In week 4 of the 2023 Legislative Session, The House Education Committee advanced HF9, which will now be eligible for floor debate. The legislation is very simple – it requires parental consent before a school can affirm a student’s gender identity that is different from their birth certificate, prohibits schools from withholding information or encouraging students to withhold information from parents that relates to gender identity, and prohibits schools from coercing or encouraging students to undergo gender affirming treatments, instead leaving these decisions where they belong – with parents.
It is incredible that we even have to consider such a bill, but policies already in place in the Linn-Mar school district, and being considered in others, makes it necessary. Perhaps even more incredible than the reality of even needing to have this discussion is the response from Democrats to this commonsense legislation intended to protect parental rights and authority over their own children.
What alternate version of reality are we living in when opponents of parental notification attack parents’ right to know what is happening to their own children? When they justify keeping parents in the dark by suggesting that parents who find out their children are having gender identity issues cannot be trusted to keep them safe? How have we arrived at the point in which some school officials believe they own our children?
During the committee hearing, Democrats did not want to talk about the impact on parents and families when information is withheld from them, or whether they had discussed these policies with concerned parents in Linn-Mar. They constantly expressed their belief that telling parents could make students questioning their gender less safe, while totally ignoring the real dangers of keeping parents in the dark when their children are going through such an emotional and stress-filled identity crisis.
When did we arrive at a point in which some education professionals believe they can discount parental rights, values, and views because they believe parents are not “professionals” like they are? During a Moms For Liberty Rally in Des Moines this week in which these issues were being discussed, a Des Moines school teacher started off her comments by mocking and questioning the intelligence of the legislators on the panel who disagreed with her. In that moment, she displayed the arrogance that is at the root of the deepening distrust between the education establishment and the parents who dare to question what is being taught to their children. Her comments clearly showed her disdain for all those who dared to question her viewpoint. She believed herself to be the smartest person in the room; but her arrogance and personal vitriol toward those who disagreed with her exposed that she is in reality part of the problem.
As we work to restore parental rights in education and stop the indoctrination of our children in some schools; as we stand up and say enough to those who would tell second graders that they can choose to be a boy, girl, both, neither or something else; as it becomes more and more clear that this ideology and indoctrination of our young children is fostering mental illness and emotional trauma, we must ask the hard question: How in the world did we get here and how do we return to sanity?
I am reassured by having met with my local school superintendents in the new House District 12 just today. I came away convinced that they are working incredibly hard to meet the needs of their students as they try to navigate the increasing complexities of the societal struggle we find ourselves in. They believe in their students; they believe in public education, and they are doing their best to meet the needs of their students. I appreciated this meeting very much, and I look forward to hearing their perspective going forward.
As for those voices in education who believe they have a right to deny parents vital knowledge related to their children’s well-being and believe that telling second graders they can choose their gender is honest and healthy, all I can say is, “Beam me up Scotty,” because I must be in the wrong country and on the wrong planet.