By TOM GANTERT | THE CENTER SQUARE
A battle over parental rights is brewing across the country and at the forefront is the gender choice of children while enrolled in public schools.
In California and New Jersey, the government has gone to court to shield parents from knowing what gender their children have chosen while at school.
In other states, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, the policies on parental notification are left up to the individual school districts to determine. In Ann Arbor public schools in Michigan, the district does not require parental notification of a student’s transition or use of different pronouns. Just five miles away in Dexter Community Schools, the district doesn’t have any policy regarding parental notification.
Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina and Texas had bills introduced in 2023 that would require districts to disclose a trans student’s gender identity to parents, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
“It’s disgusting that we now have union-controlled politicians fighting to keep sexual secrets from other people’s children,” said Corey DeAngelis, a senior fellow at the American Federation for Children, in an email to The Center Square. “These radicals believe children are the property of the State, and many of them won’t reverse course any time soon because it’s part of their deeply held socialist views. The far left has infiltrated the government school system and they are using it for ideological indoctrination as opposed to education. These extremists see the school system as a means of raising other people’s children with their own worldview, and they won’t stop without accountability.”
In California, Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit in August against Chino Valley Unified School District when that district adopted a mandatory gender disclosure policy. San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Thomas Garza last week ordered that the Chino Valley district stop its policy.
“Every student has the right to learn and thrive in a school environment that promotes safety, privacy, and inclusivity – regardless of their gender identity,” Bonta said in a news release. “We’re in court challenging Chino Valley Unified’s forced outing policy for wrongfully and unconstitutionally discriminating against and violating the privacy rights of LGBTQ+ students. The forced outing policy wrongfully endangers the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of non-conforming students who lack an accepting environment in the classroom and at home. Our message to Chino Valley Unified and all school districts in California is loud and clear: We will never stop fighting for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ students.”
The Rev. Benita Ramsey, executive director of Rainbow Pride Youth Alliance, said disclosing gender choices made by students was “life-threatening.”
“Schools should be a safe place for all students. Chino Valley’s effort to force the outing of LGBTQ+ students without their consent is unconstitutional and will cause unnecessary and life-threatening harm to LGBTQ+ youth,” Ramsey said in a media release. “These policies are meant to silence and intimidate queer and trans youth from expressing themselves at school. We will always stand alongside our youth.”
Orange Unified School District enacted a policy at its Sept. 7 school board meeting that mandates school staff notify parents on their children’s decisions involving gender. Exceptions to the parental notification policy are if the student is 12-years or older and objects to the parents being informed or if the staff feels the student’s well being would be threatened by informing the parents.
In New Jersey, Attorney General Matthew Platkin filed a civil rights complaint in May against three school districts because their policies required school staff to notify parents of the gender identity of their children.
“In New Jersey, we will not tolerate any action by schools that threatens the health and safety of our young people. Without question, the discriminatory policies passed by these Boards of Education, if allowed to go into effect, will harm our kids and pose severe risk to their safety,” Platkin said in a news release. “Simply put, these policies violate our laws, and we will not relent in protecting our LGBTQ+ community – especially our children – from discrimination.”
Read the Anchorage School District transgender policy here.