The school year hasn't even begun at Rim of the World Unified School District. But already a controversy is brewing after Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) said he'd be pulling his sons out of school.
Donnelly says his 13-year-old son won't be going back to middle school, and it remains unclear if his 16-year-old son will return to his high school once classes resume next week. Donnelly calls the transgender bill not only an invasion of student privacy, but a recipe for disaster.
"It's as if our public schools have stopped being public schools and now they're government indoctrination centers," said Donnelly.
Last week Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill requiring school districts to allow kindergarten through 12th-grade transgender students access to sports teams, bathrooms and locker rooms based on the gender they identify with, rather than the gender they were born.
Donnelly says his 13- and 16-year-old sons were horrified at the idea of possibly sharing facilities with a girl who identified as a boy. When asked if there were any transgender students at either of his children's schools, Donnelly said he didn't know.
"Why should we make 98 percent of the kids comfortable and how does that serve the less than 2 percent that feel that way?" said Donnelly.
Governor Brown received 6,000 signatures collected by a transgender teen urging him to sign the bill into law, which he did.
Supporters of the law say it will help reduce bullying and discrimination against transgender students.
"I don't think an entire class of young people who are vulnerable to discrimination and harassment, I don't think they should be denied their rights under the law because of the discomfort of other people," said John O'Connor, executive director of Equality California.
In Donnelly's town of Twin Peaks, many disagree.
"This transgender thing, I think it's just another politically correct thing that is incorrect," said Twin Peaks resident Tom Carr.
"I don't think that's right. The boys should be separated with the boys and the girls with the girls. You shouldn't be crossing them over," said Twin Peaks resident Larry Thomas.
While the law is the first of its kind for the state, some school districts have already implemented elements of it.
"All of LAUSD already has this policy in place and there are no problems with its operation," said O'Connor.
Already there are several groups seeking to overturn the law through a ballot initiative in the next election. The transgender law is set to take effect on January 1, 2014.