A new bill introduced in California would criminalize “substantial disorder,” by parents protesting at school board meetings.
Critics claim the legislation is an attempt to punish parents who oppose transgender and racial ideology in curriculum.
“This bill would specify, for purposes of the above-described offense, that “substantial disorder” includes substantial disorder at any meeting of the governing board of a school district, the governing body of a charter school, a county board of education, or the State Board of Education. The bill would define a “school employee” as any employee or official of a school district, a charter school, a county office of education, a county board of education, the state board, or the State Department of Education. To the extent the bill expands the scope of an existing crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program,” the state legislative counsel’s digest explained.
Parents have raised concern that the bill would violate their First Amendment Rights.
“It’s clear they’re trying to chill parents from speaking out,” Sarah Parshall Perry, a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, said.
“I find it curious that there’s no definition of ‘substantial’ or ‘disruption’ within the proposed text,” Perry continued. “Considering that these are essential terms for the bill, it’s likely that if passed, the law would fall under a vagueness challenge.”
Exemptions in the bill that would apply to school employees are not extended to apply to parents, leaving them vulnerable. The bill has already passed the California State Senate, where it passed by a 30-8 vote, and it is currently moving through the California State Assembly. Democrats hold supermajorities in both houses, leaving little leverage for Republicans to object.