Florida takes a stand for parent’s rights to protect their children | columns

What is basic education? It is the process of helping youngsters in their early years to gain knowledge, skills and understanding of important, fundamental areas of living as a human being. These things are taught in the home and in schools, and for some, in religious activities.

And in schools, at first, the focus is on learning basic things like the ABCs, then how to read, speak and write; how to count, and then to add, subtract, multiply and divide. With each year of age comes more complex learning.

Young minds are only capable of basic learning, which is why the early years focus on the basics. What children learn in the early years will stick with them. Which is why they need to be taught by parents and in school about fundamentals, like honesty, kindness, fairness, clear thinking, respect for others, and working to achieve.

Young minds are evolving, and are malleable. In their early years, children have little ability to evaluate the good or bad of things with which they come in contact. That is why parents must be sure they are not exposed to harmful ideas, and why they must be watchful for efforts to “mold” the young in certain harmful ways.

Such things as gender identity, that there are more than two genders, whether they like being a boy or girl, or would rather transition to another gender, are not appropriate. Bringing up what the letters LGBT mean. Teaching that people of color are oppressed, and white people are oppressors. These concepts are unsuitable for K-3 children, and perhaps some older ones, as well.

While the denials are strong, the fact is that some schools and some teachers are taking advantage of the malleable nature of children in kindergarten and the early grades to put harmful ideas into the curricula that most parents do not support. These ideas are being secretly introduced into classrooms, as neither school boards nor the public have given them official and public approval.

This subversive behavior has raised the ire of parents in some states, as they resent the effort to remove from them the obvious authority they have over how their children are treated. And in Florida, the Legislature has acted on their behalf.

On March 28, the governor’s website (flgov.com) said the following: “Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill (HB) 1557, Parental Rights in Education, which reinforces parents’ fundamental rights to make decisions regarding the bringing up of their children . The bill prohibits classroom instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through 3rd grade and prohibits instruction that is not age appropriate for students and requires school districts to adopt procedures for notifying parents if there is a change in services from the school regarding a child’s mental , emotional or physical health or well-being. The bill builds on the Parents’ Bill of Rights, which was signed into law in Florida last year, and is part of Governor DeSantis’ Year of the Parent focus on protecting parental rights in education.”

Gender activists and opponents of this bill call it the “The Don’t Say Gay” bill, even though the term “gay” does not appear in the text of the legislation. Reacting not to the bill itself and its purpose, but to the activists’ mischaracterization of it as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, opposition to Gov. DeSantis’ position and the legislation has gained a following.

And the once red-blooded American company, the Walt Disney Company, has taken exception to this child-protecting law. The company’s CEO, Bob Chapek, intends to work for the repair of the law.

The company’s position has angered a group of its employees, which wrote an unsigned letter claiming Disney has embraced a “progressive orthodoxy” that has created an “environment of fear” in employees that are not progressives.

“The Walt Disney Company has come to be an increasingly uncomfortable place to work for those of us whose political and religious views are not explicitly progressive,” the letter said, as reported by the New York Post. “We watch quietly as our beliefs come under attack from our own employer, and we frequently see those who share our opinions condemned as villains by our own leadership.”

Responding to Disney’s opposition to the bill, DeSantis’ said this in a Twitter post: “The state of Florida is governed according to the interests of the people, not according to the political posturing of corporate executives in California. We will never allow corporate influence to repeal the substantive rights of parents in our state.”

Someone posted a meme on Facebook which read: “It’s not about homosexuality or heterosexuality. Stop promoting sexuality to our children, PERIOD. Let kids be kids.” So far, this common-sense post has not been taken down.

People who support DeSantis’ position are being accused of being “anti-gay” or “anti-trans.” But wanting to protect the youngest school children from potential indoctrination of a subject that could harm them for the rest of their lives is not “anti-gay” or “anti-trans.” It is per children.

Mature individuals will have plenty of time to decide how they spend their adult years after they have progressed sufficiently to make such decisions.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a DailyTelegraph columnist. Contact him at shottcommentary@gmail.com

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