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California Bill Would End 'Gender Police' Reports From Public Schools to Parents
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 4 weeks ago on
May 28, 2024

A proposed California law would ban school districts from "forced outings" of a student's gender identity. (Shutterstock)

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A bill in Sacramento would prevent school districts from enacting policies that notify parents if their child uses an alternate name or gender.

Assemblymember Chris Ward, D-San Diego, said AB 1955 — dubbed the SAFETY Act (Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth) — will help LGBT youth.

GV Wire education reporter Nancy Price contributed to this article.

“Teachers should not be the gender police and violate the trust and safety of the students in their classrooms,” Ward said in a news release. “Parents should be talking to their children, and the decision for a student to come out to their family members should be on their own terms.”

The bill would prevent school districts from “forced outings” policies. Several districts in the state — but none in the Central Valley — designed policies that would notify parents if a child wanted to use a different name, or bathroom, opposite their gender.

A previous version of the same bill number — dealing with school reimbursements for mental health services — passed the Assembly 75-0. The bill will go through the discussion process again now that it has been “gut and amended.” The state Senate education committee will hear the bill Wednesday as a “special order of business.”

Bonta Warned Districts

Attorney General Rob Bonta challenged several of those districts in court. A San Bernardino County judge issued a ruling, preventing the Chino Valley Unified School District from enforcing such a policy last year.

Bonta said “forced outing” polices violate the state’s equal protection clause and several state codes. He sent an alert letter to all school districts in January.

“Unconstitutional school policies that forcibly out and endanger the psychological and emotional well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming students have no place in our classrooms,” Bonta said.

Local Groups Support Ban

Several LGBT, civil rights, and teacher groups officially support the bill, a committee report said. PFLAG Fresno and LGBTQ Fresno are among the local supporters.

Jason Scott, executive director with LGBTQ Fresno, says the bill is “desperately needed” to keep students safe.

“It is very important that the students be able to work through that process on their own and make that decision as to when they feel that their parents should be brought into that,” Scott said.

“In some ways (it) needs to be on the parents to be able to be connected to their children,” Scott said.

A handful of groups publicly oppose the bill.

“AB 1955 is the most dangerous bill undermining parental rights that’s ever been proposed in the state legislature. It’s blatantly unconstitutional. It violates federal law. It destroys trust between parents, teachers and school administrators,” said Lance Christensen, vice president of Education Policy and Government Affairs at California Policy Center.

Christensen ran and lost for State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2022.

Local School Districts

A 2022 report card by gay rights group Equality California found Fresno Unified to be in the middle of its three tiers for handling LGBT students. Neither Clovis Unified nor Central Unified participated.

Fresno Unified spokeswoman Nikki Henry said FUSD has not taken a position on AB 1955. The district’s current policy, which aligns with California Department of Education guidance and the legal alert issued by the California Attorney General, protects the privacy rights of transgender students and also protects students from harassment or discrimination because of their gender identity.

“Fresno Unified is aware that the legal landscape on issues of gender identity and parental notification is rapidly developing, with several pending lawsuits over the policies of other school districts, as well as an active effort to qualify a measure for the November 2024 ballot on the issue. Fresno Unified continues to closely monitor this unsettled legal landscape,” Henry said in an email to GV Wire.

Sierra Unified Trustee Connie Schlaefer said the issue of whether or not schools should notify parents has not been discussed by the School Board.

Clovis Unified spokeswoman Kelly Avants said the district was in the “earliest stages” of analyzing the bill and thus Superintendent Corrine Folmer had declined to comment.

Clovis Unified officials acknowledge that there are differing viewpoints among parents and other community members and, as a result, the district avoids taking sides on such issues but instead focuses on following the law.

Central Unified School District spokeswoman Maria Cortez said Superintendent Ketti Davis was unavailable for comment Tuesday due to prior commitments.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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