Parental Rights

 

I am running for the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) school board to regain the trust of parents and to ensure that paths for sound parent involvement in their children’s schools and their lives are not compromised. Here are my thoughts on the approaches I would adopt when trying to make this happen. I will really appreciate if you would connect with me with your thoughts and suggestions on how we can improve our public education with more involvement of our families in public schools.

 

Total Transparency with Parents About Their Children’s School Lives

With textbooks gone and opportunity for participation only online, parents, especially from the vulnerable sections of the society, are effectively excluded from their children’s school lives. Students are reported to have received counseling involving sexual matters without the parent’s consent or involvement. The system explicitly tells the kids that it understands them better, not their parents. There is no system in the world that can replace the care and concern of loving parents and so any counseling should require parental involvement. Reduction in parental involvement in schools should be addressed with a sense of urgency. Avenues of parental involvement should be aggressively advocated for, preserved and protected.

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Immigrant parents who come from dysfunctional public-school systems in socialist countries have no concept of regular parental involvement in their children’s schools. Such lack of awareness is compounded with their general aversion and shyness to get involved in an unfamiliar culture. The need for both parents to be working a lot of hours to have enough to sustain their low-income families almost completely shuts them out from involving in the school.

Considering all these, I am certain that we must do more to help enable parents to be more involved in their child’s education. We must encourage them to work hand in hand in with the teachers and the system. As a school board member, I am determined to advocate for more parental involvement. I intend to use various messaging platforms and access to PTAs to pursue that goal. I am sure such proactive parental involvement will do a lot to address the achievement gap for children coming from disadvantaged communities.

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Upgrade School Security & Mental Health Support

While FCPS has elaborate Security and Safety standards and procedures in place, there is minimal emphasize on ensuring armed security in all schools starting from K to 12. When it comes to the lives of our children, we can’t take any chance at all. Our elementary schools currently do not have permanent security staffing, while middle and high schools are staffed with just one school resource officer each. In addition to all the systems and procedures in place, I would like to employ more of the most effective tool in preventing a tragedy, which is more trained and armed security personnel in each school.

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Efforts in strengthening mental health support systems should have a holistic and root cause inquisitive approach. In doubtful behavioral situations, teachers looking for signs of trouble in a child’s life and involving parents from early on would help reveal fault lines before it is too late.

Students must also be equipped with skills that calm the mind, relax the body and with techniques to quell negative, harmful emotions. Innovative ideas for mental health training that allow students greater autonomy through self-regulation should be explored. Engaging young minds in training exercises that help them gain self-restraint and personal responsibility resulting in higher academic achievement and boosted self-confidence will be a good place to start.

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Sex/Gender Education for Protection/Prevention NOT Indoctrination

FCPS misleads parents about Family Life Education (FLE), saying that it is a preventive program when it has no preventive goals and its effectiveness in prevention has never been evaluated. Sex Education as provided at FCPS may increase risky behavior in children instead of protecting them. Anal sex is taught to 8th graders, and it is implied that all sexual behavior is equally risky, which is dangerously false.

In addition to the explicit material that is already being taught to children as young as 4th grade, gender fluidity based not on science but on extraneous ideology was added to FCPS Family Life Education (FLE) (Sex Ed) curriculum starting from 7th grade. The school board seems to be eager to discourage the need for parental consent on providing sex/gender education to the children. Their actions in this regard despite overwhelming parental opposition must be reversed. The attitude that systems and the government know more about the needs for children than their parents is wrong and should be corrected.

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I believe schools are there to teach English, Math, History and Science to our children, not the intimate intricacies of sexual orientation and preferences. We will need basic “sex education”, I agree. However, whatever FCPS’s Family Life Education (FLE) is “sex education” gone haywire. I believe such teaching, especially to the very young minds encourages unwanted curiosity and experimentation that has the potential to inflict irreparable damage to their personalities, and thereby to the future of humanity as we know it.

As statistics clearly elucidate, strong and fully functioning families has a direct correlation to student achievement in schools. However, I don’t see any encouragement of such family values or celebration of traditional families in the FLE curriculum. I think it is total injustice to the concept of “Family” to call it ‘Family Life Education (FLE)’. I also believe that whatever sex education we do, we must ensure that it uses biology as its foundation, not any ideology or politics.

When it comes to immigrant families vis-à-vis FLE, there are additional concerns that I have. Most immigrant parents who come from failed and/or repressive systems around the world tend to look at everything they see and hear in USA as great and are ready to adopt it without critical thinking. They mostly assume that whatever happens in USA is very well researched and systematically planned and designed, and nothing can go wrong with it. With such a thought process, even if we immigrants review the FLE, we tend to think it is okay and the disagreements we feel from within is somehow our deficiency, since American systems can never go wrong. That pushes us to approve everything that is headed our way from schools without much thought or analysis.

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