Clashes erupt as number of school districts with gender notification policies in California doubles overnight

(The Center Square) – Two more school boards adopted parental notification rules for gender changes, making them the third and fourth school districts in the California to do so.

The same day…

(The Center Square) – Two more school boards adopted parental notification rules for gender changes, making them the third and fourth school districts in the California to do so.

The same day two new districts adopted these policies, hundreds of parents and concerned citizens gathered in downtown Los Angeles to call for the city to adopt a similar notification policy, resulting in clashes with counter-protestors presenting themselves as members of United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA).

Anderson Union High School District and Temecula Valley Unified School District provisions mandate that the schools notify parents of any injury, bullying, talks about suicide, or requests to identify with or participate in programs or use school facilities that are for a gender different from what is on their birth certificate or official records. These policies were modeled on similar policies adopted by school districts Murrietta and Chino Valley based on AB 1314, a California Assembly measure proposed by Assemblymember Bill Essayli (R-Woodcrest) that failed to be heard by committee.

On the same day Anderson and Temecula Valley held their school board meetings, hundreds of parents and activists assembled in downtown Los Angeles to march from City Hall to the Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters to demand the city’s schools adopt a similar policy, drawing counter-protestors wearing UTLA apparel. According to a statement to The Center Square from freelance Anthony Cabassa, who recorded the event, a brief clash between pro-parent and pro-UTLA activists occurred as pro-parent activists attempted to use a bathroom around which pro-UTLA activists had gathered. There were several arrests due to individuals from both sides refusing to comply with police demands to move or disperse, according to Cabassa. 

While UTLA did not respond to in inquiry confirming whether or not its members attended the counter-protest, the organization did issue a statement in response the parent’s event, which they called a “homophobic” and “fascist” rally, writing, “UTLA is committed to defending our communities and protecting our schools as sanctuaries for educators, students, and families where diverse identities are recognized. We will fight to center queer and trans history and culture.”

Temecula Valley Unified School District was recently at the center of national controversy for  its initial decision to not purchase textbooks from a state-approved social studies curriculum that its board contended introduced 4th grade students to sexual identity at too young an age. After pressure from California Governor Gavin Newsom, including the threat of $1.5 million in fines, Temecula Valley ultimately purchased the textbooks and adopted the curriculum. 

After Temecula Valley adopted the new parental notification policy, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued the following statement in a press release: “My office is closely monitoring the situation and will not tolerate districts compromising the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students. We will remain committed to ensuring school policies do not violate students’ civil rights.”

Earlier, Bonta also announced the opening of a civil rights investigation against Chino Valley’s school district, which was the first to adopt a parental notification policy that included gender changes. The California Policy Center, a think tank that is providing support for parental notification laws across the state, filed a complaint with the California Bar Association alleging that Bonta misrepresented California law to intimidate Chino Valley’s board into not adopting the policy. The California Bar Association is currently reviewing these allegations.