OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – A passionate hearing took place at the Oklahoma State Department of Education Friday, regarding parental rights to direct the public education of minor children.
Dozens spoke up about a proposed rule that would allow parents to object to sex education and require school districts to inform parents of a child’s developmental changes, such as identity information.
The hearing was mostly filled with people who were against the proposed rule, who believe it would actually endanger children.
“Requiring school employees, including counselors, to categorically out students who question their gender identity is a serious violation of student privacy,” said Tamya Cox-Touré of ACLU of Oklahoma.
The proposed rule would allow parents the right to inspect sex and sexuality education material and opt out their children if they don’t like it. It would also require school districts to inform parents of a child’s developmental changes — including identity information — within 30 days of learning the info.
Many opponents at the hearing said this would put children in serious harm at school and at home.
“My high school career was forever marked by witnessing a brutal hate crime,” one woman shared. “I’ll never forget seeing the blood on the floor, finding out whose blood it was, and knowing exactly why someone tried to hurt him. That night his parents came to my house. Our house was a safe haven [for] a father whose child had been brutally beaten, in fact nearly beaten to death in the halls of my high school.”
“I was outed to my family while I was in high school,” another person said. “I did not make that choice. I was outed, my identity, and I was homeless for the last year of my high school experience. I had no support from my family.”
But those in support of the rule believe parental authority is a fundamental right and assert that it’s parents — not schools — that have to live with the consequences of their child’s decisions.
“Keeping parents out of the loop with something so impactful in a child’s future as changing their sex or questioning their gender is not only a disrespect, it’s purposefully destroying and discrediting the family bond,” said Janice Danforth of the Tulsa Chapter of Moms for Liberty.
Another parent agreed.
“As a parent, it’s my right to know what’s going on in my child’s life and I never put trust completely in the teachers,” she expressed. “Some teachers don’t have my child’s best interest at heart.”
The State Board of Education expects to vote on the proposed rule at their next meeting on March 23.