Are Public Schools Grooming Children?

By Rick Gonzales | Published

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grooming

To groom or not to groom. That is the big question being asked in public schools across the nation. On one side you have conservative parents and legislators who think, without a shadow of a doubt, that grooming is taking place in public schools. Then there is the other side of the public school ledger who think it is normal and natural and their job to teach the young about all things related to sex including gender identity. So, who’s right? Are public schools grooming children?

First, the answer may actually hinge on how you define the word “grooming.” As it pertains to sex, the term usually refers to the description of how sex offenders initiate contact with their young victims. The term now, being used by many, describes how public schools are allowing pornographic materials to be included in the school curricula and school libraries. It is also being used to label some public school educators as pedophiles.

The conservative push to rid public schools of specific materials and educators has led to a number of grooming-related laws restricting what can and cannot be taught in classrooms. These laws, though, aren’t only directed at sexual material in schools, but also at the ongoing “cultural wars” seen across the nation as well. Conservative lawmakers and parents have included the fight against teaching critical race theory in schools as part of their desire to take back control over what their children are being taught.

grooming

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican and possible 2024 presidential candidate, is leading the charge against “liberal politicians” accused of embracing grooming tactics in schools and those who fought against his Parental Rights in Education Bill, saying, “They support sexualizing kids in kindergarten.” The bill has been dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill and has met plenty of opposition.

“They support injecting woke gender ideology into 2nd-grade classrooms,” he explained as to why, in his and many others’ opinion, the bill is so important. “They support enabling schools to ‘transition students’ to a ‘different gender’ without the knowledge of the parent … without the parent’s consent.” But is this grooming?

Gov. DeSantis never used the word “groom” but his press secretary, Christina Pushaw, did say on her Twitter feed that what opponents call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill could be better described as the “Anti-Grooming Bill.” When pushed on her phrasing, she responded to the AP by saying, “I have never stated that all groomers are LGBT, all LGBT people are groomers, or anything of that nature.”

Pushaw went even further in her response to The Washington Post. She wrote, “Those who read the bill and decide they do support teaching kindergartners about sexuality and gender transition may or may not be trying to exploit children themselves — but by sexualizing young kids and normalizing sexual conversations between adults and children, they are contributing to an environment that endangers children by exposing them to inappropriate content while eroding parental rights.” Again, is this grooming?

Country music singer John Rich of the country duo Big & Rich went in front of Tennessee lawmakers to speak out against what he sees as grooming in schools. His shot was against school librarians who defend the controversial books seen in public school libraries. His claim is that these books that feature LGBTQ characters and talk about gender identity are grooming children to become desensitized to pornography and sexual abuse.

“What’s the difference between a teacher, a librarian putting one of these books on the desk of a student, or a guy in a white van pulling up when school lets out, saying, ‘Come around kids, let me read you this book?’” Rich asked the lawmakers. “What’s the difference between those two scenarios? There is a difference. They can run away from the van.”

A case in point is one book, more a graphic novel is seen on the shelves in a number of public school libraries. The book’s title is Gender Queer: A Memoir, written by Maia Kobabe. It talks of a young man who is dealing with the hardship of coming out and the sexual relationships he’s having along the way. But what is getting a rise (no pun intended) out of many parents are the graphic illustrations that accompany the text. In one, there is an illustration of a young man giving another oral sex.

What has really gotten parents and legislators to use the word “grooming” is some of the teachers who are speaking up and fighting to teach gender identity to young kids. In schools, young kids are presented with the Genderbread Person or the Gender Unicorn. They are told that if they are a boy, but feel like they are a girl, then that is how they should identify. Teachers are going out of their way to hide these things from parents. One public school teacher explains in her Tik Tok video how she hides this information from parents.

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Another public school vice principal wrote to teachers about how to hide one student’s information from his parents. The 7th-grade student preferred to be called Rebecca instead of Evan and he was allowed to use the girl’s bathrooms in the school. She sent the email to warn teachers that his parents did not know about Evan’s requests. Would this be considered grooming?

These are just a couple of examples that have people like Tamra Farah concerned. Farah is an executive director at Moms for America, a large group of moms whose stated goal is “to reclaim our culture for truth, family, freedom and the Constitution.” Farah says she is definitely concerned that grooming is happening in public schools, though she can’t say it is definitely taking place. “But I want to put that back on educators,” Farah said via The Washington Post. “You prove to me that won’t happen, and you prove it to me through studies — prove that what you’re doing won’t harm children.”

Grooming has been thrown into education talk all around the nation, and the great debate is whether or not it is happening inside classrooms.

This is where DeSantis and his Parental Rights in Education Bill come into play. Parents are asking for transparency. They want to know what is being talked about with their children, especially the youngest ones. DeSantis’ bill is aimed at age groups. He doesn’t want any talk of sex or gender identity to take place in kindergarten through third grade. After that, the discussion should be age-appropriate.

It’s already a proven fact that these materials are in public schools. It has already been shown that educators and school officials are allowing it, and in many cases promoting it. Conservative parents call it grooming. Others call it protecting the rights of children. Where is that line drawn and who decides it?

These are not easy answers to ascertain. Laws can be put in place to give more power to parents, but if certain teachers aren’t on board, they will do what they can to hide their intentions. Take, for instance, a Florida elementary school teacher who says, despite the new law in her state, she will continue to hold back information from parents if one of her students comes out.

Public school grooming or not? Where do you see these things? Is Gov. DeSantis going too far with his Parental Rights in Education Bill or is he on the money with it? What rights do you, as a parent, feel you have when it comes to your child in public schools? Should the schools have the ability to hide information from you?