One of the most memorable scenes in “The Silver Chair” by C.S. Lewis occurs when a protagonist, Puddleglum, breaks free of a witch’s enchantment by stepping on a hot coal. Though painful, the burn clears his head of the witch’s spell of deception and reminds him of what is real.

Now is the time for parents to remind their children of what is real, and what is deception.

With the passage of the Equality Act in the U.S. House of Representatives and the confirmation of Dr. Rachel Levine—who endorses hormonal and surgical interventions on children to treat gender dysphoria—to a senior position at the Department of Health and Human Services, children today are growing up in an atmosphere where what’s false is called true and what’s true is called false.

Not only do parents need to teach their children what is true and false, but they need to equip them with the tools they need to protect themselves from those who would violate their conscience.

One of the most egregious arenas where children’s civil liberties are being violated is in our nation’s public schools. Many schools in California are already implementing policies to enforce speech codes, which are in line with guidance from the nation’s largest teachers union, the National Education Association.

Schools are also urging students to keep social transitions to another gender secret from parents and are directed by policies pushed by activists and the National Education Association to hide changed names and pronouns on official school documents that an unsupportive parent might see. 

A question posed to parents in the 50,000-member strong Facebook group Informed Parents of California revealed that teachers are already directing students in middle schools and high schools to introduce themselves along with their preferred pronouns.

This exercise is an effort to force children to comply with the ideology that says gender is not binary—rather it is on a spectrum and is determined by feelings instead of biology.

Some parents from the Informed Parents of California group said they have dealt with this totalitarian requirement by contacting school administrations and moving their children to other classrooms. Others have opted out of public education entirely, some have moved out of the state of California, while others have encouraged their children to fight back and not comply. 

Even though we know schools nationwide are passing sexual orientation and gender identity policies, it’s often on an ad hoc basis—unless state law supports the policies, as in California and Virginia.

The passage of the Equality Act, however, would pave the way for these types of policies to be forced on all public K-12 schools nationwide, with the backing and enforcement of the federal government—it will supersede state laws on related matters.

State laws that prohibit boys from competing against girls in sports, for example, will be rendered powerless.

Given this situation, it would be wise for parents to formulate a plan to anticipate these scenarios with their children before they are caught by an activist teacher or school. Some good questions to think about with your children are:

  • What will you say if a teacher asks you to introduce yourself with preferred pronouns?
  • What will you/we do if a teacher punishes you for using “non-inclusive” language in a writing assignment?
  • What will you/we do if you are penalized for “mis-gendering” another child?
  • What will you do when the only correct answer on a test forces you to choose that sex “is assigned at birth” by a doctor—rather than determined by chromosomes at conception?

Talk with your children about the facts surrounding the gender identity debate. If you receive some pushback, maybe you will take your concerns to court and work your way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, but in the meantime, give your children the tools they need so they can know the difference between truthtellers and gaslighters.

Game out any scenario you can anticipate that they might encounter at school, at the climbing gym, at soccer practice, and even at church that would cause them to violate their conscience.

You may not have control over how Congress votes or what President Joe Biden signs into law (as he promised he would do with the Equality Act in his first 100 days), but you are still the most influential person in your children’s lives.

Use that leverage while you still can to ensure that the biggest influence on your child’s values and development is you, not an increasingly ideological education system.

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written here is to be construed as representing the views of The Heritage Foundation. 

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