OPINION: Chino Valley USD endangers queer students

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“Let me be perfectly queer” reads a shirt during a Queer and Trans Kids Autonomy March in Downtown Riverside on March 31. (Stephen Day | Viewpoints)
By Karly Ortiz

Chino Valley School District’s newest Parent Notification Policy is detrimental to gender non-conforming students. 

CVUSD announced in July they are officially adopting a policy that requires schools to alert parents if their children change their pronouns or preferred name in a classroom setting. The action is essentially just requiring schools to out LGBTQ+ students without their consent. 

CVUSD claims the new policy is necessary to keep parents knowledgeable about their children’s needs but it is unclear what the educational goals are. This policy is incredibly dangerous for gender non-conforming students and is clearly less about protecting and more about persecuting the LGBTQ+ community. 

According to The Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to ending suicide amongst the youth in the community, LGBTQ+ youth are more than four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight peers. It’s not known if forced outing contributes to that statistic, but there are many cases of forced outing causing people to commit suicide to avoid backlash. 

What benefit could this policy possibly offer that is worth that risk? CVUSD claims they believe the action will help both parents and students by opening this line of communication, but to do so by force is very damaging. 

Gender non-conforming students who live with intolerant parents are going to be the most negatively impacted by this policy. Children don’t keep such an important part of their existence hidden from their parents to spite them. For these children, school can be an escape from that fear of harm or judgment and an outlet to express themselves freely. All this policy is doing is scaring these children into silence, or punishing them for speaking up. 

I don’t believe this policy has anything to do with helping parent-child bonds. I believe this is a case of conservative board members pushing their views onto the schools and students in their district.CVUSD members have been in many controversies before for an abundance of problematic behavior, including making misogynistic and religious comments when discussing school policies.  According to The Daily Bulletin, in 2019 CVUSD was sued by the Freedom from Religion Foundation for opening each board meeting with a Christian prayer and speaking about religion for the majority of the meeting time. In June of this year, CVUSD banned pride flags from hanging in classrooms. 

This policy is a thinly veiled attempt to eradicate queerness from the Chino Valley area. 

However, it is not going unnoticed. Shortly after the announcement of this action, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced a lawsuit against the school district based on the new policy violating student’s equal protection and privacy rights. 

There is hope that this policy might be overruled, but it is still important to pay attention to the anti-LGBTQ+ agenda taking over schools. 

It is important that we see this matter for what it is: persecution. This is not the first and will not be CVUSD’s last attempt to pass a discriminatory policy. We need to remain aware and take action when they inevitably try again.

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