In a recent op-ed in the CTMirror,  Andrew Feinstein criticizes the Parental Rights movement stating:

“The movement has cut its teeth on spreading falsehoods: critical race theory is somehow a part of social emotional learning; school-based health centers are encouraging young children to experiment with sex or to question their gender; public schools are teaching children X-rated sexual activities. These canards have been effective in placing school administrators on the defensive and, over the longer term, tend to degrade the quality of public education.”

Joseph Bentivegna MD

Perhaps Feinstein is unaware the following developments in Connecticut over the past year:

1. A Hartford school nurse was placed on administrative leave for posting on Facebook that teachers and school administrators were identifying transgender students and counselling them without parental consent or even awareness.

2.  An eighth-grade class in Enfield was given an assignment to choose pizza toppings as a code for their preferred sex acts.

3.  A Greenwich assistant principal stated in an undercover video by Project Veritas that he would not hire a teacher who questioned the transgender agenda

4.     A Southington English teacher upsetting parents by having a discussion about white privilege, indigenous peoples, transgender people, institutional racism, gender pronouns, and the term Latinx.

He further states “The Parents’ Rights movement seeks to destroy this [public school] model. Using the age-old tropes of sex and race, it seeks to segregate students.”

Has Feinstein ever walked into a Bridgeport classroom? If so, he will note it is almost all minority. Has he ever walked into a Guilford classroom? If so, he will note it is lily white. The Parental Rights movement has nothing to do with segregation in Connecticut. It is due to complex zoning laws designed to keep communities from changing. It is the liberal white towns, such as Woodbridge – which voted 68% for Biden and 31% for Trump in 2020 – that are fighting tooth-and-nail to prevent zoning changes that would allow more minorities to live there. In fact, a group of Yale lawyers is suing Woodbridge to change this.

Furthermore, the private schools that Feinstein is castigating are much more diverse, especially the parochial schools. When my daughters attended a Catholic school in Fairfield, their friends were Black, Haitian, Asian, Indian and Hispanic. But when they approached middle school age, my wife and I felt that that Fairfield public schools offered a superior education and transferred them. But the school was lily white.

Feinstein further states that “the Parents’ Rights movement is a well-funded network of national organizations with the ultimate goal of permitting any parent to get a government check to send their child to the school of their choice. “

Perhaps. But their power pales in comparison to the teachers’ unions in Connecticut who were so powerful that they managed to get paid while staying home during the pandemic based on dubious science – resulting in plummeting test scores for minority students. There is no voucher program in Connecticut that allows the poor and minorities to escape inferior public schools.

Feinstein is an attorney who has dedicated his life to helping disabled students receive a quality education. He has a child with cerebral palsy. His opinion must be respected. He undoubtably represented students who are different, such those who are transgender, because they have been bullied mercilessly. And this must change.

But parents who pay taxes to fund the schools should have an input in how their children are educated and not simply be forced to accept the opinions of professional educators. As a physician, I know more about my patients’ conditions than they do. But I never force my opinion on a patient.

Why? Because the patient has the right to digest the information of their condition and make an informed choice. It is the patient that suffers the consequence of my actions if they are incorrect. Tax-paying parents deserve the same courtesy with the education of their children.

Joseph Bentivegna MD is an ophthalmologist in Rocky Hill.