Presidential wannabe Mike Pence is playing culture warrior with a baseless and probably second-hand accusation against a nameless school in some nameless city or town in Iowa.
During a speech, Pence said he was in Iowa recently because “our foundation” weighed in on a case. “There is a school in Iowa that you have to have a signed note from your parents to get an aspirin but the school health office can give you a gender transition plan without notifying your parents or gaining their permission,” he claimed.
Really? Heartland Signal tweeted, “There is no evidence of this.” It speaks volumes that Pence did not name the school, did not say where in Iowa this school is, did not say how he “knows” this, did not say he visited the school nor whether he spoke to anyone in the school administration to find out why such a policy exists.
The whole thing smacks of some right-wing anecdote that Super Duper Christian Pence regurgitated, without bothering to verify any of it, in order to smear (undoubtedly public) schools and transgender acceptance for the sake of political gain.
Furthermore, I doubt any school is giving out a “gender transition plan” to anyone. More likely, the school has some kind of informational pamphlet available, assuming there is even a grain of truth to Pence’s story. As for aspirin, it is a drug that can cause side effects or allergic reactions. The school is right to require a parent’s approval before dosing a student with any medication.
Giving out information, on the other hand, is what schools are made for. But in this age of right-wing disinformation and a war on facts, it has become all too common to see information treated as a threat and facts taking a back seat to rhetoric.
Pence’s audience proved my point. “That’s not just bad policy, that’s crazy,” Pence said about the mythical school policy. He got loud applause.