California is poised to codify at the state level what the feds were once requested to do — that is, turn inquisitive parents into criminals for daring to question their school board representatives.
Senate Bill 596, introduced by Democratic State Senator Anthony Portantino in February and dubbed the “School Employees: Protection” act, expands an existing law “which makes it a misdemeanor for any ‘person’ to threaten or harass a school employee during the ‘course of [their] duties,'” according to the California Globe.
This expansion adds a penalty for creating a “substantial disorder” at any meeting of a public school board, charter school board, county board of education, and the California State Board of Education.
Although “substantial disorder” is not precisely defined, the bill notes that “course of conduct” is “a pattern of conduct composed of two or more acts over a period of time, however short … evidencing a continuity of purpose.”
Gone from the definition of “harassment” is “unlawful violence” and “credible threat of violence,” and in its place is “torments, or terrorizes.”
It’s not difficult to figure out what’s happening here. A concerned parent at a school board meeting asks a board member a question and reiterates it (thereby establishing a “course of conduct”) … and if the board member feels “tormented” the parent can be arrested and charged with a fine between $500 and $1,000 and face up to a year in jail.
Or, as the Globe’s Kenny Snell (a retired longtime teacher) put it, “In California-speak, that means school boards get to decide what is substantial and what is not; what is harassment and what is not. In Totalitarian-speak that means don’t dare even think about going to a school board meeting and question their narrative or policies.”
Keep in mind that last year the National School Boards Association — in collaboration with the Biden administration — wanted the U.S. Department of Justice to label outspoken parents “domestic terrorists” and the National Guard to monitor school board meetings.
The NSBA had complained of “acts of malice” and “aggression” by parents — eerily similar to the California bill’s “torments.”
Two other pieces of concerning legislation in the Golden State noted by the California Policy Center include Corey Jackson’s (D) Assembly Bill 1078 and Mia Bonta’s Assembly Bill 1352.
The former would give local school boards’ power to make curriculum decisions to education bureaucrats in the state capital, while the latter “would allow a duly elected school board member to be removed from office if he or she disagrees with the votes of teachers union-backed board members.”
IMAGE: Devin Cook/WMC