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A Rally and a Ruling: Parents Celebrate Major Victories in Fight Against School Secrecy

Related: Landmark Court Decision Affirms Parental Rights in California

The movement to safeguard parents’ rights is gaining strength locally and nationally, with families rallying and judges ruling that schools have no right to keep information about children from their parents.

In September, 200-plus parents and community members gathered at Rancho Madera Community Park in Simi Valley for a rally organized by the California Policy Center and PERK. Dubbed “A Line in the Sand: A Rally for Parental Rights,” the event featured multiple speakers, plus local parents celebrating recent wins and eating from food trucks. The purpose: to share information and band together for even greater parent rights victories.

Mother Miranda Contreras drove from Bakersfield with her three children, who are in grades 2, 5 and 6, to support parents’ rights.

“This is something we have to get on board with as parents,” Contreras told the Guardian. “I am passionate about it.”

Martha Aguilera of the newly-formed Moms for Liberty, Los Angeles County chapter, addressed the crowd in Spanish, which is translated here into English.

“I’m here to talk to my people,” Aguilera said. “I’m here because I want to fight for our rights, our children. We knew that we, or our parents or our grandparents, came to this country with the clothes they were wearing, most of them, to live a better life, to be able to raise their children with more opportunities. Never in a million years could we imagine that we would be fighting with the government, with strangers about being able to make decisions about our lives.”

Sophia Lorey of the California Family Council in Sacramento drew applause when she declared, “You cannot change your gender, and you were not born in the wrong body. In fact, you were created perfectly in the image of God.”

Parents’ rights advocates are playing on offense — and winning, she said.

“In every legislative session since 2013, the attack on children and parental rights have only increased, but this year we have seen a turn in the tide,” Lorey told the group. “For the first time since 2013, parents are winning. Parents are getting their rights back, and that is because of all of you. It is because we have woken up to the madness, and we are standing up against the lies. From parent notification policies being passed in Chino, Temecula, Orange, and so many more to AB 957 being vetoed to winning lawsuits in favor of parents’ rights in Escondido and Monterey, we are winning. We are making it known that we do not co-parent with the government.”

The parent rights movement received a major boost from a federal court judge in September, who ruled that California school districts may not force teachers to hide information about students from those students’ parents (see excerpts from that ruling in this issue).

Two veteran teachers brought claims against members of the Escondido Union School District (EUSD) Board of Education and certain members of the EUSD administrative staff, as well as members of the California State Board of Education and the State Superintendent. U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez rendered the decision on September 14, 2023, writing:

“The United States Supreme Court has historically and repeatedly declared that parents have a right, grounded in the Constitution, to direct the education, health, and upbringing, and to maintain the well-being of, their children. … In the end, EUSD’s policy of elevating a child’s gender-related choices to that of paramount importance, while excluding a parent from knowing of, or participating in, that kind of choice, is as foreign to federal constitutional and statutory law as it is medically unwise. … Parental involvement [is] essential to the healthy maturation of schoolchildren. The Escondido Union School District has adopted a policy without parent input that places a communication barrier between parents and teachers. … The school’s policy is a trifecta of harm: it harms the child who needs parental guidance and possibly mental health intervention.”

The ruling outlaws the Conejo Valley Unified School District’s practice of hiding information about a student’s “gender identity” from parents. Last year, CVUSD and Superintendent Mark McLaughlin allowed a 6th-grade girl in a local middle school to sleep in a boys’ cabin at Outdoor Camp without informing the girl’s parents. The story was reported by The Conejo Guardian and gained national attention but was ignored by all other local media in Ventura County.

CVUSD even penalized and suspended teachers for speaking to the Guardian about the 6th-grade student and threatened the newspaper with a lawsuit. But after the latest ruling, and others across the country in support of parents’ rights, CVUSD’s practice of secretly “transitioning” students from one gender to another — a biological impossibility — now opens it up to lawsuits from parents.

Trump, Rogan & More

Nationally, opinion has turned strongly against the practice of schools “secretly transitioning” children to another gender. At the Concerned Women for America Summit in Washington, D.C., on September 15, 2023, President Donald J. Trump took the side of parents.

“I will take historic action to defeat the toxic poison of gender ideology and reassert, ’In the beginning, God created two genders, male and female,’” he told the crowd. “On day one, I will sign an executive order instructing every federal agency to cease the promotion of sex or gender transition at any age. They can’t do it. The mistakes that are made are so horrific. I will declare that any hospital or health care provider that participates in the chemical or physical mutilation of minor youth no longer meets federal health and safety standards. They will be terminated from receiving federal funds effective immediately. … And I will challenge California’s depraved new laws that strip parents of parental rights and encourage minors to be transported across state lines for sexual mutilation. … We will prosecute those involved in this sick California scheme for violating federal laws against kidnapping, sex trafficking, child abuse and a deprivation of civil rights. What they are doing is not even possible to believe. And I will restore the Trump ban on transgender in the military.”

Much of the backlash is being led by so-called “de-transitioners,” those adolescents duped into believing that “changing their gender” would solve their emotional problems or questions about their identity. One such girl, Luka Hein of Minnesota, is suing doctors who “permanently mutilated me” at age 16 after a therapist diagnosed her with gender dysphoria within one hour of their first meeting and recommended voluntary mastectomies at their second appointment (Daily Mail, 13 September 2023, “At 16 I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria in under an HOUR and given sex change surgery after just two appointments … I’m suing the doctors who permanently mutilated me”).

The surgery to remove both breasts left her in constant pain, and hormone drugs may have rendered her unable to have children. The sordid journey began after Hein’s parents divorced, and she became a victim of an online “groomer.” She says she became “withdrawn and spent more time online, where she began following trans influencers and became convinced she was born the wrong gender,” reports the Daily Mail.

“I was going through the darkest and most chaotic time in my life, and instead of being given the help I needed, these doctors affirmed that chaos into reality,” Hein told the Mail. “I don’t think kids can ever consent to having essentially full bodily functions taken away at a young age before they even know what that means. I was talked into medical intervention that I could not fully understand the long-term impacts and consequences of.”

Her lawsuit “accuses the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) gender clinic of malpractice and seeks financial damages,” the newspaper reported.

When Hein returned to her doctors to say she regretted the operation, they told her “to seek mental health counseling,” says the suit, claiming that her doctor then said: “I guess this is just part of your gender journey.”

Hein has embraced her womanhood but retains a deep voice and erratic hormones, along with a variety of pains related to hormone therapy, and the permanent loss of the ability to breastfeed her children. Harmeet Dhillon, Hein’s lawyer from the Center for American Liberty, told DailyMail.com: “This is really shocking malpractice. Coercive methods were used to coerce the family into agreeing to it, such as a false representation about the mental health fallout from not doing it. ‘Your daughter will commit suicide if you don’t agree to this’ was communicated to her parents. … Doctors should not be mutilating and permanently disfiguring children, period, without some medical necessity, which did not present itself in this case.”

“[S]ince 2013, the attacks on children and parental rights have only increased, but this year we have seen a turn in the tide.” — Sophia Lorey of the California Family Council

In August, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed a ban on puberty blockers and hormones for children to stand, ruling that the drugs may not be safe. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall called the ruling a “significant victory for our country, for children, and for common sense” and said, “The Eleventh Circuit reinforced that the State has the authority to safeguard the physical and psychological wellbeing of minors.”

Nearly half of all U.S. states have moved or are moving to outlaw the practice of child mutilation and sterilization in the form of “gender transitions.”

Even popular podcast host Joe Rogan weighed in on the barbarity of these surgeries for children in September.

“What scares me about it is what they’re doing to children,” Rogan said in a conversation with his guest, comedian Bill Maher. “It’s terrifying that they’re calling it ‘gender-affirming care,’ but it’s really childhood mutilation. Before you have the ability to figure out what ‘permanent’ means. You’re 7 years old. You can’t get your face tattooed, you can’t go to war, you can’t get married. There’s reasons for all that stuff: you’re too young. This idea that you should be able to make life-changing choices like hormone blockers, which are a) not reversible, no matter what they say. They say it’s reversible — no. Changes happen to your body during puberty, and if you stop those changes, you can’t reverse that. You’re going to have a micro-penis. You’re taking estrogen while your body’s developing, you’re blocking your testosterone — if you’re doing all that stuff, it’s going to have an effect on your body. … It’s insane.”

Parents are now learning that public school teachers can be sued personally for discussing issues of sexuality not related to academics or within the scope of their jobs. In Michigan, parents in Vicksburg Community Schools have filed such a lawsuit after learning that the school district was allowing “transgender-identifying students” to use the bathroom or locker room of their preference. The suit names the superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal and vice principal by name as defendants.

“Vicksburg School in Michigan is still allowing boys not only to use the boys’ bathrooms, but the girls’ locker rooms,” said Fox News Primetime host Jesse Watters in a recent interview with a Michigan parent. “Boys are stripping naked right in front of the girls, exposing themselves. Boys are staring girls down in the bathroom. The girls are terrified. They’re scared to use the bathroom. Parents have accused the school of facilitating child sexual abuse.”

Matthew DePerno, attorney for the minor girls, told Watters they filed the lawsuit to protect the girls’ right to a safe education and to privacy.

“These girls last year found boys in their bathrooms,” DePerno said. “They go to the school and address the issue with the principal, and the principal says, ‘It’s fine. Look the other way. Don’t make the biological boy uncomfortable, and don’t bully him because if you bully him, you’ll get in trouble.’ So these girls are terrified. They’re not using the restrooms. They’re holding their urine all day. It’s a big problem at the school. We did meet with the school administration. … They just tell us over and over again they’re not going to do anything to stop this, so we filed a lawsuit.”

Watters stated, “When I was growing up if I went into the girls’ locker room and got naked, I’d be expelled, committed to a mental institution and then fitted with a straitjacket. But if you do that today, you’re celebrated for embracing your ‘new gender identity’? What?! Sexual predatory behavior is now allowed under the umbrella of ‘gender inclusion.’ Thankfully, the parents of these students are suing.”

As Martha Aguilera told the “Line in the Sand” Rally in Simi Valley, as translated here from the Spanish, “The fight is big, and it’s the biggest we’re going to have in our lifetime. Please fight for our rights. Fight for our children. We have the right to know if our children are under any pressure, under taking medication, to change their sex, to change their idea of their life. We had them. We have to remind the government that they are our children, and they are their students.”

Joel Kilpatrick
Joel Kilpatrick
Joel Kilpatrick is a writer and journalist.


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