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State admits parents have a right to know

Massive reversal by Attorney General and Newsom administration is a Parents Rights victory


California Attorney General Rob Bonta makes huge admission…in court! School boards are not required to follow his School Secrecy Policy.


This admission that the California Department of Education mandate to keep secrets from parents is unenforceable, restores power to school boards and is a victory for parents.

 

Bonta’s attorney, Emmanuelle Soichet, said in the U.S. District Court, “And, specifically, to answer your question about who has enforcement power over those guidelines, those are nonenforceable guidelines, so there’s no one on the state who’s actually going to enforce those guidelines.

 

“And to the extent that [the Escondido Union School District] believed it had to follow those guidelines as a mandate of state law, that -- that is just an incorrect assumption.” (1)

 

In their original lawsuit, two teachers challenged the Escondido Unified School District’s requirement that “school employees treat student’s transgender or gender-nonconforming identities as private information that cannot be shared with others — including other teachers, parents and guardians — without express permission from the student. Teachers were also instructed to use the pronouns matching the students' identity.” (2)

 

The two teachers said in their lawsuit, "Morally and religiously, they know that the complex issues of gender dysphoria and gender identity are not issues best left for children (emphasis added) to figure out on their own, with no parental involvement whatsoever.” (2)

 

Paul Jonna of the Thomas More Society, who represents the two plaintiffs, argued that it isn't just about how Escondido schools interpret the state’s guidelines for how school districts should treat transgender and gender-nonconforming students but how school districts across the state are made to comply with them. 


Jonna specifically singled out Governor Newsom's threat to sue the Temecula Valley Unified School District in 2023 for not approving a social studies curriculum for elementary school students that included supplementary material that mentioned Harvey Milk, the former San Francisco supervisor and gay rights advocate. The board eventually approved the curriculum.  (2)


"The attorney general has admitted that he doesn't have the constitutional authority to enforce or stop these [secrecy] policies because it's not legal. Full stop," said Lance Christensen, the vice president for education policy of the California Policy Center. (3)

 

U.S. District Court judge Roger Benitez, who is presiding over the teachers' lawsuit, found that the San Diego school district's secret gender transition policy violated the U.S. Constitution on 1st and 14th Amendment grounds. (3)

 

Regarding the admission by Bonta’s attorney, California Assemblyman Bill Essayli (AD63) said, “From day one when we started our parental rights movement last year, we knew the law was clear and there was no statute requiring schools to keep secrets from parents.” (4)

 

Assemblyman Essayli authored #AB1314 to affirmatively codify a parent's right to know if schools are socially transitioning their child's gender.

 

The opening statement from the bill says: “Existing law provides that parents and guardians of children enrolled in public schools have the right, and should have the opportunity, as mutually supportive and respectful partners in the education of their children within the public schools, to be informed by the school, and to participate in the education of their children, as specified to include, among other things, having access to the school records of their child.”

 

Essayli goes on to say, “I encourage every California school district to immediately repeal any secrecy policies that were implemented as a result of the unenforceable guidelines illegally issued by the Department of Education.

 

“Governor Newsom, Attorney General Bonta, and Sacramento Democrats know the law and public opinion is on our side which is why they refused to even hear my bill.” (4)



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