Anyone who has followed my blog for more than a few months knows that one of my biggest pet peeves is when people try to parent my kids or tell me how to parent my kids. They are mine, and I will decide what is best for them until they are old enough to decide for themselves and I will be involved in the things that happen in their lives. Last night I had the honor of being a guest on this online radio show (PS, you should totally listen!!) and one of the topics we discussed was the recent actions of the Massachusetts Department of Education to allow transgender students to use locker rooms/bathrooms of the gender that they identify with rather than the one they were born with. I stated my opinion on this particular topic on the show, which is another reason you should listen, but my biggest issue is that included in the law is that teachers and school staff will not be permitted to discuss any of this with parents, and student who are uncomfortable with it will be punished. I AM NOT OK WITH THIS!! I should be "allowed" to discuss anything I damn well please concerning my children with their teachers and school administration. Period. If my child is uncomfortable with any situation at school I need to know about. I need to be the one to intervene and help him understand what is going on, especially if he is going to get in trouble for expressing his concern at school. Since when is it acceptable for a school to leave parents out of the loop? It isn't.
I'm not a helicopter parent; I never will be. I believe children should have the opportunity to find their own way and make mistakes and lose soccer games. But whether they can see me or not, I will always be there paying attention to what is going on. The idea that MA could start a trend of leaving parents out of the parenting equation is frightening. I remember the Columbine tragedy vivdly (I am not going into the gun debate here. That's a post in its own). I was a freshman in high school 30 minutes from Littleton, CO and I spent the entire afternoon and evening glued to the news channel. In the weeks following, reports came out that the students responsible had shown signs that they were angry and capable of harming other students (though I doubt anyone expected it to go so far). Both students had weapons and bomb making materials in their bedrooms. Yet somehow, their parents had no idea. Their own parents had no idea what was hiding in their rooms. The school had never contacted the parents about concerns of their sons' behavior. This is unacceptable. As a parent I am certain that I will ALWAYS know what is going on in my son's room [insert cliche "when you live under my roof" statement here]. But how can I know what goes on at school if said school has a policy to not discuss it with me? All children behave differently when their parents are not around, even once they become adults they don't always show their true colors. If one of my children is causing problems at school or is taking issue with something or is showing signs of depression than I MUST know about it. If my child is being bullied or doing the bullying I MUST know in order to address it. So many of these issues facing kids today can be stopped if parents step in before it goes to far.
So far I am happy with the public schools in VA. My oldest went to private school back in CO and I was worried about making the switch. As a 1st grade I am completely involved in all aspects of his life. His teacher and I communicate as much as necessary and when he gets in trouble I know about it. I hope that as he gets older this trend continues, and I hope that as my younger children start school the laws here don't change to reflect those of MA and forbid teachers to discuss certain topics with me. They are MY children. I shouldn't have to put them in private school, or worse homeschool them (hahaha! YEAH RIGHT!) in order to know what is going on when they are not at home. I'd love to know what everyone thinks on this. Did you listen to the show? Did you think I was awesome? How do you feel about what's going on in MA? Leave a comment and let me know!