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Three years ago, a story began to emerge that could lead to the criminal indictment of several parents for undermining their child’s educational attainment with a progressive academic pretense.

Abigail Shrier, a professor of history at UCLA, conducted research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, uncovering evidence from dozens of residents and students, specifically parents who had been questioned about their child’s enrollment in an LGBTQ+ club. What Shrier found in her on-the-ground research revealed that some schools allegedly conducted invasive tests and searches of students’ personal affairs and school records without parental consent. In 2015, Shrier was contacted by anti-gay groups within the school community and invited to attend an meeting to discuss the research results. One by one, parents in attendance went on record to detail how their children had been discriminated against by the LGBTQ+ club and how they felt the pressure to have their children lie and come up with a justification for joining the club.

In her work at UCLA, Shrier’s research is focused on the issue of bias and how it manifests through culture. Her research, however, goes beyond the campus boundaries. While conducting her research, Shrier said she had the opportunity to develop intellectual property rights with students. Based on the research, Shrier’s work provides that “education policies most conducive to research on sexual and gender minorities can have the opposite effect, leading to policies that suppress academic exploration, as well as the rights of minority students.”

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