What we have instead is an idiocracy gone wild!
So said Laszio Pentek, a Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) parent, in vigorously opposing the school system’s assignment of vulgar and profane books to his daughter over the past three years.
Mr. Pentek and nine other Fairfax County citizens expressed intense, well-reasoned, and often eloquent appeals to the County School Board to review and change FCPS’s gender identity and Family Life Education (FLE) curriculum policies and practices. The appeals took place at a Board meeting in Luther Jackson Middle School on September 22. A video of these comments is available here, specifically between minutes 9:18 and 43:05.
For the second School Board meeting in a row, opponents of FCPS’s policies and curriculum on sex dominated the citizen participation part of the meeting that allocates time for 10 people who sign up in advance to speak for three minutes each on a designated topic. Most of the speakers tied the relevance of their comments to the topics of FCPS’s strategic plan and caring culture.
The passionate presentations—the most spirited of any delivered to the School Board since the introduction of changes to the school system’s gender identity policy a year and a half ago—appeared to capture the attention of most Board members, many of whom in the past have demonstrated disinterest and even boredom with citizen comments on this topic.
Here’s a brief summary of the comments, which is intentionally skimpy in detail as an encouragement for readers to click on the provided link for the purpose of gaining a full appreciation of the passion harbored by opponents of FCPS’s gender identity and FLE curriculum policies and practices.
Monique Baroudi (8:20 of the video). The School Board owes an apology for every member of the community for: saying the new 1450 gender identity policy was required by law; stating that gender doesn’t matter and pushing that policy on students; establishing transgenderism as a core value with students and their families; sending communications to families without mentioning FCPS’s sweeping changes; interfering with parents who believe they should be their children’s first educators; and taking away the right of parents to teach human sexuality to their children.
School Board members appear to have their own agendas and seem to be deaf to stakeholders. The Board should repeal Policy 1450 and start a true community engagement on this topic.
Mike Nye (12:05 of the video). Policy 1450 creates a hostile environment for students, especially for girls in public restrooms and changing rooms. FCPS has bowed to pressure and sacrificed student safety and security for more public funding, an “immoral and irresponsible” act. Japanese students will outperform American students because our school system wastes time and resources on strange issues and “nonsensical and anti-common sense” topics.
Robert Rigby (15:10 of the video). Mr. Rigby appealed for civility in discussing these topics, citing the increasingly bitter tone of discourse at the School Board meetings. Bigotry, intolerance, and social media/blog attacks coarsen the debate and antagonize people. Civility requires people to acknowledge the good faith of those with whom we disagree.
Meredith Blankenstein (16:45 of the video). As a conservative Christian and mother of two FCPS elementary school students, Ms. Blankenstein also argued for civility, asking for people not to make it worse for transgenders and not to demonize those who oppose the new gender identity policies and practices. All involved must respect each other.
John Kochka (18:30 of the video). Calling out specific School Board members by name, Mr. Kochka challenged why the FLE curriculum includes a video for 9th graders dealing with a father raping his daughter. Why does it include group discussions of anal sex by 8th graders? Why is oral sex a topic for 7th graders? Why are discussions of male sexual organs introduced in the 4th grade? The underlying assumption of students is that if a respected authority approves an activity it must be acceptable.
His conclusion: the purpose of FCPS’s FLE curriculum is to desensitize, sexualize, and promote alternative lifestyles to children!
Kathy Ruse (21:28 of the video). “Don’t play gender politics games with children. It’s not a fair fight.”
As a lawyer and mother, she pointed out the medical profession is divided in its views on gender dysphoria and the proper response to it. The School Board has gone beyond its competence and mandate in addressing this issue.
Several medical groups have written to the School Board arguing for reconsideration of its gender identity policy. The letter from the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, representing 20,000 medical personnel, stated:
… affirmation of gender dysphoria has no basis in science and is highly controversial among experts … normalizing the myth of innate gender fluidity is a powerful and pathological way to weaken children by making them question their sense of safety, security, and certainty about anything and everything …
Alice Guo (24:47 of the video). Ms. Guo told a story of a man exposing himself to a young girl—describing it as a “nightmare.”
Do you choose to expose children to such a haunting experience in elementary school, middle school, or high school? Is this the American Dream or nightmare?
The School Board must provide security for students as well as protect transgenders. The Disabilities Act was a “win-win solution,” and such a solution should be sought for this issue.
FCPS should focus on the fundamentals of education as is the case in Japanese schools, where, for example, no air conditioning teaches students “grit, endurance, and physical and mental toughness.”
Bonnie Burkhard (28:25 of the video). See the script of Ms. Burkhard’s commentary in a previous Fairfax Free Citizen article here.
Janie Mullins (31:42 of the video). “Caring” in FCPS’s caring culture equates to “comfortable.” Transgenders feel discomfort, but it is not fair for policies to make others uncomfortable. Discomfort is now very real for all types of students plus parents who feel they have been slighted.
The School Board has aded to more discomfort and division within the community.
Laszio Pentek (39:10 of the video). Mr. Pentek quoted some vulgar and profane passages from a book that is mandatory reading for his daughter in FCPS. (The video deletes the audio portion of this part of his commentary.) Mr. Pentek charged the School Board expects civil behavior from citizens who attend its meetings but then requires vulgar reading material for FCPS students. Likewise, the FCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities document forbids vulgar and profane language, punishing those who use it.
FCPS and the School Board should abide by their own rules and standards.
Mr. Pentek characterized FCPS as an “idiocracy gone wild,” where students are “mind raped by the teacher.” In arguing for FCPS to “get the smut out of the classroom,” he called for creating an office of inspector general with investigatory powers to attack this problem.
Again, the above summary only briefly sketches out the serious criticisms of FCPS’s gender policy and sexual education curriculum raised by citizens. Review the video to appreciate their well-reasoned arguments and to feel their passion about these topics and the School Board’s failure to include parents in the decision-making behind such sweeping changes to FCPS’s policies, practices, and curriculum.