Murrieta Valley school district approves anti-trans policy

Murrieta Valley school district

The Murrieta Valley school district has followed in the footsteps of the Chino Valley school district and approved a policy that requires teachers to out trans and gender-nonconforming students to their parents. Photo: Murrieta Valley Unified School District YouTube page.

The Murrieta Valley school district has followed in the footsteps of the Chino Valley school district and approved a policy that requires teachers to out trans and gender-nonconforming students to their parents.

Murrieta Valley school district

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District board voted last month to accept the policy passed by the Chino Valley unified school board on July 20 “as is.”

If a student requests to identify with a gender different than what is on their birth certificate or other official documents, the policy requires that their parents or guardians be notified in writing within three days.

If a student wants to use a bathroom or participates in activities that do not align with the gender on their student record, their parents also would be told.

Chino Valley school district sued over anti-trans policy

Officials raise concerns

Murrieta Valley proposal policy could put the district in legal trouble.

In an Aug. 11 statement, the day after the Murrieta Valley school district approved the policy, California Attorney General Rob Bonta denounced the school board’s “forced outing policy.”

“I am deeply disturbed to learn another school district has put at risk the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students by adopting a forced outing policy,” Bonta said. “My office remains committed to ensuring school policies do not target or seek to discriminate against California’s most vulnerable communities. California will not stand for violations of our students’ civil rights.”

On Aug. 28, Bonta filed a complaint to have the Chino Valley policy blocked while a court determines if it violates California law.

It’s unclear if Bonta will file a complaint against Murrieta Valley school district.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, who spoke against Chino Valley’s policy, sent a letter to the Murrieta Valley school board and superintendent, asking them to withdraw the proposal.

Thurmond’s letter reminded the board that “nearly half of LGBTQ+ students in our state have considered suicide” and that a “policy such as the one proposed to be discussed could be harmful to these students.”

“Unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ students are in situations where they could encounter harm or even abuse in their own homes if their sexual orientation or gender identity is disclosed before they are ready,” according to the letter.

Smear campaign against LGBTQ community

The board’s 3-2 vote came at 10:30 p.m., approximately five hours into the meeting.

Board members Paul Diffley, Nick Pardue and Julie Vandegrift voted yes. Nancy Young and Linda Lunn voted no.

About 60 people spoke at the meeting, most of them regarding the parental notification proposal, with approximately equal numbers supporting and opposing the idea.

While many supporters of the policy have framed the narrative as a discussion about “parental rights,” this explanation is false and misleading. This policy and others like it are an orchestrated smear campaign against the LGBTQ+ community and an attempt to eradicate us from public view.

For example, some of the school board members and policy supporters are evangelicals who do like the LGBTQ+ community.

Pardue, the board’s clerk, is one of five conservative Christians elected to southwest Riverside County school boards in November and was backed by a conservative PAC.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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