Six California school districts are pushing back against California Department of Education guidelines that encourage schools to hide information about children struggling with sexual identity confusion from their parents.
Fighting that state agenda, each district has passed Parent Notification Policies that require school staff to inform parents if a child says he or she wants to identify as the opposite sex or as a different so-called “gender.” The state’s attorney general has opposed notifying parents and has already filed a lawsuit against one of the school districts.
The Rocklin Unified School District Board of Education updated its regulations on parent rights and responsibilities at its September 6 board meeting, with a 4-1 vote. Rocklin’s new policy says parents have the right:
To be notified within three (3) school days when their child requests to be identified as a gender other than the child’s biological sex or gender; requests to use a name that differs from their legal name (other than a commonly recognized nickname) or to use pronouns that do not align with the child’s biological sex or gender; requests access to sex-segregated school programs and activities, or bathrooms or changing facilities that do not align with the child’s biological sex or gender.
The new rule allows the school to delay notification for 48 hours only if a “staff member in conjunction with the site administrator determines based on credible evidence that such notification may result in substantial jeopardy to the child’s safety.”
According to California Family Council (CFC), a Focus on the Family-allied group, “Hundreds of individuals gathered for the strenuous six-and-a-half-hour meeting, including over four hours of public comments.”
These policies are common sense protections for parents who have the God-given responsibility and the constitutional right to direct the upbringing, healthcare, and education of their own children. Thankfully, school districts are finally upholding parents’ rights despite backlash from state leaders. It’s time to protect these rights statewide.
Many of those who testified against the measure argued that telling parents violated students’ “right to privacy” or said students would “not be safe” if their parents knew about these struggles. “Queer students” were portrayed as victims of “transphobia,” and opponents said this justified not notifying parents about their child’s sexual identity confusion.
Some insisted that parent notification policies were driven by “religion,” which they said should be kept out of school policy debates; they claimed that intolerance and bigotry toward “transgender children” motivated the board.
Those who supported the policy said educators should not teach students the lie that drugs and surgeries could change someone to the opposite sex. Several advocated for a “wait and see” approach for children struggling with their sexual identity, rather than rushing into damaging and experimental procedures.
Supporters said it was wrong to encourage children to keep secrets from their parents, damaging the parent-child bond, and they noted that parents love their children, are deeply involved in their lives and know what’s best for them.
Those defending the initiative also pointed to lawsuits against school districts that hid information from parents. In one instance, Spreckels Union School District, in Monterey, California, was forced to pay a $100,000 settlement to a mother for socially transitioning her 11-year-old daughter without the mother’s knowledge or consent.
In a second, horrific incident, Appomattox County High School, in Virginia, allegedly did not tell a mother about her ninth-grade daughter’s struggles with very serious mental health issues, transgender identity concerns and bullying at school. The girl ran away, was kidnapped, drugged, raped and sex trafficked. The mother has filed a lawsuit against the school board and district staff for hiding important concerns from her.
California’s Orange Unified School District Board of Education, with a 4-0 vote, also mandated that school staff notify a school counselor or psychologist if they become aware that the student requests to be identified as a different “gender” or wants to use opposite-sex facilities. The counselor or psychologist must notify parents, unless the student is 12 years of age or older, or if they believe “there is a clear and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the student of any age.”
CFC listed the other districts in the state that passed parent notification policies:
Previously, on August 22nd, Temecula Valley Unified, and Anderson Union High School District, along with Murrieta Valley Unified on August 10th, and Chino Valley Unified on July 20th, all approved nearly identical policies.
The districts can expect opposition from the state government, as California Attorney General Rob Bonta has already filed a lawsuit against Chino Valley Unified School District for its parent notification policy.
CFC President Jonathan Keller said the lawsuit “is a disturbing departure from the state’s traditional role of supporting parents as the primary decision-makers in their children’s lives.”
It appears the government is stepping in as the de facto parent, a move unsupported by legal precedent. This lawsuit undermines parents, particularly those with views that diverge from the prevailing political narrative, and redirects taxpayer funds away from real issues like rising crime rates.
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