We are the parents

January 31, 2023


Even as a homeschooling mom in San Luis Obispo County, I still can’t help but feel compelled to stand up against what is going on in our public schools. It just plain feels wrong to the core. They may not be my kids but they are still kids, another parents’ kids and another family. I can’t say nothing.

One of the plethora of parenting challenges is assessing what level of decisions your kids are ready to make for themselves. Part of preparing them to make those decisions is equipping them with the ability to assess risk.

Recently, I had a conversation with my kids about secrets. I want them to understand that no adult ever, not their grandparents, aunts or uncles, neighbors, teachers, coaches, no one should ever ask a kid to keep a secret from their parents. If they experience anyone asking them to do so, it should trigger a big bright red waving warning flag. Even if the secret doesn’t seem like a big deal, no secret is ok. Should they agree to a seemingly inconsequential little secret, a door is opened for a bigger secret next.

I keep coming across stories from parents about schools not telling parents if their kids are being bullied or having social or psychological issues at school, even when the parents are asking. Schools are also keeping from parents if their kid is experiencing gender/identity confusion, changing their names/pronouns, or undergoing mental health counseling.

So how are parents, who teach their children that it is not okay for any adult to hold a secret with them and from their parents, supposed to accept that their kids’ schools are potentially keeping secrets about kids from parents? Big secrets – secrets about their mental and physical health and safety.

When and who decided that schools know better than parents what is best for their kids? And what message does this send to kids, not to trust their own parents?

Are parents supposed to just quietly go along with this dissonant dogma that the schools know what is best for our kids? How dare the schools, the administrators, the teachers’ unions or board members (who rarely actually meet our kids), the teachers (that may have our kids for only an hour a day), how dare they presume to know what is better for our kids. How dare they keep secrets about our kids from us.

I decided what my kids’ first foods were and what makes up their current daily diet. I decided when my kids first got screen time, how often and when they are old enough for whatever version of scary movies. I have been the one to sleep in their room when they are really sick so I can monitor their oxygen. I’ve helped them through a scraped knee, a bee sting and the loss of a dear pet.

Protecting kids from harm or hurt is as involuntary a function of parenting as is breathing. I have yet to meet a parent who does not only expect to be in the know if their kid is going through something troubling at school but also to be their primary support system.

We are the parents. We decide what is best for our kids, we support our kids, we protect our kids. We are there for them for life. To steal this primary role from parents is to destroy families, and harm kids. It destroys the most intrinsic unit of support for our youth. What good could possibly come from that?

Sara Semmes is a mom and a home school teacher in Atascadero.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

That said 66% of our tax dollars go into education and then there is the percentage for prisons, government services, welfare, etc. The very conservative furniture builders (Mennonites, Quakers, etc) may be the survivors of this mess.

Thanks to this author for bringing to light this situation happening in our schools. Anyone who doubts schools are keeping secrets from parents need only look to new rules which forbid teachers and other staff from disclosing certain things to parents UNLESS the student agrees. Such things include a child who decides to go by a new gender, new name, undergo mental health counseling for gender related issues and more. This applies to students from kindergarten to 12 grade. Parents still need to sign permission slips for our children to go on a field trips, yet kids can go by a different sex and name at school and this must be hidden from parents. In what world does this makes sense? Don’t believe it -call any SLO county school district and ask.

*eye roll* There is A LOT to unpack here and not enough time or willingness to listen.

This article is yet another attempt from the camp of people dying on the hill of “I care more about ALL the kids than YOU do” and the staunch judgment that other parents are too ignorant or lazy to fact-check, research, and make decisions on raising and educating their children successfully. It’s the “we want choices, but only our choice is the right one” camp. Stop. Just stop. The only “we” here relates to my spouse and me, contrary to the article title. Come down off the hill and enjoy your privilege of homeschooling. You may be bored or simply prefer doing other things while having your kids in a school. Is that the real problem here? 

This author is talking about her experience and concerns. You seem to be the one making all the judgements.