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Academics’ arrogance: Parents are ‘fragile,’ their kids belong to the community

Parental concerns have ‘temptations toward tyranny’

It truly is a remarkable thing to behold: A couple of weeks ago The Fix highlighted an educator who believes she’s brave for teaching controversial topics (unrelated to her subject area) and taking on the parents who complain.

My words of advice were “arrogance and self-awareness seldom go hand in hand.”

But the know-it-alls just keep coming. The Indianapolis Star apparently loves these takes as it recently gave space for not one, but two educators who think concerned parents are fragile Neanderthals.

On Independence Day, University of Indianapolis Professor Sarah Reynolds (pictured, left) chided the contemporary parents’ rights movement by saying:

“We have a collective community responsibility to ensure that children’s education is not determined by or dependent on the whims of a few, but instead is truly preparing children for a future as independent, free-thinking citizens in a world beyond their parents’ control and vision.”

Oh no — people who differ from me politically and philosophically are utilizing the democratic process to alter the makeup of school boards!

This is just what School Board Partners founder and CEO Carrie Douglass whined about late last year: “Now [parents] felt compelled to scrutinize curriculum choices, library books, teacher quality, and health-care decisions […] school closures, mask mandates …”

Professor Reynolds begrudgingly concedes that “the parental impulse to protect and guide and nurture is an important one,” but then adds some parents’ impulses “can become another area of abuse” and “have its own temptations toward tyranny.”

“Abuse”? “Tyranny”?

Portland State University social gerontologist Lauren Bouchard (pictured, right) may shed some light on this. Two days after Reynolds’ op-ed, Bouchard wrote that she graduated high school “deeply sad [and] emotionally damaged.”

This is partly because she grew up in an environment where “Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck [were] background noise,” and her AP Government teacher had a cardboard cutout of President Ronald Reagan in class.

MORE: Academics: Allowing kids to opt out of drag storytime is a ‘dangerous setback’ for gay rights

This year, Bouchard got around to reading “Gender Queer,” which she says could have “eased [her] adolescent shame and isolation” back in the day.

“Gender Queer” currently is the “most banned” book in the country because, Bouchard claims, “some characteristic of identity or family configuration is seen as inherently profane.”

“What does it say to students”? she asks. “The damage of adult fragility, religious indoctrination and homophobia persists.”

Except that “Gender Queer” has been challenged and removed from age-inappropriate classrooms and libraries because its illustrations and descriptions are profane, not its discussion of identity or family configuration.

It literally is more sexually explicit than an issue of Playboy.

Challenging books like “Gender Queer” and the teachers who insist upon teaching age-inappropriate and politically charged material is to Bouchard (and, unfortunately, many others) a “vilification” of teachers.

Not to mention, Bouchard makes the tired argument that, if the material in “Gender Queer” isn’t taught at school, kids will find out about it on the smartphones. By this logic, teachers should be permitted to freely use profanity in their classes because, after all, kids use it all the time —  including in the schoolhouse.

ONCE AGAIN: The concerns of parents and groups like Moms for Liberty are not a vilification of educators but very legitimate worries about the inappropriateness of some of the material arrogant and self-unaware teachers use.

Do you want your eight-year-old to see someone performing oral sex on another person … in the name of some perverted definition of “diversity”?

If you do, then go out and buy a book like “Gender Queer.” Don’t demand your local school make it available and that its teachers teach it. And don’t whine about parents speaking up about it. Age appropriateness is quite the viable concern and it’s been codified into law for many decades.

Concerned parents and connected interest groups didn’t start this conflict. They’re merely responding — finally.

It’s all quite simple, really: Leave kids alone. Let them keep their innocence. If not, be prepared. As I’m a fan of memorable movie quotes, here’s another, paraphrased: “Let it go. Let it go or you’ll get a war you won’t believe.”

MORE: ‘Equity’ professors detail how to fight back against parents’ critical race theory beefs

IMAGES: U. Indianapolis screencap; Lauren Bouchard/Linkedin; Aontú/Twitter

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.