Opinions

The State Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want


Commentary

The words of C.S. Lewis’s masterpiece, “The Screwtape Letters,” help me understand the ethos of the era we are living in when “feelings” are held as superior to the wisdom of hundreds of known generations before us:

“The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”

Numb is how most people feel as they busily try to provide for their families and simultaneously comply with the demands of any combination of California’s 6,000 governmental entities. Further, the state’s rapacious legislature is relentless and exhausting as it seeks to control every aspect of our personal and private lives. Government prefers a docile and subservient flock.

In “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville wrote about the “network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. … Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

Such is the case with parental rights. School districts in rapid succession are finding out that a growing number of emboldened teachers have been proselytizing students in the cult of gender confusion and even helping impressionable kids begin gender transition without the parents’ knowledge.

Epoch Times Photo
Kindergarteners wear masks while listening to their teacher at Washington Elementary School in Lynwood, Calif., on Jan. 12, 2022. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)

Stunningly, the California Department of Education’s stated policy is to have school administrators and teachers lie to parents in these situations. Yet school boards from Newport Beach to Chico are finding that the state’s guidance is not consistent with actual state law. This opens districts to a massive legal liability when any parent of a secretly transitioning child decides to sue the district.

Shocking no one who has been paying close attention to the recent policy machinations in Sacramento, the legislature is consistent in their determination to destroy the sanctity of the family, assume total authority over our children, and create otherwise compliant androids of the state. Thankfully, Assemblymen James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and Bill Essayli (R-Riverside) authored Assembly Bill (AB) 1314 to require that parents be notified when a teacher or school officials become aware that a student is identifying at school-related activities as a gender different from the child’s sex on their birth certificate.

Teachers are already mandated reporters, and it’s been the custom and practice for several decades to have honest and sometimes difficult parent-teacher conferences to aid a struggling child. Such conversations often strengthen the trust between the parents and teachers.

But yielding to radical activists, the chair of the Assembly Education Committee summarily slaughtered this common-sense parental notification measure without a hearing or considering serious input from parents.

Epoch Times Photo
Parents and students gather in protest of school district policies at the Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District offices in Placentia, Calif., on Jan. 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Undermining Parental Rights

California’s educational establishment has perfected the subtle art of disrespecting parental rights over the last 20 years or so through legislation and policy changes. Though not a comprehensive list, the following bills were instrumental in bringing us to this inflection point. Though the changes in law seem small and innocuous, the consequences of these bills are exponentially significant over time.

In 1999, AB 537, introduced by then Assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl, prohibited discrimination and harassment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. A few years later, state Sen. Kuehl secured the governor’s signature on Senate Bill (SB) 71 in 2003 to establish the California Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Prevention Education Act. Then, state Sen. Mark Leno made human sexuality a centerpiece of every academic subject with SB 48 in 2011. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano got AB 1266 signed in 2013 to require that a pupil permitted to participate in sex-segregated school athletics be allowed to use facilities consistent with their gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records.

California’s current Secretary of State, Shirley Weber, took sex education to a whole new level pushing through AB 329 while she was in the Assembly in 2015. Parents who object to these courses, most of which are openly teaching about gender expression and gender identity, have to wrangle with an unclear opt-out process and confront sometimes overwhelming social and peer pressures of such a decision for themselves and their child.

These are not the public schools of our childhood. If parents don’t assert their stewardship of our education now, we will cease to have a functioning education system capable of preparing kids for a 21st century economy. We cannot let experts and government officials turn our public school classrooms into little more than animal pens where children are force-fed a sexuality-obsessed ideology that leaves students feeling objectified and empty.

Are you willing to continue to believe that the modern government schools, writ large, are good shepherds with your impressionable lambs? How much longer are you going to sit by as your children are intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically separated from you and rendered into tools of the state?

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.



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