California public schools will be required under the "School Success and Opportunity Act" (AB 1266) beginning next year to permit K-12 students to use facilities, including restrooms and showers, and participate in school programs and activities, including athletic teams, according to their self-defined gender identity, irrespective of their birth gender.
Conservatives and religious groups have expressed their disbelief that the state legislatures and governor would alter the entire state's Education Code on student rights to accommodate the desires of the minority but ignore the privacy and safety rights of the majority. Furthermore, the 37-words bill offer little or no guidelines or standards on how the bill is to be applied, leaving holes that some believe would lead to unprecedented level of bullying, contrary to what the bill is intended for.
"This radical bill warps the gender expectations of children by forcing all California public schools to permit biological boys in girls' restrooms, showers, clubs and on girls sports teams and biological girls in boys restrooms, showers, clubs and sports teams," said Randy Thompson of SaveCalifornia.com, according Fox News.
The bill was introduced in late February by Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, co-authored by Senators Mark Leno and Ricardo Lara, and it passed through the state's Assembly Committee on Education in April, the Legislative Assembly 46 to 25 in early May, and then the Senate Standing Committee on Education in mid-June, a week before the U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled a 5-4 vote that Proposition 8 proponents did not have the constitutional standing to defend the law in federal courts after the governor and attorney general refused to appeal its loss at trial. Then, on July 3, AB 1266 was passed by the Senate 21 to 9, and, on August 12, signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown.
Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), a Christian legal defense group based in Sacramento, said in a statement that the bill is "unprecedented" in United States, explaining that people in California are "mostly stunned and outraged" by its passing.
"[Bill AB 1266] virtually deprive students in public schools from K-12 their privacy rights and affect girls' rights to participate in sports," PJI wrote, adding that privacy is especially sensitive to students during puberty period. And this disturbance in the norm can cause chaos, confusion in the state's public schools.
California Catholic Conference opposed the bill since its introduction and argued that one more state law imposing a "one size fits all" politically correct agenda is a bad public policy.
"A few of our students maybe struggling with or confused about their gender identity or expression, but individual responses handled confidentially while protecting the dignity of the student, involving the parents, honoring the privacy rights of others, and maintaining the good order of the school would be far more preferable," said the CCC. "Solidarity with those who may be the object of discrimination is appropriate and should be shared by all, but we ought to balance that with common sense and trust in the leadership of the local school level."
Despite counter-arguments against the bill, the California legislatures moved swiftly to pass it with majority votes from state legislatures and signature from the governor. When it was first introduced, the authors commented on how the legal challenges against the Education Code on the definition of "gender" have failed.
They cited the 2008 case of California Education Committee, LLC vs. Jack O'Connell, in which Plaintiffs argued that the current law places an "impossible" burden on educators to have to constantly be on watch from unintentionally discriminating against students who identify themselves in a gender that is opposite from their birth gender. Moreover, plaintiffs argued that students' privacy will be violated because the school district "will require teachers, administrators, and school districts to permit children of the opposite sex to enter locker rooms and restrooms in the future."
The defendant, Jack O'Connell who was the State Superintendent of Public Instruction at the time, filed a demurrer and moved to dismiss the case. The Sacramento Superior Court granted the motion to dismiss the case on June 1, 2009, for plaintiffs' "failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action."
Meanwhile, pro-gay groups filed a Amici Curiae in support of the demurrer, arguing that "subjective discomfort in the presence of transgender individuals does not create a protected privacy interest" and point out that "claims of discomfort in the presence of a minority group propped up decades of racial segregation in housing, education, and access to public facilities like restrooms and drinking fountains."
Moreover, they said that "a non-discriminatory policy permitting transgender students to use facilities that correspond to their consistently expressed gender identity would have little or no effect on the privacy interest of other students because schools can easily provide reasonable accommodations to balance the privacy interests of all students."
PJI pointed out that the bill has already created much anxiety among the students especially among the female ones. Because the legislation does not require bona fide evidence that one is transgender, students are not required to register their self-defined gender identity with the school in advance nor are they prohibited from changing their minds back and forth.
"No 13-year-old girl should ever have to worry about a 16-year-old boy entering showers where she's showering on the pretext that he is a she," said Brad Dacus, president of PJI, according to San Jose Mercury News. He said the law ties the hands of schools officials dealing with students who suffer from "gender identity disorder."
Moreover, critics say that sex predators would enter female restroom and showers at will with the benefits of the doubt, and that initiation and hazing would benefit from this law, where the perpetrators can cry protection under its umbrella, while the victim will be forever violated by what was supposedly meant to protect students.
In 2012, California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) that governs the state's high school athletic programs has approved in early February and started implementing in August this year a new policy corresponding to bill AB 1266 in dealing with transgender students rights in sports participation. While some districts have policies and protocols that allow for situations to be handled on a case-by-case basis as it relates to competitive sports, AB 1266 would take away this type of discretion from local school districts and create a one policy for all.
Since 1999, the state's government, led mostly by liberal democrats, have passed ten laws under the banner of "non-discrimination" aimed at indoctrinating students from K-12 that gays, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender lifestyles are normal, according to RescueYourChild.com.
Privacy For All Students are doing a referendum to repeal this law and a total of 505,000 signatures are needed before Nov. 12, 2013. Once sufficient signatures are submitted to election officials, the law is suspended and does not take effect and would appear on the November 2014 statewide ballot. Voters would then approve or reject the legislation at that time.
On the other hand, Thompson said that a referendum by ballot initiative is too weak a vehicle to prevail against the Democrat elected legislators, who are expected to strike down the People's vote against AB 1266, just like how pro-gay activists continuously worked to make "their" federal judges strike down Prop. 8 on marriage. Moreover, the 90 days period from August 12 to November 12 is too short to collect 750,000 signatures, he said, citing past ballot initiative failures to repeal SB 777 in 2007 and SB 48 in 2011.
Because of these facts about the weakness of ballot referenda in California, and given that AB 1266 is only 1 of 10 sexual indoctrination laws mandated upon every child in California government schools, the only way to protect children from "unnatural, unhealthy homosexual-bisexual-transsexual agenda is to permanently remove your boys and girls from the immoral government schools and to enter the safe havens of homeschooling and biblical church schools," he said on his blog.
However, PJI said during a press conference on Sept. 26 that they have conducted a recent survey that showed 62 percent of the responded objected to the idea of having both male students and female students in the same shower and locker room. They are confident that they will prevail with the ballot if they receive enough signatures to qualify. Since the referendum is repealing an existing law and not creating a new law, opponents would not be able to challenge legally, said Frank Lee, PJI's Bay Area Chair.
Moreover, the campaign is being advised by Frank Schubert who has twice been named the country's top political consultant. Mr. Schubert is a referendum and ballot initiative expert and has managed 14 California statewide referendum and ballot initiative campaigns, winning 13 of those contests, according to the coalition's website.
Members of the coalition include groups such as Capitol Resources Institute, Pacific Justice Institute, ActRight, Faith and Public Policy, Concerned Women for America/California, numerous churches and others.
To participate in the referendum, sign the referendum, download petition long forms, and find out where to pickup the forms, visit the Privacy For All Students website.