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California Senate Approves Ban on Schools Informing Parents of Student’s Gender Identity

California Senate Approves Ban on Schools Informing Parents of Student’s Gender Identity

The California State Capitol building in Sacramento, Calif., on April 18, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Brad Jones
Brad Jones

6/14/2024

Updated: 6/18/2024

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California lawmakers voted on June 13 to advance legislation to ban school districts from notifying parents about social gender transitions at school without the student’s permission.
The state Senate voted 29–8 to approve Assembly Bill 1955 and send it back to the Assembly for final approval of amendments.
Sen. Susan Eggman (D-Stockton), who presented the bill on behalf of its author, Assemblyman Chris Ward (D-San Diego), and the 13-member California Legislative LBGTQ Caucus, said before the vote the bill would “put some guardrails” on the “forced outing” policies passed recently by some California school boards.
“We know some of those policies have not been able to go into effect. We know some of those school board members have since been recalled,” she said.
One such California school board member, Temecula Valley Unified School District Board President Joseph Komrosky, is set to be recalled after a June 4 special election, in which 51 percent of voters supported his removal. The district currently requires school staff to notify parents if their children change their name, pronouns, or other such information in their school records.
The new bill codifies in law guidance from the California Department of Education that “schools must consult with a transgender student to determine who can or will be informed of the student’s transgender status, if anyone, including the student’s family.”
Ms. Eggman said the bill aims to return schools to the task of teaching children and to “provide a supportive environment where [students] can figure out who they are.”
“That is one of the major developmental tasks that every single one of us has to do—is to begin to separate from our family of origin as we go out into the world and find our people,” she said. “All this does basically is say [to] schools, it’s not your job to be the gender police. We don’t want those policies. We want everybody to be safe and affirm.”
Sen. Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park), a former vice principal at an elementary school, said the danger of informing all parents about changes in gender identity is that “not all parents do the right thing.”
Opponents of the bill focused their arguments on the importance of keeping parents informed about their child’s development, including symptoms of gender dysphoria—distress about one’s sex—and changes in gender identity at school.
Referring to the ongoing controversy over parental notifications policies approved by about a dozen school boards in California, Sen. Kelly Seyarto (R-Murrieta) said he’s “not a big fan of the state” interfering in local school board policies.
“Why would we have elected school boards, if we’re going to do top-down policies that tell them what they can or can’t do?” he asked. “For me, it’s a local control issue.”
Some have also criticized lawmakers for fast-tracking the bill, which on May 22 replaced a different piece of legislation introduced in January through the controversial “gut-and-amend” process.
At a news conference on the steps of the state Capitol preceding the hearing, organized by faith-based nonprofit California Family Council, Mr. Seyarto said the bill undermines the “foundational role” of parents and the crucial partnership between parents and educators.
There are reasonable ways of dealing with gender dysphoria while ensuring children are safe, he said, suggesting school staff and parents work together to determine the best outcome for children experiencing such distress.
Sen. Kelly Seyarto speaks at a press conference opposing Assembly Bill 1955 in front of the Capitol on June 13, 2024. (Travis Gillmore/The Epoch Times)

Sen. Kelly Seyarto speaks at a press conference opposing Assembly Bill 1955 in front of the Capitol on June 13, 2024. (Travis Gillmore/The Epoch Times)

But, he said, children “keeping secrets” from their parents and “leaving the house as one person but acting out at school as a different person” could present a “real problem.”
Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) said the state shouldn’t “put up a wall” between children and their parents, stressing that “the state does not own our children.”
Erin Friday, a regional co-leader of Our Duty—an international group that opposes gender ideology, especially the gender transitioning of children—said at the news conference the bill is “unconstitutional, morally corrupt” and “an embarrassment for our state.”
Ms. Friday, an attorney and self-declared “lifelong Democrat,” said her teenage daughter once identified as transgender but has since re-embraced her female identity.
The bill is backed by Attorney General Rob Bonta, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, ACLU California Action, and the California Teachers Association, among dozens of others.
Groups opposed include the California Family Council, California Catholic Conference, Chino Valley Unified School District, Pacific Justice Institute, Protect Kids California, Students First California, the National Center for Law & Policy, and others.
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Brad Jones is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California.

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