California bill would require schools to notify parents if their child is transgender
A new bill would force California school districts to notify parents that their child is gender-nonconforming or transgender, sparking backlash from LGBTQ activists and organizations.
The bill, Assembly Bill 1314, would require school districts to notify parents in writing within three days after learning a student is identifying as a gender that doesn’t align with official records or their birth certificate.
“Parents play a critical role in nurturing and supporting children and they cannot be removed from the equation,” Assemblymember Bill Essayli (R-Riverside), who sponsored the bill, said during a Monday news conference outside Jurupa Valley High School.
Jessica Tapia, a former teacher at Jurupa Valley High School, said she was fired after refusing to follow the law that bars educators from disclosing students’ gender identities to their parents without their consent.
“I said, ‘Are you asking me to lie?’ And they said, ‘Yes. It’s the law and it’s for the student’s privacy,’” Tapia said during the news conference. “I can’t understand how the school system seems to think that we ought to act as though we are the parent.”
Tapia is planning on suing the Jurupa Unified School District for wrongful termination.
Under California’s anti-discrimination laws, federal and state laws, a transgender or gender-nonconforming student’s identity cannot be shared with their parents without the student’s permission, according to the California Department of Education.
Because the student may not express their identity at home, disclosing their gender identity to their parents could increase their “vulnerability to harassment and may violate the student’s right to privacy,” the agency states.
The Center for American Liberty filed a lawsuit in January against the superintendent and school board for Chico Unified School District on behalf of a parent who said the school transitioned her child “behind her mother’s back.”
In California schools, teachers do and must say the word “gay” as well as lesbian and transgender in lessons about nonconforming expressions of gender.
The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus released a statement about the bill, saying it would put transgender and nonbinary students in “potentially life threatening danger, subjecting them to trauma and violence.”
“Teachers should not be forced into the inappropriate position of revealing a student’s personal information about their gender identity with anyone,” the statement conveyed.
Executive Director Tony Hoang of Equality California, the county’s biggest LGBTQ civil rights organization, also opposes the bill.
“We want LGBTQ+ students to feel safe talking to their parents about their gender and sexuality, but AB 1314 ignores the reality that not all trans youth have that option,” Hoang said in a statement. “Trans people are more likely to face family rejection and even abuse at home based on their gender identity, which leads to overrepresentation in foster care, juvenile detention, and among unhoused youth.”
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