This week, the Portland, Maine School District adopted a comprehensive transgender policy for their students. But in an attempt to welcome and create a safe haven for all, the left-leaning city has ended up crafting an overreaching debacle that tramples upon parental rights.
On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, the Portland Board of Education unanimously approved a motion that requires all Portland, ME schools implement annual staff training on gender issues, “use a student’s preferred name and personal pronoun, and take the student’s side at school if there is disagreement with a parent’s wishes.”
The intent is to create a space welcoming for transgender individuals and pupils questioning their identity. The main purpose is so teachers and students now respect whatever their peers choose to identify as. The policy is consistent with state law, which since 2014 has allowed boys and and girls to use whatever bathroom they please based on their identity.
In theory, it sounds noble. Who doesn’t want a student to feel welcomed at school? The problem is that it strips away parental control and allows children to make serious, life altering decisions about their identity.
Under the Portland School District’s new policy, if a 7-year-old wanted to be called King Tut after learning about Egypt in first grade world history, the teachers would have to abide. They would even have to call him “your majesty” if he chose that as his new personal pro-noun. If the parents said, “This is absurd, he’s an imaginative young boy, let’s not feed his fancy by calling him King Tut anymore,” the teachers would have to ignore their requests.
But, this opens some serious questions about the role of a parent in their child’s upbringing. If students can determine their gender and name at any age, why bother having any parental oversight at all? Can’t a young girl under the age of 18 who decides she is a boy then also have the same mental capacity to see an R rated movie? And if a young man can identify as a genderless being and prefer the pro-noun Xe, then why can’t he sign his own approval slip to attend a field trip? Or, if a high school student wants to take the basic level math class, but her mom wants her to take the AP Calculus, who gets the final say? Why should the mom be allowed to force her daughter to take a higher level math class, but not have any say in what teachers call her?
Yet again, in the left’s seemingly earnest desire to make a welcoming and inclusive society, they have opened a Pandora’s box stripped of any logical or reasoned thinking.
Oddly enough, the Portland Superintendent puts-forth a rather Conservative case for the district’s decision. Xavier Botana advocated for local control and state’s rights.
“You know, mostly we’ve heard really positive — you saw really positive comments today,” Botana said. “You know, we’ve gotten some not so positive comments — not, frankly, from people from Portland, but from people in other parts of the country who’ve heard about it and have chosen to react in ways that suggest they know what we should do better than the people in Portland do.”
In a sense he is right. It is doubtful the people of Springfield, Illinois are too concerned with Portland, Maine’s school district teachings on Maine’s lobster and fishing community. That’s why Conservatives for years have advocated for a small federal government that allows parents and local communities to make educational decisions, not Washington, DC. Obviously, there are cases of abusive parents where they should be stripped of custody and decision making responsibility for their child. We need laws to protect those kids. But shouldn’t parents across the nation be wary of the left’s attempt to wrangle away parental rights through the guise of transgender advocacy?