Yet another California school district introduces parental notification policy for trans students

Students in a classroom.

Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District is the latest school district in California to introduce a controversial parental notification policy for students who wish to socially transition – despite the state’s Attorney General’s opposition.

The Roseville-based school board met last week to discuss implementing the policy, which would see parents and guardians notified right away if their child requests to go by a new name or set of pronouns, or to use facilities or join teams that don’t align with the sex on their official records.

Parents, educators, and advocates on both sides attended the meeting to say their piece.

While those opposed to the policy warned that it could be detrimental to the well-being of transgender and non-binary students, those in favour argued that parental rights were under attack.

California protest in support of transgender minors.
California schools are attempting to adopt student-outing policies. (Getty Images)

Dry Creek is just the latest of a number of California School Districts to implement such policies, following in the footsteps of Rocklin Unified School District, Anderson Union High School District, Temecula Valley Unified School District, and Murrieta Valley School District.

That’s despite stark warnings from California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta, who has been urging school boards to consider the devastating impacts this could have on students’ mental health and wellbeing.

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Following last week’s Dry Creek School District meeting, General Bonta wrote an urgent letter to the Board and Superintendent Brad Tooker expressing concern over its potential infringements on student safety, anti-discrimination, equal protection, and privacy rights.

“Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District’s decision to adopt a forced outing policy poses a serious threat to the emotional, psychological, and physical safety and privacy of transgender and gender-nonconforming students,” he wrote, per ABC 10.

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Rob Bonta, California Attorney-General
California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta has opposed all attempts to pass parental notification policies. (Getty Images)

“My office is closely monitoring the decision and will not tolerate districts that target and compromise the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of this vulnerable community. At the California Department of Justice, we will continue advancing the rights and protections of every student.”

Elsewhere in his letter, Bonta listed some alternative policies that would allow schools to involve parents while still respecting the privacy of students.

They included helping students to initiate conversations with parents, recognising the harm that children could suffer by being involuntarily ‘outed’ to their parents, and respecting students’ requests not to inform parents or guardians of their social transitioning and instead listening to their reasoning.

In August, Bonta filed a lawsuit against Chino Valley Unified School District over their similar forced outing policy. As a result, the San Bernardino Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order against Chino Valley’s gender identity disclosure policy.

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