California Superintendent Threatens School Board Over Proposal To Tell Parents About Trans Students

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August 11, 2023

The head of California's Department of Education in a Thursday letter pressured a school district to withdraw a proposal that requires school officials to notify parents if their child identifies as another gender.

California state superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond told the Murrieta Valley Unified School Board that its consideration of a policy directing schools to notify parents of changes in students' gender identities will "put students who identify as LGBTQ+ at risk."

"Unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ students are in situations where they could encounter harm or abuse even in their own homes if their sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed before they are ready," Thurmond wrote. He also noted that California's Attorney General's Office has opened civil rights investigations into districts that have adopted similar policies and encouraged the board to shield itself from "any unnecessary potential liability or scrutiny."

The school board on Thursday night approved the policy in a 3-2 vote, with school board member Nicolas Pardue praising the measure for ensuring parents "get a heads up."

California attorney general Rob Bonta last week probed Southern California's Chino Valley Unified School District over its parental notification policy.

Blue states have made a practice of forbidding schools from notifying parents of changes to students' sexual orientation and gender identity.

New Jersey governor Phil Murphy (D.) in July said keeping such developments secret is "the American way," defending his administration's decision to sue school districts that adopt parental notification policies.