In Fight for Parental Rights, Calif. GOP Should Follow N.J. GOP’s Lead
New Jersey’s Sussex County Republican Party is circulating a billboard campaign that will alert residents to Governor Phil Murphy’s (D) “Sex Ed Mandates.” The Sussex County GOP is warning residents that “no family is safe” under the governor’s mandates. The advertisements will run in more than 50 locations in northwest New Jersey and are scheduled to run throughout the election period — until November 2024.
The Sussex County GOP is calling out the Murphy administration’s Education Department for its parental secrecy Policy 5756 which says that when students inform school staff that they are questioning their gender identity, schools may not inform parents unless the student has given permission or their health and safety is at risk.
Currently, the Murphy administration is suing four school districts for passing policies that require schools to notify parents. As many as 20 other school districts may pass parental notification policies as well, defying Governor Murphy’s mandate. The New Jersey Department of Education has also mandated that sex ed classes be divided not by biological sex but by gender identity in order to achieve “equity.”
Policy 5756 includes the following language:
“There may be instances where a parent of a minor student disagrees with the student regarding the name and pronoun to be used at school and in the student’s education records. In the event a parent objects to the minor student’s name change request, the Superintendent or designee should consult the Board Attorney regarding the minor student’s civil rights and protections under the NJLAD. School staff members should continue to refer to the student in accordance with the student’s chosen name and pronoun at school and may consider providing resource information regarding family counseling and support services outside of the school district, in the manner outlined in this policy.”
“School districts should be mindful of disputes between minor students and parents concerning the student’s gender identity or expression. Many support resources are available through advocacy groups and resources from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families and New Jersey Department of Education’s ‘Child Abuse, Neglect, and Missing Children’ webpage.”
Amazingly, Parents Defending Education has found 1,044 school districts across the country with such parental secrecy policies — intentionally causing children to question and disrespect their parents and put a wedge between them. Ultimately, parental secrecy policies can even lead to parents losing custody of their children.
The Sussex County Republican Party is a bright example that the California GOP should follow. Some in the California Republican Party have recently proposed changing its platform to look more like the Democratic Party’s national platform.
Josiah O’Neil, a member of the California GOP platform committee who is standing up for California families, appeared on the September 11 episode of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” to describe what is happening in his state. He read a portion of an email from three former assembly candidates to all California delegates. The email states that they believe the traditional perspective (one man/one woman marriage and the sanctity of human life) is “shackling them to a lengthy, error-ridden word salad that the old platform has become” and the proposed platform amendments strip away “outdated and illegal concepts and pose a positive vision for a brighter and better California.” Although this discussion among California Republicans has just begun, it is already intense: at a platform drafting committee meeting, police had to be called in because protestors became unruly.
Unfortunately, O’Neil and his fellow state Republicans are already facing a very uphill battle. On September 8, the California State Assembly passed a bill that requires judges presiding over child custody cases to consider a parent’s willingness to support their child’s chosen gender identity when deciding whether that parent should be granted custody.
Devastatingly, some parents in the United States have already lost custody of their children because they didn’t “affirm” their child’s gender transition. Illinois mom Jeannette Cooper lost custody of her then-12-year-old daughter in 2019 because she didn’t “affirm” her daughter’s gender identity. She told Laura Ingraham on the September 13 “Ingraham Angle”:
“Now the concept of parenting is to say ‘yes’ to your child for just about everything, and so if you say ‘no,’ all of a sudden you’re unsafe, and if you don’t agree with a child’s self-identification, something other than their biological sex, then somehow you’re contributing to their suicide. … I run a parent group of over 3,600 parents that are across the world, and what we know is that you can affirm a child’s feelings without telling them that they’re true. So somebody might feel uncomfortable, but what is the source of that discomfort, and are they capable of coping with discomfort? They are, and if we … snowplow everything out of their way, then they’ll never be able to cope with anything. We basically disable children when we continuously say ‘yes’ to everything that they say, when we don’t push back and say, ‘I can understand you feel that way,’ but I’m not going to say that that’s true. Because it’s not true that my daughter is a boy. It’s not true that my daughter is anything but a girl.”
Ingraham responded, “I don’t like the whole ‘affirming’ language. I think you love your child and you guide your child according to your own family’s values. You put guardrails in front of your child so your child doesn’t go off the edge.”
The last time Cooper saw her child was for an hour in January 2022 and before that, in 2020. She is filing a petition in family court in Cook County, Illinois to request to see her on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Her daughter currently lives 1.5 miles up the street from her.