Gov. Newsom may respond to Chino Valley, Murrieta policies outing transgender students

Another showdown could be brewing between Sacramento and Inland school boards, this time over policies outing transgender students to their parents.

At a Monday, Aug. 14, news conference, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he’s “working with legislative leaders” regarding the policies recently approved by school boards in Chino Valley and Murrieta.

The Chino Valley Unified School District policy requires schools to notify parents in writing within three days after their child identifies as transgender, is involved in violence or talks about suicide. Schools must notify parents if their child seeks to change their name or pronouns or asks for access to gender-based sports, bathrooms or changing rooms that do not match their assigned gender at birth.

The Murrieta Valley Unified School District’s policy — which was based on Chino Valley’s — requires written notification to parents or guardians within three days of their child asking to identify as a gender “other than the student’s biological sex or gender listed on the student’s birth certificate or any other official records.”

While supporters say parents have a right to know about their childrens’ sexual identities, critics say the policies could harm transgender students who lack supportive households.

Speaking at an event outside Sacramento to promote his education policies, Newsom said the California Legislative LGBTQ Caucus “has got some language they’re working on” about the policies that he had yet to see.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said. “We’re defining the terms of our response and engagement and I want to flesh that out … before I opine more specifically.”

The governor’s press office declined to get into specifics Monday about what a response might look like. A representative of the LGBTQ caucus did not immediately respond Monday to a request for comment.

Newsom said he takes “the assault on the LGBTQ community (and) the assault on the trans community … very, very seriously.”

“By the grace of God go any of us having a loved one (or) someone we care deeply about that’s struggling with their identity,” he said, adding that “grace and humility is needed as we engage in this conversation and I look forward to doing that in partnership with the Legislature.”

If Sacramento intervenes, it would mark the most recent clash this year between the Democrat-controlled state government and conservative majorities on Inland school boards.

Last month, Newsom threatened to send textbooks to Temecula and fine its school district $1.5 million after a majority of school board members rejected an elementary school social studies curriculum that referenced LGBTQ civil rights icon Harvey Milk.

The Temecula Valley Unified School District board eventually voted to adopt the curriculum. But not before board President Joseph Komrosky — himself the target of Newsom’s criticism — denounced the governor as a tyrant bent on usurping local control and parents’ rights.

The state Department of Education is investigating Temecula schools over the board’s initial refusal to adopt the curriculum. And California Attorney General Rob Bonta is investigating the Chino Valley district over its transgender policy. Bonta said Friday, Aug. 11, he was  “deeply disturbed” by Murrieta’s policy.

Related links

Murrieta Valley school board OKs policy to tell parents if children are transgender
Chino Valley school board says teachers must out transgender students to parents
Temecula school board OKs curriculum at heart of feud with Gov. Gavin Newsom
Gov. Gavin Newsom sending textbooks — and possibly a $1.5 million fine — to Temecula
Why Gavin Newsom, state leaders are paying attention to Temecula’s school board

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