Yesterday, I joined with Senator Steve Knight and dozens of Antelope Valley parents, educators, church leaders and community activists to publicize what we can do to repeal AB 1266 and protect student privacy on public school campuses.
AB 1266 is often referred to as “the bathroom bill” that desegregates male-only and female only facilities on school campus in the name of protecting students with gender identity issues. However the law goes much further than even just the bathrooms. It allows any K-12 student to try out for either gender’s sports teams. It allows any K-12 student to self-identify and use locker rooms and gym showers previously limited to the opposite sex and even allows a student to demand the right to stay in the same hotel room or other sleeping accommodations as the opposite sex on overnight school trips.
Several organizations including the California School Boards’ Association and California School Administrators’ Association virtually ignored the bill during the legislative process, falsely assuming that it was so radical that Governor Jerry Brown would veto the bill. As a result, many school boards are just now learning how unmanageable this incoming law will be – forcing local schools to pick between constitutionally protected privacy rights and this new, radical law.
Fortunately, there is a strong effort to qualify a referendum, placing the law on hold until after the public has the right to vote on it in November of 2014. Anyone interested in downloading the petition may do so at the campaign’s website at www.privacyforallstudents.com
Parents are also encouraged to visit the Pacific Justice Institute’s website at www.pacificjustice.org. Here, parents can download a form drafted by the Institute’s attorneys demanding that local schools protect their child’s right to privacy. This will show local board members and administrators the strong public support for student privacy.
It’s important for local school boards to proactively take a strong stance on implementation. Waiting around for draft regulations from the CSBA or CSAA will not serve them well. The statute is so poorly written that it cannot be implemented without compromising student privacy rights, guaranteeing that every school district in the state will be open to litigation, one way or the other. There’s no way around it as the statute is in direct conflict with constitutional privacy rights.
Local board members will simply need to decide which side of a lawsuit they want to stand on: standing with the radical elements that proposed this bill, or standing with parents, local teachers and church leaders on the side of protecting student privacy.