Last week a group of parental rights advocates calling themselves the Coalition for Parental Rights announced their support for a parental notification policy being introduced by Chino Valley Unified School District’s (CVUSD) president Sonja Shaw. The policy was inspired and supported by Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R-Riverside) who introduced AB 1314 earlier this year to make sure public schools were not keeping secret the gender identity of their students from their parents.
Legislative leaders in the Democrat Party hated the bill and refused to give the proposal a hearing, deeming it an anti-transgender bill. Despite the rejection, Essayli didn’t give up. He encouraged parental rights groups, including the California Family Council, to get behind a notification policy that could be introduced into local school districts. The Coalition for Parental Rights was formed and put together a website to help other school districts like CVUSD introduce parent notification policies of their own.
The CVUSD Parental Notification Policy, introduced last Thursday, June 15, requires schools to notify parents if:
- Their children have had any significant physical injury while at school;
- A school employee suspects or has knowledge of a student’s suicidal intentions;
- There is any incident or complaint of a verbal or physical altercation involving their child;
- A student is requesting to be identified or treated, as a gender other than the student’s biological sex.
“A minor’s right to privacy does not supersede the right of parents to direct the care and upbringing of their child. Minor students are not ‘little adults’ nor do they inherently possess any absolute rights to autonomy or privacy, particularly vis-à-vis their parents,” wrote Constitutional Attorney Dean Broyles, President of the National Center for Law and Policy. “In fact, the ‘laws concept of the family rests on the presumption that parents possess what a child lacks in maturity, experience, and capacity for judgment required for making life’s difficult decisions.’ Parham, 442 U.S. at 602.” Read Broyles’ legal memo.
“Due process requirements along with Education Code § 221.5 speak against the notion that a public school district can, much less is required to, conceal from parents their child’s attempts at gender transition,” wrote Kevin Snider, Chief Counsel at the Pacific Justice Institute. “The California Department of Education’s protestations aside, one looks in vain for a provision in Section 221.5 that authorizes school employees to engage in conduct calculated to deceive a parent.” Read Snider’s legal memo.
“School districts do not violate any state or federal law by disclosing information to parents regarding their child’s gender identity,” wrote Robert Tyler, President and General Counsel for Advocates for Faith and Freedom. “The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) already affirms parents’ right to review their child’s student records. Under FERPA, school officials can disclose information from a student’s records to parents of the student “in connection with an emergency if knowledge of the information is necessary to protect the health or safety of the student or other individuals.” 34 C.F.R. § 99.36(a). Information related to a child’s request to go by a different name or to be treated as a different gender is needed by parents so that parents can ensure their child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs are being fully met at home and school. Read Tyler’s legal memo.
“This policy is meant to foster trust between district employees, and our students’ parents and guardians,” School Board Member Shaw said. “I stand for the authority of parents to guide the upbringing of their children and their involvement in decisions related to their education, health, safety, and wellbeing.”
“Schools should never keep secrets from parents, nor put teachers in a position where they have to lie to them,” she said.
Several parents in California have filed lawsuits against schools who secretly transitioned their children. One teacher filed a lawsuit against her school after she lost her job for refusing to deceive parents about the gender identity of their children. Two other teachers from Rincon Middle School in Escondido filed a lawsuit over school district policies that forced them to hide from parents the gender transition of their transgender-identified students.
“My bill, AB 1314, was a commonsense proposal that would have required parental notification when schools attempt to transition the gender of a student,” said Assemblyman Bill Essayli. “It was stopped by the supermajority Democrat Party in Sacramento despite strong support from parents. While they certainly have the votes to control the agenda in Sacramento, they do not have the votes to stop us in our communities.”
“Today we reclaim the power of the people and put this issue in the hands of every concerned parent across the state. I’m joining with a coalition of parents’ rights advocates to promote parent notification policies, like the one proposed at CVUSD, that any parent can bring to their local school board for implementation. I’m confident that parental rights will prevail over partisan politics in Sacramento,” he said.
Those interested in introducing a Parental Notification Policy in their school district can download an Action Toolkit at the Coalition for Parental Rights website.
The Coalition for Parental Rights includes the following organizations:
- Real Impact
- California Family Council
- Capitol Resource Institute
- Our Duty
- Partners for Ethical Care
- California Policy Center
- Pacific Justice Institute
- National Center for Law and Policy
- Mom Army Advocates for Faith & Freedom
- For Kids & Country
- Mom’s For Liberty
- Alliance to Protect Children
- PERK: Protection of the Educational Rights of Kids
- The Salt & Light Council
- A Time to Stand
- Educate Advocate
- Concerned Women for America