The California Senate Has Approved a Law That Says Schools Can’t Tell Parents When a Child Changes Their Pronouns

The California Senate Has Approved a Law That Says Schools Can't Tell Parents When a Child Changes Their Pronouns

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A bill being considered by the California Legislature would stop school districts from making teachers tell parents if a child asks to use a different pronoun at school. This comes as court battles are going on over the rights of parents and gender-nonconforming students.

The plan was approved by the state Senate on Thursday. If passed, it would make it illegal for school districts to require staff to tell anyone else about a student’s gender identity or sexual orientation without the child’s permission. There would be some exceptions to this rule. The goal is to keep kids safe since they could be in danger if they live with people who don’t want them.

Kai is a transgender guy who just graduated from high school in the Rocklin Unified School District, which is close to Sacramento. He was treated for suicidal thoughts before he came out. Kai said at a news conference last month that he told a teacher about it “who had shown her dedication and empathy toward all her students.”

“A trusted adult is the most important thing for a gay child to make it to their next birthday,” he said. “If you really care about kids, you’ll pass this law that will maintain their health and safety.”

After more than an hour of emotional discussion, lawmakers passed the bill along party lines. Democratic LGBTQ+ senators talked about how they waited to tell their parents they were gay or were outed by someone else. That kids who don’t identify with a gender should be able to tell their families about their sexuality in the way that works best for them. But Republican lawmakers said that the state shouldn’t tell school districts if they can have so-called “parental notification policies,” and that schools should be honest with parents.

This is part of a bigger debate going on across the country about the rights of parents and LGBTQ+ kids in local school districts. Across the country, states have tried to ban gender-affirming care, keep transgender players out of girls’ and women’s sports, and make schools tell parents about transgender and nonbinary students. Some lawmakers in other states have proposed bills that would require parents to be told about any changes in their child’s mental health or well-being. These bills use broad language to make this requirement.

Kelly Seyarto, a Republican state senator from Murrieta in southern California, said that schools should be more open with parents by telling them when a child changes their gender identity.

Adding the parents is the best way to turn things from people being angry and upset to finding a solution that works for everyone, he said.

California officials shouldn’t keep some parents from being told because they think some parents might react badly, said Greg Burt, vice president of the California Family Council, a conservative Christian lobbying group.

Burt said, “You don’t think all parents are unsafe.” “That shouldn’t be taken for granted.”

The bill is now on its way to the state Assembly. It must pass in committees and on the floor before it can get to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. Newsom’s administration has been in a fight with school boards over the notice rules.

Court cases all over the state are showing how people feel about the rules.

In August, Democrat Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the Chino Valley Unified School District over its notification rule, saying it was unfair to kids who don’t identify with a gender. Some parts of the policy were temporarily stopped by a judge. Later, the district changed the rule so that it applies more generally when a child asks for any change to be made to their student records.

In the case of the Escondido Union School District in Southern California, however, a judge suggested that the district shouldn’t be able to punish teachers for telling parents about their child’s gender identity change.

State Sen. Caroline Menjivar, who is a lesbian, said Thursday in the Senate that her mother found out about her when she was sixteen years old.

The Democrat from the San Fernando Valley said, “When I got home, all of my things were on the front lawn because I was kicked out.” “Parents who don’t accept gay kids end up like that.”

She said that Menjivar then went back into the closet so that she could keep living at home. She told her mother again that she was gay when she was 25 years old. Menjivar, who is 35 years old now, said that her mother still won’t accept it.

She said, “Many gay kids in California have these kinds of stories.”

Source: AP

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