Another schoolteacher abuses his authority and his kids

It's bad enough when it happens once, but when yet another elementary school teacher takes it upon himself to manipulate, intimidate, and confuse children as young as five, it's time for school board members, principals, teachers, and their union representatives, as well as parents, to sit down and agree upon what exactly is age-appropriate material for discussion in the classroom and what is not.

Mark Vince Busenbark is employed in the Madison, Wis. school district as a K–5 science teacher.  Without the consent, knowledge, or permission of parents, he not only claimed he's female, but presented a video and read a book about transgenderism in his "science" classes.  Understandably, there are frightened and confused children at Frank Allis Elementary school in Madison, there are also outraged parents, and district administrators are unwilling to answer for the unwarranted actions of a school district employee. 

Almost three weeks ago, on May 16, Mr. Busenbark began the classroom instruction for the day, re-introducing himself to his students by his new name, "Vica Steel."  He then told his students he's in the process of changing into a female.  He defended the decision to discuss his transition by stating that the purpose of the video was to educate his students about what he is becoming — obviously ignoring the fact that children, some as young as five, are cognitively unable to process "changing" one's sex.  As in a similar case in California, Mr. Busenbark veered far from the approved classroom curriculum and, in fact, frightened some of his students, most of whom aren't mature or wise enough to fully understand transgenderism or the ramifications.  And if his students weren't confused enough by the end of class, he then asked to be called "Mx" Steel instead of Mr. Busenbark.

 Not only are there angry parents, but Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, stated, "It is outrageous that school administrators would allow a male science teacher to expose children to propaganda that promotes confusion about basic biology, and to instruct students to address him by a false name, title and pronouns."  Mr. Staver added, "These impressionable students do not exist to validate Busenbark's sexual identity.  Parents send their children to school trusting that they will be taught academic curriculum, not become participants in a teacher's play acting."  The general consensus among angry parents is the fact the school failed to notify them in advance and didn't seek permission, allowing their kids to remain in the class for the teacher's reveal.  Several parents posted their anger on Facebook, one parent of a first-grader writing they are "pissed off, because there was no warning or head's up given beforehand."  Another parent wrote, "I've had to sit down with my kids and explain that what they heard is flat-out wrong and incorrect.  We will be kind to others, but we WILL NOT be involved in games of make-believe.  Shame on those that support this!"  Their anger is entirely justified, and the school district officials apparently don't want to discuss it. 

Parents have reported that Madison School District administrators brushed them off, refusing to meet with them or even discuss the situation.  Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel also alleges that the video presented by the science teacher violates the school district's policy on wellness, adding, "All instruction should be age-appropriate, medically accurate, non-stigmatizing, and inclusive for all students."

Just as parents have the ability to opt their children out of classroom instruction in school districts where sex education is part of the approved curriculum, parents should have input as to what is age-appropriate subject matter.

Clearly, the time has come for meaningful discussion about transgenderism in the public school classroom.  Guidelines for discussion or instruction must be published, followed, and strictly enforced.  Parents must be asked for permission to allow their children to receive such information.  Teachers who violate established policy should be disciplined or terminated immediately.

As Mat Staver eloquently noted, parents place their trust in the classroom teacher to present approved school curriculum — not indulge in sexual fantasies.  The frequency with which teachers are freely presenting and discussing controversial subject matter is alarming, especially without first seeking the permission of parents.  Exploiting schoolchildren to validate one's own make-believe sexual identity can no longer be ignored or tolerated.

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