Thursday, June 20, 2024

California Bill Would Require Schools to Notify Parents If a Child Wants to Change Gender Identity

California bill would require teachers, counselors, and any other employee of a school to notify parents within three days in the event their child requests to be called by a name normally used by the opposite sex or different personal pronouns, or begins using a bathroom or locker room designated for the opposite sex.

The bill sponsored by Assemblymen Bill Essayli, R-Riverside, and James Gallagher, R-Chico, would supersede existing California law by amending the Education Code to reinforce parental rights.

California currently allows a minor age 12 or older to request transgender treatment without parental supervision, if a counselor or doctor deems it appropriate. 

The bill, AB 1314, would restore the right of parents to be informed of any medical decision their child makes regarding gender—bolstering the original California law, which states that:

Parents and guardians of children enrolled in public schools have the right, and should have the opportunity, as mutually supportive and respectful partners in the education of their children within the public schools, to be informed by the school, and to participate in the education of their children, as specified to include, among other things, having access to the school records of their child.

This legislation follows a surge in concerning transgender situations around the country in the past five years. Two incidents in Virginia’s Loudoun County Public Schools involved a transgender student who sexually assaulted other students, including a rape in a girls’ restroom at school.

Dozens of bills have been filed in state legislatures to require notification of parents about a child’s gender transition requests, in the wake of news that over 200 school districts have tried to hide medical information from parents.

Critics of AB 1314 say that passing the bill would “out transgender students” to their parents—suggesting that parents might become abusive.

Many California parents, however, have shown considerable support for the legislation. 

Erin Friday, co-leader of the parental advocacy organization Our Duty, wrote to Essayl urging that the California State Assembly pass the bill. In the letter, a copy of which was provided to The Daily Signal, Friday argues that the current interpretation that California law allows students to hide gender information from parents is a misinterpretation:

Over the last decade, California has been on a crusade to erode parental rights. By misinterpreting Education Code section 221.5, commonly referred to as AB 1266, the state is inducing teachers to withhold information from parents about their children. Specifically, it is permitting this law to be used by teachers as a basis for barring parents from learning that their children have adopted new gender identities at school. 

Parents have a constitutional, fundamental right pursuant to the 14th Amendment to oversee the care, custody and control of their child. (See Toxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000). (“[T]he interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.”) 

Parents, not the state or schools, have the primary role in the care and rearing of their children. Parental authority includes involvement in their children’s medical and personal decisions, as “most children, even in adolescence, simply are not able to make sound judgments concerning many decisions, including their need for medical care or treatment.” Parham v. J.R., 442 U.S. 584, 602, 603 (1979).

Friday also pleaded with the California State Assembly to consider the large number of detransitioning children, who recover from gender dysphoria and regret the transgender medical procedures they underwent as adolescents:

Chloe Cole and Layla Jane, both Californians, underwent transgender medical procedures with Chloe removing her breasts at age 15 and Layla [at] age 13,” she said. “Both, as they matured, regretted the intervention and now have irreversibly harmed their bodies.”

In closing, Friday reminded the state lawmakers: 

“Seventy-five percent of registered California voters agreed that schools should get consent from parents before socially transitioning a student. [And] 71% agree that parents should be informed if their student wants to change gender identity.” 

The parental rights advocate was citing a March poll conducted by another group, Parents Defending Education.

Since the California State Assembly consists of 62 Democrats and 18 Republicans, it is unlikely the bill would make it out of the Assembly and into the state Senate, composed of 32 Democrats and eight Republicans.