intimidate, investigate, or discipline duly elected school board members for actions, speech, or activities undertaken by those board members in connection with the duties and responsibilities of their office.”

“That is absolutely an intimidation tactic,” argued Bailey. “This is all, again, designed to harass and intimidate brave men and women who voluntarily serve on these boards and put themselves out there in the public domain to do the right thing by children and parents.”

In both of these exhibits, note who is standing with parents, and who is standing against them.

A small faction of education officials — on the school board or in a school — decided to force radical policies of a sexual nature on students without their parents’ consent, or even knowledge. These education elites pursued these policies not in reluctant compliance with legislative mandates, as in California, but in brazen defiance of the stated will of the legislature. “Clearly they’re trying to … sexualize the kids, and we’re not going to let that happen,” said Bailey. “Missouri parents don’t co-parent with the government.”

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.