Will parental rights overcome?

Will parental rights overcome?

Will parental rights overcome?

Californians who want to be kept in the loop about what's going on with their own children at school have started an effort to bypass the legislature and claim their parental rights.

According to polls, parents who recognize their right to guide the upbringing of their own children overwhelmingly oppose the state policy that requires schools to keep the gender choices of minors, all the way down to kindergarten age, secret.

Burt, Greg (California Family Council) Burt

"We have more kids confused than ever," laments Greg Burt of the California Family Council. "When they decide at school that they want to change their name and pronoun, schools are now being told that they are obligated to keep that secret from a parent, which is preposterous. They're actually arguing that … even five-year-olds have privacy rights from their own parents."

He says there have been legislative efforts to have the policy changed, but so far, they have fallen on deaf ears.

Last year, Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R) introduced AB 1314, a measure requiring public schools to notify parents if a child starts identifying at school as a gender that does not align with the sex listed on his or her birth certificate. 

"The chair of the education committee and the assembly refused to hear the bill, refused to even debate it," Burt recalls.

And California Assembly Education Committee Chair Al Muratsuchi (D) is still not budging.

"I will not be setting AB 1314 for a hearing, not only because the bill is proposing bad policy, but also because a hearing would potentially provide a forum for increasingly hateful rhetoric targeting LGBTQ youth," Muratsuchi said in a press release last April.

"The majority of Californians really do believe that parents should be involved in decisions like this of their children," the family advocate notes.

If the legislator refuses to listen to the people, they can use an initiative process to put a law together themselves, but more than 500,000 signatures are needed to get it on the ballot.

"There is a private parent group that is actually doing that, and so now we are in the midst of signature gathering," Burt reports.

The California election code requires the attorney general to give state initiatives "a true and impartial statement" of the purpose of a ballot measure. Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), however, has titled the initiative one that "Restricts Rights of Transgender Youth."