California Assemblyman Tim Donnelly will be pulling at least one of this children out of public school in response to a recently passed bill that greatly expands the rights of transgender students.
Assembly Bill 1266 was signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown last week and will go into effect Jan. 1. It will give K-12 students the ability "to participate in sex-segregated programs, activities and facilities" based on their gender identities rather than their physical sex.
However, in a letter to conservative outlet WND.com, republican state lawmaker Donnelly said the law is an invasion of students' privacy and explained his sons will not be returning to public school as a result.
“Allowing teenage boys and girls in the same locker room, showering side by side, is a bad idea,” Donnelly wrote. “This will take the normal hormonal battles raging inside every teenager and pour gasoline onto those simmering coals.”
“My boys, who went back to the public school after many years away, will not be returning," he added.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Donnelly said that his sons, aged 13 and 16, are “horrified” at the prospect of using the same bathrooms as peers who were born female. He said that his younger son will definitely not be returning to his school in Rim of the World Unified School District in the San Bernardino Mountains, while his older son is still weighing his options.
"If it doesn't change his school experience, he may still stay," Donnelly said of his high-school student. "We don't know yet how this policy is going to affect our town."
California is the first state to pass a law addressing the rights of transgender students. Advocates of the law say it will give transgender students the same opportunities to succeed in public schools as non-transgender students. However, opposition groups say that the bill will cause problems for a majority of public school students.
"No 13-year-old girl should ever have to worry about a 16-year-old boy entering showers where she's showering on the pretext that he is a she," Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute of Sacramento, told the San Jose Mercury News of the bill.
Dacus’ group and the California-based Capitol Resource Institute both hope to overturn the law. According to the Associated Press, the groups took actions last week to place a referendum of AB1266 on the California ballot.