Many schools in the US are re-opening their doors this week. It is a symbolic marking of the end of the summer for many. Even though many parents worked during their kid’s summer break, I would venture a guess and say that they spent more time with their kids than they normally do during the school year. Or so I hope.
For generations, teachers were parent replacement. During school hours, it was them you listened to, they taught and disciplined you. There was no doubt about it that teachers play(ed) a vital part in raising any kid. In the perfect scenario, parents and teachers worked in tandem, filling in the gaps when needed.
Back when I was a kid, I would try an excuse some of my worse grades with “The teacher hates me and has it out for me.”, but my parents had none of that. They knew better than to listen to a kid. That does not mean that they did not believe me. I know that if I REALLY had some issues, they would step in and help. But there was no need.
Granted, not all teachers are equal. Some were called to do that and some were there just to earn a paycheck. That is the case with almost any profession. Is it not? The perfect teacher is an educator in more sense than one. The perfect teacher does not only teach the material from the syllabus but also teaches about life, ethics, and morals.
During my younger days, I was told that if I disobeyed a teacher, not only would my parents condone any punishment I received in school, but they would also administer their own at home. Since I was a pretty good kid, I do not ever remember that happening, but the fear in me was instilled. Maybe that is why I WAS such a good child?
Being a teacher has not always been easy. Disrespecting a teacher seems to be on any child’s mind. Whether conscious or not. It is like we are wired to rebel against authority. In my opinion, being a teacher is so much more difficult nowadays. Aside from teaching the material, a teacher needs to worry about anything they say and do. Sure, they need to be held accountable, since they play a crucial role in the life of a child, but to what degree? Sure, in the past, some teachers abused their power and scarred some kids. No one is perfect.
Where am I going with this? If you are a returning reader of mine, chances are you have seen other posts I wrote on the topic of schools and related controversies. It is a topic close to my heart because I am aware of the fact that humans during their school years are rather malleable. They are developing and learning about the world around them. Since oftentimes both of the parents work full – time, not every kid has the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time with their parents every day. Parents cannot do it all. That is why they rely on substitutes – teachers.
Unfortunately, I feel like the minds of our kids are under attack. Not only are the teachers NOT on the parents’ side, but they are actually firing dodgeballs from the enemy line towards the parents.
In Illinois, parents are having a tough time with their daughter, who identifies as a boy. At the age of 14, their daughter, who until then displayed no preference towards being a boy, decided that she was, in fact, a he. This is a rather difficult case, not only because the kid turned into a boy overnight after befriending another transgender colleague, but also because she has some other issues, which could have fueled the problem.
She was a normal kid growing up, but she had trouble making and maintaining friends. It was later assessed that she was on the autism spectrum. However, when she went into high school, she was approached by a kid who had recently come out as transgender. Following that encounter, the girl decided she was now a boy and picked out a male name for others to call her/him.
The article mentions that the girl has some “mental health challenges”, but it does not clarify if that encompasses autism or maybe something else. Even though the school’s staff was aware of her said challenges, they still honored her wishes when she came out as transgender and started calling her by the male name.
While the teachers used a male pronoun with her, the parents had no idea what was going on. Once they found out, however, they asked that the school keeps calling their daughter by her legal name and the social worker present at that meeting mentioned that it was their right to request such. The parents thought everything was resolved. Only it was not – business continued as usual and at school, the girl was a boy.
Once the parents took things to the district’s superintendent, they found out that the “laws” the schools hide behind are really guidelines sent out by the former president and rescinded by the current one. The American Civil Liberties Union, whose mission is to “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States” sent out letters to schools, in which they state that a student’s gender identity should be protected from their parents. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, however, explicitly states that a parent has access to anything related to their kid until they turn 18. When have we stopped obeying the law and started paying attention to arbitrary guidelines?
The girl told her parents that the school’s social worker was recommending halfway houses to her because of the fact that her parents did not support her choices. Is it OK to encourage kids to run away from home?
A psychologist consulted by the family believes that the sudden girl to boy change is related to the girl’s mental issues. Kids will do anything to fit in. Why do kids smoke? Why do they do drugs? Why do they dress a certain way? To fit in oftentimes. This girl had trouble making friends. All of a sudden, a transgender person approaches her. Becoming transgender overnight is possibly her move to fit in.
Multiple states have issued a “conversion therapy” ban, which means that a therapist cannot question a child’s gender identity. To me, that is a huge red flag if a mental health specialist cannot ask their patient about such an important thing.
The school has reaffirmed this girl. They have done nothing to find the truth. They just listened to the child and disregarded everything her parents said.
In New Jersey, schools are meant to be “mindful” about kids’ identities. The educators in that state also received a document which encourages them to report parents on the “Child Abuse, Neglect, and Missing Children” website, should the parents not agree with their kid’s transitioning.
How far do we go? When should we encourage and stand by the kid, and when should we back off and entrust the parents?
Is parenting something kids can benefit from when they so want and refuse it when it collides with their wants?
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