The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released material urging teachers and administrators to embrace LGBTQ causes. While the CDC describes the motivation as helping schools become more inclusive, critics say the agency is overstepping its field to push a political agenda.
According to the CDC, its LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool aims to help schools increase support for those students. But one of the bigger questions surrounding this move, is how does it contribute to the agency's mission of helping families, businesses, and communities fight disease and stay healthy?
"It's disturbing," Attorney Mary Rice Hasson, director of the Person and Identity Project at the Ethics and Public Policy Center told CBN News. "It's outside the purview of the CDC. It's getting into social engineering."
The self-assessment document, which the CDC says is voluntary, is posted on the agency's website.
It encourages educators to display rainbow flags in classrooms and unisex signs in bathrooms. It also urges teachers to incorporate LGBTQ content in their lessons, use student-preferred pronouns, and attend LGBTQ training. The document also tells teachers to "describe anatomy and physiology separate from gender," and to see students who are in locker rooms with transgender students as having misconceptions that transgender students are not "real."
Jay Richards serves as director of the DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation. He maintains the CDC's action falls outside the scope of the agency's role as a public health entity.
"So, we have the Centers for Disease Control pushing materials which essentially denies the reality of sex and instead offers a replacement ideology called gender ideology," Richards said in an interview with CBN News. "I don't think people necessarily realize how profound and radical that is."
Hasson fears the move could create an atmosphere harmful to staff and students who believe it violates their religious beliefs and conscience.
"This really oversteps the boundary of what school should be doing but certainly what the government should be doing – forcing, in a sense, because of the implicit pressure," Hasson explained. "They say it's voluntary but really they're putting coercion on anyone who has anything to do with the schools."
That is something Hasson warns could be a goal of organizations associated with the tool and promoting the LGBTQ movement.
"It conditions kids to start questioning the most basic element about who they are – male or female," added Hasson. "And then it includes in this assessment tool, the encouragement to refer children outside the school, to receive services to support their self-defined sexuality or gender identity."
In a statement, the CDC responded by saying, "LGBTQ+ students experience severely higher levels of violence, bullying, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors than other students. CDC and partners developed this tool as an optional resource for school administrators and staff who are interested in better supporting LGBTQ+ youth. Please note, these are not 'guidelines,' and use is voluntary."
Richards says the tool's ties to activist groups are especially troubling.
"The links to activist groups like the Human Rights Campaign and some even more radical than that I think shows the real nature of what we're dealing with here," Richards said. "It's not as if this is hiding in plain sight. It's not hiding at all."
Richards encourages concerned parents to find out what is happening at their kids' schools and to speak up.
"We might notice boys in girl's locker rooms or boys playing in girl sports – that's just a very tiny tip of the iceberg of what's actually in store if we don't stop this thing," Richards said.
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