‘Fascism’? Democrats Unanimously Oppose Parents Bill of Rights
House Democrats unanimously opposed a bill requiring schools to tell parents if their children are transitioning to another gender, as well as inform them of the materials their children read in class and allow parents to comment at school board meetings without being labeled domestic terrorists.
The House of Representatives approved the Parents Bill of Rights (H.R. 5) on Friday by a party-line vote, 213-208. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), establishes parents’ authority to review their children’s curriculum or other reading material furnished to them, examine the school’s budget, meet their child’s teacher twice a year, and share any concerns at school board meetings.
“This is an important signal to parents in the U.S. that Congress recognizes the inherent right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children,” Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. “All those parents who have been working to advocate for their children and all children can know that, even if their local school board members may be unresponsive so far, their voices have had national impact. Their cry has echoed all the way to the halls of Congress.”
A significant amendment says public schools must let parents know if their child begins a social transition, using different names, pronouns, or intimate facilities of the opposite sex. “Today, we kept a key promise made in the Commitment to America,” said Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.), who introduced the original stand-alone bill incorporated into H.R. 5. “This is a crucial step in fighting to increase transparency and defend the rights of parents.”
At least 5,904 schools in 168 public school districts nationwide have allowed or required school officials to conceal underage children’s transgender “social transitions” from parents, according to a study from the watchdog group Parents Defending Education. The incomplete list shows that secrecy surrounds 3.2 million students in 28 states. “The Parents Bill of Rights reiterates families’ fundamental rights to make decisions about their children,” said Nicole Neily, the executive director of Parents Defending Education Action, who testified before the House on Thursday.
Under the Parents Bill of Rights, parents must also be informed if local schools “permit an individual whose biological sex is male to participate in an athletic program or activity that is designated for” women, thanks to an amendment from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.).
“It’s unbelievable that here in Washington you didn’t see everybody coming together for such a basic right,” lamented House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). Democrats’ lockstep opposition “shows you how extreme the Democrat Party has become in Washington,” said Scalise.
Democrats claimed the bill would kill students and potentially transform the United States into a totalitarian nation.
“Bills like this make schools more hostile. And make no mistake, it results in hate, bigotry and, yes, sometimes death of our students,” asserted Rep. Maxwell Frost (D-Fla.), without citing evidence. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) likened the pro-parents’ bill to “fascism,” a system in which government officials deprive parents of input into the nation’s education and curriculum.
The bill, which amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, withholds federal funding from administrators who do not notify parents of any violent activity that takes place at the school, even if it does not involve the guardians’ own child. Four Republicans and 10 Democrats did not vote on the bill.
“Every parent has the right to know what’s being taught in any kind of curriculum,” Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) insisted on Friday’s “Washington Watch.” “And the Democrats absolutely hate that. They have an agenda. They’re pushing it. It's going to destroy our country if people don't wake up and we're waking up. …[T]his has to stop.”
Although the bill seems likely to stall in the Democrat-controlled Senate, Neily said she hopes Congress will begin “building on its foundation in the months and years to come.”
Kilgannon encouraged parents to remain engaged, at the national and local levels, to assure their children receive an education that conforms to their values. “Keep praying, keep pushing, keep showing up to schools and showing up for your kids. This momentum will lead to more meaningful action if we keep the pressure on,” urged Kilgannon. “We live in the greatest nation on earth, and our children deserve the best, safest, most rigorous education possible. We can all work to make that happen.
“Let’s show Congress we appreciate this first step and demand more — our children and families deserve and expect it,” Kilgannon concluded.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.