7th California School District Adopts Policy to Notify Parents of Child’s Gender Status Change

This comes after a California judge—at the state Attorney General Rob Bonta’s request—blocked the first district to adopt this policy from implementing it.
7th California School District Adopts Policy to Notify Parents of Child’s Gender Status Change
An LGBT flag at an Orange Unified School District meeting in Orange, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Micaela Ricaforte
9/17/2023
Updated:
12/30/2023
0:00

A seventh California school board has approved a notification policy that will require schools to alert parents if their child identifies as transgender, amid a statewide debate over the issue.

Trustees on the board of Dry Creek Elementary Joint School District in Placer County unanimously approved the policy on Sept. 14.

The new rule requires schools to notify parents in writing within five days if their child identifies as transgender. Parents also will be informed within three days if their child is involved in bullying or violence, and as soon as possible if their child communicates thoughts of suicide.

Under the policy, which has been widely supported by parental rights advocates, parents are also to be alerted if their child requests to use names, pronouns, bathrooms, or locker rooms that don’t “align with the student’s biological sex or gender,” asks to participate in athletic programs that don’t align with the student’s biological sex, or requests to change information in his or her school records.

Dry Creek’s policy is based on policies recently enacted by six other districts in the state: Chino Valley Unified, Murrieta Valley Unified, Temecula Valley Unified, the Anderson Union High School District, Rocklin Unified, and Orange Unified.

Dry Creek, however, opted to make one change in its own version, a provision that allows school officials to delay the act of alerting the child’s parents if they believe it would risk the child’s safety.

“Only in the event that a staff member in conjunction with the site administrator determines based on credible evidence that there is substantial jeopardy to the child’s safety, the notification may be delayed pending timely investigation prior to notification,” the district’s policy stated.

The school board approved the policy without discussion. Trustees weren’t immediately available for comment.

The other district that adopted a modified version was Orange Unified, which requires schools to tell parents in writing within five days—instead of three days—if their child identifies as transgender, and as soon as possible in cases of suicidal thoughts. Exceptions are also made for children 12 or older who refuse to have their parents informed, or in cases where there’s reasonable cause to believe that the student’s safety or well-being would be put in danger.
Community members gather outside an Orange Unified School Board meeting, during which the board passed a policy to notify parents when their child wishes to identify as transgender, in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)
Community members gather outside an Orange Unified School Board meeting, during which the board passed a policy to notify parents when their child wishes to identify as transgender, in Orange, Calif., on Sept. 7, 2023. (Mei Lee/The Epoch Times)
Dry Creek—less than 20 miles northeast of Sacramento—serves more than 6,300 students on nine campuses offering TK–8 programs, according to its website and the state Department of Education.

The approval of the parent notification policy made the small district the latest target of state Attorney General Rob Bonta, who last month announced a lawsuit against the Chino Valley Unified School District—which was the first among California school districts to enact such a policy in July.

“Dry Creek Joint Elementary School District’s decision to adopt a forced outing policy poses a serious threat to the emotional, psychological, and physical safety and privacy of transgender and gender-nonconforming students,” Mr. Bonta said in a Sept. 15 statement. “My office is closely monitoring the decision and will not tolerate districts that target and compromise the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of this vulnerable community.”
California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks during a news conference in San Francisco on Nov. 15, 2021. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks during a news conference in San Francisco on Nov. 15, 2021. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Earlier this month, a California judge issued a temporary restraining order to block Chino Valley’s policy from taking effect at Mr. Bonta’s request.
In the ruling, San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Tom Garza said the district “lacks a strong basis in evidence” that its policy advances parental rights, and called it a “thin veneer” for discrimination against LGBT youth.

Chino Valley Unified Board President Sonja Shaw said in a statement texted to The Epoch Times shortly after the ruling that she will continue to fight for children’s well-being by protecting parental rights.

“We spent months assembling a thoughtful policy that allows parents to be involved in their child’s life,” Ms. Shaw said. “The policy does not stop any lifestyle changes, it simply says parents have a right to know what is going on at school and not be the last person to be informed.”

Sonja Shaw, president of Chino Valley Unified, speaks at a news conference outside the California Capitol in Sacramento on Aug. 14, 2023. (Courtesy of California Family Council)
Sonja Shaw, president of Chino Valley Unified, speaks at a news conference outside the California Capitol in Sacramento on Aug. 14, 2023. (Courtesy of California Family Council)
Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.