A proposed California bill would require teachers, counselors, and other school staff to inform a student's parents if their child is publicly identifying as transgender.
Assembly Bill 1314 has been introduced in the California State Assembly by Assemblyman Bill Essayli (R-Riverside) to amend Section 51101 of the state education code relating to pupils.
The bill sets a definite timeline for school employees to contact a student's parent or guardian. School staff would have three days to notify a parent that their student "is identifying at school as a gender that does not align with the child's sex on their birth certificate, other official records, or sex assigned at birth, using sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, or using facilities that do not align with the child's sex on their birth certificate."
"Parents are not spectators of their kids. They're parents, and responsible for their well-being," Essayli told The Sacramento Bee in an interview.
Essayli said the bill was inspired by several instances of teachers being told by schools not to tell parents that a student is transgender.
As CBN News reported in January, a California mother is suing her local school district alleging officials withheld information from her about her daughter's decision to change genders.
And just last month, a California teacher who reportedly lost her job after refusing to go along with her school district's transgender policies spoke out about her experience.
Jessica Tapias ultimately decided her Christian beliefs would not allow her to go along with hiding students' gender transitions from parents and lying to them.
As CBN News reported, Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) represents Tapia and submitted an EEOC charge of discrimination on her behalf.
The assemblyman explained to The Bee his bill is "a reset" for the relationship between schools and parents. Though his bill touches on a sensitive topic, Essayli said he doesn't view it as controversial.
The lawmaker tweeted about it on Monday, writing: "I just introduced a bill #AB1314 which will require schools to notify parents when a student is actively identifying by a different gender. Unfortunately, this bill is necessary because schools are instructing teachers to conceal this information from parents."
I just introduced a bill #AB1314 which will require schools to notify parents when a student is actively identifying by a different gender. Unfortunately, this bill is necessary because schools are instructing teachers to conceal this information from parents.
— Bill Essayli (@billessayli) March 13, 2023
In the same thread, he wrote, "Children are the domain of their parents, not the government. Schools cannot decide what information should or shouldn't be shared with parents."
Essayli explained to the Sacramento paper that in cases of abuse, teachers are mandated reporters if they learn that it is happening. The lawmaker said that while there are some cases of abuse at home, "that can't be the default position that we're going to keep parents in the dark because they might abuse their kids."
"Who has the best interest of the child in mind?" Essayli asked, then answered, "it is parents and not teachers."
The bill has a long way to go in California's Democratic-controlled legislature. It has already been condemned by LGBTQ lawmakers and advocacy organizations, according to The Bee.
Equality California's Jorge Reyes Salinas told the outlet AB 1314 is "another part of the continuous culture war attacks" on LGBTQ people.
"We'll see, I think parents are a very powerful voice," Essayli told The Bee.
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