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    Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified adopts a parental notification policy
    • October 11, 2023

    Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District voted Tuesday night to become the next California district to adopt a parental notification policy.

    As it’s written, the policy focuses on mental health, saying a designated school counselor would notify a student’s family if they have a “reasonable cause to believe that an action of a student will avert a clear and present danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the student and others around them.”

    But Superintendent Alex Cherniss said it includes instances when a teacher or school staff member becomes aware that a student desires or starts to transition genders, requests to go by a different pronoun or experiences distress because their gender expression does not match their gender identity.

    “Gender dysphoria is classified as a mental disorder,” Cherniss said, therefore it falls under the policy as an “action that is concerning the welfare of the student.”

    When asked if the policy would require teachers to inform parents if a student identifies as LGBTQ+, Cherniss said: “If the teacher or staff does not deem there to be a clear or present danger to the student, no, they do not have to report it to the family. That is up to the teacher or staff’s discretion.”

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    Trustees Carrie Buck and Marilyn Anderson criticized the policy’s language as “not clear” since it didn’t explicitly mention students who might be transgender. They requested a second reading in November, but that was denied.

    “I think, as someone who is representing the student voice, the language should be specifically outlined in the policy to make sure all students are aware of the policy and what could happen if such things arose,” said Aidan Mintzer, a Yorba Linda High School student who is the student representative on the board.

    “Before this, I had no idea what the policy was about,” said Mintzer. “If this does affect me or other students, I believe students deserve to know how it will directly involve them.”

    The board voted 3-2 to approve the policy Tuesday, Oct. 10 with Trustees Leandra Blades, Todd Frazier and Shawn Youngblood voting in favor of it.

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    “This is not a gender notification policy,” said Trustee Todd Fraizer. “This is a parental notification policy. This is not covering one specific issue. Just because politically that is what is being discussed and people want to politicize this, we want to make clear that this is something that will ultimately strengthen the relationship between staff and students.”

    PYLUSD now joins several other school districts in California that have recently adopted policies that require school staff to inform parents if their child may be transgender. These policies typically include provisions requiring notification if a student requests to use a different name or pronoun or wishes to change a sex-segregated program like an athletic team or changing facility that differs from their assigned sex at birth.

    Orange Unified last month became the first district in Orange County to adopt such a policy.

    There, the policy requires a certificated staff member or principal to inform parents if their child, who is under the age of 12, requests to use different names or pronouns or asks to change sex-segregated programs. If the student is older, it is up to the discretion of a school counselor or psychologist to decide if it is appropriate to report the information to the family.

    On Oct. 18, Capistrano Unified is set to consider a similar proposal, and many parental rights activist groups say they will attend Tustin Unified’s next meeting to encourage the policy to be addressed there.

    ​ Orange County Register