California House Passes Bill Barring Schools From Informing Parents of Students’ Gender Identity

A bill to prevent California school boards from requiring staff to notify parents if their child requests to use different pronouns passed the California Assembly Thursday after a heated debate over parental rights.

The bill passed 60-15 and will now go to California Governor Newsom for approval. Whether Mr. Newsom will choose to veto the bill or sign it into law, however, is uncertain.


Thursday’s vote follows an emotional hearing on Wednesday, which drew hoards of opinionated opponents and supporters of the bill and incited screaming matches, prompting one supporter to be escorted from the chamber.

The legislation would bar districts from implementing what LGBTQ advocates describe as “forced outing” policies and protect employees who defy such policies from punishment.

The proposal follows Republican efforts to mandate parental notification policies in all California schools last year. Though the GOP bills never gained any traction in the Democrat-majority Assembly, individual school boards across the state began to implement their own notification policies.

A gay member of the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus, Assemblyman Chris Ward, described the notification policies as having “torn apart the fabric” of California’s communities, adding that they “put teachers in a very awkward space.”


The president of one of the first school districts to implement such a notification policy last summer, Sonja Shaw, testified against the bill during the hearing.

She noted that the policies in place only require parental notification when students request to change their name or pronouns or to use facilities of the opposite sex. In such cases, Ms. Shaw argues, the child has already come out.

“It’s really bizarre to me that you’re saying a child can come out to potentially thousands of their peers and hundreds of staff members, but not their parents,” she told the Sacramento Bee ahead of the hearing.

Representative Josh Hoover raised his concern that the bill is “encouraging parents to be kept in the dark.”

A veteran teacher of 22 years and mother of a formerly transgender identifying son, Arienne Adamčíková, testified against the bill, saying that “teachers don’t want to be the gender police” nor do they want to be “liars” or “co-conspirators” in hiding information from parents.

“Parents should be trusted to make decisions for their own kids,” she added.


Ms. Harper was escorted from the hearing shortly thereafter.

Tensions continued to run high on Thursday morning, as Representative Corey Jackson tried to aggressively confront Representative Bill Essayli after he voiced concerns about the bill.


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