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Parental Alert: California Senate Passes Bill Banning School Districts From Mandating Parental Notification of Student Pronouns


June 14, 2024

As the battle over parental rights continues to intensify, California politicians are attempting to ban school districts from mandating teachers notify parents if kids start using new pronouns at school.

The California Senate approved AB 1955 Thursday, paving the way for it to be considered in Assembly committees and on the full Assembly floor. If passed there, the controversial legislation would then head to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to be potentially signed into law.

The proposal would cement a ban on school districts creating policies that require kids’ gender identities and sexual orientations be shared with parents. Under the law, such information wouldn’t generally be able to be shared without the child’s permission, CBS News reported.

“This bill would prohibit school districts, county offices of education, charter schools, and the state special schools, and a member of the governing board or body of those educational entities, from enacting or enforcing any policy, rule, or administrative regulation that requires an employee or a contractor to disclose any information related to a pupil’s sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression to any other person without the pupil’s consent unless otherwise required by law, as provided,” an explanation of the legislation reads.

The text goes on to say that AB 1955 would also prohibit districts from “retaliating or taking adverse action against” an employee who has “supported a pupil in the exercise of specified rights, work activities, or providing certain instruction, as provided.”

It’s an effort being championed by Democrats who are reacting to some California school districts’ parental rights policies mandating that information about kids’ gender identities be shared with parents.

While one side warns such proposals erode the rights of parents, elevate the government above guardians, and endanger the parent-child relationship, proponents argue such bans on mandated information-sharing are needed to protect LGBTQ children whose parents might not affirm their gender identity or sexual preferences.

But experts like Greg Burt, vice president of the California Family Council, a Christian group working to advance “God’s design” for the family, said the blanket ban is based on a faulty claim that all parents are somehow “unsafe” to their children.

“You don’t assume that all parents are unsafe,” Burt told the outlet. “That shouldn’t be the assumption.”

As CBN News previously reported, California has been a hotbed for controversy over issues impacting transgender minors. Last year, the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education passed a parental rights policy that made national headlines.

Sonja Shaw, president of the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education, told CBN News at the time that the policy said parents should be notified within three days of their child’s decision to identify as their non-biological gender.

“It’s really sad when you have all these proposed bills that kind of push the family unit away and they start creating some kind of weird secret relationship with our children,” Shaw said. “And we don’t drop our kids off to have some weird relationship.”

She said it’s one thing for teachers to speak and listen to children — something she appreciates. But Shaw said educators should “partner” with parents rather than conceal details.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat, sued Chino Valley over the claim the rule discriminated against transgender and gender nonconforming kids. It was at first blocked before the district later tweaked the policy to more broadly apply to any child’s request for amended records.

And, in another case, two teachers with the Escondido Union School District — Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West — sued to stop the district from mandating they use kids’ required pronouns while simultaneously hiding these facts from parents. Mirabelli and West scored a preliminary injunction in the fall.

West, a veteran teacher who has taught in the district since 1994, told CBN News last year that problems began in February 2022, when she and other teachers reportedly underwent training encouraging them to “exclude parents.”

“Both Elizabeth and I were really taken aback,” she said. “We thought, ‘How can this possibly be? No one’s a bigger champion of children than their parents, and we don’t want to take the role of parents.’”

West said she and Mirabelli believe it’s important to partner with parents, as moms and dads have the right and responsibility to raise their children “as they see fit.”

She soon found herself in the crosshairs for “misgendering” a student and began to worry she would soon face “discipline.” That’s when she decided to take action.

Watch West tell her story:

Mirabelli also told CBN News last year why she is fighting back and taking a stand. Ultimately, she believes there are better ways to handle students struggling with gender identity, including school counseling and working alongside parents. 

“Watchful waiting is the safest approach,” she said. “We don’t wanna drive a wedge, teach the child to hide and manipulate others. That’s not healthy.”

Watch Mirabelli share her story:

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