Should schools notify the parents of children who decide they are transgendered? Or keep those parents in the dark about their own kids?
This critical moral, societal and policy question is increasingly being asked due to the surge in recent years of kids identifying as transgender and seeking out so-called “gender affirming care” that includes irreversible surgeries, and as trans activists become increasingly militant in insisting their demands trump all others.
One member of the Santa Ana Unified School District Board of Education has publicly declared his support for school officials keeping parents ignorant if their children are dealing with gender dysphoria.
A series of articles in the Epoch Times reported that in the Newport Mesa Unified School District, school officials implemented “gender support plans” for 23 students who identified as transgender, without the informed consent or knowledge of the parents. The reporting was based on hundreds of pages of e-mails obtained by a parental rights advocate under state public records laws.
This was too much for one NMUSD teacher, who in an e-mail told a district administrator she was engaged in appalling overreach and that as a parent, she would be horrified.
NMUSD Trustees Michelle Barto, Krista Weigand and Lisa Pearson called for an investigation and declared in a social media statement that “It is not the role of schools to hide things from parents, particularly those matters which impact their students’ mental health, as the support needed goes beyond what a school can provide.”
“We will be pushing for a board policy to explicitly address making parental rights and transparency at the forefront of parent and teacher interactions,” the trustees stated. All three trustees are parents themselves.
“All of these ‘gender support’ plans were offered to students without any knowledge of the parents. The student is then asked if they want their parents included in the meeting, or to know about it. So, it’s the student’s decision,” parental rights advocate Kim Davis told The Epoch Times. “Kim Davis” is a pseudonym adopted due to fear of retaliation.
In response to revelations such as these, two Republican legislators on February 16 introduced AB 1314, a bill requiring schools to notify the parents or guardian within 3 days from the time that any teacher, counselor, or employee of the school becomes aware that a pupil is identifying at school as a gender different from their biological sex. The bill also deferred to existing legal exceptions to such notification if an attending professional believed it would endanger the student.
Earlier this month, the chair of the Assembly Education Committee, Democrat Al Murasatchi, said he would not even grant AB 1314 the courtesy of a hearing, effectively killing it.
While those three NMUSD Board of Education members vowed to safeguard parental rights, a radical progressive trustee of the Santa Ana Unified School District went in the opposite direction, declaring his opposition to schools notifying parents if their children identify as transgender.
Santa Ana Unified School District Trustee Hector Bustos characterized requiring schools to ensure parents are aware their children think their gender is the opposite of their biological sex (and may suffer from gender dysphoria) as a “right wing attack on Trans youth.”
Bustos is 23-years old, single with no children, and the communications director for Chispa OC, a left-wing political advocacy group. A radical social justice agenda was at the center of Bustos’ campaign. He won election to the SAUSD Board of Education in November 2022 because no other candidates filed to run.
As a candidate, Bustos’ campaign promises included “empowering student and parent voices,” although that apparently excludes parents who want schools to share information with them about their children’s mental health.