Eyebrows went up during a recent city council meeting in Orem, Utah. Mayor David Young invited his 93-year-old father Alan to give the invocation at Tuesday night’s meeting. Alan Young prayed in part:
Father, there’s so many problems today in the school system. It wasn’t that way when our children were in school, they didn’t have to fight the evil things that are being said and done and taught in the school system… I’ve heard so much about the many evil things, not necessarily from family, but from teachers and others… let’s don’t be greedy, let’s don’t do things that are going to harm our kids.
But as KUTV reports, the prayer also included a plea for the ballot initiative to pass that would allow Orem to create its own school district, separate from the Alpine District, an initiative which was put forth by Mayor Young.
Two things stand out. One, as someone who has sat through innumerable city council and county commission meetings during his career, I will state for the record that it is bad form to sneak in a public comment under the guise of a prayer. It’s just a tacky move, no matter how much the man wants to support his son or is concerned about the state of the schools. If you have an axe to grind or a spleen to vent, you should stand in line with everyone else, not try to fold it into a prayer.
Two, the man called schools “evil,” which was not well-received by many, including some teachers. One of them said, “It’s disappointing. Teachers are tired of being vilified. Now it’s even harder when it’s in your own backyard.”
Well, let’s do a quick recap of some education news from the past year or so:
- In Bloomfield Hills, Mich., a group of parents is challenging the district’s plan to observe Transgender Awareness week, without it having been approved by the proper board or giving parents a chance to have their students opt out.
- In Rhode Island, Kevin Blanchard, a teacher at Barrington High School, sent a threatening email to a student. The student was opposed to “deleveling.” This is the process of removing students from the honors, AP, or even special education programs. According to Fox News, the email read in part: “I do take offense to you invading my classroom space. Your passion is noted but your methods verge on the criminal. Hope you have a good weekend and watch your back.”
- Randi Weingarten falsely claimed that the Founding Fathers never questioned slavery and that if they had, the Three-Fifths Compromise would have never existed.
- During a nationwide study, the watchdog group Parents Defending Education found that in Alaska, schools were to privately ask students about their pronoun preferences while using the actual pronouns when talking to parents. In California, students have the right to keep their trans identity private, even from their parents. Schools in the District of Columbia give students the option of masking their chosen gender from their parents. In some school districts in Illinois, parental consent is not needed for schools to support a transgender child.
- The Arizona Department of Education has chatrooms for LGBTQ students ages 10 and up and 13 and up. The chat rooms give students the opportunity to speak about gender and sex issues and offer an “escape” button for students if a parent or caregiver is nearby.
- A teacher in Utah posted a video on social media about she has a non-white classroom and wondered how “posh white parents” would react to it.
- The National Education Association has been handing out badges with a QR code on the back that links to sexually explicit material. The badges are worn in school and are used to let LGBTQ students know that it is safe to talk with the teacher. The QR code is supposed to be for the teachers’ use only, so why it needs to be on badges in school is unclear.
- A group of sixth-grade boys in Rhode Island took it upon themselves to take down a teacher and coach who was not only mean to the male students in his class but also leered at the female students and sexually harassed them. The boys took action because no one in power would listen to them.
- Eric Rohman was an employee of the Mt. Pleasant School District in Michigan. He was an outspoken left-wing activist who was arrested in a child sex sting at an area motel.
- And of course, there is the sordid saga of the Loudoun County School District, which has been accused of covering up two incidents of rape and targeting parents who disagreed with the school board on a variety of issues.
And that is just a small sample of what is going on in schools across the nation. An internet search for similar incidents search could keep you busy for several days.
If teachers are tired of being vilified, maybe parents are tired of their children being victimized and indoctrinated. Every day, it seems, another dark secret or hidden agenda comes to light. If teachers are tired of being vilified, it is time to clean house. It is time to stop bringing personal social agendas into the classroom. It is time to stop forcing sexual issues on students. It is time for school districts to stop hiding and ignoring problems. I know that there are good and even great teachers out there, but parents have been given plenty of reasons not to trust the education system. Good teachers and administrators need to take the initiative to do the things that will restore that trust. Yes, Alan Young was out of line in coding a statement as a prayer. But so is what is going on in schools everywhere.