California Senate bans parental notification for gender transitions in grades TK-12

The California Senate has recently approved a bill aimed at prohibiting parental notification for gender changes in public TK-12 schools. Additionally, the bill aims to enhance parental support for LGBTQ students by providing them with more resources. Although disclosure rules have been widely supported by parents and have been implemented in numerous school districts, state leaders, including the attorney general, argue that these efforts have a negative impact on transgender children. The attorney general has even supported lawsuits against districts that have implemented disclosure rules.

School districts in California have recently implemented measures that mandate parental notification when 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 has shown his support for the lawsuits against these school districts. He is joined by California State Superintendent Tony Thurmond, who is backing Assembly Bill 1955. This bill, which has recently been passed by the California Senate and is now heading to the Assembly, aims to prohibit the parental notification requirements.

California Assemblymember Tony Thurmond expressed his support for AB 1955, stating that it serves as a safeguard for LGBTQ+ youth by reducing the likelihood of bullying and harassment. He also emphasized that this bill empowers families to address family matters within the home without requiring school employees to intervene. Moreover, Thurmond believes that the implementation of the SAFETY Act will enable teachers to concentrate on imparting academic skills rather than being burdened with the responsibility of monitoring gender identity.

Parental rights advocates argue that this bill is likely to be deemed unconstitutional and would undermine the health of children as well as the trust between schools and parents.

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Jonathan Zachreson, the founder of Protect Kids California organization, emphasized the importance of notifying and involving parents in the process of socially transitioning a child at school. He highlighted that this step is crucial for the well-being of children and for building trust between schools and parents. Zachreson’s organization is currently collecting signatures for a statewide ballot initiative that aims to enforce parental notification in such cases (The Center Square reported).

The Liberty Justice Center, a legal nonprofit, has expressed its continued support for parental rights and has stated its intention to challenge AB 1955 in court once it is passed. They are representing two California school districts and Protect Kids California in multiple cases against the state.

According to a statement by Jacob Huebert, President of the Liberty Justice Center, parents should be informed about their children’s activities at school, and school officials should not be allowed to keep secrets from them. Huebert emphasized the organization’s commitment to supporting parents and school districts that prioritize parental rights. Additionally, he mentioned that their legal representation would be provided free of charge, without any cost to taxpayers.

LGBTQ advocates prioritize the trust that exists between students and schools, while parental rights advocates emphasize the trust between parents and schools.

Assemblymember Christopher Ward, D-San Diego, who introduced the bill, emphasized the importance of maintaining trust and safety in classrooms. According to Ward, teachers should not assume the role of “gender police” and intrude on students’ personal lives. Instead, he believes that parents should have open conversations with their children about gender identity and sexuality. The SAFETY Act aims to establish boundaries and ensure that these discussions take place within the family unit, without external interference.

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Earlier this year, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom made the decision to halt the administration of puberty blocking hormones to transgender minors. Their reasoning behind this decision stemmed from the belief that there is insufficient evidence to support the safety or clinical effectiveness of such procedures. In a similar vein, the United States Supreme Court recently upheld the constitutionality of state laws that prohibit gender hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery for transgender minors. This ruling suggests that if AB 1955 is passed and faces a legal challenge, parental rights advocates may have the advantage in court.

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