Parental rights push suffers setbacks in liberal mecca California

Parental rights push suffers setbacks in liberal mecca California

Parental rights push suffers setbacks in liberal mecca California

Facing an uphill battle to defend parental nights, outnumbered conservatives in liberal California have suffered two frustrating defeats in recent days.

The grassroots group Protect Kids California was hoping to put the issue of parental rights on a statewide ballot with the expectation most Californians support a parent’s legal right to know what is happening to their own child on school grounds.

To get it on the ballot meant collecting signatures --- a lot of them --- for a ballot referendum but, by the 180-day deadline, 400,000 had been collected which fell short of the 550,000 required.

The grassroots group was also fighting California’s liberal attorney general, Rob Bonta (pictured below), a liberal Democrat. He challenged the ballot initiative and won a court fight over the description voters would see on the ballot. A judge approved the title "Restricts Rights of Transgender Youth" in a ruling in April. 

Protect Kids California wanted "Protect Kids of California Act" on the ballot instead. 

In another setback, the group California Family Council and Republican lawmakers failed to stop an anti-parent bill, AB 1955, which passed 4-2 in the Senate Education Committee. The bill prohibits public school employees, such as teachers and counselors, from notifying parents of a child’s gender expression or gender identify, or their sexual orientation.

AB 1955 appears to be a political counter-move to parental notification policies that have been approved in several public school districts, beginning in Chino Valley Unified School District.

Chino Valley’s policy, approved 10 months ago, angered Attorney General Bonta who launched a “civil rights” investigation of the school district then sued to stop the policy.

The author of AB 1955 is Assemblyman Chris Ward, who is homosexual. At the hearing, he called the parental notification policies “forced outings” and said the policies harm “LGBTQ children.”

Ward’s testimony was countered by a Chino Valley parent, Aurora Regino. She told lawmakers that two school employees, a teacher and a counselor, helped her daughter transition to male without notifying her when the student was depressed over the death of her grandmother.

“My daughter was influenced by her school to believe that her sadness was because she was really a boy,” Regino said.

The Senate Education Committee also heard from attorney Erin Friday (pictured at right), a parental rights advocate whose child was also influenced by transgender ideology without her mother’s knowledge. Because she helped write the parental notification policies, Friday repeatedly sparred with the other side throughout the hearing, at one point citing the lawsuit Mirabelli v. Olson that began in California over teachers and student privacy. 

The bigger looming issue, Friday warned, is the legal rights of parents if AB 1955 becomes law in California.  

“We need to talk about what the [United States] constitution permits,” Friday told lawmakers. “Is there a privacy right between a child and a parent? Do children have a privacy right against the parent? They do not.”

Despite the first-hand testimony of two irate parents, Regino and Friday, Democrats approved AB 1955 anyway.

Zachreson, Jonathan Zachreson

Also, despite the petition drive failing to hit its goal, Protect Kids California spokesman Jonathan Zachreson tells AFN the group is “incredibly grateful” for tens of thousands of supporters who helped collect signatures across the state for a grassroots organization.  

“We're just going to look at what other options we can to affect legislation,” he says, “either through another ballot measure, through other legislation work at the legislature, or other measures.”

Zachreson, a father of three children, is a school board member at Roseville City School District.