The public schools in Fort Worth — Fort Worth — are going trans-positive. Here’s a link to the new school policy, [UPDATE: Link corrected. Sorry! — RD] which is based on the new federal interpretation of Title IX. It’s in Scribd, so I can’t quote excerpts. Highlights include:

  • There doesn’t need to be a medical or mental health diagnosis involved. If a male student says he’s a girl, then he’s a girl, and vice versa.
  • Schools are instructed to keep the student’s asserted gender identity hidden from parents unless authorized to share that information with them.
  • School personnel are to consider themselves to be allies of a student undergoing gender transitioning. That means not telling their parents or guardians.
  • Transgender students must have the opportunity to participate in school sports as the gender they claim to be, though they are not guaranteed this as a right.

But there’s more. The Fort Worth schools are now compelling teachers and others to teach gender ideology to students. Highlights:

  • Teachers are no longer to call their students “boys” and “girls,” but to use gender-neutral language to refer to them, e.g., “students”
  • Classrooms are to “feature diversity” in their classroom materials

So, let’s recap: public school teachers and personnel in the Fort Worth Independent School District are now required by policy to instruct students that gender can be whatever you want it to be. And they are required to keep parents in the dark about their kids transitioning or presenting themselves as the opposite gender at school.

Not in Austin. In Fort Worth.

And look: the Fort Worth Episcopal bishop (naturally) has come out in favor of the policy. Excerpt:

All human beings are holy, for we all carry a scrap of divinity in us – our souls. It is that which matters, not our outward appearance. Gender identity is a complex mysterious thing, and as science learns more about it, we are led to understand more about the amazing diversity in God’s creation.

To drum up unwarranted and unfounded fears around the issue of gender identity and seek to scapegoat the transgender community is certainly not doing the work of God. Instead they are targeting an already vulnerable community, whose members are already at risk of violence simply for being who they truly are.

I urge the Fort Worth school board and its superintendent to remain strong in the face of this fear-mongering as they work for the welfare of all our children.

We barely have an understanding of what transgenderism is, but elites in government, education, and media are fast-tracking this progressive agenda in the schools. It’s madness.

Don’t be fooled: the bathroom issue is a proxy for a deeper conflict over what it means to be male and female, and beyond that, about fundamental human nature. These standards are collapsing in American society in part because of elites pushing against them, but also — and perhaps moreso — because radical individualism is going into hyperdrive. We call it freedom — freedom to choose who you are, with neither custom, nor religion, nor even biology standing in the way of your will. But here’s what’s going to happen. People who submit to this way of thinking will find that their freedom, so construed, will make it impossible for them to construct a coherent, stable identity. They’re not going to make it. This perversion of liberty will wreck them.

Chances are the FWISD would do this even if the US Government didn’t issue its new Title IX guidelines. But there are plenty of local school districts, in Texas and in many other places, and parents who would not yield so quickly to federal dictates. Are the feds going to sue them all? I hope they fight, but I don’t have any hope that they will prevail in the long run.

If you are a public school parent who doesn’t want your child catechized in gender ideology, you had better start figuring out how you can get your child into an orthodox, traditional Christian school. Churches that have the resources would be wise to begin planning now to educate the children of the congregation, and making available scholarships and other ways to help working and low income parents get their kids into these schools.

Noting that this is happening in Massachusetts public schools, by state diktat, Catholic writer Mary Hasson wonders if there will be an exodus of Catholic kids from the state’s public schools:

The Massachusetts policy systematically foists a perverse orthodoxy on every teacher and child within the system. It promotes the core belief – the big lie – that there is no such thing as human nature or natural distinctions of male and female. Instead, the Board of Education embraces the idea that each person is a god unto him or herself, creating a gender identity and sexual expression based on feelings, or one’s “internalized sense” of self, regardless of biology.

The indoctrination (“education and training”) will be part of every Massachusetts school’s “anti-bullying curriculum, student leadership trainings, and staff professional development.” And the Massachusetts Board of Education clearly expects all students and teachers to get with the program. The entire school community must help create a “safe and supportive” culture for transgender and gender non-conforming students.

Catholic parents who send their children to public school in Massachusetts now have to worry not only about the system’s hostility to religious belief but also about its hostility to basic truths about the human person.

She goes on to make a crucial point:

Catholics in the past have been able to opt-out of public school sexuality education classes; it’s impossible to opt-out from a pervasive culture based on a flawed anthropology.

She’s right. You can’t escape this pervasive ideology, and you cannot deny that it’s not simply about sexuality, but about anthropology.

I have been thinking that schools are going to be a major part of the Benedict Option, but I had not quite anticipated how quickly things would move, and how radically. Christian schools and homeschooling programs need to start preparing now for an influx of students getting out of the public schools in the next few years. Parents, if you think it’s not coming to your school district, you’re wrong. If it can happen in Fort Worth…

And if tradition-affirming religious schools intend to hold the line against gender ideology, they had better start strategizing now about how they’re going to stand up to alumni and parents who object. Mount Saint Charles Academy, a small Rhode Island Catholic school run by a religious order, said it could not accept transgender students because it could not accommodate them. After a social media campaign that included many outraged young alumni, the school reversed itself. And after losing a court case, a Catholic school in Massachusetts just settled with a former staffer it fired after finding out that he was in a gay marriage, against school policy. As the reader who sent that last item to me said, “Goodbye, free association.”

These are the battle lines today and in the near future.