by Pat Lynch
The new gender theory curriculum that is being forced on our schools is positioned as an “anti-bullying” program, but the facts just don’t add up. This new proposed curriculum includes teaching kids that their parents just assigned them a gender at birth and that they can now choose among a potentially infinite number of genders. But will this really help stop bullying, or is this curriculum being proposed for some other reason?
One of the main purposes stated for the passage of AB 329, the California Healthy Youth Act, was to stop the bullying of LGBTQ+ students, particularly transgender students. This policy initiative inherently assumes that there must be a huge transgender bullying problem in our schools.
What Does the Data Say about Transgender Bullying?
Fortunately, in the State of California we have good data on bullying. Every two years, the state does its California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), which includes confidential questions about student experiences with bullying. This means that researchers don’t have to rely upon school incident reports, which is good since much bullying goes unreported.
We can see from the 2013-15 survey data that, for example, public schools in our area (Ventura County) do indeed have a bullying problem. But the nature of that problem is not what we have been led to believe. The following table shows 9th grade bullying by victim group (race/ethnicity/national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender and disability). The percentage shown is the percentage of students in that group that responded that they were bullied at least one time. The survey reports can be found here.
The data shows that, by far, the largest bullying problem is against race/ethnicity/national origin. Bullying against religion is a distant second place, followed closely by sexual orientation. Interestingly, in the survey questions, sexual orientation is defined specifically as gay or lesbian. No question is ever asked about transgender bullying, even in the most recent version of the survey.
We have to wonder why. AB 329 was pitched as a remedy to the huge problem our state is experiencing with transgender bullying, yet the State fails to even ask a simple question about it on their bullying survey. It appears that the state may be deliberately avoiding the gathering of scientific data about this. Did they fear that the data would not support the implementation of their massive K-12 gender identity education initiative?
There is other data available (other than CHKS), but it is mainly from surveys done by LGBTQ+ activist groups using biased and scientifically unreliable methodologies. This makes it unusable for the purpose of formulating public policy.
This is not to say that transgender students are not bullied. Of course they are. Especially nowadays that teasing is classified as bullying. Everyone is teased at one time or another, but kids perceived as “different” usually get the lion’s share of the negative attention. So it is very safe to assume that transgender kids get teased/bullied, especially if other kids are aware of their status.
There Needs to be Zero Tolerance for All Bullying
Our schools should have a zero tolerance of bullying of any kind, and fortunately, most schools do. Kids need to feel safe at school in order to perform well academically. But we have no reliable data on transgender bullying, and the data that we DO have from the CHKS shows that the most pressing bullying problem is against race/ethnicity/national origin. Bullying incidents against religion and sexual orientation are roughly equal and are also a significant problem.
Therefore, it appears that if we are going to start implementing new anti-bullying programs in the schools, they should include ALL the categories of bullying, which would impact a far greater number of students. Why are we ignoring the huge overall problem and only focusing on a very small group? Are protected classes now prioritized over each other? Are transgender kids now considered more important than African-Americans or Latinos? Religion is still a protected class in California law. Do we no longer care if religious kids are bullied?
Anti-bullying programs, in general, have had mixed results. The idea behind California’s plan to reduce transgender bullying is by familiarizing all students with gender theory concepts. This idea is terribly flawed and may actually increase bullying. The idea is that the more familiar potential bullies are with their targets, the less they will engage in bullying – because of increased understanding/enlightenment.
Anyone who grew up with siblings – or who has children – knows that this idea is hogwash. No one knows or understands each other more than brothers and sisters, yet typically they tease each other mercilessly. Therefore, introducing transgender concepts to children may just give them more ideas and opportunities for bullying. The higher the familiarity, the more likely bullying will occur. If this weren’t true, siblings would never tease each other.
California’s new gender theory-based public school curriculum is an enormous social experiment being done on our children and grandchildren. Will it reduce bullying, or increase it? Will it reduce suicides, or increase them? No one really knows right now, but we will certainly find out in about 10 years. Lives are at stake. It is irresponsible and dangerous from a child development standpoint to test this theory on millions of children without having enough scientific evidence to confidently predict the outcome.
It is clear that something strange is going on. When a controversial, far-reaching and invasive new curriculum is being forced on our schools, we would expect it to be based on scientific data. AB 329 appears to be social engineering that is based on politics, not science.