Chino Unified Votes To Require Parent Notification Of Student Initiated Gender Reidentification

The razor sharp philosophical and political divide within the country over transgenderism, gender dysphoria, tolerance and acceptance thereof, compassion that should be shown to those dealing with such issues in their own makeup, the degree to which the community should and will allow those realities to intrude into the lives of those wishing to remain aloof from such influences and the extent to which long extant and traditional norms conflict with society’s changeover in this regard loomed into sharp focus in Chino this week at the Don Lugo High School multi-purpose room on Thursday evening.
The Chino Unified School District Board of Education held its meeting there in anticipation of an oversized crowd, which indeed turned out for an item on the agenda that requires faculty at the district’s schools to inform parents if their child identifies as transgender or insists on using a name, pronoun or facilities other than those traditionally intended for an individual as identified on that student’s birth certificate.
The district took up the issue after Republican Assemblyman Bill Essayli with the introduction of Assembly Bill 1314 in March sought, unsuccessfully, to impose statewide a requirement that school officials not keep information pertaining to the gender reidentification that students insist upon within a school setting from the parents of those children.At its April 7 meeting, the Chino Valley Unified School Board took up consideration of a resolution to endorse Essayli’s bill. The item brought hundreds of students, former students, parents and other interested community members to the meeting to express their support or opposition for the resolution as proposed as well as their support or opposition to Assembly Bill 1314. Because of an over-capacity crowd, not everyone who had shown up was allowed into the meeting chamber and at least some of those who wanted to address the board on the topic were unable to be heard.
Ultimately, the board voted 4-to-1, with Na, Cruz, Monroe and Shaw, who is now serving as board president, prevailing. Board Member Bridge cast the sole dissenting vote. A week after the board’s vote, AB 1314 died a quiet legislative procedural death when Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, a Democrat and the chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, declined to set a hearing date for the bill before his committee, such that the bill was not given a chance to be considered by the entire Assembly.
Positions with regard to the concept at the core of Assembly Bill 1314 – that if a governmental entity such as a school district is to accede to the reidentification of a child’s gender to something different from that child’s biological, birth or previously commonly accepted gender, that the child’s parents should be so informed – broke, in general, or so it seemed, along partisan lines. Democrats accepted that students, at least ones as young as 12, should be free to identify themselves using whatever gender or alternate gender description they chose while interacting among their peers and with school authorities such as teachers and administrators but should be at liberty to declare that their privacy extended to their relationship with their parents. Republicans, or most Republicans, were unaccepting of assertions that a student could publicly identify in one form and maintain a fictional persona at home.
The Republican skepticism over entrusting to a child, an individual of less than the age of majority who does not have the power to enter into a contract and for whom his or her parents are legally responsible, with the right to withhold from his or her parents his or her gender reidentification paralleled, for the most part, the general degree to which Republicans have been less accepting of transgenderism, gender fluidity, gender ambiguity, homosexuality and similar alternate approaches to sexuality than have been Democrats.
The Chino Valley Unified School District, which covers the Chino Valley at the extreme southwest end of San Bernardino County and straddles the communities of Chino and Chino Hills, has in the past proven to be a hotbed of rightward politics. In that respect, the district has embraced fundamental Christian ideology more so than outright Republicanisms.
Curiously, both cities have more voters registered as Democrats than Republicans. In Chino Hills, 17,147 or 36.3 percent of the city’s 47,294 are registered as Democrats, while 15,996 or 33.8 percent are Republicans, with the remaining 29.8 percent unaligned with any party or members of the American Independent, Green, Libertarian, Peace & Freedom or more obscure political parties. In Chino, the Democrats are even more overwhelmingly in ascendance, as 20,218 or 40.7 percent of the city’s 49,654 voters are Democrats and 15,122 or 30.5 percent are Republicans, with the 28.8 percent that make up the difference either unaffiliated or registered with the much smaller parties.
Since its founding in 1991, the Calvary Chapel Chino Hills, founded by Pastor Jack Hibbs, has steadily grown. Hibbs evinces a denominationalist attitude, which holds that Christians have a duty to take over public office and promote their religious beliefs. It was not until the very early 2000s that Hibbs felt his congregation had accrued a significant enough membership to make any real inroads on the political scene, which in any case, he understood would have to be at the local rather than state or national level, at least initially. Significantly, as well, Hibbs efforts at influence in this regard, or at least his most successful ones, were with the Chino Valley Unified School District rather that the Chino or the Chino Hills city councils.
In 2006, Sylvia Orozco, the first of Calvary Chapel’s parishioners was elected to the school board. In 2008, James Na, a second member of the faithful from Calvary Chapel, was elected to the board. In 2010, Orozco was reelected and in 2012, Hibbs achieved a religious trifecta with Na’s reelection and the election a third member of his congregation, Andrew Cruz.
Two years previously, with Na’s and Orozco’s assistance, Hibbs in 2010 successfully lobbied the school board to include Bible study classes, through an extension of his church known as the Watchman Industry, as part of the district’s high school curriculum.
With the addition of Cruz to the board, Hibbs’ was able to assert even further control over the tenor of education in the Chino Valley. With Orozco, Na and Cruz in ascendancy at the school board meetings, the benedictions at the beginning of the meetings which accompanied the pledge of allegiance which had always been tolerated soon gave way to prayer and in time the prayer grew into outright evangelism.
In 2014, the Freedom From Religion Foundation of Madison, Wisconsin filed suit in Federal Court in Riverside against the district on behalf of two named plaintiffs, Larry Maldonado and Mike Anderson, and 21 unnamed plaintiffs who asserted they were alienated or intimidated at school board meetings because of the insistence of some district officials to engage in so-called Christian witnessing, including “prayers, Bible readings and proselytizing.”
A push was on to remove religion as a guiding element of the educational principle in the district’s schools. Ultimately, a ruling on the Freedom From Religion Foundation lawsuit by Federal Judge Jesus Bernal resulted in overt religiosity and proselytizing within the district’s schools being eliminated. In 2018, this trend picked up steam when Orozco did not seek reelection and Christina Gagnier and Joe Schaffer were elected and thereafter joined with Board Member Irene Hernandez-Blair to form a board majority that countered Na and Cruz in their philosophy that the district’s educational mission could be merged with an effort to have the district’s students accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior.
Following the 2020 election, however, when Hernandez did not seek reelection and was replaced by Don Bridge and both Na and Cruz were reelected and the 2022 election when Sonja Shaw replaced Gagnier and Schaffer did not run and Jon Monroe was elected to the board, the religious right had once again taken over solid control of the district board.
Chino Valley and in particular the Chino Valley Unified School District therefore appeared to be fertile ground for an alternate approach Essayli advocated in the aftermath of Assembly Bill 1314’s inability to get out of committee, which was to institute similar or identical requirements at the local level.
“While Democrats have the votes to kill my bill in Sacramento, they do not have the votes to suppress parents’ voices at the local level,” Essayli said. He called upon parents and others who support the concept of involving parents in guiding their children through their adolescence to encourage local school districts to enact policies to achieve the goal of Assembly Bill 1314.
With the strong rightward leaning of a large number of parents of the students who attend school there, the Chino Valley Unified School District was the first district in the state to give a directive to staff to place an item before them would create a directive and requirement that district employees adhere to the terms of Assembly Bill 1314 such that they are required to inform parents that their children are identifying as a gender different from the one designated on their birth certificate.
With the issue set to play out in Chino, those allied with on both sides prepared to, and did, descend on Don Lugo High School last night, seeing it as some sort of ideological battleground where the flag had to be shown. Intermixed with residents from Chino and Chino Hills were individuals and groups of people who had traveled substantial distances, including some who had come more than 400 miles, to be there that evening.
As no fewer than four outside videographers were in place to memorialize the proceedings, it was recognized that the meeting might well turn into a forum that might greatly influence mainstream perceptions on the topic of transgenderism.
From the start of the meeting, even prior to the item of interest that had drawn so many to the meeting being heard, the crowd in attendance was unruly. Board President Sonja Shaw appealed for calm and for those present to restrain from, yelling, cheering, jeering and applause.
“The meetings are known to unfortunately get a little heated and people are yelling or saying things out loud,” Shaw said. “We want to keep you all in this meeting. We want to hear everybody, so I ask that you respect each other, you listen, like how we teach our children to listen, and to respect and not to yell out. Please be careful with even the applause. I don’t want to have to hammer an applaud because it is getting out of control. Any chanting, yelling – please keep that out of here. This is a meeting We would appreciate if you guys could just literally respect each other regardless of your differences.”
Immediately thereafter, during that portion of the meeting reserved for public comment from those representing the district’s teachers she called Associated Chino Teachers employees representative Brenda Walker to the podium to speak, a contingent in the crowd cheered and applauded before Walker began to speak.
Expectations that the hearing on the parent notification policy would be an open forum providing a marketplace of ideas was dashed because of the sheer number of speakers, many of whom had come with prepared scripts intended to fit within the board’s traditional three-minute allotment for each speaker. After the preliminary items on the agenda were dealt with, including hearing public input on issues that were not on the agenda or which, more property, were supposed to not be on the agenda, Shaw and the rest of the board learned that there were 83 people in attendance who wished to address the board on the parent notification policy item. This prompted the board at that point to change the speaking time limit from three to one minute, severely curtailing the prospect of the open public forum allowing for a free-flowing interchange of ideas.
Moreover, the reduction of speaking time from three to one minute created an unintended imbalance to the proceedings, as several of the speakers who had addressed the board previously during the forum for issues not on the agenda had nonetheless taken up the subject of parent notification, and Shaw had permitted them to proceed. Thus, some of those speaking on the topic were able to provide well-articulated statements that had been prepared and even prepared in advance, while others were forced to scrap their longer prepared scripts and virtually extemporaneously seek to conform those messages into a compressed single-minute format. While some were able to do so, many found themselves cut off mid-sentence, not being afforded to express what they had come to say because the microphone they were speaking into had been cut off.
Several patterns, with a few notable exceptions or deviations, emerged during the course of the meeting. Members of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transsexual/queer/plus [LGBTQ+] community, including those residing locally as well as what appeared to be an as numerous support group from outside Chino and Chino Hills, predictably were opposed to the policy. Teachers and teachers unions were opposed to the policy. Democrats, in general, were opposed to the policy. Parents generally were in favor of the policy. Republicans were generally in favor of the policy.
A substantial number of those in favor of the policy gave indication of some element of personal, and in most cases Christian, belief.
Brenda Walker, an employee representative with the Association of Chino Teachers was provided with three minutes and 18 seconds to offer her statement.
“This policy would directly require educators to violate California law, which prohibits such notification with[out] student consent,” Walker said. “It would also require many educators to violate their own professional and personal ethics. The policy would be divisive, unnecessary and make many students feel insecure and unsafe at school. We support the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and all the students to feel safe and secure at school. Ensuring that all students are safe is the right thing to do. With this policy, not only will some students feel unsafe, but it will also open the district to potential legal liability under state and federal privacy laws as well as under California’s anti-discrimination laws. Has the board considered the recent ruling by United States District Judge John A. Mendez where the lawsuit demanding that they do to students exactly what this board is proposing was dismissed? And what was the basis for the judge’s decision? Protecting students privacy and keeping students safe from being bullied or harassed. Has the board considered the cost of almost certain litigation and how it takes money away from supporting students and puts it in the pockets of attorneys? This is a misuse of taxpayer funds. State and federal funds are to be used for children’s education, not a board member’s political agenda. Vital attention and discussions regarding school programs and supports for students’ academic achievement and other topics that are within the board’s purview have taken a backseat to discriminatory policies this board continues to impose against our LGBTQ+ students who are some of the most vulnerable children. What are the repercussions for educators, if any, for noncompliance? Aside form the fact that policy is just wrong, how many notifications will parents get? Will they get a notification from every subject teacher a student has in middle school and high school each year for their whole school career? Is there going to be a centralized pronoun notification database for teachers to check so they aren’t tripping over each other and bothering each other with the same parent notification and parents getting multiple notifications? And when do these notifications have to happen? During the class period? Between periods. The constant interruption to the already impacted school day in unimaginable. We urge you to vote no on this proposed new board policy. It’s bad for students. It’s bad for educators and its bad for the district and community.”
Ben Richards from San Diego told the board he became animated with regard to the issue of transgender advocacy ins schools when the principal at his children’s school in the San Diego Unified School District “announced their new elementary school lesbian gay bisexual transgender queer club. I’ve never been against the club. I just want to know if they showed up to any club for that matter. Why? They’re six. They can be having discussions about their sexuality, being a bisexual, sexual attraction. I want to be involved in that. I want to follow up. I’m an involved dad. When I respectfully asked the principal to be notified, they said, “No.” I go to my first board meeting down at San Diego Unified, pull up, park, turn the corner and flying over the entrance is a Black Lives Matter flag, Juneteenth and the Trans flag. That’s when I knew we had a systemic radical leftist indoctrination problem in our public education system that is so deep any change would be an insurmountable undertaking. The school board ignored me and I was jeered at by the crowd. I couldn’t sleep that night because I had one nagging though in the back of my head. That is: Anyone who wants to hide things from me about my little kids, you’re no friend of mine. I felt alone, isolated and afraid. I reached out to neighboring parents groups and they had worse problems than me. I continued traveling around to help, realizing the same bully tactics that some of these districts are doing to them and the same slurs that people call them like Nazi and bigot is the same in every district. I don’t want to be here, but they try to hide things from me about my kids and they’re doing it to these parents, too. So, come to find out: My story is their story. I’m a veteran and I’ve become awe struck by the courage displayed by these parents behind me. They’ve been slurred, publicly defamed, their jobs and livelihoods targeted and threatened, attacked by ANFFA in Glendale, targeted by outsiders who seek to usurp their local power, and now they’re sued by the governor of California who’s going to take one-and-a-half million dollars away from their kids. I’m glad to see [California Superintendent of Schools] Tony Thurmond here. If you want to hide things from parents, that’s where we draw the line.”
Nick Parra said, “As a student, when I was in first grade, I used to love drawing rainbows. It turns out, as I got older, I was gay. Now, I’m glad my teacher was not forced to bring that to the surface, to bring me out as a child. I loved drawing rainbows, obsessively, for some reason. I am glad that I wasn’t force to come out as a child. A child has that sovereign right to decide to live and be accepted and decide on their own and be accepted. That first grade teacher, Mr. LaCosta. He cared and he just accepted me. I hope that these decisions tonight reflect the professionalism of teachers like Mr. LaCosta, who care, and bridge a connection between teachers, administrators and the parents. And there should be a process.”
Agnes Mazur, the mother of two students within the district, said President Shaw and the board majority are tied in with Christian nationalist group Moms for Liberty, which she characterized as a “far right-wing anti-government extremist group in favor of book bans,” which has targeted or otherwise opposed teacher unions and is against culturally and racially diverse perspectives being taught in schools.
Michelle Carney, the president of the Etiwanda Teachers Association, accused the board majority of being out of step with the district’s teachers and representing the district’s parents to the exclusion of the students and the teachers.
Virginia Renteria, wearing a shirt that read “Leave our kids alone,’ told the board, “I thank you so much for your bravery. You are in your position because we the people have had enough of the garbage. I stand before the Lord. It’s obvious that we’re looking at a spiritual battle, right now. These demons are after our children. California, like most of America, is dumbing down our kids. Some of the literature that’s in our schools, elementary – me, as a manager, I was a manager for over ten years – if I discussed what some of these kids are being approached with, I would be hauled into HR [human resources, i.e., the personnel office] for sexual harassment, and that’s an adult. Parents here have had enough. We are standing strong. We are standing proud. And I’ll tell you, we are on the right side of this battlefield because the Lord is right there in front of us. We will not back down. I just think that we should be focused more on getting our children better prepared. In Asia, Chino, those kids can outsmart our kids, sadly. We are having some major problems and yet we have some lunatics that come here and fight for individuality of being whatever. I’m not against anything. If you’re gay, lesbian, I don’t care. That’s your choice. If you’re a boy, you’re born a boy and you want to be a girl, that’s your delusion. Don’t force the delusion onto us. Just basically, leave our children alone, because this battle is far from being over. It’s obvious that we’re going to have to have our school board meetings here [at Don Lugo High School’s larger meeting facility] every time because we’re getting more and more people. More and more are coming out because a lot of parents are shocked at what is going on. They can’t actually believe it. I just know we are on the right side of this spiritual battle for our kids.”
Linda Frazer told the board that she has “served God, loved God. God made a man and a woman, nothing more, nothing less. To tell children they can be another gender is against God. I do not want to stand before God and say I did nothing to protect children. A man and a woman can procreate. A man and a man cannot. A woman and a woman cannot. A transgendered woman cannot get pregnant. There’s a website Why? Because transgendered life is not God’s answer. What is a woman? She is created in the image of God. She is a helpmate to her husband, and she bears children The devil in the Garden of Eden told Eve the truth along with a lie. The devil has not changed his tactics. Today, the same thing. The devil is behind the lies. The devil is after your children. The Colorado Springs shooter identified as nonbinary. The Denver shooter identified as trans.”
Frazer’s remarks provoked two members of the audience who disagreed with her to yell in response.
Shaw had the police remove both.
Minook Grigorian, an immigrant carrying an American flag to the podium, told the board, “America is the greatest country and the LGBTQ+IEA crowd has been numerous times chanting, ‘Death to America! Death to Christian Fascists!’ They want to burn the American flag. That’s not American. That’s terrorist talk. That’s evil talk. I will not stand for that. I will fight for my country and for this flag with all my might. Now they want to come after my kids. Oh, no, no. Not the kids. You cannot touch the kids. America has to realize that child slavery, child trafficking, child pornography is all pedophilia. I don’t care how soft words you put it, it is downline pedophilia. If you don’t wake up as parents and fight for our kids… These are our kids, not your kids. I’m fighting for my kids. I have four beautiful daughters in LAUSD and I am fighting for the same thing that these parents are fighting. Leave our kids alone. These are our kids! I get to decide what my kids’ future should be. And if for some God damn reason my children want to be lesbian or gay, that will be up to me to talk to my own kids, not the [L]USD, not the school, not the teachers. I should be the one to consult my children. Nobody else has the right to say what I can or cannot teach my children. Just like I’m not pushing my family values on anybody, I don’t want them to push it on my family. MY family is a Christian-based family and I love my God. And I love my neighbors. We can only be tolerant so much. You cannot expect us to give you my children and you do what you want with them. No! That’s not going to happen. You can be in my sports. You can be in my clothes. You can be in my drinks. You can be in my cars. I don’t care. But you better leave my kids alone. These are my kids. And I will defend my kids, my flag and my country with all the might that I have.”
After the general comment period intended for items not on the agenda was concluded, the board took up the parental notification item. When the public hearing was opened, Shaw extended Tony Thurmond, the California Superintendent of Schools the courtesy of speaking first. As it were, Thurmond’s remarks came after the time limitation on remarks to the board had been reduced from three minutes to one minute.
First elected the California Superintendent of Schools in 2018, Thurmond was a California Assemblyman representing the north East Bay from 2014 to 2018. Prior to being elected to the Assembly in 2014, he was a member of the Richmond City Council and a board member of the West Contra Costa County School District. It appeared that Thurmond, accustomed to being accorded deference because of his current elected status and previous social, professional and political accomplishments, assumed that the school board would accord him the courtesy of delivering what was an obviously prepared speech. Under the circumstances, however, he was granted no such dispensation and, as the first to speak after the decision to reduce the speaking time, he did not have time to edit or winnow the speech he came prepared to make. He pressed on, seeking to deliver the speech as he had originally intended, replete with flourishes, salutations and dramatic pauses, which, it would turn out, squandered the limited time that he had to deliver the substance of his messages, as Chino Unified Superintendent Norm Enfield, serving as the timekeeper, held each speaker to a strict one-minute limit, cutting the microphone off at that point.
“Good evening, madame president, members of the board, parents, teachers, students, I stand before you as a proud American, as a man of faith, a son of a veteran who served in Vietnam, who is buried not far from here,” Thurmond began. “I love this country. In addition to being the state superintendent, I am also a parent and I come before you as a parent tonight. We can debate all of the laws and all of the polices and practices. I ask you to consider this: That nearly half of students who identify as being LBGTQ+ are considering suicide. I ask you to consider this: The policy that you consider tonight not only might fall outside the laws that respect privacy and safety for our students but may put our students at risk because they may not be in homes where they can be…”
At that point Enfield cut off the microphone.
This triggered a telling display of the sharp divide between the two divergent perspectives at the heart of the controversy. When Thurmond realized that his statement was not being amplified, he appealed to Shaw, as chairwoman, “Point of order.”
“I am going to do a point of order, which I learned from a previous board president,” Shaw said. “Tony Thurmond, I appreciate you being here tremendously, but here’s the problem: We’re here because of people like you. You’re in Sacramento, proposing things that pervert children. You had a chance to come and talk to me, Tony. By all means, you had a chance to come talk to me.”
Thurmond, who had left the podium, upon hearing Shaw addressing him directly, once again approached the speaker’s position, seeking to take advantage of Enfield having reengaged the microphone for the next anticipated speaker.
Shaw personalized the exchange at that point.
“Why was it so important for you to walk with my opponent?” Shaw asked, referencing the 2022 election in which she had defeated incumbent Board Member Christina Gagnier, a Democrat, who up until that point was considered an up-and-coming member of the party who was endorsed by a wide cross section of Democratic establishment figures, including Thurmond. “You are the very reason we’re in this.”
“May I have, as a point of order,” Thurmond said into the microphone.
“This is not your meeting,” Shaw said amidst a din of shouts from the crowd. “You may have a seat, because if I did that to you in Sacramento, you would not accept it. Please sit.”
“May I get a point of order,” Thurmond said.
“You’re not going to blackmail us,” Shaw said. “You already sent us a blackmailing letter on previous things. You’ll not bully us in Chino.”
With a male voice other than Thurmond’s audible bellowing “Point of order” multiple times, Shaw said, “Five-minute break,” stood and exited the dais. For a short time, Thurmond remained at the lectern, where the microphone had been turned off. He dialogued with one uniformed school security officer there and then was approached by another. A third uniformed officer came up to him and lightly touched him on the back of his left arm as a fourth officer came toward him. At that point, the four district security officers essentially formed a two-thirds circle cordon about him. Resignedly, Thurmond walked off.
When the meeting reconvened, the next speaker was Essayli, whose propose legislation had precipitated the district’s consideration of the policy.
“Mr. Thurmond was granted more respect and decorum than I ever have been by the supermajority Democrats in Sacramento. “I introduced Assembly Bill 1314 to have this exact conversation – an open dialogue, to have a legislative deliberative process. They would not even hear my bill because they said it was too hateful without even having a conversation. That’s wrong. But that’s why our founding fathers had the wisdom to create the system of government that we have, where most power is reserved to local governments. We do not have the power to change laws in Sacramento, but we sure enough have the power at the local level. We care deeply about every student regardless of how they identify.”
Sunitha Menon, the managing director of operations for Equality California, which she described as the “nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization” quoted from a letter authored by Equality California’s executive director Tony Hoang. “Equality California strongly opposes this board policy. The proposal is extremely dangerous and not aligned with recommendations from the California Department of Education. Nor is it aligned with best practices for supporting students’ success and health. This policy creates a culture of mistrust not only between LGBTQ students. But for all students. By passing a proposal like this one, you are telling students their privacy does not matter and that there is no trust and no support system in the people they see every day. Study after study has shown those students who have affirming environments at school are less likely to miss school, less likely to have depression, less likely to have seriously considered suicide in the past year.”
Max Ibarra said, “This policy is dangerous. 52 percent of trans kids are accepted at school but only 35 percent feel accepted at home. That leaves a large gap there of kids who feel welcome at school but not at home. Feeling safe at school lessens suicide risk. If a student isn’t out to their parents, this shoves them into the closet at school. That’s a miserable place to be. I am tired of the idea that all parents love and support their children unconditionally. That is not true. There are evil people in this world and some of them have children. Shocking, I know. Some prefer a dead child to a trans child. This is just another link in the chain that is Cruz and Na’s legacy of dangerous agenda items with legal implications that cost this district thousands of dollars that should have been spent keeping students safe. But no! We don’t do that. Instead, CVUSD wastes it here. You can say you care for every student, but it doesn’t change the fact that actions speak louder than words. This action tonight is telling me I don’t belong.”
Christy Hurst said “All you are going to accomplish is get this district sued, caught up in lawsuits that are going to cost the hardworking Chino Valley residents their taxpayer dollars.
Phoenix Guiza, a senior at Chino High, told the board, said, “This policy is absolutely unnecessary and will cause more harm than good. Outing trans kids before they are ready will cause such harm to them, especially if they know their parents are not supportive. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I know how hard it is to come out as a child. This policy will destroy the lives of kids who should not have to live in fear for being their true selves. Instead of causing this damage to children, you should focus on other things like the special education program. I was in the special education program from first grade all the way up to my freshman year in high school and I can confidently say that it needs to be fixed. Special education kids are often overlooked. If you try care about helping kids, you should not pass this policy.
Daniel Mora said the policy was “transphobic.” The recent Chino high grad offered his opinion that “Not only is the school board ignorant but evil, as well. Outing trans kids before they are ready is one of the most dangerous things that anyone can do.”
Oscar Avila said “Our kids are in danger. They’re in danger by groomers.”
Gus Reza said, “I’m for this bill. Children cannot enter a contract.”
Reza said those advocating on behalf of the transsexual children were engaging in “fearmongering. I’ve heard from people from all over the community.”
He told the board members that they had been “put in place for this community and not Sacramento, not like Tony [Thurmond], not like the activists that have come in here. I can guarantee you most of the people in the gay community here don’t even live in our community. There may be a few that are actually a part of our community. The majority of people, for their kids, the parents, are part of this community. You’re representing that. Don’t listen to the outside stupidity, like Tony and everything else that is going on. Listen to your constituents who put you on the board.”
Jessica Tapia told the board, “I was a teacher myself at a nearby school district. Within the past year, they presented me with a directive to withhold information about a student’s gender identify from his or her parents in order to keep my job. I clarified: ‘Are you asking me to lie to parents?’ And they said, ‘Yes. For the student’s safety and privacy.’ I could not understand how I was hired and expected to uphold honesty as my district states on their website but now, all of a sudden, I’m expected to lie. I couldn’t understand when and how children began needing privacy from the very ones who God appointed to protect and care for them. I left that meeting in complete turmoil because I realized that day I could no longer be both a Christian and public school teacher. Then I remembered what Pastor Jack Hibbs taught me, that the word of God says, which is that being a coward is a sin. So, I chose to obey the Lord. I loved my students, but I was ripped from them. They fired me because they could not accommodate my religious beliefs When I spoke out and said, ‘I will not lie to parents or students or myself. I deeply urge you to vote in parental notification. Children belong to their parents.”
Amy Davelin said, “It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I wholeheartedly reject that notion. It takes parents and a family to raise a child. God specifically grants parents, not a village, with parenthood and it is up to parents to decide how to raise that child and deal with any issues, including dysmorphia and other mental illnesses. Why is the LGBTQ agenda being shoved down the throat of Americans from corporate sponsorships to the government ideological curriculum? And why are we oversexualizing our children? The bottom line is money and vast political power. The left is the party of pedophilia. You cannot prove otherwise. The redline they have crossed is our kids. Tonight’s vote affirms that God’s children are not for sale. Groomers and pedophiles sexualize children and teach them to keep secrets from their parents. Teachers who propagate gender ideology and keep secrets from parents are pedophiles and groomers by nature. In the words of Pink Floyd, ‘Hey, teachers! Leave those kids alone.”
Darlene Berg, who said she was a “lesbian parent with thriving kids in this district” read a letter from a transgender student which stated, “Firstly, during our last meeting it was mentioned that the intention was not to out us but the intention was to inform our parents about our gender identities. However, if you thing about it, wouldn’t we already have told our parents if we were ready? It’s time that you realize that just because you might be willing to accept and listen to your child, it is not guaranteed that all parents will. Secondly, I want to address the continuous fear and pressure that you are knowingly putting upon all of us transyouth. While you may believe you are doing us a favor by outing us, the truth is we’re constantly in a state of panic, fearing the consequences of being outed. Some of us may even feel the need to hide our identities, which is essentially a form of oppression.”
Scott Carter told the board, “I have taught in this district for 25 years. I attended this school back in the 80s. We didn’t have this problem back then because everybody was hiding in the closet. It’s wonderful to see that our society is more open now and people can actually be who thy want to be. The problem is you will cause the death of one of our students. This policy will out a student, putting them into a hostile household, which will further their mental degradation to the point where they will harm themselves. All of our previous lawsuits will be nothing at that point compared to this. This policy will kill somebody.”
A woman, who identified herself only as “Misty” said, “It is essential to recognize that parents are the primary caregivers and educators of their children. Our kids are being told they can trust teachers and friends more than their parents and family. This leads to kids questioning our love because of truth that is being twisted while at school. No one is against anyone’s decision to be whatever sexual orientation you choose to be. The world is not against you. What we are against is anyone stepping in and trying to take away our role as parents [and] anyone who is lying to our kids that they love our kids more than we do. If you truly feel suicidal, you need your parents even more. Seek out a therapist. Keeping secrets makes it worse. Lastly, shame on the teachers’ unions for overstepping their bounds. The last time I checked, the unions were created to protect the employees, making sure they had good working conditions, job protection, fair wages, etcetera. No one hired the unions to tell us how to parent our children.”
Cecil John Howell as a Muslim rejected accusations that Shaw and the board majority were involved in a right wing Christian conspiracy in sponsoring the policy.
“When I was a kid, I hid lots of stuff from my parents,” Howell said. “All the stuff that I hid was stuff I knew I shouldn’t be doing, and I am so glad as a grown man that my parents found out about it and corrected me. No one loves my kids more than me and I am sure that no one loves your kids more than any of you do as parents. So, parents need to be involved.”
Gia D said, “I was educated in the public system and academics was the focus. I was inspired and I was challenged by my teachers. In my time in school, I don’t remember the teachers or the administrators saying, ‘Don’t tell your parents.’ In fact, it was the opposite. They frequently told our parents and contacted our parents about whatever was relevant to our welfare and our education. Our parents were the ones who guided us in our moral direction. The education system concentrated on educating and teaching. I want to encourage the bard to include parents in policies and directions affecting the students in all matters. The students do not belong to the school. They are the responsibility of the parents. In medicine we have an oath to say ‘Do no harm,’ and these students are minors whom we should be careful to do no harm [to]. And in medicine we also have a thing called informed consent.”
Elise Anderson proved to be a rarity among the teachers in the district as someone who supported the proposal.
“As a special education teacher, it is my job to communicate to parents everything that pertains to the child, including their social and emotional wellbeing,” Anderson said. “Wouldn’t gender confusion fall under this category? I’m thankful this policy is being discussed tonight because I would feel extremely uncomfortable withholding this information from parents. I am a teacher and that is all. There are no secrets. Schools should never conceal information from parents, ever. I understand there are children who come from families who may not be accepting of their child’s decision to change their gender, but his is when schools would be able to provide families with the support they need and get the child into counseling immediately. For those who might think what I am saying is hateful, you are sorely mistaken. I speak from a place of genuine concern for the times we are living in where the war has been waged on children creating total destruction of the family unit.
One man, identified as Jesse S., seemed to hit a resounding chord with the board and earned approving nods from many of the parents around the room while leaving the LGBTQ+ crowd speechless.
“Listening to these people talk should let you know it’s mental illness,” Jesse S. said. “That’s all they talk about: suicide this, they’re going to kill themselves here, there, my parents, this and that. This is why we’ve got to keep our kids away from people like this trying to indoctrinate our children. This is wrong. This is mental illness and they have proved it tonight. This is total mental illness they are trying to bring upon our kids. So, I urge you to vote yes, because our kids are very important to us. They have said it themselves and they don’t even realize they are mentally ill, and they are.”
It is unclear whether the entirety of the board or any of its members, actually, took stock of a letter that California Attorney General Rob Bonta dashed off to the district and the board late Thursday in which he offered his opinion that the notification policy might intrude on students’ privacy rights and otherwise interfere with educational access. Students individually have the right and discretion to determine under what circumstances and when they should make disclosure of their gender identity and to whom. Bonta said his office will act to see that right is upheld.
The attorney general’s office “has a substantial interest in protecting the legal rights of children in California schools and protecting such children from trauma and exposure to violence. I will not hesitate to take action as appropriate to vigorously protect students’ civil rights,” he wrote.
In a follow-up press release, Bonta’s office stated, “By allowing for the disclosure of a student’s gender identity without their consent, Chino Valley Unified School District’s suggested parental notification policy would strip them of their freedom, violate their autonomy, and potentially put them in a harmful situation,” Bonta said. “Our schools should be protecting the rights of all students, especially those who are most vulnerable, and should be safeguarding students’ rights to fully participate in all educational and extracurricular opportunities.”
Ultimately, the board, in a 4-to-1 vote, with Shaw, Na, Monroe and Cruz prevailing and Bridge dissenting, passed the policy directive.

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