Do Parents Have Any Rights in California?

do parents have any rights in california

Do Parents Have Any Rights in California?

As you may or may not know, the parents at Chino School District are embroiled in a legal battle with the state over the rights of their own children.

Parental Notification Policy

A few weeks ago, after a long legal battle, Chino Valley School District passed the Parent Notification Policy, which would inform parents about their children on important issues.


Murrieta Valley Unified School District also adopted the policy.

Rob Bonta’s Threat to Parents

The war isn’t over.

Shortly thereafter, Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a threatening letter.

Dean Broyles of National Center of Law and Policy is Defending CVUSD

Dean Broyles of National Center of Law and Policy is defending Chino School District.  His letter is sharp and this blog post is derived from his letter.


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Parents Absolutely Have Rights to Their Children’s Education

Parents’ rights to raise their children is found in the 14th Amendment.  

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

The Due Process Clause prevents the government from intruding on fundamental rights and liberty interests, one of which is parents rights in controlling the care of their children.

Many Supreme Court Cases Have Interpreted the 14th in Conjunction with Parents Rights

Troxel v Granville was a case about grandparents rights v. parents rights. In that case, unmarried parents Granville and Troxel had 2 daughters before they separated.  Troxel committed suicide.  Granville’s parents brought an action seeking visitation with the kids.  Eventually Granville remarried.

The U. S. Supreme Court affirmed the Washington state supreme court’s ruling that the statute used by the grandparents to seek custody was an  unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental rights of parents to control the upbringing of their children.

Troxel Golden Nuggets

In the Troxel case, the Supreme Court cited numerous precedent to support its finding that parents have a fundamental Constitutional right to the rearing of their children.  NOT the State.

The Fourteenth Amendment provides that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” We have long recognized that the Amendment’s Due Process Clause, like its Fifth Amendment counterpart, “guarantees more than fair process.” Washington v Glucksberg, 521 U. S. 702, 719 (1997). The Clause also includes a substantive component that “provides heightened protection against government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests.” Id., at 720; see also Reno v. Flores, 507 U. S. 292, 301-302 (1993).

The liberty interest at issue in this case-the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.  More than 75 years ago, in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U. S. 390, 399, 401 (1923), we held that the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to “establish a home and bring up children” and “to control the education of their own.”

Two years later, in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510, 534-535 (1925), we again held that the “liberty of parents and guardians” includes the right “to direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” We explained in Pierce that “[t]he child is not the mere creature of the State; those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.” Id., at 535.

Parents Have a Right to Know What is Happening to Their Child at School

Here are more gold nuggets from Troxel.

We returned to the subject in Prince v. Massachusetts, 321 U. S. 158 (1944), and again confirmed that there is a constitutional dimension to the right of parents to direct the upbringing of their children. “It is cardinal with us that the custody, care and nurture of the child reside first in the parents, whose primary function and freedom include preparation for obligations the state can neither supply nor hinder.” Id., at 166.

In subsequent cases also, we have recognized the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children. See, e. g., Stanley v. Illinois, 405 U. S. 645, 651 (1972) (“It is plain that the interest of a parent in the companionship, care, custody, and management of his or her children ‘come[s] to this Court with a momentum for respect lacking when appeal is made to liberties which derive merely from shifting economic arrangements'” (citation omitted)); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U. S. 205, 232 (1972) (“The history and culture of Western civilization reflect a strong tradition of parental concern for the nurture and upbringing of their children. This primary role of the parents in the upbringing of their children is now established beyond debate as an enduring American tradition”); Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U. S. 246, 255 (1978) (“We have recognized on numerous occasions that the relationship between parent and child is constitutionally protected”); Parham v. J. R., 442 U. S. 584, 602 (1979) (“Our jurisprudence historically has reflected Western civilization concepts of the family as a unit with broad parental authority over minor children. Our cases have consistently followed that course”); Santosky v. Kramer, 455 U. S. 745, 753 (1982) (discussing “[t]he fundamental liberty interest of natural parents in the care, custody, and management of their child”); Glucksberg, supra, at 720 (“In a long line of cases, we have held that, in addition to the specific freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights, the ‘liberty’ specially protected by the Due Process Clause includes the righ[t] … to direct the education and upbringing of one’s children” (citing Meyer and Pierce)). In light of this extensive precedent, it cannot now be doubted that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children.

What About a Child’s Privacy Rights?

Bonta’s letter threatens:

“As the California Department of Education has instructed, “Disclosing that a student is transgender without the student’s permission may violate California’s antidiscrimination law byincreasing the student’s vulnerability to harassment and may violate the student’s right to privacy.”

Courts have recognized that gender identity is a protected privacy right under the California and U.S. Constitutions. (See Whalen v. Roe (1997) 429 U.S. 589, 598–600 (avoiding disclosure of personal matters is constitutionally protected).

This is false.  Whalen does NOT state that children have privacy rights against their parents when it comes to health or mental health issues like gender dysphoria.

The constitutional question presented in Whalen is whether the State of New York may record, in a centralized computer file, the names and addresses of all persons who have obtained, pursuant to a doctor’s prescription, certain drugs for which there is both a lawful and an unlawful market.

Parents are NOT the Enemy

Opponents of the Parental Notification Policy assume parents are the children’s enemy.  They also assume that all parents would not support their child’s choice.

Both assumptions are false.

For the most part, parents love their children.  If there is something happening at the school, whether it’s bullying, eating disorder, or gender dysphoria –  most parents would quit their careers just to help get their children counseling or help them through it.

Yet according to the State, parents are not entitled to information regarding their own children

Laws are Suppose to Protect Children

Historically, laws protected children.  You must be 21 to drink alcohol.  18 to vote.  16 to drive.  Age of consent varies from 16 – 18 in all states.  Children cannot legally consent to sex.

Yet, new laws in California such as AB 665 allows minors, 12 years of age or older, to consent to mental health treatment or residential shelter services. This means a 5th or 6th grader can be persuaded by a “licensed professional” to receive treatment for a personal mental health issue and the parents don’t have to consent or be notified unless the professional considers it appropriate.

Gender affirming care for children is consensus-based, not evidence based.  It’s not wonder that gender detransition lawsuits are abounding.

Parental Notification Policy

More information about Parental Notification Policy here.

Have a case like this?

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