Last Friday, many OKHPR members attended two Oklahoma State Department of Education meetings to discuss rule changes pertaining to parental rights and removing pornographic material from school libraries. One rule being considered could downgrade a school’s accreditation if oversexualized content and pornographic material is made available to minors in school libraries. Another rule strengthens the role of caregivers to be fully informed about their child’s education. And it would require schools to inform parents if their child identifies a certain way.
Parental rights advocates were heavily outnumbered at last week’s public hearing. We need all concerned citizens and especially all available OKHPR members to attend this OSDE meeting in support of parental rights policies.
You can attend the next OSDE Board Meeting pertaining to these rule changes. It is taking place on Thursday, March 23rd at 1:00 PM in Room 1-20 (State Board Room) at the Oliver Hodge Building, 2500 North Lincoln Boulevard, in Oklahoma City.
Doors open at 12:30 PM and it is highly encouraged that people show up a little bit before that! If you plan to attend, please register HERE so we know how many OKHPR members are there!
Talking Points for Parental Rights Rule
- Adults should never ask children to keep secrets! If a teacher is allowed to keep a students secret, how will a student know what secrets are good or bad? Appropriate or inappropriate? If a teacher keeps a students preferred pronouns or sexual orientation confidential this blurs the boundaries and makes it difficult for a student to understand appropriate boundaries with trusted adults. Having secrets at school could make it easier for a teacher to groom a student. A teacher could potentially require acts or favors to keep from revealing a students secret.
- Many of the comments against this rule have been that parents are abusive and cannot be trusted. This language puts a wedge between children and parents. It is very concerning that this language is being spoken publicly by school personnel at these OSDE hearings. Parents and teachers are in a partnership to educate children. We need open dialogue, not divisive rhetoric.
- The responsibility for a child’s behavior, medical treatment, and well being falls on the parent. How can a teacher keep a secret that affects any of those things, while at the same time not having any responsibility to the child or family for the outcome and consequences of those secrets?
- All people in Oklahoma are required to report abuse of a child with no exceptions. If a teacher believes that a child is unsafe and that teacher is keeping secrets to “keep them safe”, then the teacher has broken mandatory reporting laws. This rule further strengthens and supports child welfare guidelines.
- Opponents of these rules have argued that children have a right to privacy. Opponents think parents should be secondary or excluded entirely. Groomer methodology includes separating children from their parents. This is the primary reason we need to pass Parental Rights rules.
- A teacher’s role is to teach academics. Teachers are not equipped, nor should they be expected to take on the role of parenting in addition to teaching. Let parents do their job in open communication with teachers for best outcomes.
Talking Points for Media Rule
- Each family may have different feelings on what is age appropriate for their child.
- Parents are not available in school libraries to make sure that the books that children are picking up off of the shelves are appropriate.
- Making sure that the books available for children in school libraries are age appropriate is not the same as book banning. Parents may buy any book for their child or borrow books from a public library if they wish for their child to read it.
- Some books that have been found to be present in Oklahoma school libraries have been very sexually graphic, including pornographic images. These books have no place in a child’s library without the proper parental consent.