Picture that appears on Koziatek's website
(Image by Marilyn Koziatek for School Board 2020 General) Details DMCAtps://childrenshungerfund.org/about#beliefs">We believe that the term 'marriage' has only one meaning: the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union, as delineated in Scripture"
- Children's Hunger Fund
As the Senate rushes through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to take the seat of the late Justice Ginsburg on the Supreme Court, it is clear that representatives in state and local government will become the first line of defense for Constitutional rights of privacy and marriage equality.
Having called for "an end to the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade and [to] restore laws that protect the lives of unborn children", Barrett is likely to take away women's right to control their bodies. Justices Thomas and Alito are already salivating at the opportunity to overturn Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 ruling that guaranteed marriage equality for all Americans and protects the security of thousands of households here in Los Angeles. Many of the affected families of children in LAUSD schools.
The persistence of deeply ingrained intolerance against LGBTQ+ people has devastating effects on students. According to the Centers for Disease Control, "LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth." Children from families who do not support their orientation "are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection." Among the homeless youth population, 40 percent are LGBTQ+ young people.
The renewed attack on the hard-earned rights enshrined in Obergefell is sure to embolden those with bigoted views towards LGBTQ+ people and young people perceived to be non-gender conforming. School board members must confront this head-on with policies that ensure that our schools are safe zones equipped to stop bullying and provide the services that are needed. This includes factual sex education that gives students complete information they need to keep themselves safe.
In the LAUSD Board District 3 election, it is clear that only one candidate is devoted to equity and protection for all students. The incumbent, lifetime educator Scott Schmerelson, is endorsed by LGBTQ+ leaders and the Stonewall Democratic Club which encompasses "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight allies of the LGBT community." His opponent, Marilyn Koziatek, is supported by Abby Bailes, a neighborhood council member who invited someone from an anti-LGBT hate group to speak at a public forum. Koziatek's official campaign website also includes a picture of her family posing in front of the logo of an organization that promotes the discriminatory statement that marriage is only comprised of "the uniting of one man and one woman in a single, exclusive union."
Further troubling questions about efforts by Koziatek and her family to undermine Constitutional rights have surfaced in conjunction with the Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic. While this agency will appear as "Abortion - Open Arms Pregnancy Clinic" as a result of a Google search for "abortion clinic Northridge", it does not perform abortions or refer a pregnant woman to a doctor who can. In fact, they "do not provide extended OB/GYN or prenatal care, birth control, abortion services, referrals for abortions or birth control, or STI/STD testing."
Open Arms is a pregnancy counseling center. These "typically exist to steer women away from abortions" and can even engage in coercion and shaming to achieve their goal. Some women who have visited these centers have reported that they "told staff...that they wanted an abortion and were given deceptive information, such as in one case being told that it was too late to terminate her pregnancy."
Once again, the choice for voters is clear. Board Member Scott Schmerelson is endorsed by the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County. Koziatek is supported by those opposed to comprehensive sexual education. Her family raised money for a clinic that seeks to deceive and even shame women to deprive them of the knowledge of all of the choices available to them.
When promoters of unaccountable charter schools circulated anti-Semitic flyers that were "crude", "inappropriate" and "unacceptable", Koziatek, used the excuse that she had no control over what independent groups released, even if they were meant to help her campaign. Her family's support of an organization that defrauds women considering the course of a pregnancy brings the denial of rights closer to home. Her decision to promote an organization that engages in vile anti-gay rhetoric makes her complicit in efforts to stigmatize LGBTQ+ people and families at a time when they under the shadow of an attack on their Constitutional rights.
Koziatek and the campaign to put her into office are alienating students who rely on the integrity of their school board member to vigorously uphold privacy and equality. Since a school board member must be counted on to champion the rights of all students and families without exception, Koziatek is not fit for this office.
Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a "strong supporter of public schools." For links to his blogs, please visit www.ChangeTheLAUSD.com. Opinions are his own.