Santa Clarita Students, Parents Advocate For Children Bill Of Rights
About a dozen of students and parents from the Santa Clarita Valley were in Sacramento on Monday to advocate for a new Bill of Rights to guarantee the ‘inherent rights’ of children.
The group joined about 300 students, parents and teachers from all over the state to lobby for the passage of Senate Bill 18 — the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in California.
“We need to guarantee the basic rights for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Andrew Taban, one of the students. “There are changes happening on the federal level — California needs to make sure children are protected.”
The students and parents met with Senators Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park; Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove; Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale as well as representatives from Senator Scott Wilk, R-Antelope Valley and Assemblyman Dante Acosta, R-Santa Clarita.
The group traveled to Sacramento on a bus with the Common Sense Kids Action — a nonprofit that advocates for children at the state and national levels.
“Common Sense Kids Action’s mission is educating and advocating for the needs of children,” Sheryl Lima, parent organizer. “The goal of the bill is to ‘give some teeth’ to existing legislation — we are not mandating anything for parents.”
This new legislation would give more accountability to a similar act passed in 2009, said the author Senator Richard Pan.
Some parents fear the potental bill is the government telling parents how to raise thier children — they feel this legilation is an overstep.
The bill declares that all children and youth — regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, culture, religion, immigration status, sexual orientation or ability — have inherent rights that entitle them to protection, special care and assistance.
SB18 would guarantee the right for children to have access to healthcare and education and also ensures children have opportunities to attain optimal cognitive, physical, and social development.
“If you help the children, you the help future,” said Lima. “This new legislation would guarantee basic needs for children in California.”