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Rocklin Unified School District votes to approve policy requiring teachers to notify parents of child's transgender identity

Rocklin Unified School District votes to approve policy requiring teachers to notify parents of chil
Rocklin Unified School District votes to approve policy requiring teachers to notify parents of chil 02:26

ROCKLIN - The Rocklin Unified School District has voted to approve a policy requiring teachers and school staff to notify parents if their children request to be identified as anything other than their biological sex.

The district's board of trustees voted 4-1 in favor of the policy, which requires teachers or school staff to notify parents if their children request to be identified as a gender other than the child's biological sex or gender, use pronouns that do not align with the student's biological gender, or request access to bathrooms that don't align with their gender.

Rocklin Unified School District Board President issued this statement regarding the vote:

"The Rocklin Unified School District Board of Trustees is dedicated to strengthening the relationship between our staff, students, and families. Our ever-changing world puts increasing demands and pressures on this relationship. We trust our parents to know what is best for their children and we trust our staff to teach and care for our children and our schools with excellence. We believe that the best way to address these challenges is together, with open communication and clear expectations. The board's action to strengthen parent notification and communication reinforces our commitment to include parents in school activities and decisions related to their child. We will continue to follow all laws protecting student privacy."

On Thursday, California's Attorney General Rob Bonta issued the following statement criticizing the district's decision: 

"Despite our ongoing commitment to stand against any actions that target and discriminate against California's transgender and gender-nonconforming youth, Rocklin Unified has chosen to endanger their civil rights by adopting a policy that forcibly outs them without consideration of their safety and well-being," said Attorney General Bonta. "I have said it before and I will say it again: We will not tolerate any policy that perpetuates discrimination, harassment, or exclusion within our educational institutions."

The vote comes after a packed Wednesday Rocklin school board meeting Wednesday night, with heated exchanges between both sides of the proposal to change school policy over student transgender rights. The proposal would require school staff to tell parents their child requested to change their gender identity from their biological gender.

Rocklin Unified School Board President Julie Hupp proposed the change.

"And it is inclusive, it amazes me that people say it's not inclusive," Hupp said. "What we're looking to do is inclusive." 

School Board Member Michelle Sutherland voiced opposition to the plan.

"It's a public school here," Sutherland said. "Can we please let kids come to school and be accepted at face value by their teacher?"

The chambers were filled with people showing solidarity on both sides of the issue, some in opposition, some in support of the policy change for trans students at Rocklin Unified schools. 

Outside the school board meeting -- parents and community members unable to get inside watched this debate on the glow of their personal devices.

The policy is opposed by the Rocklin Teachers Association. A spokesperson calls policy change illegal.

"Rocklin is looking at passing a board policy that's been passed by a handful of other school boards that will put students at risk, put teachers and other school employees at risk," California Teachers Association Spokesperson Mike Patterson said.

This vote comes just hours after a judge decided to halt a Southern California school district from enacting the same policy.

On Wednesday, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Thomas S. Garza ruled after California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the Chino Valley Unified School District for adopting a policy requiring schools to tell parents when their children change their pronouns or use a bathroom of a gender other than the one listed on their official paperwork.

Garza's order halts the district's policy while Bonta's lawsuit continues. During a court hearing Wednesday, Garza raised questions about why the policy came up in the first place and how it protected students.

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