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Op-Ed

Shapiro: The Left Is Hijacking the Minds of Children and Turning Their Parents Into Enemies

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In September 2020, January Littlejohn went to pick up her 13-year-old daughter from middle school. Littlejohn is a stay-at-home mother to three children and a licensed mental health counselor in Florida. So when her daughter informed her that the school administration had begun encouraging her to identify as transgender, Littlejohn was shocked.

Littlejohn’s daughter told her that school administrators had asked her about changing her name, which restroom she wished to use and whether she wanted to sleep with boys or girls on school trips.

According to the district, parents were to be cut out of the loop unless the 13-year-old gave her consent to their involvement; the district stated that “outing a student, especially to parents, can be very dangerous to the student’s health and well-being.”

So, to be clear, the school would have had to phone Littlejohn for permission to administer an Advil; presumably, if Littlejohn’s daughter had been suffering from depression or anxiety in school, her parents would have been notified as well. But the school purposefully avoided telling Littlejohn that her daughter was considering whether she was a boy or a girl. The school not only felt no duty to keep Littlejohn in the loop, but it also treated her as a danger to her own child.

This, indeed, is the mentality of an enormous swath of the social left these days.

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Florida is now considering a bill that would prevent primary schools from indoctrinating children on matters of sexual orientation or gender identity and would require them to inform parents about minors who begin identifying as LGBT in school. None of this should be controversial; parents will always have the most stake in their children’s lives. It is parents who care most about their children, not school administrators; it is parents who shape the values and choices of their children.

But that’s precisely what the left hates. To the left, parents are the enemy. To the left, forcing schools to provide transparency to parents about their children is a form of abuse. As California Gov. Gavin Newsom put it, telling schools to keep parents in the loop is “nothing short of a state-sponsored intimidation of LGBTQ children. It will put kids — who are already navigating stress — in physical and psychological danger.”

The left, instead, wishes to teach its own version of sexual morality and gender identity to small children, without the messy intervention of parents. It is indeed that simple. And, of course, this has an impact. It is designed to have an impact.

There is a reason that, according to Gallup, just 0.8 percent of those born before 1946 identify as LGBT, and that just 2.6 percent of those born between 1946 and 1964 do — but that fully 20.8 percent of those born between 1997 and 2003 identify as LGBT. That reason is not evolutionary biology taking a radical turn, or even greater tolerance for LGBT lifestyles.

Are schools trying to impose progressive sexual morality on children?

The reason is that our society has decided that traditional standards regarding sex and sexual activity must be fought tooth and nail. Any parent who holds to those standards must be treated as a threat.

Now, perhaps the new standard is somehow superior to the old. If leftists wish to make that case, they can certainly do so.

But the left does not have the right to hijack the minds of children and then weaponize them against their parents using public dollars, all while pretending that such activity is actually altruism on behalf of children. It isn’t. It’s cruel to children and cruel to parents.

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Ben Shapiro is founding editor-in-chief and editor emeritus of The Daily Wire and host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” the top conservative podcast in the nation. Shapiro is the author of numerous nonfiction books, including The New York Times #1 best-seller "The Right Side of History: How Reason and Moral Courage Made the West Great" (HarperCollins, 2019). Headshot photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr.




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