Bridget Ziegler, a vice president with the Leadership Institute and co-founder of Florida-based Moms for Liberty, says the time is now to voice opposition to a possible return to mask mandates in schools. Sonja Shaw, however, faces a more far-reaching problem as state officials in California seek to keep local school boards from enforcing policy that would require schools to notify parents whose children begin to experience gender questions during the school day.
"If you look at Marxist revolutions all over the world, one of the first things they go after and where they really win their 'revolution' is in the separation of children and the parents. They did this in Cuba where my family is from. They went into the schools, and they confused children about reality and convinced them to report on their own parents.
"[A really dangerous thing starts to happen] when you have a trusted individual – and unfortunately, kids are sort of raised with this idea that certain people are just going to be implicitly trusted – and they come in and tell [youngsters] that these wild things are facts and this is reality and they spend eight to ten hours a day with them."
In most places in America, it would seem quite normal for parents to be involved in such discussions – but normalcy should not be assumed in California. Last week a superior court judge in San Bernardino County ruled the Chino Valley Unified School District – where Shaw is president of the school board – must delay enforcing a new policy that requires parental notification, granting the state's request for a temporary restraining order before an Oct. 13 hearing.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta (pictured below) cheered that decision on X, formerly Twitter, calling the district's intention to involve parents an "illegal and dangerous forced outing policy."
"If they want to violate the law and do everything in their power to hurt children that's on them, but we will be there to stop them … to protect children, to enforce the law, to make sure that the civil rights and constitutional rights of Californians are protected," Bonta told media.
Shaw said on Washington Watch that Bonta is trying to speak new law into existence "by simply dictating it."
"He's talking about constitutional rights yet he's stripping parents' constitutional rights in the upbringing of their child," she told show host Jody Hice.
The gender discussion has been a battle in California on various fronts for months. In the past few days, lawmakers in the state have advanced a bill that would require parents to "affirm" their child's chosen gender or risk losing custody. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to sign that measure into law.
California parents emboldened
Shaw believes the actions of Attorney General Bonta and other state officials have emboldened parents.
"He's downright dangerous to families and students. He's destructive, and he has no place in California, and his time's limited. He just gave us another gift. We now know what he's about. He's trying to destroy families. He's trying to tell parents 'I get to choose because I'm the dictator of what we're able to tell you about your child," she said.
Two other California school districts are attempting to enact parental notification policies similar to Chino Valley's, but many other school boards are considering such policies, Roseville City School Board member Jonathan Zachreson told The Daily Signal.
"The battle's just begun. We know we're not going to win these little small things in California. The judge himself said he didn't even read the judgment yet. He made a judgment. That's embarrassing too, but it shows you where we're at. I would tell everybody the line has been drawn. Stick with it. Stay strong. Be bold and courageous. Do not give up on these little defeats," Shaw said.
Shaw said the time is right for parents to join together. "We're never going to get this opportunity again. Have you ever seen government bullies and dictators respond to us like they have right now? God is revealing and exposing these people. We have a chance to continue to link up," she said.
It's not enough to only link up. There has to be strategy as well. Ziegler's strategy has been to try to get out in front of possible mask mandates in schools as a new COVID variant brings an uptick in case numbers.
Last week's decision by a Maryland elementary school to reinstate masks got her attention.
Parents need to organize with a purpose
"I always say the way you advocate is equally as important as what you're advocating for," Ziegler said on American Family Radio Monday. She told show host Jenna Ellis that petitions and email chains are just a couple of ways that concerned parents can mobilize.
"This illustrates to the policymakers that their constituents are paying attention, and they must be reminded that they do, in fact, work for you. This is a great way to start," Ziegler described. "Mobilization and organizing are absolutely the most important part."
Ziegler said the Leadership Institute is eager to help parents get started.
"We're happy to help in any way, to give tools and tips on how to do effective activism," she shared. "What we find almost every single time is in those large groups of active and engaged citizens, people start getting ready to run for office. That's when we really affect that change because we're changing the policymakers."
The Leadership Institute, a national organization, is beginning to see more examples of the disconnect between schools and parents that leave parents frustrated.
"I don't think this is [about] anything but control. It's no different than trying to flex their muscle; and really, we see more and more institutions putting up intentional barriers against parental rights. Parents need to have a decision to be able to make their own decisions on what is in the best interests of their child, their health and well-being," Ziegler concluded.