Mary Vought: Virginia’s New School Guidance Protects Parental Rights

Listen4 minComment on this storyCommentGift ArticleMary Vought is the founder of Vought Strategies and a visiting fellow at Independent Women’s Forum.Recent guidance for Virginia public school districts released by the administration of Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin ® represents a victory for parents. Some on the left have already attacked the guidance as being hateful and transphobic. But as a parent whose two daughters attend Virginia schools, I applaud Youngkin’s actions as a welcome breath of common sense.Those who would criticize the new Virginia guidance should first read the document. It lists as its first guiding principle a statement all Virginians should support: “Parents have the right to make decisions with respect to their children.” Too often in recent years, progressives have overridden those parental rights, encouraging students to “transition” genders without consulting or informing their rightful legal guardians.AdvertisementYoungkin’s opponent in last fall’s gubernatorial election, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, admitted this paternalistic attitude when he claimed in a debate about books in schools that “I don’t think parents should be telling their schools what they should teach.” To the left, children exist primarily as wards of the state — ones that government officials can teach, or indoctrinate, as they wish — rather than the responsibility of the parents who brought them into the world and in almost all cases care more for them than anyone else, bureaucrats included.The Youngkin guidance correctly overturns this woke ideology and restores parental rights to their proper place. Principles such as “schools shall defer to parents to make the best decisions with respect to their children” and “schools shall keep parents informed about their children’s well-being” make perfect sense to the vast majority of Virginians. Rather than allowing students to “change” genders behind their parents’ backs, the guidance places those household conversations where they belong: at home, within a family unit.The guidance doesn’t just restore the rights of parents; it also restores constitutional principles. The document notes that “the First Amendment forbids government actors to require individuals to adhere to or adopt any particular ideological beliefs.” Ironically, the same progressives who cited the Constitution to prohibit mandatory prayer in schools and permit students to opt out of reciting the Pledge of Allegiance now want to force teachers, administrators and students to use a student’s “preferred pronouns,” even if doing so would violate those individuals’ sincerely held religious beliefs.AdvertisementThe new polic …

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