The California Legislature is moving a bill through the legislative process that could very well criminalize passionate parents that speak up a school board meetings. Indeed, the law could apply to any passionate community partner who dares to voice a contrary opinion to the powers that be. The bill is “SB 596 School Employees: Protection,” and was last seen in the Assembly’s Public Safety Committee on July 11. It passed with a 6-0 vote.
SB 596 was introduced by State Senator Portantino (D-San Fernando Valley) back in February 2023. The bill amends an existing law which makes it a misdemeanor for any “person” to threaten or harass a school employee during the “course of [their] duties“. The offense is punishable by a $500-$1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.
Sounds reasonable. Evidently Portantino didn’t think so, or he perhaps he just wanted to one-up the Biden administration’s DoJ attacks on parents. In any case, Portantino, who has a background in education and receives 20% of his campaign contributions from the labor sector (including teacher unions), saw fit to intimidate the public by suggesting amendments to the California Code.
SB 596 would expand the code to include causing “substantial disorder” at any meeting of school boards, charter school boards, county boards of education, and even the State Board of Education itself. The bill also expands the definition of “school employee” to any official or employees of those boards, and their families.
The bill does not provide a definition for “substantial disorder.” However, the bill does define “harassment,” or rather redefines it. Gone is the definition from the penal code which describes harassment as “following,” “stalking,” or making harassing phone calls or correspondence to an individual. In it is “a pattern of conduct composed of two or more acts…evidencing a continuity of purpose.”
What does that even mean? If a parent questions a principal or a teacher more than once, which would result in hurt feelings, does that evidence a continuity of purpose?
A similar change was made for the definition of harassment. Gone is the “credible threat of violence… annoys, or harasses,” in is “torments, or terrorizes.”
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. Totalitarians prefer community partners that are subdued, compliant, and simply to terrified to question their betters. Totalitarians criminalize passionate passionate parents and community partners that upset the status quo.
From California Globe