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Murrieta school board keeps parental notification policy, defying state order

Murrieta defies state order to rescind parental notification policy
Murrieta defies state order to rescind parental notification policy 02:24

The Murrieta Valley Board of Education voted on Friday to keep its controversial parental notification policy, defying a state order to rescind it.

"We have a right as a board to defy a dictatorial governor," board member Nick Pardue said.

The move divided the board with three of the five members approving the policy. Board member Linda Lunn said fighting a culture war with Sacramento would only take time and money away from students. However, others claimed law firms would represent the district pro bono. 

Like the board, the policy split parents.

"The audacity to tell my children to harbor secrets from me is arrogant and grotesque," one parent said. 

Community members from both sides of the gender identity debate addressed the board after a California Department of Education investigation concluded Murrieta's policy was discriminatory. 

"This policy violates ed code and breaks the law," another parent said. 

If enforced, the school would be required to notify parents if their child requested to change gender identifying information on official records. Similar policies have sparked culture wars in other districts across the country. 

"This will end up in the Supreme Court, and at the local level, so far, we've had favorable rulings with Temecula Unified School District, and we're expecting the same,"  Pardue said. 

Pardue said the policy was revived in Murrieta because the majority of parents there are still demanding parental rights. 

"Here, you have these school boards who are flippantly entering into these lawsuits, that they know ... will cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars," Kristi Hirst said. "They're being sued for breaking the law."

Hirst is with Our Schools USA, a group fighting for education equality. She said district attorneys have already warned that moving forward with this fight could cost the district $500,000 in legal fees. 

"We live in a strange world where legal action is how things are getting done," Pardue said. 

He added that zero students have requested to change their gender identity records without telling their parents.

"So, all of this for what?" Hirst said. 

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