Mateo Cruz*, father of four, boldly pulled his three school-aged children out of Las Cruces Public Schools (LCPS) in New Mexico after witnessing firsthand how progressive gender ideology caused things to suddenly go “downhill.” 

“I just kept thinking about it until one day I woke up and I said, this is over,” he said. “Convenience has to stop.”

Concerning incidences kept adding up, he said; boys were now allowed to use girls restrooms or play on girls sports teams, his own daughter, Maria*, who hadn’t yet gone through puberty at the time, suddenly knew more about sexual orientation than he had ever taught her, and parents were abuzz over age-inappropriate material being offered in public school libraries.

The controversial material in question was sexually-explicit graphic novel, “Jack of Hearts and Other Parts,” which contains descriptions of pedophilia, BDSM kinks, blackout drinking, and teachers having sexual relations with underaged students. Cruz wasn’t the only parent feeling dissatisfied by LCPS offering such obscene material to school-aged children. 

Once they became aware of the book’s presence, concerned New Mexican residents with children enrolled in LCPS then filed a formal complaint to remove the graphic novel. But, during a book review committee meeting, the district voted almost unanimously in favor of keeping it in the school library. Cruz audited the whole meeting and said this was the last instance of “deterioration” that he could take.

In an attempt to understand what his daughters were being taught, Cruz contacted administrators at their school. But he said the administrators weren’t able to provide him with any meaningful information.

Slowly but surely, it appeared that the family and faith-centric values Cruz was raised on in South America – where he had immigrated from nearly four decades prior – were being replaced by progressive gender ideology.

Knowing that he had several friends who had success taking their children out of public education and enrolling them in private or homeschooling systems, Cruz started weighing the pros and cons of this sort of arrangement with his wife. Cruz worked full-time and his wife worked both part-time and seasonally, so the two would consequently have to make sacrifices if they were to try homeschooling.

Having witnessed firsthand the ramifications of woke ideology permeating into his own field of biomedical sciences, Cruz understood how ideological change – in this case, anti-scientific indoctrination – trickles from the top down. The ideology was especially concerning to Cruz, as acknowledgement of sex differences in medicine are made for very logical reasons, since human anatomy and biology objectively differ based on sex.

Though he offered to take a serious pay cut from his career as a health care professional teaching medical students in order to alleviate some stress from his wife, Cruz and his wife instead worked out a compromise where she would handle around 70% of their children’s homeschooling load while Cruz would cover the remaining 30%. 

Currently, Cruz said that his family is taking their decision to homeschool on a year-by-year basis because he and his wife are not necessarily opposed to all public education. Cruz said he isn’t certain they could provide rigorous, interactive education for their children through high school graduation – even with multiple advanced graduate degrees in the sciences – and because homeschooling programs don’t offer laboratory resources and facilities like high schools do.

However, he admitted that he doesn’t feel confident that there’s much that LCPS could do at this point to make him feel comfortable re-enrolling his children in that particular district – especially after he listened to the full meeting and observed how leadership operated much like an ideological echo chamber.

This local issue is emblematic of a greater issue taking place nationwide where gender ideology has become an integral part of public school curriculum.  This, Cruz said, heavily influenced he and his wife’s decision to pull their kids out of LCPS. 

“While we have a local problem, it is truly a national problem that would require a halt of the current course,” Cruz said. “It is up to parents to decide if they are going to wait for a liberator, demand change, or simply pull their kids out.” 

As an educator himself, Cruz felt that the sacrifices he and his wife now had to make were justifiable since the standards he held himself to weren’t being upheld by his children’s school district.

“The fact that the school feels it’s acceptable to have that book [“Jack of Hearts and Other Parts”] available – see, that to me is sufficient enough to confirm that the action we took last summer was right on target,” Cruz said of the vote LCPS took to keep the controversial book on library shelves. 

“Bottom line is when I heard that discussion, it actually reaffirmed the decision that I made, it made me feel more confident,” Cruz said. After he and his wife took their leap of faith, he said they received positive feedback from a few other local families who are now similarly considering pulling their kids out of public schools.

Cruz explained that he had faced some criticism by friends and colleagues who, despite feeling similarly concerned about the education their children were receiving in New Mexico, didn’t want to rip off the proverbial band-aid until they experienced the effects of gender ideology firsthand.  

“My concern is we’re being anesthetized gradually, that’s how I see it,” Cruz said, drawing comparisons between the effects of numbing medication and political propaganda.  “I’m pulling out the I.V. before I finally don’t feel anything until it’s already happened.”

*To protect the storyteller’s identity and employment, pseudonyms have been used throughout.