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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Korean-American parents facing heated controversy over Bill AB1314

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Korean-American parents in California are facing a heated debate over the controversial bill AB1314.

The bill states that if a student defines themselves as transgender at school, teachers, counselors, school staff, and others in California must notify parents within 72 hours.

The issue grew when the California House of Representatives Education Committee, chaired by Al Murasuchi, failed to schedule a public hearing on the bill for the upcoming 12th of April.

“The bill is not anti-transgender, it is requiring for a parent’s ‘right to know’ about their child,” said Sara Kim, president of TVNEXT, a Korean-American Christian nonprofit organization. “The chairman refused to schedule the hearing because opponents were pressuring the committee to kill AB1314.”

Opponents of the bill cite “privacy” and “protections” for transgender students as their reason of opposition.

SWA, a transgender rights organization, released a position paper stating that “there are young people who want to change their gender and their parents are against it,” and that “transgender youth need to be protected from their parents.”

“Currently, California law protects the privacy of transgender people,” ABC7 News reported on April 7, noting the intense controversy over AB1314.

The California Department of Education states on its website that under the School Success and Opportunity Act (AB1266), “transgender or gender non-conforming students are not required to publicly disclose their gender identity if their safety would be jeopardized in any situation, including at home.”

Currently, Korean-American parents and members of the Korean-American community are pressuring the school board to hold a public hearing.

“In Orange County, Korean-American parents are calling and emailing the school board,” said s church member Mindy Shin, 38. “Parents are the primary guardians of their children. What right do schools and the state have to prevent parents from exercising their ‘right to know’ about their children?”

“Parents are not mere bystanders in their children’s lives and should not be excluded from their children’s education,” said Assemblymember Bill Essayli (R-Riverside), author of AB1314. “The children’s lives are not the responsibility of schools or the state.”

AB1314 was introduced in response to bills (AB665-AB957) that would have limited parental involvement in student gender identity counseling.

“If you don’t schedule a public hearing, you’re effectively eliminating the opportunity to even debate the need for an initiative,” Kim said.

The controversy is heated. On April 6, hundreds of parents rallied for and against AB1314 in the Chino Valley Unified School District. The Chino Valley Unified School District voted to support AB1314 at the district level (4 in favor, 1 opposed).

On the other hand, the Chico Unified School District in Northern California voted on April 5 to support a confidentiality policy to protect transgender students.


BY JANG YEOL [jang.yeol@koreadaily.com]