Have you noticed everyone seems to be talking about “parents’ rights”? Lately, it’s been all over the news and even in our local chat groups. On the surface, it sounds like a good thing, right? I mean, we probably all agree that parents should have certain rights when it comes to parenting our kids. But don’t we already? What exactly are they talking about? 

Here’s the thing. Extremists are using the term “parents’ rights” to confuse and mislead us. They want to control how ALL parents raise their kids and they want to pass laws to do it.  According to them,there’s only one “right” way to raise kids, and it’s their way. 

So what are these extremists really after? They are trying to destroy public education by taking out our trust in our public school teachers, administrators, and librarians. Public education is the great equalizer. Access to free public education is key to our democracy. But these folks don’t want every American kid to be prepared for living in the 21st century – they just want that for a select few. 

Parents should be free to make their own parenting decisions – about their own kids. For example, if a parent doesn’t want their kid reading a certain book, they can make that decision and let the teacher know, and the teacher can give that student a different book. But that one parent shouldn’t get to decide whether all the other kids in that class can read that book. That is NOT their right as a parent. But that’s exactly what this very loud, but very tiny group is trying to do. 

And even scarier, here are some other things they are trying to sneak in under the guise of the “parents’ rights” agenda:

  • Tracking kids’ periods
  • Requiring genital inspections for kids to participate in school sports 
  • Suing teachers who wear “I’m here” badges in support of LGBTQ+ students 
  • Banning books about the Holocaust, civil rights, climate change, and accurate American history, even books about historical figures like Anne Frank, Ruby Bridges, MLK Jr., or that contain LGBTQ+ characters.
  • Erasing history of racism from textbooks
  • Completely defunding public schools in a move to privatize education

None of these restrictions actually protect individual freedom. Instead, they’re about controlling what students and families believe, do, read, and learn. These bans and laws take away our rights and the rights of our kids. 

It’s important to understand that his whole “parents’ rights” campaign isn’t even a real movement. It’s driven by national extremist groups with big outside funding. In many cases, the people yelling at school board meetings don’t even have kids in the school district. Even worse, they’ve become known for using harassment and intimidation to silence librarians, teachers, parents, students and community leaders. Moms for Liberty members have threatened people with gun violence, accused parents of child abuse and grooming, and even tried to have children removed from healthy family homes. 

The chaos is causing real harm in our communities, and it’s getting expensive. One school district has racked up $1 million in PR and legal fees as a result of its discriminatory policies. Those are taxpayer dollars that could have gone to improving our public schools. And that’s really the whole point. The extremists causing this chaos are intentionally undermining our public schools, which eight in ten children in America rely on for their education. 

Mainstream parents like you and me don’t want to be told how to raise our kids. Parenting is hard enough – we’re done letting extremists who want to ban books, censor school curriculums, whitewash history, and target families of transgender children control the conversation. We want the freedom to raise our kids and prepare them for the real world.