Policy Issues / Healthy Communities

Policy Brief: Yes, America’s Institutions Are Grooming Your Children

It is imperative for parents, concerned citizens, and elected officials to shift to an offensive posture to safeguard the innocence and lives of children from the adults seeking to abuse and manipulate them to serve their own sexual, gender, racial, and political ends.


The parent revolution has placed a renewed focus on the content of curricula within K-12 public schools, revealing widespread dissemination of radical ideologies like Critical Race Theory (CRT). As part of this awakening, Americans are learning that such radicalism is pervasive not only throughout K-12 schools and higher education institutions, but also within corporate boardrooms, government agencies, organizations, and cultural entities. 

Parents have also alleged that these institutions have been engaged in efforts to “groom” their children through indoctrination of divisive, inappropriate, and dangerous sexual, racial, and political ideologies, with the ultimate aim of reshaping American society. These efforts, if successful, would result in significant harm to children and chaos in schools and communities.

What is Grooming?

The use of the term “grooming” has become a point of contention in public debate about these behaviors as they manifest in American culture and institutional life. The increasingly casual use of the word, as well as the popularization of the pejorative “groomer,” has the potential to muddle communication about what precisely parents are trying to stop. 

The word “grooming” has often been associated with child predators seeking to sexualize children or prepare children for sexual activities with adults. This remains an accurate–and deeply disturbing–use of the term. However, the word has a more general definition appropriate for a far broader range of behaviors. Merriam Webster defines “groom” as “to get into readiness for a specific objective” (i.e. “he was being groomed as a presidential candidate”).

This general definition captures a broad range of potential activities designed to inculcate. As such, in the context of the commercial and educational initiatives targeting children, it is by no means limited to the worst abuses that can be connoted by the term. Indeed, despite objections from defenders of the various practices tagged with the “grooming” label, few words could be more apt to capture the nature of the indoctrination by trusted authorities –many of them in custodial positions over children–that has become commonplace in childhood education and entertainment.

The claim is not that all teachers are engaged in child predation. Rather, the claim is that as woke activists attempt to turn young kids and minors into political leftists to groom the next generation of activists, essential and longstanding boundaries that protect children from inappropriate sexual behavior are eroded. In other words, the process of grooming students or children creates conditions that circumvent established safeguards that are used to ensure appropriate behavior which leaves children vulnerable to predation.

This by no means suggests that every or even most adults engaged in “grooming”–as defined below–are also predators seeking to sexually abuse children. It does mean, as will be relayed throughout this paper, that adults who engage in grooming behavior and activities may be creating the conditions necessary for predators, with even more nefarious motives, to isolate, manipulate, and potentially abuse children.

Therefore, in this particular context, “grooming” is the deliberate act of attempting to manipulate or cultivate children or students to become activists by exposing a child to a particular sexual, political, gender, or racial ideology, or any radical practice, belief, agenda, or lifestyle without the knowledge or consent of his or her parents. 

This is often done with the aim of isolating children from their families so that third parties can more easily coerce or abuse them. 

Fundamentally, the nature of grooming is to lower or dismantle existing barriers or reticence a child may have to these particular sexual, political, gender, or racial agendas, activities, and lifestyles. Often, these ingrained barriers are due to the innate innocence of a child or the values instilled by a child’s parents and family. 

Such grooming may manifest wherever minors are captive or targeted audiences of non-parent adults. The behaviors of present concern to parents take various forms, often presented as innocuous exercises meant to promote values like tolerance, mutual understanding, and self-discovery. In practice, though, these grooming activities serve to undermine parents’ most important freedom: the right to shape the moral foundations that ground their children’s education and experience in the world. 

For the purposes of this particular paper, grooming behavior and actions will focus almost exclusively on sexual and gender ideology, practices, beliefs, agendas, and lifestyles. Nevertheless, the institutional and cultural imperative to push radical ideologies like Critical Race Theory on children would also constitute grooming–more broadly defined as “systemic grooming.”

These extreme social and sexual messages are routinely imposed against parents’ wishes in a variety of contexts, including: 

  1. Public school teachers’ coercion of children as young as Kindergarteners to participate in gay pride ceremonies explicitly kept secret from parents;  
  2. Disney executives inserting LGBT activities or concepts into programming for seven-year-olds; 
  3. A middle school teacher posting social media videos encouraging his students to curse their parents and embrace him as their new parent;  
  4. The content in a commercial aired between children’s programming on television; 
  5. Explicit material in a novel aimed at children by an author with an ulterior motive. 

Some of these efforts target children during their most vulnerable developmental stages – puberty and adolescence – to tragic effect. In one emblematic case, a California school counselor’s intervention – coordinated with the Department of Children and Family Services – to push a confused teenager to “transition” from her biological sex and remove her from her loving home into the foster care system preceded her eventual suicide.

Some may protest the use of the term “grooming” to describe this process, but without language to capture the means by which these ideologies have been promoted to children, it has proceeded invisibly to parents for the last decade. Again, the act of grooming extends far beyond adults seeking to sexually prey on children. It can be everything from teaching Critical Race Theory concepts to six-year-olds to holding Pride celebrations in elementary school classes. However, the explosion of such manipulative behavior has occurred alongside more directly harmful actions associated with grooming: sexual abuse of children. 

A 2017 Department of Education report warned that public school employees commit “adult sexual misconduct” against as many as 10 percent of K-12 students. This misconduct ranges from something as relatively mild as an inappropriate verbal comment to criminal predatory sexual contact with minors. 

Much of the foundational data for this report came from a series of surveys known as Hostile Hallways, wherein over 2,000 public school students reported the nature and extent of the sexual misconduct they experienced. According to these surveys, the sexual misconduct these students experienced most often originated from teachers (18 percent), coaches (15 percent), substitute teachers (13 percent), and school bus drivers (12 percent). Additionally, the data suggest that females comprise the vast majority of victims.

There are over 50 million students in America’s public education system. According to the Department’s own data, this means that as many as five million students, children, and minors will experience “adult sexual misconduct” at some point during their time in the public education system. 

This same report defines grooming as the process of isolating and manipulating a child, arguing that grooming “may be nonsexual and include the offender trying to move the relationship to a personal level, telling the student their personal problems.” Furthermore, the report argues that the adult sexual misconduct occurring in K-12 public schools is happening within a “broad social context” and that the sexualization of children in the media and advertising is a major contributing factor to its occurrence.

This data mirrors a 2004 report issued through the Department of Education by the Policy and Program Studies Service that found roughly 9.6 percent of K-12 students had experienced educator sexual misconduct with 17 percent of those child victims identified as being “special needs” students. The takeaway is that America’s K-12 school systems have been breeding grounds for abusive and manipulative behaviors for far too long.

Grooming Behavior in K-12 Public Schools

A popular Twitter account that curates videos intentionally released on the social media platform TikTok provides a near-daily reel of teachers and activists openly discussing their grooming behavior toward the children entrusted to their care. One of the common threads in these borderline confessions is a combination of narcissism and entitlement that non-parent adults express with regard to exploiting the children, minors, and students entrusted with their care and supervision. 

Concerningly, this exploitative and entitled outlook toward children is a necessary condition for the establishment of an environment where sexual grooming can more readily manifest. According to a 2020 study that validated key components of the Sexual Grooming Model (SGM), the five stages of a groomer’s engagement with potential victims are as follows:

  1. Victim Selection: Wherein a groomer/predator selects a vulnerable individual–often a young person or child–predicated on a host of observed factors.
  2. Access and Isolation: Wherein a groomer/predator ensures he or she has access to the looming victim and the ability to isolate the victim from peers, family, or other support networks.
  3. Trust Development: Wherein a groomer/predator engages in actions that gain compliance with the victim and result in the lowering of potential barriers.
  4. Desensitization to Sexual Content: Wherein a groomer/predator exposes the victim to sexual concepts, activities, practices, or lifestyles in preparation for abuse.
  5. Post Abuse Maintenance: Wherein a groomer/predator initiates controlling tactics to avoid detection and ensure the victim remains compliant after the abuse has occurred.

The predatory psychological techniques utilized by sexual predators share similar traits with the systemic grooming behaviors occurring throughout K-12 public schools and many cultural institutions writ large. The primary reason for such similarities is that both practices routinely necessitate adults coercing or manipulating children without the knowledge or consent of their parents.

Below are a handful of examples from among hundreds of self-published videos from K-12 public school teachers: 

  • A 5th-grade teacher brags about the “gender unicorn” assignment she uses to teach 10 and 11-year-olds how to “determine” their gender identity, gender expression, and physical attraction to other people.
  • A pre-school teacher boasts about forcing the 4-year-olds under her supervision to choose “pronoun pins” every day.
  • A 1st-grade teacher at a Massachusetts charter school informs Kindergarteners through 2nd-graders over Zoom that he is transgender and that when a baby is born doctors “make a guess about whether the baby is a boy or a girl.”
  • A pre-school teacher in Florida who moonlights as a “drag king” proclaims that she will not follow the Parental Rights in Education Act when it comes to the 4-year-olds under her supervision.
  • An elementary school teacher in Florida states that she “would rather lose her job than out one of my students to their families” and that she has no intention of following the Parental Rights in Education act when it comes to young children and minors under her supervision.
  • An elementary school teacher states that “kids as young as 3 and 4 are aware of their gender identity” and claims that saying pre-K through 3rd graders aren’t ready to be exposed to sexual concepts and gender identity is “internalized homophobia and transphobia.”
  • A high school teacher instructs other teachers on how to “be really sneaky about supporting specifically queer students” without the knowledge of parents.

In Oakland, California, a Spanish teacher recently bragged about the implementation of the “transition closet” put in place for his students. In his own words, the teacher stated, “The goal of the transition closet is for our students to wear the clothes that their parents approve of, come to school, and then swap out into the clothes that fit who they truly are.” In Austin, Texas, an elementary school held a Pride parade in March 2022 for Kindergarteners through 5th graders and initially instructed students to respect the privacy of this special event by reminding all participants that “What we say in this room stays in this room.” The Illinois State Board of Education recently promoted guidance for administrators and teachers that encourages school officials to hide a child or student’s gender identity or sexual orientation from his or her parents.

Teachers openly discussing–or admitting to their intent and desire to discuss–sex and gender identity with kindergarteners, third-graders, or any minor entrusted to their care should be an enormous red flag to parents and concerned citizens about potential predatory conditions in the school systems. This red flag is underscored by repeated examples of teachers and administrators emphasizing the importance of withholding such instruction from parents and the community.

The Mainstreaming of Grooming in Entertainment

In March 2022, Christopher Rufo, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, reported on a meeting that had recently occurred inside The Walt Disney Company. The meeting was a grievance session for progressive Disney employees to lament the company’s “failure” to sufficiently oppose the Parental Rights in Education Act, a recently enacted Florida law that prohibits public school teachers and officials in K-3 grades from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity.

Following intense pressure from the far-left media and progressive activists within his own company, Disney CEO Bob Chapek released a statement condemning the parental rights bill and vowing to work toward its repeal. Disney’s opposition to a law protecting four to eight-year-old children from exposure to sexual concepts and gender identity from non-parent adult teachers alarmed millions of parents and citizens across the country. 

Rufo’s reporting pulled the veil back on the extent to which a cultural institution like Disney is invested in grooming children toward particular sexual and gender ideologies, practices, and agendas. In publicly-available videos, one Disney producer who makes and directs animated Disney+ shows aimed at seven-year-olds and younger children proudly said that “leadership over there [Disney] has been so welcoming to my not-at-all secret gay agenda.” She went further, claiming, “I don’t have to be afraid to have these two characters kiss in the background. I was just, wherever I could, just basically adding queerness.” 

Another Disney executive discussed how the company was “home to really incredible, groundbreaking LGBTQIA stories” and then lamented that “we [Disney] have many, many, many LGBTQIA characters in our stories, and yet we don’t have enough leads and narratives in which gay characters just get to be characters.”

Despite the Disney executives’ outrage and planned retaliation, the audiences for whom they produce their content have taken a different view of the Florida legislation. According to Public Opinion Strategies, some 61 percent of registered voters support the Florida law prohibiting non-parent teachers and adults from discussing sex and gender identity with seven-year-olds or kindergarteners. This includes 70 percent of Republicans, 58 percent of Independents, and even 55 percent of self-described Democrats. The poll showed a full two-thirds of American voters believe discussing gender identity with children in Kindergarten through 3rd-grade is inappropriate. A separate survey showed that 52 percent of Florida Democrat primary voters supported the Parental Rights in Education Act.

But Disney is not the only entertainment company pushing particular sexual or gender ideologies, practices, agendas, or lifestyles on children. Nickelodeon marketed a 30-second commercial showcasing a pre-teenage girl self-identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community as part of its programming during Transgender Day of Visibility.

In 2020, the streaming service Netflix received a barrage of public backlash for marketing the movie Cuties, a French film glamorizing highly-sexualized pre-teenage girls participating in beauty pageants. While this film was marketed toward adults, the glamorization of sexualizing children for adult entertainment consumption resulted in a Texas jury indicting Netflix for violating the state’s obscenity laws on lewdness.

Two key takeaways from the Cuties controversy are that young child actors were sexually exploited to make the film and adults marketed it to other adults for entertainment, underscoring the extent to which the grooming of children into such radical practices and lifestyles has become commonplace.

Such grooming extends beyond television and is embedding its roots deep into our culture. An increasing number of children’s books aim to inculcate or expose young children to topics related to sex and gender ideology.

For example, the book Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah and Ian Hoffman is aimed at 4-year-olds and highlights a young boy who dresses as a girl with the smiling approval of his mother. The book Jacob’s School Play Starring He, She, and They by the same authors also promotes gender ideology to kids aged four through eight and suggests that the word “they” should be used as a singular pronoun for the “gender-nonconforming” and that “There’s more than just boy and girl.”

Another children’s book for kids aged four through eight called This Day in June by author Gayle Pitman features pictures of leather-wearing same-sex couples dancing and kissing in a Pride parade. These children’s books serve as a foundation for the flood of pornographic material in K-12 curricula and public libraries. 

The ideological and destructive nature of these exercises may best be exemplified by a song and a so-called “summer camp.” In 2021, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Choir released a song and video boasting that they were targeting children with an LGBT agenda. Following a backlash, the organization claimed it was “tongue-in-cheek” humor. A sampling of the lyrics include:

You think that we’ll corrupt your kids if our agenda goes unchecked

Funny, just this once, you’re correct

We’ll convert your children

Happens bit by bit

Quietly and subtly and you will barely notice it

A nonprofit organization in Kentucky, which includes self-proclaimed witches on its staff, recently promoted a “Sexy Summer Camp” aimed at minors including toddlers. The agenda included lessons on masturbation, “sexual liberation,” “gender exploration,” “self-managed abortions,” and “sexual activity while using licit and illicit drugs.” After this predatory organization and event were exposed, the “camp” was canceled. Simply put, the effort to normalize and desensitize children to sex and radical gender ideology is rampant across vast swaths of American culture and society.

The Consequences of Grooming 

The parental rights movement has helped uproot the radical ideologies that have taken hold in K-12 schools, most notably the Marxist-derived ideology of Critical Race Theory. However, CRT is not the sole radical ideology immersed in curricula and instruction in school systems.

Queer Theory, sometimes referred to as Gender Theory, is the genesis for much of the grooming material and behavior in K-12 schools and cultural institutions. This theory manifests itself in many different forms, but broadly frames heterosexuality as a societal norm structuring society to the detriment of self-designated marginalized communities who operate outside heterosexual and the biologically-binary gender practices and beliefs. In this manner, the theory’s rejection of malignant “systems” falls in line with CRT and other Marxist off-shoots of radical critical theory.

One of the leading purveyors of this theory, Michel Foucault, was a Marxist French philosopher and activist who authored Queer Theory’s seminal work The History of Sexuality. This book argued that sexuality is a social construct and is inherently tied to hetero-dominant systems of power. Foucault is also known for challenging the “stigma” of pedophilia.

Foucault signed a petition to decriminalize pedophilia and lower the age of consent in France to 13-years-old before he died of complications from HIV/AIDS in 1984. After his death, evidence emerged that Foucault had sexually abused underage boys–underscoring the flippancy with which he viewed such acts in his various writings. The direct influence of Foucault continues in classrooms today, particularly with the increasingly common redesignation of pedophilia among gender activists as just another sexual orientation, specifically an orientation known as “minor-attracted persons” or MAP.

The classification of non-heterosexuals as oppressed or marginalized groups is a key component of Foucault’s theses that underpin Queer Theory. In that respect, it is nearly identical to the race essentialism espoused within the praxis of CRT and further reinforces peer or social pressure to identify as a member of the LGBT community in order to dismantle “systems of oppression” or remove one’s inherent status as an “oppressor.” 

Foucault’s belief that sexuality was nothing more than a social construct undergirds and animates much of the existing educational dogma among radical gender activists and teachers regarding gender identity and sexual orientation.

The full consequences of activist and educator obsession with exposing children and students to sexualized concepts are still largely unknown. However, the societal damage it is likely to impose is bound to be catastrophic. Below are some emerging data points that are worth exploring to see if there is a direct link to the grooming epidemic:

  • A recent analysis profiled in The Atlantic outlined the alarmingly high rates of depression for girls and self-identified LGBT students in high schools. It showed nearly 76 percent of self-identified LGBT high-school students and 57 percent of female students are feeling persistently sad or hopeless, percentages that far exceed the number of black students or males. The article attempts to offer four explanations, but not one of the potential factors explores the erosion of self-conception–and the inherent loss of confidence and mental stability–that stems from grooming children at an early age into adopting radical sexual concepts and gender identity.
  • Axios recently provided generational data compiled by Gallup. The information reveals an exponential increase in the population self-identifying as LGBTQ, rising to an astonishing 21 percent of Generation Z. That is double the number of Millennials. While more analysis needs to be done, this data heavily suggests that the prevalence of grooming practices in K-12 schools and the prevalence of Queer Theory in cultural institutions is producing a socially-induced effect whereby people are overwhelmingly choosing to be a member of the LGBT community.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has revealed an alarming increase in the number of suicides. From 2007 to 2018, the rate of suicide for 10 to 24-year-olds increased by an astounding 60 percent. These rates occurred years before COVID, lockdowns, and school closures. It is worth exploring how much of this increase is related to grooming activities pushing children into novel sexual and gender identities from a young age.

Children are impressionable, and their minds are not fully formed until well into their twenties. Exposing children and minors to sexual concepts or gender identity is guaranteed to have an impact on a range of developmental factors. Indeed, such developmental impact is the explicit intention of the proponents of such concepts.

Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child argues, “The brain is indeed connected to the rest of the body–and early childhood policy in the 21st Century must focus on the overwhelming evidence that early experiences affect the foundations of both educational achievement and lifelong physical and mental health.”

It is therefore critical for parents and concerned citizens to grapple with the extent and consequences of the grooming epidemic for these very reasons. There remains a great deal of research to be done regarding the long-term negative effects of institutional and societal grooming of children: physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. 

The primary day-to-day impact of grooming behavior and activities, however, can be summarized in a three-fold manner: 

1) It undeniably serves to affirm the desires or proclivities of non-parent adults at the expense of children who are captive audiences;

2) It undeniably fosters an environment where sexual predators can thrive, thereby endangering children; 

3) It undeniably creates the conditions to rupture nuclear families and drive a wedge between children and their parents; and 

Common sense also suggests that grooming is indeed heavily contributing to the epidemic of adult sexual misconduct and crimes against children in K-12 schools.

A Sample Case Study in Defending Grooming Behavior

As lawmakers–at the behest of empowered parents–have begun to focus on passing legislation to protect young children from exposure to sexual and gender identity concepts, progressives and activists have largely struggled to push back.

However, a recent floor speech given by Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow offers a glimpse into the likely blueprint LGBT and grooming defenders will use to deflect or justify what is happening in America’s K-12 classrooms and cultural institutions.

In her speech, McMorrow makes several impassioned claims while providing details about her personal background. The three key attack lines she uses are as follows:

  • That opponents of grooming are targeting marginalized kids in the name of “parental rights.”
  • That opponents of grooming are “dehumanizing and marginalizing” those who defend non-parent adults teaching children about sexual and gender concepts.
  • That opponents of grooming are “denying people their very right to exist.”

The theme McMorrow emphasizes is the notion that those who want to prevent adults from teaching or exposing children to sexual concepts and gender identity in the classroom are espousing hate. Notably, nowhere in McMorrow’s speech was there any concern about the well-being of children exposed to such concepts, much less the actual rights of parents–except to diminish the idea of parental rights as little more than a smokescreen for perceived bigotry.

And while McMorrow’s indignant rebuttal is emotionally effective in that it is clearly genuine, it fails to substantively engage with the issue and address the fundamental question that elected officials like her, gender activists, teachers, cultural institutions, and woke corporations must answer on behalf of parents and concerned citizens:

Do you believe non-parent adults should teach or expose children to sexual concepts and gender identity without parental knowledge or consent?

Policy Response

Fundamentally, the widespread societal and institutional adherence to Queer Theory and similar radical ideologies has directly led to the conditions necessary for child grooming to occur and for predatory adults to thrive.

The parent movement and the tens of millions of Americans who seek to protect the innocence of children, ensure the health of their communities, and facilitate value systems that deter those who seek to corrupt, abuse, and weaponize children must take an aggressive and multi-faceted approach to end this epidemic.

First, parents must continue to hold school boards, school officials, and local leaders accountable. This means pressuring schools to be transparent with their curricula, provide access to the material available in school libraries, and engage in regular parent-teacher interactions to expose potentially harmful practices.

Second, citizens must begin taking direct action, either individually or in an organized fashion, against the companies, businesses, and corporations that provide operating space for grooming material and ideologies to take root. This means canceling Disney+ subscriptions, turning off Nickelodeon, seeking out alternative forms of family entertainment, and switching to products or services offered by companies that are not aligned with the left-wing agenda to isolate and manipulate children.

Third, state lawmakers must adopt strong legislative proposals that will resolve the issues both in school systems and in corporate boardrooms. Among such proposals include:

  • Legislation cracking down on pornographic, sexually inappropriate, or otherwise obscene material in the classroom, on school grounds, or at school events;
  • Legislation enacting curriculum transparency for every K-12 public school so as to provide parents with the entirety of the content their child will be exposed to while in the classroom;
  • Legislation stripping woke companies aligned with pro-grooming activists of any special tax privileges, benefits, or regulatory loopholes similarly to the actions taken by the  Florida legislature after Disney tried to bully it into reversing course on its parental rights legislation;
  • Legislation providing a right of action for parents against any school system, school official, or adult who exposes their underage child or student to pornographic, sexually inappropriate, or otherwise obscene material;
  • Legislation that defines grooming more broadly and provides for harsh criminal penalties against those who seek to exploit and abuse children under their supervision; and
  • Legislation that forbids the discussion or presentation of material depicting in part or whole nudity, gender identity, sex organs, sexual concepts, sexual orientation, or sexual acts in pre-K through 6th grade.

Finally, federal lawmakers must comb through the tax code and Federal Register to begin the process of stripping woke corporations of any special federal tax and regulatory benefits that they receive while actively working against the interests of parents and the protection of children. This should include consideration of statutory changes to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to ensure commercials and children’s programming mirror content prohibitions enacted in the Parental Rights in Education Act.

Concluding Assessment

The recent attention given to grooming is but the latest salvo in a culture war being waged for the soul of the nation. Healthy communities require a well-cultivated and shared adherence to common morality. In the United States, much of our value system is historically rooted in Judeo-Christian ethics and standards. However, as that commonality has waned, radical ideologies have taken root within myriad institutions and fostered a dangerous environment for children allowing groomers to proliferate. It is imperative for parents, concerned citizens, and elected officials to shift to an offensive posture to safeguard the innocence and lives of children from the adults seeking to abuse and manipulate them to serve their own sexual, gender, racial, and political ends.