Battling the Leftist Education Playbook

Several years ago, my husband and I learned a valuable lesson when we visited San Diego: Ignorance is not an excuse. After returning to our car from a beach trip, we noticed that we’d been ticketed. We drove to the police station and discovered that we’d parked in a red curb zone.

We hadn’t seen any No Parking signs, and the curbs weren’t red. However, there doesn’t have to be red paint to signify a restricted area; people are expected to know the rules. We weren’t excused from that ticket, and we were chided for not knowing the law, even as vacationers.

Twenty years later, American parents are suffering from what I call the Red Curb Syndrome. We do our best to stay informed, but we don’t always read school policy manuals or attend every board meeting. There are times when we may miss a new rule. Using taxpayer dollars nefariously and covertly to implement changes, public school officials have taken full advantage of parents’ busyness. 

It’s no surprise, therefore, that parents all over the country find ourselves battling Critical Race Theory and transgender bathroom policies that we didn’t even know existed. Parental ignorance is no excuse. Public education has taken a dangerous turn. Parents hoping to take back their schools must start by studying the leftist school playbook.

Step One: Secretly Use Taxpayer Dollars to Subvert School Employees. School officials throughout the country have been caught on camera acknowledging efforts to train staff and to trick parents. My teenagers attend Olentangy Local School District, Ohio’s fourth largest public school system. With four high schools and 23,000 students, the district has become more like a government-run indoctrination station.

Unbeknownst to parents, school officials hired House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries’ brother, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, to lead a workshop in 2018 and hired him again to provide teacher professional development.

The district enlarged its DEI team, and Instagram posts from its members revealed the CRT mission to disrupt the district’s “Whiteness.” Classroom teachers began using social media to proselytize progressive values.

The DEI team addressed cheerleading advisors and developed a session which emphasized the importance of avoiding “implicit bias” in body language, hair styles, and grooming. Cheerleaders were instructed to examine their routines and to replace equality with equity.

To help staff understand how to affirm gender identity, a DEI employee secretly sent an internal email to faculty so that they could incorporate transgender guidelines, guidelines that were never shared with the community.

Step Two: Normalize Deviance and Make Parents Seem Like Bigots. Schools like OLSD have made daily exposure to CRT and gender identity a core strategy. Stellar teachers have been sacrificed because district leaders have taken federal money, adhered to the agendas attached to those dollars, and approved instructional practices and policies that turn kids away from the community’s conservative roots. In the name of equity, small groups of parents were informed last year that it might be time to eliminate or edit the district’s Advanced Placement classes. This year, OLSD’s DEI team approached high school social studies teachers with pressure to add AP African American Studies, a course that includes the Marxist topics of  “intersection of race and gender.”

From purchasing Trojan horse curriculum tools such as BrainPOP and Newsela, to covering classroom walls with transgender flags, teachers are immersing students in leftist ideology. For many kids, the propaganda has created a new normal for them, one that makes them question why their parents are bothered if their teachers secretly ask for their pronouns.

Step Three: Quietly Create Policy that No One Reads. In the spring of 2022, parents realized that administrators were ignoring the signs on school restrooms when two little girls went into an OLSD elementary school bathroom and encountered a biological boy. Moms asked for answers, and they were directed to district policy 5517, updated for “anti-harassment” to include “gender identity.” This revised policy had been on the books for years, but no one had ever paid any attention to it. It had been discussed at meetings, but board members sometimes referred to its number and didn’t read the language attached to it.

Parents who persisted in their concerns were informed by the district’s communication director that Title IX required the administration to make this “special arrangement” for the transgender student. In an interview with local media, that official stated that transgender students are a protected class, “so any student who identifies as a gender different than their biological gender assigned at birth is in a protected class.” 

Step Four: Use Policy to Justify Operational Changes without Informing Parents. OLSD allows any transgender student to use all facilities that align with an individual’s proclaimed identity, even when entryways are marked for biological sex, and even though parents and students have not been informed for such encounters in restrooms or locker rooms. Parents had no idea about how the district’s distortion of Title IX or policy 5517 would apply to operational changes regarding public spaces, and many are still totally unaware that biological signage may be disregarded.

Step Five: Stall and Use Silence to Dismiss Parents. After the uproar in the Olentangy elementary school, parents asked for updates on the district’s transgender policies. School officials remained silent, ignoring emails for weeks at a time. They denied any danger, and emphasized the district’s goal of “inclusivity.” Last summer, conversations emerged as three high school girls, who stated they identified as boys, demanded lodging in male dorms at the Olentangy Orange High School band camp. No one was notified about the girls’ requests, including the boys who would be impacted by the living arrangements. 

Earlier this month, students realized that a transgender student was using the girls’ restroom at Olentangy Berlin High School. I wrote to the principal to tell him that girls were not using the bathroom and felt uncomfortable knowing that a biological boy could be in there, asking him to verify the situation and to clarify policy.

I got no reply until I followed up. He refused to answer me directly. Instead, he wrote that “if you or your daughter have any concerns about using the girls’ restroom, I can make alternative arrangements for her to use another restroom, such as in the nurse’s office or staff restroom.”

Step Six: Ignore Court Rulings Unless Forced to Do Otherwise. Following the 11th Circuit ruling upholding the right to require transgender children to use the bathroom according to their biological sex, parents again asked Olentangy school officials to honor bathroom signage. OLSD Board President Kevin O’Brien responded that “Ohio is not controlled by the 11th Circuit” and again echoed that board policy 5517 -- Anti-Harassment, revised in 2013, included the statement that “[t]he Board will vigorously enforce its prohibition against discriminatory harassment based on race, color, national origin, sex (including sexual orientation and transgender identity), disability, age (except as authorized by law), religion, ancestry, or genetic information…” 

Ironically, girls who have sincerely held religious beliefs are being discounted when they ask for bathrooms that align with biological sex so that they can maintain their privacy. Instead of following policy 5517, district officials are placing gender identity ahead of religious rights.

How did we get here? We were ignorant; we were red-curbed. We believed we were sending our kids to school for an education, and we trusted teachers and administrators without verifying what was happening. In turn, the district made our children ideological soldiers, and our kids are fighting a battle that should not have begun.

Once awake, we attempted to communicate and negotiate solutions, but the silence from school officials continues to be deafening. Many families are choosing to leave, opting to home school, or sending their kids to private schools. For those who remain in the district, it may take the Supreme Court to ensure safe spaces for our girls.

There are 49 million kids in public education, and leaving them behind would be a reckless decision that would threaten the future of our republic. To take back our schools, we have created our own playbook. We’re reading and questioning every school policy and demanding answers. We’re speaking with dedicated teachers inside the system who disagree with what’s happening. We’re working to elect new board members, filing records requests, and seeking legal counsel to defend students’ rights. We’re communicating with lawmakers and asking for legislation to combat extreme left-wing agendas and to support school choice. We urge grandparents and community members to join us in what could be one of our last battles to save our children, our values, and our country.

Image: K Whiteside

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