Two weeks before the 2019-2020 winter break, the Mosaic teacher at Oakridge Elementary school began a transgender studies unit for 4th and 5th graders. Oakridge parents were informed of an upcoming “identity unit” via Twitter and Oakie Update email, but as usual the full scope of what Arlington Public Schools (APS) planned was largely hidden from parents who had no way to know that transgenderism was about to be taught in the elementary school classroom.
One parent found out about the Oakridge lesson when her fifth grader came home and said that his Mosaic teacher told the class that, “boys can be girls and girls can be boys.” The fifth grader reported he was instructed to read aloud to other children one of the books displayed in the classroom and he was offered My Princess Boy.
My Princess Boy is a 2009 children's picture book written by Cheryl Kilodavis and illustrated by Suzanne DeSimone. The story centers on a boy who likes “pretty things” and prefers to wear tiaras and “girly dresses." The story informs readers about supporting children regardless of their expression. Despite the attention he receives regarding his appearance, the Princess Boy always has the love and support of his family throughout the entire story. (Wikipedia)
Unfortunately, as with most advocates of “supporting transgender children,” the word “support” (as used both by Kilodavis and by Arlington Public Schools) means assisting a child toward social (and by consequence, medical) transition to the opposite sex. “Support” is never broadened to mean that the parent investigates with the child why s/he feels as s/he does, or finds a therapist who will try to help the child toward becoming comfortable in his/her natural body. Complete acceptance of the child’s demands and the full transgender narrative is the only mode of “support” APS considers acceptable, and which does not result in the gender-dysphoric child’s parents being labeled “unsupportive.”
Once a parent is labeled unsupportive, the school steps in between the student and his/her parents, hiding anything the student prefers hidden, effectively inserting the school as a wedge between the parent and child to the best of the school’s significant ability: “We support you; your parents don’t.”
Evidence of APS’s willingness to cut parents out of the loop shows up in the first draft of the J-2 PIP (Transgender Students Policy Implementation Procedure) which was released in April 2019:
The Arlington Parent Coalition, in collaboration with many APS parents, was successful in getting this clause stricken from the final J-2 PIP, but it seemed clear from some administrators' comments at that time that they intended to find new language to get around FERPA requirements and put the clause back in at the earliest opportunity.
Such deception is further confirmed by the American School Counselors Association’s guidance on Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Youth. This document, from the organization to which most school counselors look for policy and best practices, indicates that counselors should deceive parents about the name and pronouns used for a student at school, if the student has not authorized the parent to know about them:
Unless the least trustworthy teacher, counselor, or administrator in APS is a more trustworthy manager of children’s health and sexual education than the most trustworthy mother, father, or legal guardian, no school should ever be granted the right to hide information about a child from his or her parent.
But back to Oakridge.
Here are a few samples from last month’s gender identity unit, of which Oakridge and the Mosaic program were proud enough to display on their web page:
Some parents may be delighted to see gender identity taught as an academic subject. Others may not be uncomfortable with it.
But many do not find this subject appropriate for their children at all. And those parents’ perspectives and rights are being regularly abrogated by school staff who make it clear time and again that social engineering programs take precedence over parental authority in Arlington Public Schools.
When asked about the lesson, the Mosaic teacher claimed she did not remember saying specifically that, “boys can be girls and girls can be boys." She professed that her focus was on stereotypes and gender expression, intending to teach students not to judge others based on outward appearance or what activities they enjoy.
But until teachers like this one start including parents in the dialogue about sex and gender prior to indoctrinating our children with their ideologies and biases, it is imperative that parents take the initiative to protect their own children from APS.
Parents who don’t want their children taught that “boys can be girls and girls can be boys” must:
1. Submit, if you have not already, a Universal Opt-Out Letter, which would have served this teacher and school notice ahead of time that some students’ parents will not tolerate this kind of sexual education indoctrination. (Thank you to the many parents who already have, as APC understands that administrators have been consulting APS lawyers about the many letters they’ve received, in order to stay on the right side of educational law. That’s a win.)
2. Contact your child’s teachers and principals, administrators and school board members, to let them know that you are concerned about what is being taught to children at school.
3. Ask your children what is really going on in the classroom. Instead of, “How was school?” ask open-ended questions like:
Tell me one thing you learned in each class this week.
Have you had any special speakers lately?
Has anything you learned at school challenged what you’ve learned before?
Has anything at school made you uncomfortable or worried you?
If you are an Oakridge parent who is concerned about the Mosaic curriculum, please contact Dawn Amin-Arsala (email@example.com) with questions and concerns.
All concerned parents should contact Deborah DeFranco, supervisor of Physical Education and Family Life Education, (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let her know that you are not in favor of your children being taught that one’s biology has no relationship to one’s sex or gender, and that you believe parents are still the final authorities about what their children learn about sex and gender.
As always, thank you for all you’re doing to protect children in Arlington Public Schools and around the country.