The San Francisco Chronicle is lamenting that two middle school teachers are in hot water over their comments about gay and transgender clubs. It would behoove the Chronicle to tell the whole story rather than paint the situation as a transphobic targeting.

Were you to take the word of Chronicle staff writer Danielle Echeverria, the story at issue was an example of “influential conservative voices” forcing local officials to take action and is “alarming advocates for LGBTQ youth.” The real villain here, supposedly, is writer Abigail Shrier, who has — gasp! — argued that biological men are not women. Echeverria is sure to tell readers that Shrier’s work has been “criticized as unscientific and inflammatory,” just in case you forget that Shrier, not the teachers, should be the real issue.

Less of a problem, according to Echeverria, is what the teachers said to put themselves in hot water. Kelly Baraki and Lori Caldeira mocked the concerns of parents in their workshop about running gay and transgender clubs on campus. They talked about how they look at the Google search history of students to try and determine potential clubs members to recruit, and that they eavesdrop on students’ conversations with the same intent.

And, most importantly, they emphasize that parents should be left in the dark. They do not want parents to know if their children are in these clubs. They encouraged other teachers not to keep official club rosters in order to keep parents out of the loop. “What happens in this room, stays in this room,” Caldeira said on a podcast.

All of this would be troubling were we talking about high school students, but we are not. Both of them teach at a middle school. This is not even a problem because it is about gay and transgender clubs. It’s a problem because Baraki and Caldeira both want parents to know less about what their middle school children are doing at school, and they are actively encouraging other teachers to follow their lead.

That is where the problem lies. Parents, not teachers, should be the primary decision-makers in the education of their own children. Teachers play an important role in that process, but at the end of the day, their students are not their children. Baraki and Caldeira weren't there when those children were born, and they did not raise them. By boasting that they are shutting parents out of their children's school lives and keeping information from them, they are warping the roles of both teachers and parents, and they are encouraging other teachers to do the same.

This would not be nearly as big of a story, and likely would not even require the district investigating, if it were not fundamentally about hiding information about children from their own parents. This is the same problem underlying the debate about critical race theory and racial essentialism in schools. It is instructive that the Chronicle would rather downplay that than wonder why the real reporting here was left to Shrier.