CLOVIS, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – It was a packed and passionate board room in Clovis on Wednesday night during the Clovis Unified School District Board meeting.
The district said 87 speakers signed up to speak about a transgender notification policy that wasn’t even on the board’s agenda.
Dozens of people were in support of a written notification policy, arguing for parents’ rights. “Please vote to adopt a written transgender notification policy thank you,” one speaker said. “Even if there’s an injury on the playground, we notify the parents,” another added.
But many were also against a policy, saying it constitutes to forced outing.
“Unfortunately, in the quest to increase parental rights you sacrificed student rights,” a speaker said. “The children have the right to tell their parents when they want to come out,” another added arguing a policy would be harmful.
It’s been a hot topic across California schools after a district in San Bernadino County implemented a notification policy a few weeks ago. Their policy stated if a student requests to go by a different name, use a different restroom, or in any other way come out as transgender, educators must notify the student’s parents. State Attorney General Rob Bonta is now suing that district.
Executive director Jason Scott for the LGBTQ+ community network says CUSD’s policy is forced outing and dangerous to transgender youth who are already at a high risk of homelessness and suicide.
“Until March of this year, the district had an inclusive policy, supported and authored by the school psychologist, and we would like to see them go back to that policy,” Scott said.
During Wednesday night’s meeting, one woman auguring against a notification policy, held up her child’s ashes in an urn, saying her transgender child died by suicide partly, due to a non-accepting school environment
CUSD public information officer Kelly Avants said their existing policy takes into account individual students and they’re paying attention to the lawsuit between the southern California district and the state.
“We do not have a one-size-fits-all policy that dictates exactly how every situation is handled,” Avants stated.
When asked what she would say if a parent asked if they had a notification policy or not, Avants said parents would need to communicate with the district directly, and couldn’t give an answer to a theoretical question.
“Our practices in Clovis Unified balance the rights and responsibilities and obligations that the guardian holds, with the rights of a student to have access to those facilities,” Avants said.
This issue was not on the agenda, so no action was taken Wednesday night, and board members did not comment on whether they were going to adopt a notification policy or not.