Are You Equipped to Address Gender-Confusing Messages in Your Child’s School?

This article was originally featured in Focus on the Family President Jim Daly’s blog, DalyFocus™.  It has been updated to reflect recent events.

Summer just flew by, didn’t it? The school year is already well underway and thousands of families are gearing up for fall activities. I don’t know about your family, but in the Daly home, the back-to-school season is characterized by excitement … and a little bit of anxiety. And I’m not just talking about the boys. Jean and I always feel it, too—what new challenges will our sons experience this year? Will they, quite literally, make the grade?

And sadly, today’s parents are worrying about more than the usual things related to academics and school friendships—now they must also be concerned about confusing messages about sexuality their children are hearing in school.

The cultural confusion about God’s design for gender, sexuality and life has gone mainstream, into our public school system. More and more school districts are introducing policies and curricula that conflict with biblical principles.

Take the Charlotte-Mecklenburg (N.C.) School System as an example. On June 20, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) provided a “Supporting Transgender Students” training for their schools that required schools to:

  • allow students to use any restrooms or locker rooms “that correspond with their gender identity,”
  • call students by any name and pronoun they choose, and
  • allow students to be “permitted to participate in gender-based activities, such as overnight field trips, consistent with their gender identity.”

The training also featured “The Gender Unicorn” cartoon character created by Trans Student Educational Resources to help teachers and students of all ages embrace the concepts of gender identity, gender expression/presentation, sexual attraction, and romantic/emotional attraction. Here’s the graphic:

genderunicorn1

And CMS isn’t alone. This school district is only one of the many that are attempting to influence young children with radical sexual ideas, such as that sex is “assigned” at birth and that biological sex shouldn’t determine where students use the restroom and shower.

What’s a parent to do?

This is where Focus on the Family comes in.

We’re here to help equip you to respond to these gender-confusing messages—and the resulting school policies and curricula—with wisdom, strength, and grace. We want to come alongside you as you talk to your kids about God’s design for gender, sexuality, and life. We can provide support as you teach your kids what the Bible says about gender and sexuality, while also demonstrating compassion and love to a broken world.

cover_true tolerance guide_gender-confusing-messagesWe also can help you be proactive in talking with school officials about what your child is learning about sexuality—and provide pointers as to how to positively offer educators balanced information and solutions for navigating these sensitive “gender identity” topics.

One way we’re doing this is by offering parents an updated resource: “Equipping Parents to Respond to Gender-Confusing Messages in Schools – A How-To Guide for Protecting Your Child’s Heart and Your Family’s Values.”

This toolkit specifically addresses how to respond to the gender-confusing messages your kids encounter, and gives tips on how to navigate real-life situations that occur in today’s schools. You can download this free resource online at www.focusonthefamily.com/empowerparents.

And I want to encourage you: Parent voices can make a real difference, even despite the federal government’s overreach into schools’ bathroom policies.

For example, Fort Worth, Texas, schools have revised their “gender-identity” policy to include more parental involvement after a community outcry. A Virginia TrueTolerance_200x200-2016school district has also temporarily suspended a similar policy to allow for parents to have a voice.

Also, despite the federal government’s threats to withdraw funding from schools that don’t comply with its school bathroom-policy mandates, local schools and states are standing up for local control and parental rights. So far, at least 21 states have sued the federal government in an effort to fight the mandates. And on Aug 21, one of those lawsuits resulted in a major breakthrough for concerned families—a federal judge issued a nationwide block (temporarily) that prevents the federal government from forcing its controversial bathroom policies onto local schools. In his order, the judge said it looks probable that the Administration violated the rules for creating such policies in the first place, which should include public notice and comment periods, at a minimum.

So please—pray for the students in the nation’s classrooms, along with their parents. Pray for those godly men and women in the public school system who are doing their best to protect children. Pray, too, for organizations like Focus on the Family that are trying to equip parents and advocate for families.

And … get involved. Learn how you can make a difference by downloading our free “Equipping Parents” toolkit.

Note: I want to thank Focus’ local partner, the North Carolina Family Policy Council, for the information regarding the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System.