EDITOR’S NOTE: The following op-ed by Gov.Reynolds responds to a recent Des Moines Register editorial that defended Linn-Mar’s policy to keep parents in the dark about their child’s wish to transition to the opposite gender. Gov. Reynolds originally submitted the op-ed to the Register, which refused to publish it unless the Governor agreed to edit the piece to bend to the Register’s political views. The Governor refused, opting instead to publish the piece, unedited, with the Iowa Field Report. For more on the Register’s censorship, read our story here.
Parents Matter. It’s a central theme in my Administration and re-election campaign – and until what seems like yesterday, it was uncontroversial. Not anymore.
Look no further than the Des Moines Register’s attempt to defend the tragedy happening at the Linn Marr School District, which is not only endorsing the decision of middle schoolers to reject their biological sex, but even helping them keep their own parents in the dark.
We’re not talking here about adults; we’re talking about kids as young as twelve, who can now change their names and pronouns at school, knowing their schools will conceal it from their parents. Biological males will be allowed to share restrooms, locker rooms, and sleeping quarters on overnight trips with girls. If they or their parents feel uncomfortable with that, too bad.
And that’s not to mention the potential long-term implications involved. We know that children often go on to rethink their decision to identify as the opposite gender. But for many, it’s too late because they’ve already undergone hormone therapy and irreversible surgeries on healthy organs.
There’s no sugarcoating what’s happening: in its enthusiasm for the “right” of young children to start down a life-altering path, Linn-Mar is sidelining parents just when their kids need them most.
Here’s how the Des Moines Register spins this outrage:
But children’s rights are important, too. They deserve to be treated consistent with who they are. They deserve — as a policy adopted this spring by Linn-Mar’s school board puts it — to be able “to discuss and express their gender identity and expression openly and to decide when, with whom, and how much to share private information.”
Translation: schools should be required to cooperate with 7th graders who want to conceal their experiments in a new identity from their parents. For the Editorial Board, this bizarre inversion of a school’s normal obligation to parents qualifies as “[getting] the balance right.”
But schools require parental consent before so much as sharing children’s grades or even administering a vitamin. Some schools insist on parental sign-off for field trips. Yet Linn Marr and the Editorial Board believe parents have no right to know about, let alone object to, their own twelve-year-old’s transition?
This is disturbing and unacceptable. Schools have an extremely important job: to teach students math, reading, history, and more. But they don’t get to take the place of parents. And in Iowa, we’ll make sure they don’t.
On behalf of moms, dads, students, teachers, and everyone who supports common sense, I’m speaking out because parents – and their children – deserve better. And I know I’m speaking for hundreds of thousands of Iowans across the state.
I’m not letting up, and Iowans shouldn’t either. We need to continue to speak out and take action anywhere this is tried. The integrity of our schools and the wellbeing of our kids depend on it.