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Orange Unified Commits to Informing Parents about Student ID Changes – Los Angeles Times



Last Updated on September 9, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes

Title: Orange Unified School Board Requires Parental Notification for Transgender Students

Orange Unified School Board becomes the sixth California school system to mandate parental notification for transgender students, following a lawsuit filed against Chino schools. Amid a heated and prolonged board meeting, votes were cast, and concerns raised both in favor and against the resolution.

The controversial decision prompted three board members who opposed the measure to walk out, citing safety concerns, after a disturbance from opponents of the resolution. The policy requires parental notification when a student wishes to identify as a gender different from their biological sex or the gender listed on their birth certificate. It also covers the usage of different names, pronouns, participation in athletics, and access to facilities that align with their gender identity.

Similar policies have been implemented in other California school districts, including Chino, Murrieta, Temecula, Anderson Union High School District, and Rocklin. Supporters argue that the policy is essential to protect the well-being of the child and facilitate open communication with parents. On the other hand, opponents express concerns that the policy may jeopardize transgender and gender-nonconforming students by prematurely “outing” them before they are ready.

Revisions to the policy were made in an attempt to address student privacy concerns. It has been clarified that parental notification is not mandatory for children aged 12 or older if it poses a risk to their safety. Furthermore, teachers are required to inform the principal within two days of learning about a student’s gender identity-related actions, and parents must be notified within five days.

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During the highly charged meeting, passionate speeches were delivered by supporters and opponents of the resolution, including parents and activists from across Southern California. Supporters emphasized the importance of parental involvement and expressed concerns about children making life-altering decisions at a young age. Conversely, opponents argued for policies that prioritize the protection and support of students, stressing the need for a compassionate and equitable school environment.

To emphasize the significance of parental involvement, a parent shared a personal experience of not being notified about an incident involving her child, which ultimately led her to homeschool her daughter. However, the decision by the Orange Unified school board has faced criticism from opposing board members and activists who believe it fosters a toxic and hateful environment.

Currently, legal challenges are being mounted against the policy, with a San Bernardino County Superior Court judge issuing an order to block the Chino district from enforcing a similar policy, in response to a request from the state. The fate of the Orange Unified school board’s decision remains uncertain as the debate surrounding parental notification for transgender students wages on.

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