I’ll never forget the day Vanessa and I dropped our son off at college, what a bittersweet moment it was. We were so proud of the young man whom we had raised together, but now, after years of parenting him, it was suddenly all over. Scotty, now an adult, was on his own to forge his own path.
Driving away, as his reflection in the rearview mirror became smaller and smaller, I was overcome with emotion. All the memories of raising a child came flooding back. If you’ve ever sent a kid off to college, I’m sure you had a similar experience.
The days of being a parent are long, but the years are very short. Throughout that precious period, you do your best to guide your children so that when they leave they go on to lead happy and successful lives.
A major part of that journey is making sound decisions on their behalf. It means being in tune with your child’s struggles and working together as a family to help them overcome any obstacles.
Being a parent isn’t easy, but it is without a doubt the most rewarding experience I have ever had. Having gone through it, I cannot comprehend how any parent would be OK with the state replacing them in their role.
Last month my office received dozens of letters from parents with kids enrolled in the William S. Hart Union High School District. They wanted the school board to discuss implementing a parental notification policy. Actually, their letters didn’t even go quite that far. Their request was simply for the district to add the topic as an agenda item for the Oct. 18 meeting.
I was more than happy to echo their calls, and I even presented my own letter of support to the board. I was at first frustrated by the board’s decision to not address the issue that evening, but I am relieved to see that it will be discussed at the upcoming meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
Transparency on this matter is more important than ever, so I want to thank district Superintendent Mike Kuhlman and President Bob Jensen for allowing parents the opportunity to voice their rightful concerns.
According to a recent Rasmussen Reports/Real Impact survey of California voters, 91% believe that parents, not the government, hold the bigger responsibility to raise a child. An overwhelming 88% support being notified by school officials if their child has a change in mental conditions, like showing signs of depression or suicidal thoughts. A solid 71% don’t believe a person under age 18 is mature enough to make important life decisions on their own.
Yet this year the state of California made clear its mission to erase your vital role as a parent and let government bureaucrats raise your children. As a member of the Senate Education Committee, I sat at ground zero through this insanity, barraged by bad bill after bad bill aiming to do just this.
Bills like Assembly Bill 957, which the governor thankfully vetoed. That bill would have required courts to consider whether a parent affirms their child’s gender identity when making custody decisions. However, he signed AB 665, which allows children as young as 12 years old to consent to mental health treatment without parental approval, and AB 223, which requires courts to seal a petition by a minor to legally change their gender or sex identification.
All this is being done in the name of “progress” and for the health, well-being and safety of children.
In California, we raised the age of smoking to 21, and you can’t drink until you’re 21. Our progressive policies even go as far as allowing some of the most violent adult offenders to be retried for crimes they committed as a minor. Why? Because they were too young to understand fully what they were doing and what the grave consequences of their actions would be.
So why are we racing to reverse course when it comes to our children’s mental health?
Why are we opening the door to enable children to make decisions that could alter the entire course of their life?
No parental consent at all? Parents have a right to be involved.
There are valid questions, concerns and criticisms that deserve to be heard. California’s progressive legislators are treating parents who disagree with their agenda as if the parents actively are seeking to ruin their child’s life.
I know this is not the case with the overwhelming majority of parents. If there is an issue of abuse at home, there are laws on the books to hold those abusers accountable and keep kids safe.
Social media subjects our youth to unprecedented amounts of information and the pressure to fit in can be overwhelming. Because of this, they struggle with anxiety and depression far more than we did when we were their age. These are matters to discuss at home.
Local control is one of the most beautiful things about living in a free society. The school board has the right to implement or not implement policies, and the parents who elected those board members have the right to voice their concerns regarding their kids’ well-being.
Parents are voiceless in California right now. I thank the board for doing the right thing, for listening to the parents and allowing them to speak on this issue. I look forward to the board’s upcoming meeting and to a robust discussion on this much-needed policy.
Sen. Scott Wilk represents the 21st Senate District, which includes the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Victor valleys.