AB 493 What Is It, Why Its Important (part 1)

This new bill, up for a vote on June 12th, 2019 mandates that all teachers of 7th-12th grade students receive training on LGBTQ concerns.  The training curriculum will be developed in consultation with “leading experts in supporting LGBTQ youth.”  Schools will be encouraged to use local community based organizations that currently provide support to LGBTQ youth.

This bill will further implement the very controversial philosophy of Comprehensive Sexual Education and promote the radical directives of the new Health Education Framework in all public schools.  It will encourage those who support CSE to insist that all middle and high schools have affinity organizations and safe spaces specifically for LGBTQ students.  

Teachers who question CSE and the Framework will be even more likely to be disciplined.

The rationale for AB 493 is based on highly questionable survey data from GLSEN.  Moreover, the bill promises to improve campus climate, particularly for LGBTQ students.  Ironically, there is a rapidly increasing body of anecdotal data that the implementation of Comprehensive Sexual Education has made students, teachers, and parents very uncomfortable and often outraged.  In fact, one large Orange County district cancelled presentations by Planned Parenthood as parent protests spread from one school to another.

How will we challenge AB 493?

This effort will require a few people in each one of California’s 40 State Senate Districts to assemble a team of three or more constituents to visit their state senator to present the case against AB 493.  Tailor talking points to fit the specific situation.  Anticipate that you will be ignored, dismissed, even ridiculed.  Make note of specific statements from the senator and/or staff.  These may be useful in recruiting others to this cause and/or swaying voters in a reelection campaign.

How much time do we have?

AB 493 goes to the Senate Committee on Education, chaired by Connie Leyva, Weds., June 12.  It will then go to the Senate.  If amended, it will be returned to the Assembly.

We hope summer is a good time for parents and community members to focus on our elected officials, many of whom will be up for reelection, March 2020.  Candidates are already declaring.    Some of our Orange County team are already making appointments with some Assembly members to understand why this bill passed 61-0.

Is it really worth the trouble?

Good question!  One of the benefits of this effort is that a few activists all over the state can gain valuable first hand experiences in communicating with our elected representatives.  We can use these experiences to show others which elected officials deserve our support and which ones do not.  We already have a strong and growing group of determined parents all over the state.  Imagine the impact of being able to tell people in power and the media that we have personally visited (or tried to visit) every member of the California Senate.  The information we gain will be invaluable when AB 673 comes back before the Senate Education Committee in January.

Our Orange County Team has six senators within the boundaries of the county.  Add that there’s a lot at stake for Orange County to battle back after some questionable and controversial results in the last election.

How to convince others this bill is important

Obviously, what you say will be governed by the person(s) to whom you speak.  Try to find common ground:  We all want students to be taught information that is accurate and age-appropriate.  We want to our schools to be safe places with a positive campus climate for all.  Bullying should never be tolerated.  Safe spaces should be provided for ALL students, not just certain groups.

Using information from IPOC’s Facebook Page and your own experiences, raise these questions:  Is the implementation of CSE making our schools safer?  Are the “leading experts” and local organizations (eg, Planned Parenthood) providing medically accurate information?  Is it appropriate for children to be given access to hormone therapy without parent consent?  (Note that this is a policy position under consideration by CTA.)

Consider taking copies of some of the books recommended by the CDE as well as examples from the recently approved Health Education Framework.

Above all, be calm, reasonable, factual.  But also be firm.  You are the parent!

When do we start?