We Must Protect Parent Rights Nationwide, Not Just in Florida | Opinion

One of the most important freedoms that Americans have lost in recent years is the freedom to raise one's children with his or her own morals and values. Far-left woke radicals have now infiltrated America's education system at every level—from the federal government all the way down to the school boards. Schools across America are now indoctrinating our children with outlandish ideologies that just a few years ago would have been unthinkable.

Schools across America are now teaching absurd ideologies like critical race theory (CRT), where our children are taught that their most important aspect is the color of their skin. And unfortunately, CRT is not even scratching the surface. Schools are also teaching our children as young as kindergarten that they can choose their gender identity and preferred pronouns, regardless of their gender "assigned" at birth. In many schools, teachers are even specifically told by their superiors to keep a student's chosen gender identity a secret from that student's parents. Schools throughout the country are promoting outrageous ideas like these in classrooms in almost every single state, including my own state of Georgia.

In DeKalb County, Georgia—the same county where I once served as chief executive officer—the public school district held a "Black Lives Matter at DeKalb Schools" week of action earlier this year. The district even promoted lessons for students titled "Looking at Race and Racial Identity in Children's Books" and "Examining Identity and Assimilation." First of all, the Black Lives Matter movement was created by radical Marxists who want nothing less than the full transformation of America in their far-left woke image. And second, those lesson plans—in public schools—are blatantly inspired by the poisonous drivel that is CRT. That is completely unacceptable.

Worse, schools throughout the country are telling children in kindergarten that gender is a choice and that they can be a boy, girl or anything else their young impressionable minds might possibly think of. The public school district in Miami, Florida stated that students can "determine their gender identity" without the need for "outside confirmation from medical or mental health professionals." The school district in Burlington, Vermont even tells teachers that "students should be addressed by school staff by the name and pronoun corresponding to their gender identity." The school district even provides materials to teachers so that they can teach children about the broader topic of "gender identity."

Second graders in class.
Second graders read in their Jerabek Elementary School classroom. The school is a year round school. | Location: Scripps Ranch, San Diego, California, USA. David Butow/Getty Images

When it comes to the dissemination of deeply divisive left-wing gender ideology to elementary school students, I can describe what is happening in one simple word: "grooming." They are grooming our nation's children. And you're out of your mind if you think we should let that continue.

What America needs right now more than anything are more elected leaders who will fight for our children—elected leaders who will fight for our parents. We need leaders like Governor Ron DeSantis and his fellow Republicans elected to office in Florida. Florida Republicans are in the process of passing a Parental Rights of Education bill that prohibits schools from teaching young children about sexual orientation and gender identity. It's ridiculous that we are at a point in our nation's history where we need laws to protect the right of parents to pass down their values to their children without the education system interfering. But if woke radicals aim to groom our children against our values, then we must fight back.

That's exactly why I have promised to introduce comprehensive parental rights legislation, which will include an outright ban on elementary schools nationwide teaching our children about topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the bigoted and racist ideals of CRT. Schools exist to teach children skills like math and science. In no scenario should children be learning about the 800 genders that supposedly exist in a liberal fantasy land—or the perpetual sense of victimhood that critical race theorists seek to instill in our children. My legislation would specifically withhold all federal funding from schools that continue to teach these evil ideologies.

And what these schools are doing to our children is, indeed, nothing short of evil. That's what makes federal, and not merely state, action more necessary than ever. Parental rights should not just be protected in Florida; they should be protected in every state. Florida should never be the only safe haven of sanity and rationality in our nation. All of America's parents and children deserve better.

Our children should not be learning their "LGBTs" before they can even recite their "ABCs." We need more elected leaders like Governor DeSantis in office who will fight back, and every conservative leader across the country should work with him to ensure that our nation's children are safe and secure from the far-left woke radicals who have completely taken over our education system.

Vernon Jones is a former Georgia state representative, a Trump surrogate and currently a congressional candidate for Georgia's 10th congressional district.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.