School is not even back in session yet, but some state education officials are still trying to restrict parents’ influence over their children.
At a school board meeting Thursday in Chino Valley, California, about 35 miles from downtown Los Angeles, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond tried to stop the board from considering a policy that would improve communication between educators and families.
According to board Chairwoman Sonja Shaw, Thurmond shouted from his seat during the meeting, before he was recognized to speak during the public comment period.
Shaw said in an interview that Thurmond would get his chance to address the board, but he was trying to intimidate members before he even reached the podium.
“This is not your meeting. You don’t get to come and dictate how a meeting is run,” Shaw said of Thurmond’s actions.
Thurmond rose in opposition to a board proposal that said if a student chooses to assume a “gender” at school that contrasts with his or her sex, school officials should notify families.
Thurmond said LGTBQ+ students struggle with suicidal thoughts, but his time expired before he could explain what that means for the board’s policy.
Thurmond left the podium, but almost immediately returned, this time refusing to leave. Shaw called for a recess as audience members began to shout, and video of the meeting shows security approaching Thurmond to lead him away.
In a show of support for parents and children, the board approved the policy on a 4-1 vote.
Thurmond’s behavior was notable because left-of-center policymakers have accused parents of acting unruly at school board meetings in recent years. President Joe Biden’s attorney general, Merrick Garland, even issued a memo two years ago warning federal officials to be on the lookout for aggressive parents at such meetings. Garland did not include advice for board members when the state’s highest education official ignores Robert’s Rules of Order.
Thurmond was correct in saying that children who are confused about their sex often struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. But research has found that when individuals continue the so-called transgender process and undergo surgery to alter their sexual organs, such procedures do not improve the patient’s mental state.
Researchers have replicated these findings across several studies.
Students wrestling with the changes that come during puberty and other growing pains need compassion and thoughtful counseling. They need adults to help them cope with the underlying issues causing them distress.
But radical gender advocates push children to consider medical interventions—and ultimately surgery—that result in irreversible changes.
The Chino Valley board’s policy is crucial, then, because it includes parents in their child’s health-related behavior and decisions at school.
The board’s policy is similar to The Heritage Foundation’s model “Given Name Act,” which says educators cannot address a child by a name or pronoun that does not align with information on a child’s birth certificate without parent consent. Policymakers in six states have adopted similar provisions, including officials in Arkansas and Virginia. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
Heritage’s proposal does not discriminate against children who attempt to assume a certain “gender” at school. It only requires that parents are informed.
California law says that school personnel may withhold information from parents concerning a child’s “gender,” and Thurmond told media after the Chino Valley board meeting that he intends to challenge the board’s decision. But Shaw said legal counsel reviewed the board’s policy and found that it does not conflict with state statutes.
“If teachers really believe a student is not safe at home, they have an obligation, as mandated reporters, to notify the authorities,” Shaw said in a statement. The board’s new policy “does not change that requirement.”
California state policy misinterprets federal laws concerning family and student privacy and drives a wedge between children and parents.
“That shows how much control they want over our children,” Shaw says. “This is not a party issue. This is a parent issue.”
Leftist education officials seem to want orderly board meetings and transparency policies—until these things give them less control.
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