The Republican National Convention kicked off Monday night with an anti-teachers union screed from a 28-year educator who also recently wrote an op-ed accusing U.S. schools of grooming children to be sexualized.
“If we as a society are so disturbed by the actions of Epstein, Miss Maxwell and an untold number of others,” Rebecca Friedrichs wrote in The Washington Times in July, referring to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and his criminally charged former partner Ghislaine Maxwell, “then why are we allowing America’s public schools to groom our children to be sexualized?”
The essence of Friedrichs’ argument is that sex education can “sexualize” children and lead to “heightened sexual activity and even abuse by predators like Epstein.”
While Friedrichs offers no empirical evidence to support this claim, naturally, she argues that unions are to blame.
“Leading this despicable charge are unions posing as teachers and the deceptively named Healthy Teen Network, a coalition of over 180 sexual and reproductive-health justice organizations,” Friedrichs wrote.
Her tenuous argument seems to rest on the presumption that sex education in schools promotes activities that would lead children to sexual predators. Again, there is no evidence offered to support this, and as FiveThirtyEight noted in 2018, hundreds of studies on the efficacy of sex education have shown that those classes do not increase sexual activity — they may actually delay teen sexual activity — and have decreased teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs.
In her speech Monday night, Friedrichs charged that unions had “intentionally rewritten American history to perpetuate division, pervert the memories of our American founders, and disparage our Judeo-Christian virtues.” She added that lenient discipline policies had “morphed” schools in “war zones.”