California Politics

Parents on Edge: California Passes Bill Prohibiting Schools from informing Parents about Gender Change Requests made by Students

Parents on Edge: California Passes Bill Prohibiting Schools from informing Parents about Gender Change Requests made by Students

Chaos ensues in California legislature as a ban on parental notification for gender change requests from TK-12 students is passed. If the governor signs it, the bill would make the parental notification policies adopted by many California school districts irrelevant.

Following the guidance from the California Department of Education, certain school districts in California have implemented policies that inform parents when their children request to change their pronouns, use a different name, or access facilities and programs designated for the opposite gender.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta expressed his support for legal action against these school districts, as well as the current bill under consideration, AB 1955.

Assemblymember Chris Ward, a representative from San Diego, has introduced AB 1955, a bill that aims to prohibit parental notification policies and provide additional support for LGBTQ+ students and families.

“This comes from a growing national attack on LGBTQ people, and particularly transgender individuals, rising since 2020, with several California school districts and other states enacting policies that explicitly compel teachers to tell parents if their child identifies as transgender, policies known as forced outings,” said Ward at the bill’s final floor vote, noting the bill is a California LGBTQ+ Legislative Caucus priority bill. 

Assemblymember Bill Essayli, a Republican from Corona, has expressed his strong opposition to AB 1955. During a recent session, his microphone was abruptly turned off by Assembly Speaker pro tempore Jim Wood, a Democrat from Santa Rosa. Essayli was attempting to read out the notification policy of the Chino Valley Unified School District, a move that Wood deemed irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

Parents on Edge California Passes Bill Prohibiting Schools from informing Parents about Gender Changes of their Kids (1)
Assemblymember Lori Wilson, D-Suisan City, speaks on behalf of AB 1955. Photo: California State Assembly. (California State Assembly)

During the proceedings, Essayli signaled for Wood to address Assemblymember Rick Zbur, a representative from West Hollywood, and deemed his comments about his personal experiences as a gay man as inappropriate. This caused Assemblymember Corey Jackson from Moreno Valley to raise his voice and caution Essayli. Other Democratic legislators intervened and escorted Jackson to the rear of the room.

Wood then called for a break, and after the recess, Ward made a successful motion to allow Essayli three minutes to speak about the bill.

Before defending it, Essayli carefully reviewed Chino’s notification policy, which mandates parental notification within three days of a child’s request to change records or participate in single-sex programs or facilities as another gender.

“It’s not going out and listening to kids or suspecting a kid might be struggling with their gender identity and running to their parents, it’s when the child has come to the school and said I would like to change my name, change my gender, and I want the school to recognize my new name and gender,” said Essayli. “I do not think it’s unreasonable that the parents know the change is happening.”

Essayli also emphasized that school employees have a responsibility and authority to safeguard students in situations where notifying parents could potentially put a student at risk at home.

“If a teacher or principal has a suspicion that this kid is going to be harmed at home or the child expresses that, first of all, they can advise their child not to change their records to avoid the notification, or two, they’re mandated reporters and can call for the authorities,” Essayli continued. 

According to a report from KCRA California Governor Gavin Newsom expressed his awareness of the bill and his anticipation of reviewing it. However, he refrained from providing further comments, indicating that the bill’s fate remains uncertain according to The Center Square.

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