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    Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified will consider a parental notification policy
    • October 10, 2023

    Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District is the next California district to discuss a parental notification policy.

    While several districts in California have adopted in recent months policies to inform parents if their child may be transgender, the PYLUSD proposal — as it’s written for the Tuesday, Oct. 10 meeting — does not specifically mention gender identity.

    As the policy is written, a designated school counselor would notify a student’s family within 24 hours 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.”

    “Due to the current nationwide mental health crisis exacerbated by the global pandemic, the Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District recognizes the need for frequent, ongoing and oftentimes immediate communication between school administration, staff, and parents/guardians,” the policy says. “Furthermore, with reports of depression, anxiety and suicide rates at an all-time high among public school students, action is needed to address this emerging crisis and support the health and welfare of district students.”

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    The agenda for Tuesday’s meeting says the policy comes at the request of Superintendent Alex Cherniss.

    When asked if it is written broad enough to include notifying a parent if a student may be transgender, Cherniss said: “The policy speaks for itself and covers all matters related to parental notification.” He did not respond to questions asking to clarify further.

    “The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District Board of Education strives to foster trust and communication between the District and the parent(s)/guardian(s) of its students,” the policy reads. “To that end, the Board supports the fundamental rights of parent(s)/guardian(s) to direct the care and upbringing of their children, including the right to be informed of and involved in their child’s education to promote positive educational outcomes.”

    Through the policy, the district says it intends to include parents in “the decision-making process for mental health and social-emotional issues of their children arising at school at the earliest possible time in order to prevent or reduce potential instances of harm to self or others as well as promote communication and positive relationships.”

    PYLUSD board members did not respond to requests for comment Monday afternoon.

    Several districts across California have adopted what’s been called parental notification policies in recent months. These guidelines stipulate that parents would be informed if their child requests to use different names or pronouns or wishes to change sex-segregated programs such as athletic teams or changing facilities that differ from the student’s assigned biological sex at birth.

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    Last month, Orange Unified 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.

    Multiple districts across California — including Murrieta Valley Unified, Chino Valley Unified and Temecula Valley Unified — have recently adopted similar policies. And on Oct. 18, Capistrano Unified is set to consider a similar proposal.

    Attorney General Rob Bonta sued Chino Valley in August to stop enforcement of the policy. Bonta said it “presents students with a terrible choice. Either walk back your rights to gender identity and gender expression to be yourself (and) to be who you are or face the risk of serious harm — mental harm, emotional harm, physical harm.”

    A judge has issued a temporary restraining order, blocking its enforcement for now. A hearing is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 13.

    ​ Orange County Register