On Thursday, Sept. 7, Rocklin Unified School District and Orange Unified School District became the latest districts in California to pass policies that require school staff to notify parents if a child identifies as transgender.
In separate votes—Rocklin in the early morning and Orange in the late evening—the school boards approved regulations that enable parents to know about their children’s decisions at school.
At Rocklin’s meeting, concerned parent Beth Bourne shared, “It’s actually compassion if you tell a child or a teen who’s struggling with identity issues that changing their bodies with drugs and surgeries will not solve all their problems. And that there’s no wrong way to be a boy or a girl. Please support parental rights. Basic safeguarding of children means not keeping secrets from parents.”
Rocklin’s policy requires school staff to tell parents within three school days if their child asks to be identified as a gender different than their birth certificate, would like to be called by a different legal name (besides a common nickname) or alternative pronouns, or if they would like access to sex-segregated school programs and activities. The board of trustees also added that the student’s gender identity is to stay confidential to everyone besides the student’s parents.
After the vote, the Rocklin board of trustees said, “We trust our parents to know what is best for their children. We believe that the best way to address these challenges is together, with open communication and clear expectations. The board’s action to strengthen parental notification and communication reinforces our commitment to include parents in school activities and decisions related to their child.”
Similarly, Orange’s regulation states that students under 12 years old who desire to identify as a gender that’s not their biological sex are to see a school counselor or psychologist, who is to notify the principal. Afterward, the principal will have five days to tell parents, if there is no obvious danger to the student.
“I kind of thought throughout this whole process … you know, about the child,” Orange Unified School Board President Rick Ledesma said. “Parents decide to conceive a child. Then the mother carries the child for nine months—we all know this—only to send their child eventually to school and [for the child] to be told to keep a secret, and because supposedly it comes down from the state. So my concern there is this child keeping a secret and, you know, potentially there’s lies being said, and this child is 12 years old … [and] is ready to change their lives forever.”
Six of California school districts now have similar policies advocating for parental rights over children’s privacy. Other school districts who have adopted these policies include Chino Valley Unified School District, Murrieta Valley Unified School District, Temecula Valley Unified School District, and Anderson Union High School District.
Despite support from many, these policies have not been adopted without opposition.
Both of Thursday’s meetings saw angry protests from the LGBTQ+ community—and some of Rocklin’s teachers even passed out rainbow ribbons at the six-and-a-half-hour school board meeting. A shouting match occurred at Orange’s meeting after three board members walked out in opposition.
In addition, California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit that resulted in a temporary restraining order on the first district to green light the transgender notification policy, Chino Valley Unified School District. Jonathan Keller, California Family Council president, referred to the order as “a temporary setback in the ongoing struggle to affirm parents’ God-given and constitutionally protected right to direct the upbringing and education of their children.”
“Parents have every right to know what’s happening with their kids. State politicians need to stay in their lane and stop meddling in parents’ efforts to raise their children,” said former state Sen. Melissa Melendez.
“What this whole issue is about is: Who gets to raise our kids? Who gets to raise the next generation of Californians? Is it the government, or is it their parents?” added Assemblyman Bill Essayli.
Photo: Screen shot from Rocklin School Board Stream YouTube channel