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(LifeSiteNews) – There has been quite a bit of debate on the Right over the past few months about the use of the term “groomer.” A “groomer” is defined as someone who develops a relationship with a child for the purposes of sexual exploitation, and the term has been used by those fighting against the sexualization of children and sexual indoctrination in schools.

In response to LGBT activists dubbing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill — which prohibits teaching kids in the third grade and younger about sexuality — the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, parental rights advocates coined the phrase: “Ok, groomer.”

During one of their Backstage events, Daily Wire hosts Andrew Klavan, Matt Walsh, Ben Shapiro, Michael Knowles, and Jeremy Boering discussed the use of the term, with Walsh noting that he thinks the term applies literally to many of those pushing sexual ideologies in schools, while Shapiro stated that it is a rhetorically brilliant quip that should not be used literally.

READ: GOP governor of New Hampshire shuts down bill protecting parental rights in education

Columnist (and gay rights activist) Andrew Sullivan and Douglas Murray also discussed the term during a conversation on Murray’s new book The War on the West, with Sullivan strongly objecting to its use.

Sullivan in particular has excoriated conservative activist Christopher Rufo on Twitter for mainstreaming the term, accusing him of smearing educators. Rufo has pushed back by posting a growing list of news stories exposing sexual abuse in public schools by teachers (although no specific evidence that these assaults are connected to the sexual indoctrination in question.)

Rufo recently told Fox News that the lack of research is appalling: “The public school system has a serious child sex abuse problem.” The last significant federal study on this topic, which was conducted by the Department of Education in 2004, suggested that millions of American schoolchildren are victims of teacher sexual misconduct in each generation of K-12 students—and there hasn’t been any significant research since then.

Rufo was responding to a recent Fox News analysis of local news stories which revealed that 135 teachers and teachers’ aides have been arrested in 2022 in America for child-related sex crimes, ranging from child porn possession to rape. The analysis looked only at reported news stories, meaning that there could be many more cases—as it is, the 135 arrests between January 1 and May 13 totals to about an arrest every single day, most of them men.

According to Fox, 76% of the cases involved crimes against students. A California teacher was charged with aggravated assault of a child; another with 29 counts of child molestation. North Carolina science teacher was charged with 27 counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and 28 counts of “indecent liberties with a student.”

As Erika Sanzi of Parents Defending Education noted, the Department of Education’s 2004 report found that a staggering 9.6% of students become a target of some form of sexual misconduct at some point during their school years:

Educator sexual abuse is a major problem that largely gets ignored because it’s so uncomfortable to talk about. While a very small fraction of educators and school employees prey on the children in their care, one bad actor can do damage to many students. The last federally commissioned study on the issue was in 2004, pre-smart phone and those who study the issue closely say that the problem has been exacerbated by the ease of communication that a smart phone provides.

We need to get much more honest about the problem, study it again and ensure that we have policies and laws in place that protect children. It is currently legal in Massachusetts and Rhode Island for teachers and other adults in positions of authority to have sexual relationships with students once they turn 14. After a 5-year effort, RI finally appears poised to change that this year.

Christopher Rufo concurred with her analysis, noting that it is a “travesty” that there is so little research on this phenomenon. “Parents deserve to know exactly what’s happening in the public school system and deserve to have tools for protecting their children from abuse,” he told Fox News.

READ: Virginia judge rules sexually explicit LGBT books are too ‘obscene’ for school libraries

“Congress should immediately fund a $25 million research program into child sexual abuse in public schools and provide complete transparency for parents,” continued Rufo. “The first duty of public schools is to keep kids safe—and, tragically, that’s not happening in far too many cases.”

So is the term “groomer” a slur? Considering this gut-wrenching study and the reality that sexual indoctrination can turn into sexual conditioning, I would argue that it is not.

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.