Thursday evening at the Moms for Liberty Joyful Warriors National Summit I began dialogue with promotional staff, asking for access to the work sessions and trainings for attendees. I was informed that press was not allowed to witness any classes or lectures outside the main ballroom. I pressed, explained that local media cared more about grassroots organizing in our communities than visiting celebrities. Friday morning, following repeated requests, the staff informed me that I could attend a workshop of their choosing – if I were escorted – presumably so I would not wander into any unsanctioned discussions.
They led me to the Comprehensive Sexual Education (CSE): Sex Ed or Sexualization’ session led by Kelly Schenkoske, which included the predictable attacks, such as CSE is really just Critical Race Theory and Social and Emotional Learning designed to corrupt your kids, among others. During the Q&A period, attendees made seemingly outlandish claims, like, “A boy can start the process of cutting off his penis, in school, on his lunch hour, in Michigan” and Pennsylvania Governor “Shapiro allowed a fifth grader to demand mental health in the schools.”
These claims were neither checked nor confirmed by the workshop facilitator. In the hallway, after the session ended, I approached some of these speakers and asked if they would answer questions. They did.
Later, event planners knew me by name and banned me (and eventually my colleagues from media across Pennsylvania and the country from future sessions for the day). They refused to say whether I’d be allowed in any sessions for the rest of the conference. The following stories resulted from that exposure to their secretive discussion.
Dawn Henderson, a candidate for Upper Moreland school district, sat quietly listening to a presentation by Schenkoske’s session. She’s at the summit for the same reason she’s running for school board – she’s alarmed. Alarmed and angry.
About what? You name it – from mask mandates to mental health. So, what’s Comprehensive Sexuality Education – endorsed by the World Health Organization and the United Nations – got to do with masks and mental health? Maybe nothing – except that Henderson is alarmed about CSE too.
Schenkoske’s presentation contained a fair number of screen shots from a few limited sources – excerpts about masturbation and other sex acts (eliciting groans and gasps from the 40 or so attendees) that would not result in pregnancy. Informing children about sex, she contends, is how public schools condition children “to understand they are entitled to sexual pleasure.”
Schenkoske likewise condemned any discussion of consent – because it made children feel like they should consent, when they should just be told to just say “no.”
A self-proclaimed concerned mom, Schenkoske explained to the group that she became more aware through research. She encouraged her audience to read the books assigned to their children and when alarmed, to pull the children from classes that were unresponsive to demands for change in curriculum. Schenkoske condemned Canada and Sweden for their liberalism and sexualization of children through Comprehensive Sex Education. Education that she says includes a focus on social emotional learning and – without citation – critical race theory.
A resident of California, Schenkoske repeatedly warned her audience that the “sexualization” prevalent in California would soon take over their local schools. She encouraged people to return to their communities and be prepared for a marketing bonanza that would try to bury their voices. She said that the notions that “gender was separate from sex” would be forced into the schools, adding, “Sex ed is a vehicle for social change and racial justice. When we get into words like equity and wellness, we need to get into the definition of how it has changed.”
In Schenkoske’s closing remarks, she reminded her audience that Canada had been teaching CSE for a lot longer than the United States and to look to them with concern. What has the outcome for Canadians been after learning about consent and social emotional instruction? According to world crime statistics, a person is sixteen times more likely to be raped in the United States than in Canada.
Henderson, left the room with a renewed zeal. The local Republican candidate decried Governor Shapiro’s commitment to provide mental health support to Pennsylvania schools. She sees this as just more government intrusion into schools. After lockdowns and mask mandates, Henderson explained, “I don’t believe mental health teachers will not be biased. They [children] won’t get mental health help. Schools already control everything. We need role models in the schools. We need a police force in the schools. They are non-biased, unlike administrator and teachers who work for the government.”
When Bucks County Beacon pointed out that the police, too, work for the government, Henderson responded, “They do, but it’s different. Police in the schools is just a win/win for the school and the community.”
When asked, if Henderson wins, wouldn’t she too be part of the government, the candidate replied, “I’m a parent first. I’ve proven myself as a parent.”