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Don’t Let “The Straw Man” Intimidate You—Speak Out About Harmful School Practices

Updated: Nov 1, 2023


These days, whenever we attend Natick School Committee meetings to speak about school-related issues, the straw man shows up on cue. His most recent appearances were on June 20, October 2, and October 23 (this appearance is particularly disturbing). And, as expected, he had a lot of irrelevant and inappropriate things to say about people with different ideas around age-inappropriate gender identity instruction.


There’s no mistaking the straw man. This guy is a black-and-white thinker. He constantly strips our point of view of any nuance and negatively misrepresents it and those who support it. He avoids the specifics of our line of reasoning and instead argues against an inaccurate caricature of it. And his arguments are always too simple or extreme to be true. He presents fringe versions of opposing arguments as ones that are mainstream.


The straw man's accusations are also misdirected. We're challenging the ideas and policies of the School Committee. So, why is the straw man engaging in personal attacks?

 

Some of the straw man’s typical distortions:


Parental Rights Natick: Families—not schools—should decide how and when to talk to their children about the topic of gender identity based on their own beliefs and values. The Straw Man: You’re transphobic and hate the LGBTQ+ community.


Parental Rights Natick: We need to do away with destructive parental exclusion policies around gender transitioning at school. The Straw Man: You want to wipe LGBTQ+ people off the face of the earth.


Parental Rights Natick: Schools need to educate and not indoctrinate students. The Straw Man: You don’t want kids to learn about people with differences.

 

Using intellect, logic, and critical thinking helps everyone analyze, understand and solve problems. The straw man argument does not. The straw man uses emotional reasoning—to the point where his accusations teeter on slander.


Don’t let the straw man deter you from publicly challenging school policies you know are wrong. As parents, our primary obligation is to our children. Fear is a habit, but so is courage. Whether you’re a mother, a father, a grandparent, or a teacher who is a parent first, stand with us to protect childhood innocence and parental rights.


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