(Tom Gantert, The Center Square) Christopher Rufo broke a story in 2022 about gender activists at Chicago’s Lurie Children’s Hospitals and public-school administrators collaborating to provide sexually explicit material and promoting “radical gender theory” to students.
Rufo, a senior fellow and director of the initiative on critical race theory at the Manhattan Institute, wrote the hospital provided a policy guide for school administrators that encouraged the schools to adopt a “gender-affirming approach” to curriculum and allow students to play sports and use restrooms in accordance with their gender identity.
Rufo’s reporting on the gender battles in public schools has drawn widespread attention. He was described by a 2022 New York Times article as “the conservative activist who probably more than any other person made critical race theory a rallying cry on the right – and who has become, to some on the left, an agitator of intolerance.”
In January, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Rufo to the New College of Florida board of trustees. The board of trustees then removed the president amid claims by DeSantis’ administration that the college was putting political ideology above teaching students, the Wall Street Journal reported.
And in February, Rufo released a guide he developed for state legislatures on how they could “curb the excesses of radical gender theory in public schools.”
The guide proposes that legislators pass laws forbidding public school teachers, administrators and employees from encouraging students from withholding information from their parents about gender identity related issues. It also would mandate that parents be informed about anything gender-related involving their child.
For example, the guide states, “No classroom instruction on human sexuality, sex education, gender identity, or -concepts shall occur in kindergarten through grade 5,” unless it is required by the law.
Rufo also has put out a parent’s guide with how to deal with Critical Race Theory.
GLSEN, formerly the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, did not respond to an email seeking comment. Tina Dyakon of the Poynter Institute didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. The National Association of Secondary School Principals didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation also didn’t respond to an email seeking comment.
Larry Sand, a former teacher and president of the non-profit California Teachers Empowerment Network, was supportive of Rufo’s guide.
“The most important part of ‘A Model for School Practices Relating to Sexuality and Gender’ is that schools must become more transparent … with an emphasis on ‘parent,'” Sand said in an email to The Center Square. “Throughout this impressive document, Rufo stresses that parents must give consent before their children’s teachers get into dicey areas that were unthinkable and even scandalous until most recently.”