Mike Pence gave an impassioned defense of parental rights in education during a visit to Minneapolis on Wednesday.
The former vice president spoke following a circuit court hearing in St. Paul about an Iowa school district’s policies that allow students to change their “gender identity” without parental consent or knowledge, use the bathroom and locker room of their choice, and require others to use a student’s “preferred pronouns.”
“Family is a sovereign sphere that predates all forms of government. Family is more than an institution. It is the foundation of all institutions,” he said. “To undermine fundamental parents’ rights is to undermine a cornerstone of our civilization.”
The Minnesota Family Council and Pence’s nonprofit, Advancing American Freedom, were two of the 21 groups that signed on to an amicus brief in support of Parents Defending Education, the plaintiff suing the Linn-Mar Community School District in eastern Iowa.
The Eighth Circuit Court took up the plaintiff’s case in November after Parents Defending Education appealed a lower court rejection.
Pence called their case a “fight over the destiny of our children and the survival of parental rights.”
“The average American today is being dragged into a left-wing culture war that has invaded our schools, our colleges, and our workplace,” he said. “Every day we’re told that we must not only tolerate the left’s obsessions with race and sex and gender, but we must earnestly and enthusiastically participate, or face severe consequences.”
“And nowhere is the problem more severe, or the need for leadership more urgent, than in our public school classrooms.”
In his Wednesday speech, Pence defended the right of parents to have a greater say in what public schools are teaching their children, especially given the widespread influence of “radical transgender policies.” He called out the Linn-Mar Community School District for refusing to inform parents of their child’s “gender transition” without that child’s approval.
“You do not craft a gender transition plan for my child without my knowledge or consent — I believe the American people believe this,” he said.
Pence also denounced the proliferation of critical race theory in school curricula around the country, saying white children should not be taught to “be ashamed of the color of their skin.”
“Critical race theory is nothing short of state-sanctioned racism, and it should be opposed in every city and every state in the land,” the former vice president said.