By Josh Bailey, MFC Communications Intern
For father of five, Brian Stalboerger, integration of transgender policies in schools was not a serious concern. That is, until he and his wife received an email last year from Nova Classical Academy – a St. Paul charter school where four of their five children were and still are enrolled. “We were notified that because there was a child that was gender non-conforming that they were going to read ‘My Princess Boy’ to all of the kids,” he explained. (For those unaware of the book’s contents, it is mother writing about her gender-confused son, a four-year-old who likes to dress as a princess. Written for four to eight year olds, it promotes acceptance of gender fluidity.)
After receiving the notification, Brian and his wife read the book. They were disturbed by its contents. Describing it to me, Brian summarized, “What the book presented was that if you didn’t get on board with a boy dressing like a girl you were either afraid or there was somehow a defect in your character.”
Uninterested in exposing gender fluid concepts to their children at such a young age, the Stalboergers immediately responded to the email voicing their concerns. When they received no response, Brian explained, they attended the next school board meeting. They soon discovered that they were not the only concerned parents. However, despite the fact that many parents were able to voice their concerns, Brian expressed how fruitless the meeting seemed. “The frustrating part was the school board didn’t give any feedback.” he stated, “Meanwhile, the activists brought in a lawyer.”
Soon the discussion became about much more than reading a book. The family with the “transgender” child began pushing the school to allow children to use locker rooms and showers of the opposite sex and even allow students of the opposite sex to room together on overnight school trips.
According to Brian, this had been a major concern of his and his wife’s for some time. “From the beginning the concern was that our daughters would have privacy in their locker rooms and showers,” he recalled, “along with that is the concern for parents being made aware of what kind of ideas are to be presented to the kids.” In Brian’s mind, these were the two central problems with the proposed policy.
Looking back, he recounted, “Basically, it was a year-long process of us showing up to express our concern.” When parents presented their concern that the changes would lead to open locker rooms and showers, the activists responded by calling them bigoted. Brian noted, “But by the end of the school year that’s exactly what happened.”
This spring, the family that started the controversy pulled their child out of Nova Classical Academy, complaining that the school board was not meeting their demands in a timely manner. Currently, they seem to be preparing to file a lawsuit against the school.
When I asked Brian if he had any kind of warning for other parents, he used the Toolkit as an example. “You can’t be lulled to sleep by the pages of text…,” he remarked, “Most of it sounds great but you have to know where to look.” Referring to advocates of the pseudo “best practices” document, he observed, “They won’t just come to the school and say ‘we want girls to shower with boys’… They will only be explicit as they have to to get what they want.” However, he asserted, “Ultimately, they want it to go to the extent that a child of the opposite sex could sleep with yours on a school trip and you wouldn’t know about it.”
As a culture, we have been lulled to sleep by the slow integration of policies like the Toolkit. However, Brian’s story displays that behind the façade of tolerance lies an ugly agenda that seeks to violate the rights and privacy of children and parents alike. Do not let it catch you asleep.