by WorldTribune Staff, August 31, 2023
A group of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim parents in Montgomery County, Maryland are appealing a federal district court’s ruling that prohibited them from opting their children out of school instruction that pushes gender transitioning and other pro-LGBTQ topics on children as young as pre-kindergarten.
According to Becket Law, a non-profit public interest law firm that is representing the parents: “for example, one book tasks three and four-year-olds to search for images from a word list that includes ‘intersex flag,’ ‘drag queen,’ ‘underwear,’ ‘leather,’ and the name of a celebrated LGBTQ activist and sex worker. Another book advocates a child-knows-best approach to gender transitioning, telling students that a decision to transition doesn’t have to ‘make sense’; teachers are instructed to say doctors only ‘guess’ when identifying a newborn’s sex anyway.”
The Montgomery County Board of Education earlier this year took away parental notice and opt-outs for “inclusivity” books that advocate pride parades, gender transitioning, and pronoun preferences for kids from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, Debra Heine reported for American Greatness on Aug. 29.
The books in question “champion controversial ideology around gender and sexuality,” rather than “focusing on basic principles of respect and kindness,” Becket Law said.
The Montgomery County Board of Education “forged ahead with its storybook mandate over the concerns of thousands of parents and its own principals,” said Grace Morrison, board member of Kids First, an association of parents and teachers advocating for notice and opt-outs in Montgomery County Schools. “But the School Board does not replace parents, who know best about how and when to introduce their elementary-age children to complex and sensitive issues around gender and sexuality.”
Earlier this month, a federal district court judge ruled against the parents, writing that notice and opt-outs to the books are “not a fundamental right.”
In the opinion, the judge even dismissed the claims of a religious couple whose daughter’s disabilities make it impossible for them to teach her their beliefs after the storybooks have been read to her.
The coalition of parents asked the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to immediately restore their ability to help their own children on such complex issues and put a stop to the School Board’s no notice, no opt-out policy.
“Children deserve the guidance of their parents when learning about complex issues around gender and sexuality,” said Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at Becket Law. “That’s why we are asking the Fourth Circuit to step in to protect the right of parents to guide their children’s education consistent with their religious beliefs.”
Heine noted that the Fourth Circuit is expected to issue a preliminary decision on the parents’ motion for an injunction early this fall.