California Lawmakers Push SAFETY ACT to Safeguard LGBTQ Student Privacy

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Written By Angela Angela






California lawmakers are introducing a new bill to stop schools from telling parents if their child identifies as LGBTQ.

The bill, called the “Support Academic Futures and Educators for Today’s Youth” or SAFETY ACT, was added to Assembly Bill 1955, which was introduced by Assemblymember Chris Ward from San Diego earlier this year.

Under this new law, schools would not be allowed to inform parents about their child’s gender identity or sexual orientation if it comes up at school.

This action is in response to several California school boards that have voted to make teachers tell parents if their child identifies as transgender, changes their name or pronouns, or wants to use facilities or join sports for the opposite sex.

The new bill aims to strengthen current state protections against these so-called “forced outings” of LGBTQ students and to provide resources for their families. It also protects teachers from getting in trouble if they don’t inform parents.

Opponents of the bill argue it keeps parents unaware of important aspects of their child’s life. California Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher said parents have the right to be involved in their kids’ education and criticized the idea of teachers keeping secrets from parents.

The California Policy Center called the bill unconstitutional, saying it undermines parents’ authority over their children and causes harm.

Ward responded by saying the SAFETY Act doesn’t stop parents from talking to their children about sexual orientation or gender identity. He believes parents should have open conversations with their children, but the decision to come out should be made by the student.

Supporters of the bill say that while many parents are supportive, some young people do not feel accepted at home. The California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus noted that schools can be a crucial source of support and cited studies showing that affirming school environments can reduce the risk of suicide among transgender youth.

The LGBTQ Caucus emphasized that while parental involvement is important, a student’s gender identity should be discussed between the child and their parents at a time and in a way that suits the family, without being forced by schools.

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