The Kern County Board of Education voted to postpone the discussion of a parental notification policy at their monthly meeting, during which public comment time was reduced to one minute per speaker. Approximately 130 people, both supporters and opponents of the policy, attended the meeting. The proposed policy would require schools to inform parents of any changes in their child’s gender, gender identity, or gender expression, such as pronoun usage.
Trustee Joe Marcano proposed tabling the discussions, citing the ongoing lawsuit against a similar policy in the Chino Valley Unified School District and the possibility of new legislation addressing the issue. Chino Valley’s policy is currently facing legal challenges for allegedly violating state privacy laws and equal protection clauses.
The motion to postpone was passed with most trustees in favor, except for Lori Cisneros and Mary Little, who have been leading local efforts to pass the policy. They argued that the lawsuit against Chino Valley was frivolous and that parental rights should take precedence over student privacy concerns.
The jurisdiction over individual school districts in Kern County remains uncertain, as they have their own boards and can make their own decisions regarding the policy. Some argue that parents should have the ultimate authority over their children, while opponents stress the importance of student privacy and self-disclosure.
In the end, the Board’s decision provides temporary relief, but the future of the policy in Kern County remains uncertain.