Let me begin by saying that I am an openly gay mother of several openly gay children that I would give my last breath for. I have been very active in their school life since 2009 when my oldest began kindergarten in Spotsylvania. I have not always agreed with things that have happened in their schools, eg; taking away Spanish as an elective, using the taking away of playground time as a form of punishment, to name a few, but I stand by the staff at my children’s schools because I come from a long line of teachers myself and I have seen first hand the love and dedication it takes to be an educator.
That being said, those educators are not my children’s parents, I am. Those teachers are not their healthcare providers, the medical teams I have carefully selected over 19 years and have been charged with giving the level of care my children need, are. They are also not the therapists or psychiatrists in charge of my children’s mental health, again, the team I selected and they agree to, are. If there is an issue I need to be made aware of, especially when the consequences of keeping it a secret could be life altering, it is my right as a parent to know so that I can go to the medical teams and address it with the appropriate authorities so my children can receive the care they need.
While I understand not every parent is as understanding and loving as myself and my husband, I still believe it is the parents right and the schools obligation to inform parents of concerns involving their children, from poor grades, bullying, to medical concerns. I also understand that there are concerns of potential abuse stemming from “outing” a child, I take them seriously as we all should, but school administrators, teachers, and guidance staff are all trained court mandated reporters. This means the door will open for getting children out of homes that are dangerous for them.
As Virginians we should be concerned for a movement that seeks to keep parents for being involved in their children’s lives, especially considering how some counties have covered up sexual assaults or other issues like riots and large scale fights among other things. Where does it stop? When do parental rights end and those of the educational system begin?