April 15, 2024

I don’t know about you, but I’ve pretty much stopped wondering if the world could get any weirder or turn even more upside down. Each day, it seems, we’re treated to another story or development that defies logic and begs expletive-laden acronyms like BS, WTF, or AYFKM?! 

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As our readers are well aware, as a conservative media outlet, RedState is constantly fighting an uphill battle against what I call “the censor scolds” — rightly dubbed by independent journalists like Michael Shellenberger the Censorship Industrial Complex. Though we continue to push back — and see certain degrees of vindication between the revelations of the Twitter Files and the court rulings in Missouri v. Biden, for instance — we are often flagged and demonetized by Big Tech. The effect of that is that we can’t make money from advertising, hence the inception — and growth — of our VIP program. 

We’ve recently shared with you several examples of stories that have been demonetized by Google. Brandon Morse wrote about this in Big Tech Calls Us ‘Dangerous and Derogatory’ – and We Think That’s a Badge of Honor. Our Managing Editor, Jennifer Van Laar, brought you additional examples with Big Tech Is Censoring Our Coverage of the Gadsden Flag Kid.

Today, I’m going to do the honors because, while each of these instances is a gross affront to free speech principles, I take personal umbrage at this latest one, as it has to do with our factual reporting on a court ruling — and I write quite a bit on legal matters here. Believe it or not, BREAKING: CA Judge Rules Teachers Cannot Be Forced to Lie to Parents About Child’s Gender Identity got us flagged for “dangerous and derogatory content.” 

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Let’s dissect this “dangerous and derogatory” determination and take a closer look at the article and the court ruling. First, a little background (from District Court Judge Roger Benitez’s ruling itself, which can be read in full below) : 

Plaintiffs Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West (“Plaintiffs”) are teachers with fifty-five years of experience between them in the Escondido Union School District (“EUSD”). They bring claims against members of the EUSD Board of Education and certain members of the EUSD administrative staff (collectively, “EUSD Defendants”), as well as members of the California State Board of Education and the State Superintendent (collectively, “State Defendants”) for school district policies that violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs move for a preliminary injunction and the EUSD Defendants and the State Defendants move to dismiss the claims. 

Plaintiffs Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West are two teachers at Rincon Middle School, which is part of EUSD. Mrs. Mirabelli teaches English, and Mrs. West teaches physical education. According to the Complaint, both have been named “Teacher of the Year” at different times while teaching for EUSD. The district is a public school district with approximately 16,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grades.

One current subject that EUSD faces in its community is how to address changing concepts of gender identification, gender diversity, gender dysphoria, gender incongruence, and self-transitioning among its student body. Gender dysphoria is a clinically diagnosed incongruence between one’s gender identity and assigned gender. If untreated, gender dysphoria may lead to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, self-harm, and suicide. Eknes-Tucker v. Marshall, No. 2:22-cv-184-LCB, 2022 WL 1521889, at *1 (M.D. Ala. May 13, 2022). Plaintiffs allege in their Complaint that EUSD has a newly adopted policy of: (1) school-wide recognition of a student’s newly expressed gender identification, and (2) when communicating with a student’s parents, an enforced requirement of faculty confidentiality and non-disclosure regarding a student’s newly expressed gender identification. The policy is known as AR 5145.3.

The result of the new EUSD policy is that a teacher ordinarily may not disclose to a parent the fact that a student identifies as a new gender, or wants to be addressed by a new name or new pronouns during the school day – names, genders, or pronouns that are different from the birth name and birth gender of the student. Under the policy at issue, accurate communication with parents is permitted only if the child first gives its consent to the school. A teacher who knowingly fails to comply is considered to have engaged in discriminatory harassment and is subject to adverse employment actions. 

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Now, let’s turn to the Ward Clark’s write-up of the decision. First, the headline: BREAKING: CA Judge Rules Teachers Cannot Be Forced to Lie to Parents About Child’s Gender Identity. As noted by the judge’s order, the EUSD policy requires teachers to withhold information regarding a student’s expressed gender identification from parents unless the student consents to such disclosure. In his ruling, Judge Benitez granted the teachers’ motion for a preliminary injunction regarding the policy. So what — if any — is the issue with the headline? Are they quibbling over the word “lie” (versus “hide,” “conceal,” “fail to disclose”?) 

Next, Ward states: 

United States District Judge for the Southern District of California Hon. Roger T. Benitez has granted a preliminary injunction against the Escondido Union School District (EUSD) in a case involving a requirement that teachers mislead parents as to their own children’s “gender identity.”

Same question: Where’s the danger here? What’s derogatory? 

Ward quotes the decision itself, beginning with the judge’s analogy to situations where a student is injured or assaulted or expresses or exhibits psychological distress and the concomitant parental notification process. 

He then states: 

In this case, it’s clear that consistency and predicates in other cases are being considered in the overall picture of parental rights. As the statement notes, the EUSD’s transgender pronoun policy would somehow place gender confusion in a different category than a sports injury or other mental issues.

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Are we being demonetized — effectively censored — for recognizing the psychological/emotional health component of gender identity issues?

Ward concluded his brief write-up with this: 

The District, by this estimation, sought to raise barriers between children and parents, in effect putting teachers in loco parentis with no due process; it also denied the teachers their sincerely held religious convictions as to the nature of the proper relationship between parent and child. This is a victory for not only freedom of conscience on the part of the teachers but also a victory for the rights of parents to direct health decisions for their children. 

Forgive me for failing to see the danger or derogation in his words here. He’s merely describing the judge’s decision and rationale. So, what was it that raised the red flag? 

Was it, rather than Ward’s words, the words of Judge Benitez himself, noting, “A parent’s right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, control, and medical care of their children is one of the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests that Americans enjoy”?

Is Google genuinely contending that this statement is dangerous and derogatory? 

Parental involvement [is] essential to the healthy maturation of schoolchildren. The Escondido Union School District has adopted a policy without parent input that places a communication barrier between parents and teachers.

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How is that dangerous? To/about whom is it derogatory? I’d really like to know, wouldn’t you? Is Big Tech going to start censoring and demonetizing federal court opinions? Because the only conclusion one can reasonably draw from the fact that the article in question was flagged is that in the minds of the Big Tech censor scolds, the judge’s recognition that parents have a fundamental liberty interest in the care and well-being of their children is dangerous and derogatory

Now do you get a flavor of what we’re up against? I hope that by laying this out in detail, I’ve helped our readers understand what we’re fighting behind the scenes every day in order to be able to bring you important news and investigative stories, along with opinion and analysis from a conservative perspective. Because we can’t do it without your help. Every ding we take makes it harder for us to do what we do. 

That’s why we rely on the generosity of our VIP subscribers. Your support genuinely helps us stand up and push back against this nonsense. When they try to silence us, your subscriptions shield us from their censorship attempts. Sign up today and use promo code “CENSORSHIP” for an incredible 50 percent off and get podcasts, articles, and videos not available to non-subs. And with our VIP Gold membership, you get the same access at our Townhall Media sister sites as well: Townhall, PJ Media, Twitchy, Bearing Arms, and Hot Air.

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So, thank you to all of you who already subscribe and play such a vital role in what we do. And please, if you haven’t signed up already, consider doing so — and spread the word to friends and family who don’t believe that reporting on a court ruling or acknowledging the bond between parent and child and insisting that our schools — and our government — respect it is dangerous or derogatory or worthy of being censored. 

We can’t let them have the last word by silencing ours. Please sign up today. Thank you!
 

Mirabelli by Susie Moore on Scribd

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