‘Bring it on’: School board president challenges parents concerned over gender policy changes

(The Daily Signal) – An Arizona school board has taken a combative approach toward parents concerned over proposed curriculum or policies focused on sex education and transgenderism.


(The Daily Signal) – An Arizona school board has taken a combative approach toward parents concerned over proposed curriculum or policies focused on sex education and transgenderism.

These proposed changes described in a Feb. 26 meeting of the Flagstaff Unified School District include “updating” the verbiage in official district policies from “boy/girl” to “people,” allowing students to attend sex education classes designed for the opposite sex, and updating curriculum to be more “inclusive” of gender-fluid ideology. 

Parents, wary of changes they believe may threaten the safety of their children, attended the next Flagstaff school board meeting on March 13 to voice their objections. (The panel officially is called the Flagstaff Unified School District Governing Board.)

Board President Christine Fredericks told parents that she would “never apologize for being inclusive.” 

When parent David Skousen suggested inviting more parents to the next board meeting, Fredericks responded: “Bring it on.”

The Daily Signal sought comment from Fredericks, but she declined to provide any additional information or rationale for speaking to parents as she did.

The Daily Signal also received copies of flyers reportedly posted at the Flagstaff district’s DeMiguel Elementary School to advertise a “Name Change Clinic” on Feb. 12  for “trans or gender nonconforming” students of “all ages.”

Although Flagstaff school district officials didn’t confirm the authenticity of the flyer, online search engines indicate that both Flagstaff High School and DeMiguel Elementary School posted it.

And although administrators appear to have taken down the flyer, the Flagstaff district’s hosting service, Peachjar, retained an image matching a screenshot of the flyer sent to The Daily Signal.

The Flagstaff school district isn’t the first one to advertise sexual or transgender services to minors without notifying parents. 

A recent investigation by the organization Parents Defending Education revealed that centers in public schools around the country were offering hormonal medication to students.

The Daily Signal has reported on school districts with transgender policies that keep students’ gender “transitions” secret from their parents.

When parents emailed Flagstaff School Superintendent Michael Penca about their concerns with the district’s direction on sex and gender policy on March 1, he suggested they speak to the school board during time allotted for public comment at the two meetings scheduled in March.

In a March 2 email to parent Austin Miler, Penca recommended that parents “use these processes, at that time, for providing your input to the Governing Board and the district.”

Counter to Penca’s suggestion, it appears that Fredericks and other members of the school board already have made up their minds, regardless of how many parents voice concerns about their children’s safety. Fredericks claims to be “inclusive,” but many parents believe that her actions communicate the opposite.

“By making these changes without the full participation and input from the parents, who are the primary caregivers and educators of the children, those making these recommendations and decisions are excluding the parents,” Kevin Remley, the father of elementary and high school students in the Flagstaff district, told The Daily Signal.

Skousen, who confronted Fredericks at the March 13 board meeting, told The Daily Signal that he was disappointed in the board president’s attitude toward parents. Parents’ hesitations over changing the school district’s sex and gender policy aren’t political or extreme, he said:

“We don’t want to ‘bring prayer back to the classroom’ or any other extreme political or religious things taught either. We can do that in our homes, just like they can teach their beliefs in their homes. We want to let our children remain innocent and learn topics like math, reading, writing, spelling, science, geography, etc. Not be used as pawns to push a political agenda and further their beliefs.”

Liz Carlin, another parent of students in the Flagstaff district, told The Daily Signal that her family left California in August in part to protect their children from political activism taking the place of education in the classroom.

“I believe we need to teach acceptance and kindness in ways that don’t plant seeds of confusion in young children,” Carlin said. “If this continues, I will have to homeschool my children.”
The next board meeting for the Flagstaff school system is scheduled March 26 at 5:30 p.m. Mountain time.