Legislation requires the Virginia Department of Education to develop model standards by July 31, according to which schools must notify parents of sexually explicit content in their educational materials. In addition, schools must allow “the parent of any student to review instructional material that includes sexually explicit content and, alternatively, provide non-explicit instructional material and related academic activities to students whose parent requests it.”
Thanks to this legislation, when Virginia students return to the classroom this fall, parents will have the right to review all sexually explicit material in advance – and they have the right to opt out of their children from any tuition or tuition that includes such material. Most Virginiaians might consider these types of security measures as a common sense protection of parental rights and something that all politicians and educators should agree on. But they do not know the modern left.
When he served as Virginia’s governor from 2014 to 2018, McAuliffe vetoed legislation that would have given parents the right to review sexually explicit material. And during a gubernatorial debate that debated the issue last year, McAuliffe infamously stated that “I do not think parents should tell schools what to teach.” The outrage from parents in Virginia over McAulife’s arrogant, dismissive attitude helped drive Youngkin’s election victory.
This form of paternalism – as irresponsible, left-leaning bureaucrats know better than parents – is not just showing up in Virginia. Take, for example, the recently signed legislation in Florida that bans discussion in the classroom about “sexual orientation or gender identity” from kindergarten to third grade. The left has demonized and distorted this legislation as an anti-homosexual character.
But most parents think that the idea of keeping such subjects out of the kindergarten classroom is right and proper. A recent poll showed Democrats support the Florida bill by an almost two-to-one margin, 55 percent to 29 percent. Parents (67 percent to 24 percent) and individuals who know someone who is LGBTQ (61 percent to 28 percent) support the legislation by even greater margins than Democrats do.
Therein lies the contrast between parents and the education-industrial complex. On the one hand, parents from all stripes and political parties support sound reasoning about what teachers show to their students, especially students at a young and influential age. On the other hand, education bureaucrats want the opportunity to imprint and indoctrinate students in left-wing propaganda by using materials that sexualize children and promote a “gender-fluid lifestyle” before young people even know what such terms mean.
As the mother of two young daughters in Virginia schools, I am grateful that Youngkin and the new Virginia General Assembly are fighting back. The simple protections of custody that Youngkin signed into law will provide families with a powerful tool for determining whether their children have access to age-appropriate material in their public schools. Extending security measures like those in Virginia to all states would allow parents to ensure that their children’s schools conform to their own moral values.