South Carolina Mom Asks School Board ‘Why Are Adult Teachers Allowed to Sponsor a Group Regarding Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with Minors?’

A South Carolina parent challenged the school board of Richland School District Two in Columbia where Blythewood High School (BHS) hosted the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) “No Place for Hate” program that invites children to “explore identity,” and “apply this understanding to recognize the relationship between identity, bias and power.”

ADL’s No Place for Hate program also seeks to “build the capacity to recognize and confront bias within oneself, others and institutions,” and “examine the relationship between individual biases and systemic oppression, including the impact of intersecting oppressions.”

The homeschooling mom of five, who is also a military spouse, addressed the school board about BHS’ No Place for Hate Week.

“This includes a presentation by an advocate from the Harriet Hancock Center, which is an LGBTQ organization dedicated to educating youth ages 11 to 17,” the mother noted.

“This does not belong in our public schools,” she continued. “The GSA or Gay Straight Alliance group is hosting these events. Any school group, GSA included, must be sponsored by a teacher.”

The parent said this requirement highlights her main concern:

Why are adult teachers allowed to sponsor a group regarding sexual orientation and gender identity with minors? Why are teachers allowed to post signs on their classroom doors showing their fealty or allyship to the LGBTQ community and take part in student-led pride groups. When I was in school, we didn’t discuss sexuality with teachers outside of biology class. Yet now students are being openly encouraged to have these discussions in government buildings by teachers who are paid with taxpayer money.

The parent observed that in June 2022, the school district posted a “series of tweets educating students on how to use pronouns, be an ally, and celebrate Pride month.”

“This absolutely has no place in our schools,” she emphasized. “Adults other than parents should not be having discussions about sexual orientation with minors, especially in our tax-funded public schools. Would the school host a Bible day and invite various religious leaders from the community to come and speak? Would they allow Bible passages to be displayed throughout the school? We know the answer to this is ‘no,’ because it pushes an ideology and worldview that not every student agrees with or feels comfortable with, and frankly also doesn’t belong in government schools.”

“So why is the GSA allowed to use school property, school time and school resources and money to bring these groups into the school?” the mother asked the board.

“The government doesn’t have the right to push ideologies and agendas onto our children, pray upon their vulnerabilities and put them in a situation for potential abuse,” she concluded. “We must protect our children and defend parental rights.”

As U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE) noted Monday, during the week of April 24, BHS’ No Place for Hate Week kicked off with a Hallway Parade, followed by a day devoted to “free Kool-Aid and line dancing.”

On Wednesday, April 26, BHS held its Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Wellness Day during which teachers could learn about racial bias and microaggressions.

April 27 was designated “Pride Day,” which was led by the school’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), and featured a “DJ, activities, and popcorn,” and the following day the school held the No Place for Hate Festival, complete with food trucks and games.

USPIE said in a post on its blog about BHS’ No Place for Hate Week that “the LGBTQ+ agenda is a political movement foisted upon schools under the guise of diversity and civil rights.”

The group, which self-describes as a “nationwide coalition that seeks to return education to its proper local roots and restore parental authority over their children’s education,” especially observed about the BHS staff SEL day that the reform “has become the latest panacea in a long line of progressive ‘education reforms’ that have only served to distract from the fact that American public school children are failing academically.”

USPIE said that, while SEL is “presented as an effort to support student mental health, it is a veiled attempt to indoctrinate and categorize children.”

The parents’ organization added regarding SEL:

This national movement influencing states like South Carolina is led by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL). In December 2020, CASEL announced its revision of the definition and framework for social emotional learning (SEL) to highlight the value of SEL as a weapon for social justice.

In its post, USPIE addresses parents who claim the radical LGBTQ agenda is “not happening in their school or their district.”

“[I]n fact, this harmful pedagogy has been adopted by nearly every school district in the country,” the organization asserts. “With roughly half of their students proficient in English and less than half proficient in math, Blythewood High School, and the Richland Two School District in South Carolina is churning out functionally illiterate social justice warriors.”

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Susan Berry, PhD is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Blythewood High School Mom” by U.S. Parents Involved in Education (USPIE).


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