Murrieta Valley school board OKs policy to tell parents if children are transgender

In marathon session, trustees approve rules based on those adopted by Chino Valley school board

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In a marathon meeting, the Murrieta Valley school board approved a policy Thursday night, Aug. 10, to notify parents if their children identify as a gender that doesn’t match their sex assigned at birth.

The vote was 3-2, with board members Paul Diffley, Nick Pardue and Julie Vandegrift voting yes. Nancy Young and Linda Lunn voted no.

The proposal, from Diffley and Pardue, is based on a policy adopted 4-1 by the Chino Valley Unified School District last month during a contentious and emotional meeting. Chino Valley’s policy was included as an example in the Murrieta school board agenda packet.

RELATED: Murrieta Valley school board could tell parents if their children are transgender

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced an investigation Friday, Aug. 4, into potential legal violations raised by Chino Valley’s rules.

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.

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District board room — which holds about 147 people — was full well before the open session of the meeting began at 5 p.m. An overflow crowd was in the entryway. About a dozen law enforcement officers stood by. It took hours to get a vote, which came about 10:30 p.m.

Young, who defeated a candidate backed by a conservative PAC in the November election, said Wednesday, Aug. 9, that she is “adamantly opposed” to the potential policy.

“Its illegal,” she said. “It’s a violation of Ed Code and state law and discriminates.”

Young cited the risk of lawsuits or a civil rights investigation by the state, as well as the stress the policy would cause to transgender students, who she said have “a suicide rate that is four times the suicide rate” of other students.

An American Academy of Pediatrics article states that “nearly 25% to 30% of transgender adolescents report attempting suicide during their lifetimes,” and mentions a second study showing that “45% of 18- to 24-year-old transgender people had attempted suicide in their lifetimes.”

Young said she had received about 10 emails from students, teachers and parents by Wednesday — all opposed to the policy.

“Most agenda items get zero emails,” she said.

While school board posts are officially nonpartisan, some trustees are using their positions “as a platform for airing their political grievances,” Young said.

Murrieta resident Lane McKeever, who will soon have three grandchildren in Murrieta Valley schools, said before the meeting that she supports the proposed policy and is “opposed to teachers trying to take the place of parents.”

McKeever said her son struggled with depression while in school, and she was informed by a teacher.

“Parents get to know everything,” McKeever said.

Stephanie Young, a Murrieta resident and district teacher, attended the meeting to oppose the potential policy and support transgender students. Young has a 17-year-old son who is trans.

“There’s gonna be kids who feel like nobody cares,” she said.

Stephanie Young thought the policy was likely to be adopted.

More than 60 people said they intended to speak at Thursday night’s meeting, most of them regarding the parental notification proposal. Board members wavered on whether to limit speakers to two minutes apiece, but eventually voted to let everyone speak for the usual three minutes.

By the time all speakers had finished their comments about three hours later, roughly 30 had voiced support for a policy to inform parents, but nearly as many spoke against it.

Staff members spoke on behalf of Republican Assemblymembers Kate Sanchez, who represents Temecula, Murrieta and parts of Orange County, and Bill Essayli, who represents several western Riverside County cities. Both support such a policy.

“The reality is, sex cannot be changed” said Chloe Cole, an activist and “former trans kid” who said she identified as transgender from age 12-16. She backs the proposal.

Rudi Krause began his comments with a song about what he called the gay agenda.

“The rainbow flag must be removed from all schools, government and institution,” he said after the song. He later said: “No heterosexual parent wants a homosexual child.”

Alexandra Galeano spoke after her 12-year-old-daughter, both in opposition to the policy. Galeano said and said that if her child went to her teacher before her, “I would question, ‘What have I done wrong?’”

Rachel Dennis, a local pastor, spoke against the policy.

“I am happy that I am not the first adult to stand up to speak on behalf of at-risk kids,” said Dennis.

“Left-handedness used to be considered wicked by Christians,” she said.

After Dennis received a loud reaction from the audience, school board member Lunn said she had “been extremely impressed” with audience reaction so far and asked speakers to continue.

Robert Garcia, the school board president in the Jurupa Unified School District in Riverside County, also spoke.

“I’m here representing what is right,” said Garcia, who said he’s a veteran who served in Operation Desert Storm.

“The reason we served is so that everybody can have their freedom,” he said.

“We get caught up in the politics and the personal agendas,” Garcia said. “I think we’re all better than that.”

Joseph Komrosky, board president in the neighboring Temecula Valley Unified School District, attended the meeting, but did not speak publicly.

Several Murrieta Valley students and recent alums spoke.

Corinne Smith, 17, the senior class president at Murrieta Valley High School, referred to other school districts that have adopted similar policies and asked supporters: “If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?”

“If students choose to talk to a trusted adult before their parents, it is for a reason,” she said.

Other speakers included teachers, parents — some with LGBTQ+ children — and other community members.

“It isn’t by any means an attack, or do we want it to be, on the LGBTQ community,” Diffley, the board president, said of the proposal.

“To me the importance of the bond between student and family, mother and father, is paramount,” he said, and it supersedes anything else in school. However, Diffley agreed that there are some parents “who may beat their kids.”

Attorney Dina Harris discussed the proposed policy.

Click here to read the full article at the Press Enterprise

Comments

  1. Outstanding! Common sense is starting to creep in.

    • Peter Rich says

      Barely. The two school board members who voted no should be kicked out of office by the next election if not recalled. Just outrageous. If there are a few bad parents that’s for law enforcement or children’s and family services to deal with. Teachers have no training in mental health generally and the transgender fad in particular.

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