December 6, 2023

By Devlyn D’Alfonzo

Conservatives are waging a warfare on variety, fairness, and fundamental human rights, and their most insidious battleground is without doubt one of the best to entry: The native faculty board. College boards throughout the nation —together with my residence county of Madison, Virginia—have change into political battlegrounds, with our youngsters and their lecturers caught within the center. Conservatives have been elected to those boards using a wave of discontent over masking and “parental alternative.” They’ve continued to make use of this battle cry to drive conservative ideology into colleges, and it has change into clear that solely sure mother and father’ rights matter. They ignore those that oppose them, selecting solely to hearken to voices that agree with their agenda. 

Just lately, Madison County made nationwide information when a number of books have been banned, ignoring the voices of fogeys and college students who spoke in opposition to eradicating them. The eliminated books occur to all cope with problems with race, ladies’s rights, and immigrant voices, amongst different conservative calls to arms.

It appears that evidently we’re poised to repeat this sample with the introduction of Gov. [Glenn] Youngkin’s new mannequin coverage relating to the therapy of transgender youth and their proper to privateness. Regardless of over 70,000 public feedback in 30 days, a lot of which strongly opposed this harmful coverage, it was later launched nearly unchanged. 

Youngkin’s coverage asserts that college students wouldn’t have a proper to privateness or confidentiality with regards to their gender identification and instructs colleges to report any gender questioning and title or pronoun requests to oldsters. This lack of privateness contains info a pupil shares in confidence with a faculty counselor. The coverage asserts that oldsters have the appropriate to know the way their little one feels about their gender, it doesn’t matter what. I contend that if all mother and father have been protected sufficient to be trusted with this details about their little one, they might have already got it. Solely 27% of transgender youths report dwelling in a supportive residence. Dad and mom have the appropriate to be concerned provided that they’re accountable and loving sufficient to just accept their little one. In keeping with the American Academy of Pediatrics, 73% of transgender youth report psychological abuse, whereas 39% report bodily abuse. Dad and mom wouldn’t have the appropriate to demand colleges topic transgender college students to potential abuse and homelessness.

Gov. Youngkin beforehand launched a poorly deliberate US historical past curriculum that minimized the evils of slavery and described indigenous folks as “America’s first immigrants.” Fortunately this draft was rejected, and a compromise curriculum instituted as a substitute. 

Nonetheless, the conservative battle plan stays clear: First, stop college students from studying about or expressing concepts that disagree with conservative beliefs. Then, label lecturers and directors as groomers to cover their worry of those that defend college students’ rights to privateness and complete studying.

Conservative faculty board members constantly throw the phrase “indoctrination” round, as if lecturers are engaged in a nefarious plot to indoctrinate our youngsters into liberal beliefs. The Oxford dictionary defines indoctrination as “to show an individual or group to just accept a set of beliefs uncritically.” Suppressing somebody’s identification as a result of it’s horrifying to some, suppressing historical past as a result of it’s upsetting to some, and suppressing literature as a result of it challenges beliefs positive feels like indoctrination to me. I sincerely hope that particular person faculty districts resolve to reject this harmful new mannequin coverage and proceed to combat in opposition to the suppression of individuals and concepts. I additionally hope that pondering residents start to understand that the battleground of the tradition warfare is far nearer to residence and be part of the entrance traces by talking up and voting.


Writer bio: Devlyn D’Alfonzo is a mom of two college students enrolled in Madison County Colleges. She is a frequent attender of college board conferences. D’Alfonzo is a veterinarian by commerce, and she or he runs a protected house group domestically known as MADSafe.