California has a long history of “firsts.” The Golden State was home to the first computer, the first movie theater, and the first McDonalds. Sadly, the state is now leading the nation in stripping parents of their childrearing authority.
For starters, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a vaccine mandate on October 1, making California the first state to require that public and private school students age 12 or older be fully vaccinated for in-person instruction. (Unvaccinated students will have the option of enrolling in an online school or attending independent-study programs offered by districts.) The mandate will go into effect once the Food and Drug Administration approves vaccines for kids over age 12. Depending on when the expected FDA decision comes down, students will need to get the jab by either January 1 or July 1 of next year. Next up are schoolchildren ages 5 to 11, who will be forced to join the vax club as soon as the FDA greenlights it for them. Newsom recently claimed that so far, 63.5 percent of kids between 12 and 17 had received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Mandate proponents are quick to claim that the Covid vaccine is just the latest addition to a list that includes mumps, measles, and rubella. But unlike those illnesses, Covid does not pose a significant risk to children, and kids are not “super spreaders.” Teachers are more likely to catch it in the teachers’ lounge than in the classroom.
“It’s unconscionable that a society uses its children as shields for adults,” says the Hoover Institution’s Scott Atlas, an M.D. and former advisor to President Trump. “The children do not have significant risk from this illness.”
What effect Newsom’s mandate will have on school enrollment remains to be seen, but California public schools have already lost more than 160,000 students, a 2.6 percent decline—the largest enrollment drop in two decades—since the start of the pandemic. A mandate isn’t likely to reverse that trend. And since the edict also covers private schools, look for homeschools and micro-schools in California to grow. According to California Globe, immediately following the announcement of the mandate, homeschooling and tutoring inquiries were up dramatically, with some homeschooling sites crashing from the sheer volume of parents searching for information. Many teachers may follow students out the door, since they, too, must be vaccinated.
California parents have more to contend with than just the vaccine mandate, however. Last month, AB 1184, cosponsored by Planned Parenthood, became law. As the California Family Council explains, the law “prohibits insurance companies from revealing to the policyholder the ‘sensitive services’ of anyone on their policy, including minor children, even though the policy owner is financially responsible for the services.” The term “sensitive services” refers to all health care services related to mental or behavioral health, sexual and reproductive health (including abortions), sexually transmitted infections, substance-use disorder, and gender-affirming care. The bill doesn’t define “gender affirming care,” but according to the University of California, San Francisco, the concept includes hormone therapy and a laundry list of surgeries including vaginectomy, scrotoplasty, voice modification, and others. These procedures can begin when a child is just 12—starting with puberty blockers, paid for under the family’s insurance policy. When the statement is sent home, no explanation is offered of any of these procedures. Parents are reduced to bill-paying bystanders.
AB 1184 is similar in tone to AB 2119, which passed in 2018. That law provides that the “rights of minors and nonminors in foster care . . . include the right to be involved in the development of case plan elements related to placement and gender affirming health care, with consideration of their gender identity.” The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) filed testimony against the bill, urging legislators to reject it. “Children with gender dysphoria believe they are not their biological sex,” the group’s March 2018 testimony read. “A delusion is a fixed false belief. This bill proposes that foster children with gender dysphoria be socially affirmed into their delusion, and allowed to obtain experimental puberty blockers, and dangerous cross-sex hormones and surgery without parental consent.” ACPeds cited various statistics in opposing the bill, including the fact that roughly 88 percent of gender-dysphoric girls and 98 percent of gender-dysphoric boys will, if given time, go on to identify with their biological sex by late adolescence.
While ACPeds did not weigh in on AB 1184, it asserts that puberty blockers may cause mental illness and permanent physical harm, and that cross-sex hormones (testosterone for women and estrogen for men) may disrupt mental health.
Legislative totalitarians in California are usurping the role of parents. Unless they leave the state, parents and other concerned citizens will need to find a way to push back.
Larry Sand, a retired teacher, is president of the California Teachers Empowerment Network.