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NorCal school board approves policy outing LGBTQ kids to parents | #childsafety | #kids | #chldern | #parents | #schoolsafey


The Rocklin Unified School District office in Rocklin, Calif. On Wednesday, the district’s board approved a policy that would require district staff to out LGBTQ children to their parents. 

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Rocklin Unified School District officials approved a policy Wednesday that requires parents to be notified if their child requests to be identified by a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth. 

The policy also requires parents to be notified if their child requests to use a different name, not including “commonly recognized” nicknames, or requests to use pronouns that “do not align with the child’s biological sex or gender.” Additionally, the policy requires the district — located in Northern California, a short distance from Sacramento — to notify parents if their child requests access to sex-segregated school programs or facilities, such as sports teams or bathrooms, that do not align with the gender the child was assigned at birth. 

The policy was approved by the district’s school board in a 4-1 vote following a raucous six-hour meeting on Wednesday night, which saw dozens of spectators cram into the district’s board room. Before the vote, the board members who supported the policy praised its impending passage as a victory for parents. 

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“Tonight, what we are discussing and we are addressing is a conversation with a parent, and right now there is no state or federal law that says that a student’s rights supercede a parent’s rights,” said Tiffany Saathoff, the board’s vice president. “It’s not in writing anywhere.” 

The board’s vote comes amid a national conversation about the rights of LGBTQ students — especially transgender and nonbinary students — in America’s public schools. LGBTQ advocates say that such policies threaten the privacy and safety of trans students who may feel comfortable expressing themselves around their friends, but not in front of their parents. 

During Wednesday’s meeting, a member of the audience expressed the concern that forcing a child to come out to their parents may lead to a hostile environment at home, which can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, or even suicide. The audience member, who said they were a student at Rocklin High School, said they have friends who have tried to commit suicide as a result of feeling unheard in their homes. 

“I personally have a friend who would not be safe in his home if he came out to his parents as trans,” the student said. “He would not be safe. His siblings would not be kind to him. And his parents would not be kind to him.”

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Other members of the audience argued that the policy would actually foster healthy discussion between parents and their children, and further asserted that it’s the right of parents to know if their child is, without their knowledge, wishing to change their gender identity.

“On the whole, parents are the best protectors of children and have the natural right and duty for the care, custody and control over their children,” one person told the board during their public comment. 

Studies have long shown that LGBTQ youths who live in unsupported environments are more likely to experience harassment, as well as feelings of danger and isolation, compared to their peers. Familial rejection has been linked to high rates of homelessness among LGBTQ kids.

Nevertheless, Saathoff — along with board members Julie Hupp, Rachelle Price and Dereck Counter — voted to approve the policy, which only allows school teachers and administrators a brief 48-hour parental notification delay “when a staff member in conjunction with the site administrator determines based on credible evidence that such notification may result in substantial jeopardy to the child’s safety.” Only board member Michelle Sutherland voted against the policy. 

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The board’s vote came just one day after state Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that a court in San Bernardino County ordered the Chino Valley Unified School District to halt enforcement of a similar policy, which the board approved over the summer. Bonta’s office had sued the district over its policy, and said in a statement on Thursday that the policy in Rocklin could suffer a similar fate.

“I have said it before and I will say it again: We will not tolerate any policy that perpetuates discrimination, harassment, or exclusion within our educational institutions,” Bonta said in the statement.

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