Mat-Su School Board votes in favor of parents’ rights in pronoun usage, sex education, counseling sideboards

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Colony Middle School

By DAVID BOYLE

Parents still have rights in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The Mat-Su School Board voted strongly in favor of supporting parents’ rights in educating their children. The vote was 6 to 1 with only board member Ted Swanson voting “no.”

Three areas were addressed in the policy changes: Parental rights with children’s pronouns, sex education, and restricting student counselors to only academic counseling. The first two changes merely implemented state law. 

The first policy change requires parents’ permission for a school to use different pronouns that represent anything other than a child’s actual gender. Here is the exact change in bold and underlined:

The second change was to the policy on sex education that would require parents to opt-in their children for sex education rather than opting out. Why is that important? One parent testified that even when she opted her child out the student still got the education against her wishes.  It also required parents to be able to review sex education materials at least two weeks before the class to ensure the parents knew what was being taught.  

Here is the change to the current policy in bold and underlined:

The third policy change would mandate that student counselors only address academic issues when counseling students. This would prevent counselors from addressing transgenderism and gender identity, and keep that counseling agenda hidden from parents. 

Here is a link to the change.

Opponents were organized. There was much testimony from parents and the teacher’s union members wearing their “Red for Ed” shirts. It was a sea of red at the meeting. They were there to voice opposition to the parents’ rights and their relationship with their children. 

Many of the teachers believed they know better than parents on how to raise their children.  One teacher voiced that he was against requiring parents’ written permission for a child to use a pronoun different than their gender.

Another teacher said that using a child’s preferred pronoun would lead to diversity and a more compassionate and just society. Another teacher said that gender identity was deeply personal. Nowhere did these teachers recognize parents’ rights in the decision.

A recent University of Alaska graduate said he was an aspiring MatSu teacher, and he totally disagreed with parents being in charge of a child’s education. 

This aspiring teacher went so far as to say that some students’ only recourse was to turn to school counselors. He even said that the revised policy on limiting school counselors to academic issues went against the Professional Teachers Practices Commission principle of “protecting students” even from their own parents.

Others from the National Education Association group said that the new policies would lead to more suicide.

They also said that the new policies were transphobic and discriminatory, despite not being able to prove that. In the case of gender identity, these teachers felt the child’s thoughts were the only thoughts that mattered.

Several teachers threatened the district saying it will face lawsuits if it “messes with gender identity.”

The bottom line from those opposed to the policy revisions was that counselors and teachers know what’s best for all students. Parents have no rights when it comes to sex education and pronoun usage.

Parents testified that the district should focus on academics and leave the issues of sex education, gender identity, and pronouns to them—the parents.

Here is a link to all the policies addressed at the board meeting.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations to the parents and good job to the District for sticking up for kids and education. If an educator has a problem with this then they shouldn’t be teaching. School is for students to learn, not become a social experiment.

  2. Withdraw your children from government schools immediately. The teachers responses in the article are chilling.

    I would not allow any of these adults near my kids. They are a clear and present danger. If they were to try and influence or molest my children they would face the most severe sanction. Protect your children NOW.

    Dr Miriam Grossman is someone to look into for solid advice if you are in the middle of this and need help.

  3. Kudos to the MatSu Board. Crazy that the God-given, fundamental rights of those who bring children into the world is dependent upon geography. May this inspire folks statewide.

  4. Public schools are child abuse.

    A good step, but how to enforce it. Teachers all over the country are ignoring school boards and laws regarding this crap.

  5. Well ! Palmer voters know which board member to work hard next election to replace him-Ted Swanson. If ted could had been the lone dissenting vote then last assembly meeting with myers, sulty, and cross. There are fewer times when compromise is a necessary, most times it’s okay not to compromise. Those two eagle river assembly members are one reason why I am doubtful Eagleriver-chugiak if it secedes if it could maintain a pure conservative representation, and how long will it last?

  6. It is truly amazing how this community is so different from Anchorage. Like a whole different country. Plus they don’t shoot their businesses in the foot, encouraging development instead and uphold the constitution. This is why the valley is growing while Anchorage declines. And just never hear anything about their homeless situation. Not to mention how much less their property taxes are. Anchorage could stand to learn from their neighbors. They are like a poorly built house, just tear it down and start over rather than just trying to repair it with money.

  7. For the most part this makes sense. As far as the counseling goes, that is different. Yes parents right are important. But not all parents are good parents. Not all people who give birth or parent should have kids. Sometimes those kids need adults who are reasonable and can hear them. The belief a child has that there are caring adults in their life does in fact prevent suicide. Suicide is a wrecking ball in the life of the family, the school and the community where it happens. Often it has ripple impact of more suicide. I do think parents rights are important, but so is the ability for older kids (14+) to have a safe place to talk if home isn’t safe. Limiting counselors to just academic discussions is short sighted and misguided. It would be lovely if being fertile made you automatically a good person and a good parent but that isn’t always the case.

    • Valid concern and I did think about that point but there are already vehicles in place for a child that could have a dangerous situation at home. Sadly, you are correct that not all parents are good parents but still, the majority are and these policies are not unreasonable and are actually positive for most of the families with kids in the PS system. A caring adult does make a difference absolutely and it could be anyone, school counselor, teacher, grandparent, etc. If a school counselor sees a problem with safety at home then I believe they may be bound by law to report that, regardless of policy change or not.

    • “Not all parents are good parents”

      Counterpoint –

      Not all school counselors are good counselors.

      While I agree it is valuable for kids in a bad situation to have access to role models, I don’t think a school counselor is the right person. Maybe a few will find some assistance, but a bad counselor has access to hundreds of kids. And the counselors that are the most energetic about “helping” with non-academic problems often are the ones with the most outlandish political views and/or personal problems.

    • And concealing information from all the other parents is such a grand idea,too. Just ask the creepers that chose to work in screwels to have access to innocent young children.

    • Those kids are also very vulnerable to whatever the counselors talk to them about. I agree that kids need safe adults, but it’s hard to say who that is. Until they’re 18, the parents are in charge. I think in truly abusive scenarios, the counselors would get the authorities involved. A kid who wants to change genders without parent permission is not the same.

    • DF, If you click on the link in the article you will see the entire policy on counselors. There is an exception in the case of child abuse or suspected child abuse. And remember, school personnel are still mandated notifiers in such cases.

  8. Very chilling that the Red for Ed (made me think of ‘Red for China’) people actually think that ‘education’ should not include parents. None of these policy changes hurt students but instead support families, and help to remove destructive distraction from actual educating.

  9. Thank you Mat-Su school board! And before the rest of you lefties like DF jump in to tell us how wrong we are in raising our children, let me point out a couple of interesting facts.

    -Goofy, made up pronouns and sex ed for students were not banned. Let me say that slower for you; if you want the school to use your own unique pronouns for your kid OR you want the school to teach a course on sex ed to your child, you can still do that. You just have to give explicit permission to the school.

    -School counselors are just that. ‘SCHOOL’ counselors. Keep the ‘counseling’ about school stuff! All kids think their parents are the worst thing since leprosy at some point in their lives. It’s part of growing up. If the kid is suicidal, call for professional help. If the kid is in danger from an abusive family member, call the cops. If the kid says he/she is not a he/she, tell them the same thing adults have told kids in the past any time the kid thinks they know better: When you are an adult and out of the house, then do what you think is best.

  10. This issue has always been the same as the reproduction classes: parents had a right to remove or make special concessions for their child. To me, it is a good thing. Schools are a government entity, and government entities will try to skirt around sovereignty as much as they can. This is great for parents, but more importantly it is great for the children, as schools will no longer be allowed to just do as they please and promote this PC gender garbage.

  11. “Leftie”. Nice. Name calling. Love it. Way to shut conversation down. I said I found most of what they did reasonable. Maybe you were too busy formulating what name to call me as you were reading that you struggled to notice the common ground we share in this? There is one part only that I feel could have been more explicit in how it was written to balance out if a teen needs to use a counselor outside of an academic or safety need. There are far more reasons a kid needs a safe adult outside of the few you mentioned when you applied narrow artificial borders to a much wider issue. Guess the kids should just shut up and color until they are old enough to pay their own bills. Good to know how you feel. Name calling or labeling me (and anyone who thinks like me apparently) a leftie is literally just nuts and kind of weird for an adult to do. Actually, nope, it’s really weird. I don’t get the animosity. I would elaborate more but I’m going to take a guess it would be wasted energy.

  12. Thanks Paul for clarifying to the Lefties who think anyone with a teaching certificate is a qualified child youth guidance councilor is a crock of s**t. School district employees such as “counselors” are not certified and certainly not entitled to council any student. Just because the school board has a boatload of taxpayer dollars to piss away does not qualify them to offer input on any parent/student relationship that may have turned sour because the youth doesnt have knowledge to understand life’s messages at the time so they just need to butt out and call the proper authorities and let professionals handle the situation with the parents knowledge!

  13. We managed for many generations without the he/she medical pandemic. Let’s get back to normal. There are two genders and 37 diagnoses for sexual neurosis (mental illnesses). A very few people are born intersexed. That medical condition has been rare and medically managed privately in the United States not publicly.

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