Pulling Back Curtain on ‘Erosion of Parental Rights’ in California

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Parents are losing the right to parent in California, according to Karen England. 

A bill has been introduced in California stating that if parents “do not affirm your child’s gender confusion, it’s put in the same category as abuse, and it is supposed to be considered when you’re battling in a custody battle,” England says.

According to England, president of the California-based Capitol Resource Institute, there has been an “erosion of parental rights” over the past year in California in a more significant way than she has ever seen before. 

England joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to explain the threats parents are facing in California, and to share why moms and dads across the country should be concerned by what is happening on the west coast. 

Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:

Virginia Allen: I am so pleased today to be joined by Karen England. Karen is a parental rights advocate and president of the Capitol Resource Institute. Karen, thanks so much for being with us today.

Karen England: Hey, thank you for having me.

Allen: Well, you have been fighting for parental rights and education for a very long time. And your organization, the Capitol Resource Institute, is a policy, research and education organization, and you all work in California. And my goodness, when it comes to the loss of parental rights, California is often the first state where we see those parental rights go out the window. So what are the rights that parents have lost in the state of California? Where does the battle really stand for parental rights in California?

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England: Well, you’re right. We say what happens in California doesn’t stay in California, and that’s true. And so people really need to be paying attention because if you see it in California, a year or two later, they’re going to be trying it in your state. And we have seen the erosion of parental rights at the state level in this year in a way we’ve never, ever seen. This year, they’ve had actually introduced a piece of legislation that if you do not affirm your child’s gender confusion, it’s put in the same category as abuse, and it is supposed to be considered when you’re battling in a custody battle. So you are going to have people use the gender ideology to gain access or to gain custody of their children. It’s just absolutely crazy.

It really started when they mandated sex ed and they took away all local control saying no school district is going to be allowed to do an opt-in. So that’s where we saw them starting when they mandated some really radical curriculum and then made sure that local school districts couldn’t give parental rights back in that area.

Allen: So even if a local school district says, “We don’t want to follow California’s sex ed program. We have another program maybe that’s similar, but just doesn’t have some of the more controversial content in it,” those school districts, they’re not allowed to choose a different program?

England: Oh, no. They’re not allowed to choose a different program. And they spelled out the graphic stuff in the bill. But the other thing is a local school board can’t say, “The kids are automatically out of sex ed until the parent puts them in.” They’re not even allowing that. There’s another bill, AB 1078, thank goodness that the legislature’s on vacation for a few weeks so we have a little bit of a breather, but it’s a bill that they’re now coming after the parents that are removing obscene materials. We had a lot of school boards that flipped and became conservative in this last election. So we’ve had local school boards banning CRT, taking a look at the graphic materials in the schools. And so they’ve just amended a bill, a few weeks ago, to take local control away from these school boards we flipped and put it back in Gavin Newsom’s hands. And so that’s really frightening that the local control would be totally slipped away or stripped away when it comes to curriculum and objectionable materials in the classroom.

Allen: Well, there’s one school district that is really fighting to give rights back to parents in the state of California. That’s the Chino Valley Unified School District. Explain what exactly the fight is there and what the battle is regarding parental rights.

England: Well, oddly enough, in California, they’re upfront about saying they have told the schools, and so has the Department of Education, that if a minor wants to transition, no matter how young, kindergarten to high school, that the school can keep that information from the parents. So the minor can come to school, have a different name that the school calls them by, access different facilities, go on field trips and assert the gender they believe themselves to be, not their actual gender or sex. And so that’s the policy in almost every school district throughout California.

So we have a school board that was taken over by the conservatives this last fall, and they put a policy in place that we helped write that says, “Hey, if you’re going to transition a kid, you need to tell the parents within three days. If they’re coming to school and they’re asserting a different gender than what they were born, you need to let the parents know. They need to be brought into the conversation. You can’t keep secrets anymore.” And that became so controversial, the state superintendent of education flew down to testify against it. But it’s a courageous board and they’re doing what they said they would do when they were running for office and they’re putting parents first.

Allen: I want to talk a minute about something that you just referenced a moment ago, and that’s that the state of California’s PTA is backing this bill, that the bill, if passed, would enshrine into California law that failing to affirm a child’s self-identified gender would be considered as something like child abuse. Now, if the California state legislature passes this bill, what does that mean for parents?

England: Well, it’s frightening for parents because keep in mind, a few years ago, we passed a bill that gives California jurisdiction. The minute a parent flees from another state with their child, they cross the border into California and become, and it was all over the LGBTQ issue, they get to go under the jurisdiction of California courts. And while that will be litigated, right now, that’s the way the law stands. And so this is going to be frightening. You are going to have to affirm your child and their gender confusion or possibly lose custody, lose visitation. And the PTA, who’s supposed to be standing for parents, they are the co-author of that bill. And so people need to wake up that the PTA has been hijacked by progressives as well.

One last piece will not last a lot, but there’s another bill that allows, it’s 665, allows a minor to emancipate themselves at 12 in sixth grade. And basically, any school counselor, intern, assistant, the list goes on and on, they’ve been broadening it, all you have to do is say, “I don’t feel safe at home.” And they literally will take you from school to a group home that’s approved by the state, and the parents won’t even be notified.

Allen: So if these bills become law in California, and let’s say a 10-year-old girl says to her mom, “I feel like I’m a boy.” And that mom says, “Okay. Well, you might feel like that, but you’re a girl,” that could be considered “child abuse” and the mom could lose custody of her child?

England: Absolutely. The code, that’s where they’re putting that family code. They’re putting it in custody disputes. So they’re saying, “We are going to favor this.” And on our Instagram account, we have the woman that brought this forward actually in her own words, saying that it’s abusive and that her fourth grader, that you must assert. They know what they’re doing. You must affirm their perceived gender and it’s harmful if you don’t. And that’s where they’re operating from. And so this is going to be very, very serious moving forward.

Allen: Is this already happening in California that parents are facing custody battles over the gender identity craze?

England: Oh, absolutely. There’s a father who’s the woman, they were getting a divorce and she came from Texas and is now under the jurisdiction of California. Her husband did not want them transitioning the minor. There’s the Abigail Martinez, which I think some people are familiar with, and her child-

Allen: We featured her story here on the Daily Signal.

England: Yeah. Abigail, her child was taken from her, and while she was gone, her child committed suicide. And let me say this because people think this is just California. I physically now live in Tennessee, and we have a Tennessee school district who is transitioning kids and refusing to tell the parents. In a red county, in a red state, parents need to know that the education establishment is doing this by going in and changing these things at the local level. So you’re not safe if you are in a red state. You need to ensure that your school district is not doing this.

Allen: Now that’s interesting because I was going to ask you specifically in relation to California, do parents need to be considering moving out of California in order to protect their kids? But this isn’t just a California problem.

England: Well, yes, but California, I will say they’re not as tolerant of stripping parental rights in these other states. But we had a state senator that said as soon as he is done, he’s getting out, and that is the feeling. There is such a serious attack on parental rights. And one of the bills that literally you were asking and we talked about Abigail Martinez, there’s a bill that just got amended while they were on vacation, where it’s asking teachers and school counselors to profile Christian parents, any parent that doesn’t support the gender transition of their child. And the ramifications of something like that is just going to be a lot more Abigail Martinez story when they’re, like in China, profiling and snitching on the parents who actually want to wait until the child’s through puberty to make any of these decisions.

Allen: So you’re telling me that there’s a lawmaker in California that’s pushing for the profiling of parents simply because they’re Christian? And because they’re Christian, they likely don’t adhere to the gender ideology?

England: Correct. It doesn’t say “Christian,” but anyone that doesn’t adhere to the gender ideology, which is an attack on Christians.

Allen: I see.

England: So yeah. If you don’t, they’re training teachers how to identify that and where to report that.

Allen: Now, what should the response be for parents, specifically parents who live in California or maybe other very progressive, far left states who are considering similar policies, what should their response be with this information? How do they move forward in protecting their kids?

England: We’re recommending the coalition that put this policy together that was passed in Chino Valley, we are working with other school boards in California. I’m encouraging people in other states to proactively go in and put this policy in place so that if you’re in a red state, you take the policy and you make sure at the local level, because it may not pass at the state level, you can pass it at the local level and say, “Hey, if your child is transitioning, we’re going to let the parents know.” Because right now, most of these states are silent on that issue. So schools are just making it up as they go, and that’s what they’re choosing to do because that’s what the establishment is telling them. So you need to go in and proactively put a policy in place at the local school district level that says, “We are going to notify parents if a child is going through this.”

Allen: Karen, would you just share a little bit about the work that you all do at the Capitol Resource Institute?

England: Well, yes. We have been around for 37 years this last June, and we are pro-family, public policy organization. We have really started to work more on the ground with grassroots in parental rights and education. Our latest project is putting together a website so that we are tracking, by school district, the obscene and pornographic books that are in a school. So we’re adding to that every day. So you can go to takebacktheclassroom.com. And right now, we’ve got six states up there, but we’ll be adding more every week. And you can look at your school district, see what books are in there, and figure out a way if it’s something you want to challenge the book and have it removed from the school. There’s a lot of pornographic, obscene, vulgar content that our kids are being exposed to, and it’s up to us to stop it and to protect the hearts and minds of our kids.

Allen: That book initiative is so critical. Karen, thank you for the work that you’re doing. Thank you for joining us today, Karen England of the Capitol Resource Institute. Be sure to check them out, and we just thank you for being a resource for parents.

England: Absolutely. Thank you and have a great afternoon.

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The post Pulling Back Curtain on ‘Erosion of Parental Rights’ in California appeared first on The Daily Signal.

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