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‘Transparency, but Only if a Parent Asks’: Oregon School Encourages Students to Join Queer Club

Jonathan Walker
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
Published: January 30, 2022
(Image: klimkin via Pixabay)

Parents of students attending the Raleigh Hills Elementary School in Beaverton, Oregon, have come out in protest after it came to light that their children were invited to join the Queer Student Alliance (QSA) without their knowledge. 

School staff also discussed ways to get around children having to ask their parents for permission. 

During a virtual school board meeting on Jan. 18, parents questioned the appropriateness of such a club within the school. The club is said to have begun operations in January, and several parents said that they were not informed about the existence of the club nor were they invited to provide input. 

One parent said “these kids are far too young to be learning about this subject at school” while insisting that the job of educating kids about “different lifestyles” lies with parents.

No opportunity ‘to opt her out’

School officials claim that the QSA is being run by two fifth-graders who identify themselves as transgender. However, parent Jeanette Schade cited school documents to affirm that teachers knew about the club and attempted to prevent parents from knowing about it. One parent whose daughter is in the leadership role at the club called parents who opposed it “homophobic, transphobic, [and] queerphobic.”

In the virtual meeting, a parent, Bambi Russell, recounted how her fourth-year girl was asked to join the QSA club by some fifth-grade students who came into her classroom to conduct an LGBTQ presentation. Her daughter signed up since she thought it was the right thing to do and everyone was signing up. 

Russel came across emails of conversations among school officials which show the club was being planned out at least from November. The emails also discussed ways to get around needing parents’ permission for kids to join QSA.

“These meetings are taking place during the school day and, per the emails, that was one of the ways to be able to get around parents needing to approve it. The emails instruct transparency, but only if a parent asks. Nothing came home with my daughter or was sent to me from the school explaining such a presentation was going to take place in the classroom. I was not given the opportunity to opt her out,” Russel said.

Similar incidents

The QSA incident at Raleigh Hills Elementary School is not an isolated one. Parents from a school in Jacksonville, Florida, recently filed a lawsuit against their daughter’s school for encouraging her to identify as a boy after the kid expressed confusion about her gender. 

The issue only came to the parents’ attention after the girl tied to commit suicide in the school bathroom. In Texas, a teacher exposed a school mandate that asked teachers to keep a student’s confessions about their gender identity a secret from their parents.

“Schools are secretly grooming kids to be gay… They have outside influences teaching them how to do that. Lesson number one is to cut the parents out of the picture,” Mary McAlister, senior counsel for The Children and Parental Rights Campaign, told The Epoch Times. Her organization is currently representing a family from New York who will soon file a lawsuit against their kid’s school for keeping the child’s gender identity issues a secret.

There are now attempts to push kids to adopt puberty blockers, gender reassignment surgery, hormone therapy, and the like. 

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) recently introduced a new set of standards in this direction, a move that has alarmed parents of gender-dysphoric students who say that such policies only reflect the position of a few pro-transgender activists and not most medical experts.