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AB 1955’s assault on parental rights and local school boards

AB 1955’s assault on parental rights and local school boards

Just when you think California legislators can’t thumb their noses at parents any harder, Assemblyman Christopher Ward (D-San Diego) introduced a bill this week that aims to strip control from local school boards. Ward’s AB 1955 — the Orwellian-named SAFETY Act — is an attempt to override the parental notification policies passed by a growing number of school boards across the state that require schools to inform parents if their child changes their name and/or gender at school.

It also attempts to codify the illegal California Department of Education “guidance” advising schools to lie to parents about students swapping genders. This comes after an attorney with the state Attorney General’s office admitted in federal court last month that the department’s guidance was unenforceable.

But what makes Ward’s move extra sleazy is that his legislation is what is known as a “gut and amend” bill. That means he hijacked another bill and replaced its text to create AB 1955, allowing him to skirt the usual legislative process that allows the bill to be debated and the public to weigh in on it through public hearings according to the predictable legislative calendar.

Instead, Ward introduced the bill, which is backed by the California Teachers Association and the powerful LGBTQ+ lobby — right before Memorial Day weekend and announced it will be heard by the Senate Education Committee this coming Wednesday, May 29. The Committee only gave parents and parent groups until today to submit letters opposing the bill.

There’s a lot that can be said about what’s wrong with these tactics and the bill itself, so what follows is the text of the letter California Policy Center submitted to the Committee yesterday. Despite the truncated deadline, we encourage you to submit your letters before Wednesday’s hearing. You can easily create an account to submit your letter through the Committee portal here. Learn more about how to submit a letter with our toolkit here (starting at 2:49 in the video guide).

We also ask that, if possible, you attend the hearing in person to speak out against this bill. The hearing will be held at 9:00 a.m. this Wednesday in Room 2100. If you plan to attend the hearing, you can let us know by replying to this email.

Finally, you can email your local legislators and ask them to oppose AB 1955 by using CPC’s Take Action Portal here.

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