What can you do if you notice that some of the warning signs and red flags talked about on this Web site are happening in your school district? What can you do to help protect kids and strengthen parental rights?
Below are some suggested ways to respond:
1. Be proactive. Don’t wait until inappropriate material gets into classrooms, or your child’s hands, to do something about it. Once bad policies and curricula get in, it’s very hard to get them out.
So start communicating now with your school personnel and officials. TrueTolerance.org makes this easy for you by allowing you to email information from legal experts, as well as the latest social data and statistics, directly to educators from the Web site’s “Take Action” page.
2. Acknowledge the problem & promote the right solution. Recognize that bullying and peer abuse are wrong and should be stopped–while pointing out that this can and should be done without politicizing classrooms and introducing controversial, sexual topics to children against parents’ will.
Our viewpoint is based on the fact that all human beings are created by God in His image — which means every person has innate dignity and worth. Every individual is worthy of being protected from harm — not because of the political or social subgroup they belong to–but because they are the unique creation of God.
That’s why we advocate strong and objective policies that prohibit bullying for any reason against any child. A fair and objective policy should put the emphasis on the wrong actions of the bully — not on the characteristics of the victim or on the bully’s motivations or excuses.
Counteract flawed policies by offering an effective and legally sound alternative like the model anti-bullying policy developed by the Alliance Defending Freedom. Download it or email it directly to your school officials through our Take Action center.
3. Use statistics to make your case. For instance, statistics clearly demonstrate that bullying is widespread among children for many different reasons. Thus, children are best served by a policy that provides strong and equal protection to every student and reflects the widespread nature of the problem–rather than simply appeasing special interest groups. (Access up-to-date statistics and talking points on bullying issues in the “Bullying Issues” section of the Web site.)
4. Counteract deception with the facts. Concerned that advocacy groups are promoting homosexuality lessons to kids in the name of “safe schools”? Use facts to expose misleading marketing. Respectfully offer clarification to your school officials by providing them with actual examples of activities and classroom materials promoted by sexual advocacy groups.
Again, we’ve made it especially easy for you to do this through our Take Action section, where you can download information–or send an email directly to your school official–containing examples of controversial classroom material and activities being promoted by national homosexual advocacy groups. Politely let your school official know that you’d like them to consider the information—and then you can later follow up, asking how they feel about these messages being given to kids without parental permission.
5. Mobilize other concerned parents and community citizens. If you find your concerns are being repeatedly and consistently ignored, it may be time to involve others in the community.
Start by rallying other concerned parents and signing up to speak at a school board meeting. If you know you’re going to have a good turnout, it might be good to notify local media in advance. Consider wearing the same color T-shirts or buttons at the meeting, so your cause is visible.
- You can use Online tools to mobilize–set up a Web site, use e-mail alerts and social networking outlets like Twitter and Facebook to get the word out to other parents.
- It’s a good idea to create teams of people who can write letters to the editor and call local talk-radio shows during drive-time hours to alert the rest of the community about your concerns.
- Form a diverse coalition. It’s also wise to include parents representing different denominations, religious groups and ethnicities who are united in their desire to protect parental rights and their children’s innocence.
- Meet with the parents to make sure you’re all on the same page with the messages and points you want to make. Once you’ve determined your group’s core themes, provide parent-coalition members with a copy of the top three points your team wants to make when they speak to media and school officials. This will help maintain a peaceful and consistent approach.
6. Know your legal rights. Does your school have an opt-out policy that allows parents to exempt their children from controversial teachings? If so, exercise that right and educate other parents about it. If there is no opt-out provision, mobilize support for a better policy that respects parents’ rights.
Federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, repeatedly have prohibited public schools from practicing viewpoint discrimination or denying students their First Amendment rights. You can exercise these legal principles by:
• Asking for equal access. For instance, if your school invites a homosexual activist to speak to students, that opens the door for parents and students to request another viewpoint to be given equal time to address the same topic.
• Supporting students’ rights to participate in student-led events such as the The Day of Dialogue. Sponsored by Focus on the Family, the Day of Dialogue provides students with a loving and respectful way to represent a faith-based viewpoint when they encounter one-sided homosexual activism in their schools.
7. Above all–stay encouraged! Rather than letting the sexualized messages that some groups are trying to push into schools shock or dishearten you, it should instead, embolden and inspire you with the facts—and the knowledge that, you, as a parent and a taxpaying community citizen, not only have a constitutional right, but also a God-given responsibility, to protect your children. You have a logical, well-founded reason to start asking questions about what’s happening in your schools.
So let the facts on this Web site inspire you with the confidence you need to approach your educators and ask them, politely yet firmly, to see the curriculum, programs, videos and other materials being presented to your children.