Parents are Not Radicals
Across the nation, parents are pushing back against inappropriate and hyper-sexualized content in K-12 schools. This organic parent movement is erupting across diverse demographics — in stark contrast to the PR effort by teachers unions and Democrats to fictionalize it as a “Christian nationalist white supremacist” campaign to “ban books.”
Earlier this month, Muslim parents in Maryland objected to a school policy removing parents’ ability to opt their children out of LGBTQ lessons added to the pre-kindegarten to 8th grade curricula. In Michigan, Arab and Muslim parents packed a Dearborn school board meeting protesting LGBTQ materials they believe are too sexually explicit for children.
In California, hundreds of parents from the traditionally-conservative Armenian and Hispanic communities in Glendale protested the school board’s vote to recognize the month of June as LGBTQ Pride Month and the revelation of documents showing that school staff have incorporated LGBTQ materials into classroom curricula.
California parents are speaking out against school policies that encourage children to change their gender at school and keep their new ”gender identity” a secret from parents. The fight for parents’ rights has become a rallying cry across California’s diverse communities.
A Rasmussen survey released last week reveals an “overwhelming majority” of California voters support parental rights, “most of whom also support laws requiring schools to notify parents if a student identifies as transgender.”
The same survey found that 82 percent of voters disagree with the statement that “a person loses their parental rights when a child enters public school.” Moreover, a full 84 percent of California voters would support a local law that requires parents to be notified of any major change in a child’s physical, mental or emotional health.
In fact, despite perceptions that California is the land of “anything goes,” religion and traditional values continue to play a significant role in the lives of Californians.
Nearly 50 percent of Californians identify as “highly religious” and say religion is “very important in their lives,” according to Pew Research. Eighty-one percent of California Latinos are Christian, with 54 percent identifying as Catholic. Seventy-six percent of Black Californians are Christian, with the largest percentage (41 percent) identifying as Protestant. Thirty-eight percent of Asians in the Golden State identify as Christian. And about half a million Muslims also call California home.
When it comes to how people of faith view the transgender debate, the data reveals interesting trends. For example, the 2022 American Values Survey by the Public Religion Research Institute shows that, among Catholics, 70 percent of white Catholics and 51 percent of Hispanic Catholics believe that there are only two genders. Further, 48 percent of Black Protestants and 43 percent of white and Hispanic Catholics support laws legally banning children from receiving gender-changing medical procedures.
Parents from all backgrounds are standing up to demand that public schools focus on education fundamentals like math, science, reading, and history — not political and ideological indoctrination. They are calling for their concerns and objections to be acknowledged by elected officials who are supposed to represent them.
But that’s not what they’re getting from California Democrats.
Earlier this year, Republican Assemblymember Bill Essayli (R-Riverside) responded to parent concerns by introducing a common sense bill that would require schools to notify parents if their child was identifying as a different gender at school. However, Assembly Education Committee Chair Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) refused to even grant a hearing for Assembly Bill 1314, claiming that it would provide a forum for hateful rhetoric targeting LGBTQ youth.
Also this year, Democrat Assemblymember Corey Jackson (D-Riverside) authored a bill aimed at silencing parents by eliminating local school boards’ long-standing authority to make decisions about classroom curricula. During a hearing on AB 1078, Jackson outrageously said his legislation was needed to combat “the national Christian White supremacist movement” pushing to ban books in California.
And just this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Attorney General Rob Bonta sent a letter to school boards and principals throughout the state threatening to investigate any school districts that dare to “ban books.” The pair also issued a joint statement demanding that the Temecula School Board provide rationale for the removal of a social studies curriculum that contained LGBTQ material. “California is closely watching the actions of malicious actors seeking to ban books, whitewash history, and demonize the LGBTQ+ community in Temecula and across the state,” Newsom warned.
Democrats believe strong-arming local school boards and painting parents as fanatics is a winning political strategy. But parents have had enough of the politicization of their schools.
Andrew Davenport is a Policy & Research Associate with California Policy Center.