Scott Wilk | California’s War on Parents

Scott Wilk

Some of you may be old enough to remember the TV show “Father Knows Best.” If that show were created now, perfect dad Robert Young, with his wonderful wife Jane Wyatt, wouldn’t be allowed to raise their three healthy children on their own.  

That’s because an uninvited guest, Mrs. Kravitz from another sitcom, would be a government official who popped in every night to make sure the Anderson parents weren’t screwing up the kids. This new sitcom’s name? “Government Knows Best.” Unfortunately it’s not funny, but the erosion of parental rights by Sacramento progressives is sure to bring unwanted family drama straight into your home. 

During my career in Sacramento, I’ve witnessed an unfettered invasion of government into almost every aspect of our lives. Family is the most important unit in society. However, progressive legislators in Sacramento believe they can raise your children better than you can. 

The assault first began against public charter schools, which provide educational choice for parents and opportunities for children who may learn differently. As a father of two, I know firsthand that each child learns differently. The challenge with the public school system is its one-size-fits-all approach. Is every charter school great? No, of course not. But a parent can choose to leave that campus and have their child attend elsewhere. School choice. 

However, the California Teachers Association has immense power in Sacramento through their millions of dollars in campaign contributions, and CTA doesn’t want public charter schools as competition because by nearly every metric charters outperform regular schools. Instead of working on reforms to enhance educational success for students, CTA chooses to push Sacramento politicians into heaping burdensome regulations on charters and finding ever new ways to deny them funding in an effort to stamp charters out. 

Then there’s the invasion into who makes medical decisions for your child. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, progressives had passed a law compelling parents to have their children vaccinated for a wide variety of diseases. Now, children in California who don’t have every vaccine required by government, as dictated on the state schedule, are barred from the classroom. Only West Virginia and Mississippi have the same onerous standard.  

Parents concerned for their children’s safety had sought medical exemptions under a law on the books for decades. The state then passed laws that make it virtually impossible to get a medical exemption and that threaten the licenses of doctors who dare issue them. 

Forward to the pandemic, and we saw the state force kids out of their classrooms and mandate COVID-19 vaccines and masking. Parents who chose not to vaccinate their child, regardless of the reason, were publicly shamed and scolded by the state. 

And during this time, Governor Newsom encouraged families not to congregate for Thanksgiving and said people should wear a mask at the dinner table. Then he was outed for dining indoors with 14 friends at the French Laundry in Napa Valley. That’s the thing about progressives. “Rules for thee, not for me.” 

To be clear, I am not opposed to all vaccines. I received COVID-19 vaccines and a booster. That was my choice. I also have met with parents whose children have suffered vaccine injury, and I understand their choice.  

Now armed with unprecedented power, progressive government is moving forward to accelerate the sexualization of children and pushing transgender ideology in the classroom. 

The first transgender school-bathroom bill came when I was in the Assembly in 2013. It requires schools to allow transgender students to use whichever bathroom or gym shower they want. I spoke to many schools in my district and learned that they already had policies in place to accommodate transgender students’ bathroom needs. There were no safeguards in place for non-transgender students of the opposite sex. Most troubling was that under the bill, if a student was 13 or older the school could not tell a parent their child was transgender. I voted “No.” 

After years of fighting assault after assault on parental rights, my frustration came to a head recently. I was in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Assembly Bill 957, which would require courts to take into consideration a parent’s “affirmation” of their child’s gender identity in visitation or custody cases. 

First, there is nothing in statute defining what it means to “affirm,” so that creates a very gray, problematic area. Second, a judge needs to take into account many factors to ensure a child’s safety, and I would argue most people appointed to the bench take this responsibility very seriously.  

During the hearing I said, “In the past when we’ve had these discussions and seen parental rights atrophied, I’ve encouraged people to keep fighting. I’ve changed my mind on that. If you love your children, you need to flee … I’m not going to stay in this state, because it’s too oppressive. I believe in freedom, and so I’m going to move to America.” 

My comments went viral. I did not say them with the intention of garnering headlines, but because they were from the heart. My words clearly struck a chord with many families. 

The assumption that parents are abusive for not affirming their child’s ideologies is flat-out dangerous. There is a huge difference between abuse and disagreeing on gender identity, and there are laws on the books to ensure parents who are actually abusive are held accountable. 

Finally, here’s the latest in the state’s usurping of parental rights. Imagine your child is struggling with mental health issues and you, the parent, are kept out of the decision-making process when it comes to their treatment. Moreover, the role of decision-maker goes to a government bureaucrat – who could be projecting their agenda onto your already vulnerable child. That’s what will happen if Assembly Bill 665 is approved, and it’s deeply troubling. 

We know the brain doesn’t stop developing until the mid-20s. You can’t drink or smoke until you’re 21. The state’s most progressive leaders believe minors who commit violent crimes should not face the same consequences as adults because of this biological fact. Yet, the Golden State tells our kids that they can access birth control, get an abortion, or seek hormone therapies without any parental consent. What kind of logic is this?  

I am a firm believer in local control, and I believe decisions made as a family are the best example of exercising that most local of local control. The decisions may be tough, but you make them with your child’s safety and best interests at heart. 

The kinds of decisions progressive legislators in this state seek to usurp from parents are huge, life-altering ones that should not be made solely by minors or the state. 

Unfortunately, I believe this is just the beginning. California is teaching our youth that it’s normal for government to have a role in a family’s day-to-day life and that a parent’s legitimate questions or concerns equate to bigotry. 

The government’s intrusion into the sanctity of family is antithetical to everything we value as Americans. 

But, California isn’t exactly America these days, is it? 

Sen. Scott Wilk represents the 21st Senate District, which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Victor valleys. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among local Republicans.

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