By Dylan Housman
The steps predators take to groom children for sexual abuse bear a remarkable resemblance to some modern lesson plans in American elementary schools, according to descriptions clinical experts provided to the Daily Caller.
Proponents of introducing Critical Gender Theory curricula and graphic sexual education to young children in schools have rejected the “groomer” pejorative critics recently began lobbing at them. Still, the grooming methods that experts outlined for the Caller bear a striking resemblance to some of the newer sexual education lessons the fringe political left is pushing into classrooms.
The most common tactics groomers employ are cultivating a positive reputation within a community, introducing sexualized topics or imagery to kids, isolating them from their parents, and encouraging them to keep secrets, experts told the Daily Caller. Each of these red flags have manifested themselves in classroom policies or public programs for children across America in recent years.
“I can’t think of too many times where I would think that an unrelated person should say, ‘Don’t say this to your parents,’” Daniel Pollack, professor at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work at Yeshiva University, told the Daily Caller.
“[Parents] should be informed [about sex education], especially the younger kids are,” Chris Newlin, executive director of the National Children’s Advocacy Center, said. “I’m just not a fan of things being held secret from parents, and kids being told not to tell.” (RELATED: ‘Not Safe’: England To Shut Down Only Gender Clinic For Minors As Biden Pushes Child Sex Changes)
Yet a culture of secrets is exactly what’s cropping up in some schools. In March, a Texas elementary school told 5-year-old kids not to tell their parents what adults taught during pride week classroom discussions. A new Philadelphia policy requires teachers to hide the transgender status of students from parents. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that a school could institute a policy in which kids change their gender identity without informing parents. [Editor’s Note: the Wisconsin Supreme Court did not uphold the school’s policy on the merits, it just said the policy couldn’t be challenged by anonymous litigants].
Examples are international, too: in Canada, one school hosted a “pride dance” that parents were prohibited from seeing.
The dictionary definition of groomer is “the criminal activity of becoming friends with a child in order to try to persuade the child to have a sexual relationship,” according to the Cambridge English Dictionary. Some critics of sexualized education for kids and programs like Drag Queen Story Hour allege that kids aren’t only being groomed for potential abuse, but are being mentally groomed into a particular worldview regarding sexuality and gender.
Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute who has led a political movement against the teaching of gender ideology in school, as well as other topics, said some educators are undertaking actions that match up well with that definition of grooming. (RELATED: Twitter Censors ‘Groomer’ Term After Left-Wing Pressure Campaign)
“Many school districts, including large districts such as Los Angeles Unified, have adopted explicit policies that teachers can facilitate a child’s gender and sexual transition without notifying parents. In fact, the default is to keep these transitions a secret — the child has to request notification,” Rufo told the Daily Caller. “This is extremely dangerous and an immense violation of the rights of parents to know what’s happening to their children. It opens up kids to manipulation, indoctrination and abuse.”
Yes, WaPo, “grooming” has a range of definitions: one can be groomed into an ideology, groomed into a gender identity, or groomed for physical abuse. And according to the best available evidence, all of these are happening in the public school system.https://t.co/qg649Snt7s pic.twitter.com/nm9hojwGwT
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) July 25, 2022
Another key step in grooming is exposing children to sexualized content at a young age. “They start to bring up some kind of sexual content at some point so that they can start to initiate some contact with the child,” Newlin said, explaining that only trained professionals or parents should be discussing these topics. “Who should be doing that? Professionals, in that kind of setting. I think it’s good for parents to be having conversations with their children about sexuality.”
Kids are increasingly exposed to sexualized topics in schools and other community settings. For instance, a recent pride event labeled “family-friendly” in Rome, Georgia, featured sex toys, condoms and explicit drag queen performances. One left-wing sex education group markets videos to kids as young as kindergarten and discusses topics including sexting and abortion.
The first drag queen “story hour” for children in a UK-wide tour of council libraries has descended into chaos after it was stormed by protesters and the performer was given a police escort https://t.co/e60X6LBRFt
— Ewan Somerville (@ewansomerville) July 26, 2022
“In the fourth and final stage before the contact abuse occurs, the perpetrator prepares the minor for abuse by desensitizing them to sexual content,” clinical psychologist, sexual violence prevention expert and professor of psychology at John Jay College, Dr. Elizabeth Jeglic told the Caller. She said examples can include showing them pornography, talking about sexual experiences or teaching them about sexual education.
“This should be a major red flag: adults with institutional power talking about sex with young children is a mechanism that can be easily abused,” Rufo said. “We’ve seen stories such as one in Pennsylvania in which teachers use casual conversations about sex as the first step in the grooming process.”
Oftentimes predators aren’t only grooming children for abuse. Experts told the Caller that grooming the surrounding community in order to gain trust is also critical to creating an environment for abuse.
“They are trying to gain not only the trust of the intended victim, but they’re really trying to gain the trust of the people around that victim,” Pollack said. “They are grooming, if you will, not just that victim, but they’re grooming the institution.”
Institutions have been groomed for child sexual abuse before. The Catholic church has infamously dealt with systemic, institutional issues of sexual abuse. Swap the priests out for teachers graduating from colleges with highly subversive approaches to K-12 pedagogy, and suddenly public schools are facing a similar problem.
“The goal of gaining trust is so they can easily access the minor without suspicion. Behaviors and tactics include having a good reputation in the community [and] coming across as charming and likable,” Jeglic said.
#Grooming is trending right now, and we would once again like to state that the word “groomer” is not an anti-LGBTQ slur, and anyone claiming otherwise is gaslighting and hurting our community. #GaysAgainstGroomers
— Gays Against Groomers (@againstgroomers) July 27, 2022
There have been concerted efforts to normalize and positively spin the sexualization of children’s education and content in recent years. Amazon, one of the world’s most powerful corporations, sponsors a program to put gender ideology books in schools. Teachers are openly explaining how they push sexualized gender lessons onto young kids and are attempting to normalize the practice.
Many infamous abusers have developed pristine public reputations, leading to shock when their crimes were revealed. Jerry Sandusky founded a charity for at-risk children in his community and was known as a kind-hearted mentor. Larry Nassar was considered an elite doctor, and girls he abused were told it was an honor to be treated by him. But the new trusted acolytes are teachers and men in women’s clothing.
The issue isn’t strictly hypothetical. A Pennsylvania drag queen was arrested in June and charged with 25 counts of child pornography after previously performing shows for children. In 2021, a Milwaukee judge was arrested on child pornography charges while acting as president of an organization that offered drag queen story hours.
A Hawaii teacher who accused conservatives of “projecting” when they call people “groomers” was charged with child pornography and having sex with a 13-year-old. (RELATED: Left-Wing Activists Urge Big Tech To Censor Anti-Pedophile ‘Smear’)
Major progressive institutions and figures have defended programs like Drag Queen Story Hour and expanded graphic sexual education for young children. The Daily Caller reached out to nearly a dozen advocates or defenders of these programs, and did not receive a response from any except for Montgomery County, Maryland, Council candidate Kristin Mink.
“When kids go to Drag Queen Story Hour with their parents, they see a princess reading a story,” she said. “Turning that into something sexual because you’re focused on the genitals you assume are under the princess garb is by far the strangest thing happening here.”
Rufo disagreed: “Activists have bullied parents into believing that they cannot oppose any conversation about gender, sexuality, and behavior between teachers and students. They have tried to use manipulative language to make parents’ instinctive concerns appear to be a form of bigotry or repression.”
“This is a dangerous game that will, unfortunately, have negative consequences for the most vulnerable students.”