The following open letter was sent to the San Jose City Council on October 2, 2023 regarding an upcoming resolution, now deferred to the October 17 city council meeting, which was largely targeted against Informed Parents of Silicon Valley:
To: San Jose City Councilmembers
From: Informed Parents of Silicon Valley
Re: Mistakes and Inaccuracies in Foley/Torres Resolution targeting us
October 2, 2023
Honored San Jose City Councilmembers:
With all due respect, your resolution targeting Informed Parents is full of good intentions but is seriously undermined by misinformation, shoddy research, and flat-out mistakes of logic and fact.
As we are the focus of these unfortunate inaccuracies, we thought it might be useful to set the record straight on the most obvious of the misunderstandings.
#1: The Resolution misinterprets and falsely represents the California Education Code's Opt-out clauses, which are the core of Informed Parents' advocacy efforts.
The resolution states:
WHEREAS, efforts to ban LGBTQ+ themed books, to require students to choose between their safety or being their authentic selves, and to encourage parents to “opt out” of LGBTQ+ supportive elements of our schools’ curriculum inherently deprive children, and their parents, of their rights and freedom.
This is inaccurate on many levels:
* We do not advocate banning books or limiting school curriculum--at all. This is not part of our program and we challenge anybody to find calls to ban books on our website or in our literature. We are only about informing parents of their ability to monitor the books that are available to their children and to know what books they are checking out.
* Opting-out of select curricula does not deprive anyone of their rights and freedom. When a parent chooses to opt their child out of particular content they find inappropriate, that does not stop other parents and other children from seeing that information. The act of opting out by a particular parent affects no one but that parent's child. Opting out does not censor, does not deny access to, does not coerce, nor in any way impact another parent's decision.
* If you don't like opting out, call Sacramento, don't try to shut us down. If the authors of the resolution believe--as they appear to--that opting out is on its face--"inherently," to use their language--unfair, then they should take their beef to the California legislature, where the right to opt out is baked into the California Education Code Sections 51937-51939, 51240, 51513, 60615, et. seq., 61614, and USC 1232h. For the City of San Jose to demonize Informed Parents for making people aware of a 100% legal, 100% constitutionally protected right is overreach of the wildest order, and in fact the City is becoming the censorious depriver of rights, not Informed Parents.
#2: The Resolution makes patently false claims.
The Resolution also states:
On the morning of September 1st, Informed Parents Silicon Valley, posted volunteers in front of schools in Cambrian Unified School District, San Jose Unified School District, Franklin-McKinley School District and other locations in our community, harassing children and parents trying to get to school with literature urging parents to pull students out of curriculum meant to increase acceptance and understanding of LGBTQ+ children and families.
This is flat-out inaccurate, on many levels:
1.) There were no Informed Parents volunteers at any San Jose Unified Schools or Franklin McKinley Schools or any other locations in our community, on September 1st. There were volunteers at two schools in the Cambrian School District. We have no idea what events the Resolution is addressing for that date, but they certainly did not include us.
2.) There have been zero legal findings of harassment or anything of the like regarding Informed Parents volunteers. None. Claims that we have committed harassment are simply baseless and unsupported by the facts.
3.) We always direct our volunteers to advocate peacefully, on public property, and treat all parents and school employees politely and respectfully.
In summary, we are aligned with the Resolution's high-level aspirations for a 100% inclusive and respectful city and society. Sadly, we find that the Resolution falls way short of achieving those goals by its baseless smearing of Informed Parents and its implicit message that advocating for 100% legal and protected rights is cause of shunning and otherizing.
Note: the full text of the San Jose City Council Resolution can be found here