California School District Will Make Staff Out Trans Students to Their Parents

Author: Trudy Ring

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District in Southern California has adopted a policy requiring faculty and staff to out transgender and gender-nonconforming students to their parents.

The district’s board of trustees approved the policy by a 3-2 vote Thursday night after a meeting that saw impassioned statements by both supporters and opponents, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“As a parent myself, I can’t help but think how anti-family the current state guidance is,” said Jessica Tapia, who supported the proposal. The California Department of Education has advised that students are entitled to privacy about their gender identity under the state’s constitution. Tapia is “a former high school teacher who alleged the Jurupa Unified School District fired her for refusing to comply with gender-affirming policies,” and she’s suing the district, the Times notes.

But “people don’t choose to be transgender; they are transgender,” said another parent, Marinna De Brauwere, according to the paper. “School may be the one and only affirming space for these transgender youth.”

Board members likewise expressed differing opinions, L.A. TV station KABC reports. “I do think that passing it sends a strong signal to the community that we stand with parental rights,” trustee Nicolas Pardue said.

“On that note, I would say that passing this board policy sends a clear message to our students that they are not safe in our schools,” trustee Linda Lunn replied. The board’s student trustee had urged other trustees to vote against it.

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond had advised the board not to consider the policy, which was proposed by board President Paul F. Diffley III, and the district’s attorney had cautioned that it might bring about legal action.

In an interview with the Times before Thursday’s meeting, Diffley said, “As a parent, I would want to know about everything that concerns my child’s mental health and physical health while they’re at school. I don’t think there should be anything hidden because I have a fundamental right as a parent to bring up my child. … If I can’t get all the information I need to have to have a reasonable discussion with my child, then the school is not doing its job.”

Another Southern California school district, Chino Valley Unified, recently adopted a similar policy, along with limits on what flags can be displayed (it excludes the LGBTQ+ Pride flag). The California attorney general has opened a civil rights investigation into the district, and the teachers’ union for Chino Valley has filed an unfair practice charge objecting to the policy.

Yet another area district, Temecula Valley Unified, saw controversy over LGBTQ+ issues this year, with its board initially refusing to adopt an inclusive social studies textbook with supplemental materials that mentioned groundbreaking San Francisco gay politician Harvey Milk. One board member called Milk a pedophile. The board, under threat of a fine from the state, later OK’d the curriculum but placed a hold on materials about Milk and the LGBTQ+ rights movement pending further review. The district remains under investigation by the California Department of Education and attorney general.

California AG Rob Bonta issued a statement condemning Murrieta Valley’s action but did not say if there would be an investigation. “I am deeply disturbed to learn another school district has put at risk the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students by adopting a forced outing policy,” he said. “My office remains committed to ensuring school policies do not target or seek to discriminate against California’s most vulnerable communities. California will not stand for violations of our students’ civil rights.”

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Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Trudy Ring

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