On the first day of school last week in a Utah high school classroom, chemistry teacher Leah Kinyon had little to say about chemistry, but a lot to say about what she regards as the stupidity of parents.
In the course of a wide-ranging political tirade caught on video by students, Kinyon said, “Most of y’all’s parents are dumber than you. I’m going to say that out loud.”
She continued: “My parents are freaking dumb. OK, and the minute I figured that out, the world opened up. You don’t have to do everything your parents say. And you don’t have to believe everything your parents believe. Because most likely, you’re smarter than them.”
Parents who saw the video were—as one might imagine—not impressed. And despite Kinyon’s assertion that school administrators “don’t give a crap” what she says in class, her employment was terminated.
As troubling as Kinyon’s comments are, they are also an indicator of a much broader anti-parent, anti-family movement escalating in education and beyond.
Many teachers increasingly seem themselves not as agents accountable to parents, but as activists charged with crafting their pupils into socially, sexually, and politically correct minions, the wishes of their parents notwithstanding.
The anti-parent sentiment so freely expressed by Kinyon reflects the position of innumerable global organizations and programs bent on freeing children from the oppressive grasp of their parents.
The following are five examples:
1) The World Health Organization published a framework for sexuality educators in 2017 that specifically says educators should be willing “to challenge different religious backgrounds” and be willing “to challenge parents and colleagues.”
2) The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, which considers itself the education czar for the entire world, is likewise not enthusiastic about supporting parents’ rights or values.
In its International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, it instructs teachers to help students “differentiate between the values they hold, and that their parents hold” and to stress that students should “acknowledge that some of their values may be different from [those of] their parents/guardians.”
It goes on to educate children on a wide range of sexual topics and techniques that most parents would find troubling, if not alarming.
3) The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which was drafted at the United Nations in the name of protecting the children of the world, provides footing for arguments that decrease the influence of parents.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child asserts children’s rights to:
- “Seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds.”
- Exercise “freedom of association.”
- Refuse “arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy … or correspondence,”
- Access “information and material from a diversity of national and international sources.”
While some of these elements might be beneficial to children at times, many of them can limit parental influence and endanger children.
As an obvious example, if children are to “receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds through any media of the child’s choice,” that could include a wide variety of materials, including pornographic and sexual resources and youth recruiters of all sorts, including terrorist groups and sex-trafficking rings.
Further, if children are granted unfettered “freedom of association” along with prohibitions on “interferences with his or her privacy,” then parents’ authority to limit their children’s access to certain materials or to limit their association with people they deem detrimental or dangerous to their children would be diminished or eliminated in the name of children’s rights.
4) UNICEF is the U.N. agency tasked with protecting the well-being of the world’s children. In 2016, UNICEF published a document, “Legal Minimum Ages and the Realization of Adolescents’ Rights,” which says:
States should review and consider allowing children to consent to certain medical treatments and interventions without the permission of a parent, caregiver, or guardian, such as HIV testing and sexual and reproductive health services, including education and guidance on sexual health, contraception, and safe abortion.
Statements throughout the UNICEF booklet position parents as obstacles to their children’s health, make minimum ages essentially meaningless, and negate parental involvement in their children’s medical treatment.
Many school districts now have official policies that not only allow, but require, teachers and administrators to withhold information from parents concerning their children’s gender identity at school.
A child could have a completely different name and persona at school than at home, enabled and concealed by teachers.
That’s in keeping with international trends. The WHO endorses U.N. guidelines stating that children should be instructed on gender incongruence starting at age 5, without any mention of parental consent.
Increasing demands for children’s gender statements to be honored above all else are paving the way for the dramatic erosion of parental rights. This troubling trend fails to acknowledge that while parents are not perfect, they are almost always the best and most reliable advocates for their children’s long-term well-being and the most tenacious in pursuing it.
While there are still noble teachers in schools today who value parents’ input and seek to strengthen family bonds, rather than destroy them, it will become increasingly difficult for those teachers to stand against the international educational onslaught that seems bound and determined to train teachers to pit students against their parents.
Thankfully, parents in Utah have won a small victory against one activist teacher for now. Let’s hope other victories will follow.
The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation.
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