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A public school’s “gender-bender” cross-dressing event, where boys were supposed to dress as girls and girls as boys, has prompted at least dozens, perhaps hundreds, of students to flee the tax-supported institutions in Iowa.
Many of the parents apparently are members of the Christ Apostolic Temple in Des Moines, which teaches a biblically based doctrine of rejecting the world’s values.
“Christ Apostolic Temple Inc. Fellowship … is a Bible-based organization that believes one must ‘come out from among them and be ye separate.’ (2 Cor. 6:14-17),” the organization’s website says.
The Des Moines schools are celebrating a centenary, but have lost students this year because of one school’s promotion of cross-dressing
That apparently includes cross-dressing, an event which has found sponsorship in other arenas from the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which has promoted a school lesson plan for teaching boys and girls to cross-dress.
State officials in Des Moines confirmed to WND that at least 80 children whose parents were alarmed by the “Gender-Bender Day” during homecoming week at the city’s East High School have moved their children from the various districts in the area into homeschooling plans. Several parents told WND that the number could be in the hundreds.
One parent, writing on a blog shortly after the cross-dressing promotion, hardly could contain the outrage.
In bold red type, the parent wrote, “TUESDAY AT ONE OF OUR LOCAL HIGH SCHOOLS THEY HAD WHAT IS CALLED ‘GENDER BENDER DAY!’ IF YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT THAT IS THEN LET ME EDUCATE YOU REAL QUICK … IT IS WHERE THE BOYS DRESS LIKE GIRLS AND VICE VERSA!!”
The author continued, “THIS WAS ALLOWED AND CARRIED OUT AT OUR SCHOOLS!!! … I IMMEDIATELY PULLED MY CHILD OUT OF THE DES MOINES PUBLIC SCHOOL! WE ARE NOW HOMESCHOOLING ALONG WITH SEVERAL HUNDRED OTHER PARENTS!”
“I AM GETTING MAD WHILE I TYPE THIS … SO I NEED TO SHUT IT DOWN…”
Barb Heki is a board member for the Network of Iowa Christian Home Educators, and was ecstatic about the parental response.
“I’m just praising God there is a church with so many families that would take a biblical stand and decide that we’re not going to put our children under anti-Christian indoctrination any longer. That’s refreshing and encouraging,” she told WND.
A mother whose children were taken out of the public schools because of the cross-dressing promotion didn’t want to be identified, but told WND she knows of probably 200 families who filled out state-required paperwork to withdraw their children from public schools.
“What it is is we’re following the Bible,” she told WND. “There was a situation that took place, which was the gender bender day. Our children were to participate in the cross-dressing. When they refused they were told they would get a bad grade…”
“The situation came out, and everybody was disgusted,” she said. “Well, we’re not doing it. All we did was pulled our kids out. Nothing more to be said or done.”
Officials with Christ Apostolic Temple, which describes itself as an apostolic holiness fellowship, couldn’t be reached for comment. But parents who talked to WND said it was a move of parents, nothing mandated or organized by the church.
An advertisement in the Des Moines newspaper said the event was part of the theme days for the school’s homecoming events. “Tuesday, dress in clothing of the opposite sex for Gender Bender Day,” were the instructions. Other days were “Movie Theme Day,” and “Spirit Day.”
Phil Roeder, a spokesman for the Des Moines schools, told WND that the event was nothing unusual.
“There were a couple of calls at the office at the school from parents that were concerned,” he told WND. But he said the district itself had not seen any unusual activity regarding homeschooling.
“Let’s just say the numbers you are hearing are greatly exaggerated,” Roeder told WND. “Events like this at a high school are part of homecoming week activities and certainly are not mandated events. They’re voluntary activities that the students put on.
“Now if the parents had any indication that their students were coerced or bullied then that’s another matter. They’ve not brought that to my knowledge,” he said.
State officials said the list of 80 students they had reviewed included students from virtually all grades and dozens of schools in several districts, making it unlikely a single district would have a large number of students affected.
East High recently was the chosen location when Iowa Lt. Gov. Patti Judge announced a new state award highlighting increased diversity in the state.
“The “One Iowa Award” recognizes those who are working to create a “unified Iowa.”
Judge said making that a reality takes input from Iowans “regardless of their race, age, gender, nationality or sexual orientation.” The announcement had been staged to include East High students talking about the importance of diversity.
State law in Iowa also provides parents a tax credit for some costs of students attending “accredited” schools, but does not allow homeschooling parents the same benefit.
State Education Department officials said they had provided information to the church members about their rights and responsibilities should they choose to start a private school, or pursue homeschooling options.
“Let us see what the word of God says about the matter…” wrote the parent blogger. “Deut. 22:5. The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.”
The Pacific Justice Institute reports that in a prior school year, a California school dealt with the same issue.
Officials at Adams Middle School in the Bay Area had announced a “gender switch” day.
“The mother of a seventh-grade student … was alarmed when she heard that on the last day of the school’s ‘Spirit Week,’ students were being encouraged to dress like the opposite sex. Perhaps even more disturbingly, parents were given virtually no advance notice from the school and found out about the event after flyers were posted throughout the campus,” PJI reported.
“The parent contacted Pacific Justice Institute on Monday, which advised her on enlisting other parents’ support and communicating with the school. PJI also began laying the groundwork to hold the school accountable… In a 180-degree turnaround, the flyers posted about the gender switch day had disappeared by Tuesday morning, and the school confirmed the event had been canceled.”
The principal, Adam Clark, had said he wanted to encourage students to be “free thinkers,” but the “overall message wasn’t coming across clear.”
“We commend the parents in this school who said, ‘Enough is enough’ and challenged the administration to re-think its position,” Brad Dacus, president of PJI, said at the time. “No student should be made to feel uncomfortable at school simply because he doesn’t want to cross-dress.”
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