Last week, the Murrieta Valley Unified School District approved a policy mandating staff members notify parents if a student wishes to “identify” as gender different from their biological sex. This makes it the second school district in the Inland Empire region to adopt such a policy.
At the conclusion of an extended meeting on Thursday, the board voted 3-2 in favor of the proposal, eliciting cheers and applause from the individuals who had stayed to hear the decision. The board endorsed the proposal despite receiving advice from the district’s legal counsel during the meeting, cautioning that the new policy might raise legal concerns.
The proposal was put forth by board President Paul F. Diffley III and clerk Nicolas Pardue. It mirrored the most recent policy from Chino Valley Unified School District, which similarly mandates that staff inform parents if their child wants to change their name or pronoun in order to identify as a gender different from what is listed on their birth certificate..
During a school board meeting lasting almost three hours on Thursday, parents and students recounted personal stories — discussing transgender children they knew and expressing worries about suicide rate statistics. A number of teachers revealed unease about not sharing information with parents, while others worried that engaging in this discussion might attract state authorities to interfere with the board’s autonomy. Some attendees displayed signs reading “Protect Family Bonds,” while other attendees sported rainbow-themed clothing.
Shortly after the meeting began, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond sent an email to the board, urging them to retract the item, mirroring a request he had made to Chino Valley Unified.
Advocates for the proposition argued that if students were grappling with gender dysphoria, parents were in the best position to provide them with guidance. “As a parent myself, I can’t help but think how anti-family the current state guidance is,” said Jessica Tapia, a former teacher who accused the Jurupa Unified School District of firing her for refusing to abide by gender-affirming policies. “Parents are the greatest protectors,” she told the Los Angeles Times.
In a pre-meeting interview, School Board President Diffley discussed the driving factors behind his proposal. “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,” he said. “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.”
School district trustee Nick Pardue, who proposed the policy, noted that the most important part of this story is that “parents’ voices are beginning to be heard in California,” according to Fox News.
There is never a valid reason to hide vital information about students from their parents. Hopefully, this trend of protecting parents rights continues.