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Temecula city councilmember walks out over Pride proclamation

Alexander equating being LGBTQ+ with being a danger to the community, particularly young people and morally reprehensible

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City Councilmember Jessica Alexander during her anti-LGBTQ remarks. (Screenshot/YouTube City of Temecula, California)

TEMECULA, Calif. – After delivering a six minute diatribe with a slide show presentation to shore up her complaints against the LGBTQ+ community in advance of the city’s Pride proclamation by Temecula Mayor Zak Schwank, City Councilmember Jessica Alexander got up and walked off the dais.

During her speech, Alexander kept demanding to know what the ‘plus’ in LGBTQ+ stood for then answered her own questions claiming, by use of a slide show with various LGBTQ+ flags and their definitions that the plus was strictly to acknowledge ‘sexual deviant behaviours.’

Addressing the proclamation she warned that she would walk out and then said:

“Where is your moral and ethical line for each one of you as a city council member?”

“If you don’t oppose this proclamation being given to minors, we are celebrating and encouraging sexual activity and giving them (a) sexual credit card with no limit,” Alexander said. “You are encouraging them to expose them to all sexual possibilities and exposing them to predators.”

The Press-Enterprise reported:

Saying such proclamations were divisive, the council voted 3-2 in January to stop issuing citywide proclamations recognizing months such as Black History Month that celebrate cultural diversity, women’s history or the LGBTQ community.

Instead, those proclamations were left to the 2-year-old diversity commission, which took up the Pride Month proclamation at its June 7 meeting. Copies of the proclamation were given to LGBTQ clubs from the city’s high schools

Prior to that, in June of 2022 Alexander opposed a similar Pride proclamation, she espoused views that are considered homophobic and she referred to “sexual lifestyle” and “sexual preference” repeatedly. Then claiming her allegiance as a Christian she insisted she could not in “good faith” support the proclamation she deemed harmful and wrong.

She has also targeted the local Drag Queen shows and a Drag Queen Story Hour labeling them as “grooming” and has previously made references to LGBTQ+ people as pedophiles.

At this council meeting, Alexander said there are more than 50 LGBTQ flags representing “different identities, sexual attractions and most concerning sexual behaviors … Why is this city supporting children 17 and under to become involved in over 50 groups that fall under the LGBTQ+ flag?”  She then claimed that a newly passed Connecticut bill creates a special ‘protected class’ for pedophiles.

However, the Associated Press fact-checked this claim, and found it to be patently false. What the bill does is update the state’s definition of sexual orientation in its statewide non-discrimination ordinance, and adds age as a protected class to said ordinance.

Screenshot/YouTube City of Temecula, California

Jorge Reyes Salinas, a spokesperson for Equality California, in an emailed statement said:

“In a year where we have seen seemingly unceasing attacks on the LGBTQ+ community, Temecula City Councilmember Jessica Alexander’s comments at the June 13 council meeting continued to add fuel to the fire of anti-LGBTQ+ hatred and trafficked in long-tired tropes and outright misinformation.

Alexander’s comments about Pride flags are extremely and dangerously inaccurate.In saying that supporting the city’s Pride proclamation would ‘celebrate and encourage sexual activity’ and ‘expose [children] to predators,’ Alexander elevated dangerous rhetoric linking LGBTQ+ people to sexual predation, a long-used tactic by members of the far-right to discredit, stigmatize, and place in harm’s way the lives of LGBTQ+ people.

Alexander took a page out of the anti-LGBTQ+ extremist playbook by equating being LGBTQ+ with being a danger to the community, particularly young people. These offensive tropes have been thoroughly and completely debunked and it is shameful to hear them coming from an elected official in 2023.”

Mayor Schwank, responding to a press request for comment in an email wrote:

“He’s been reading “every proclamation that has been presented at (the commission) … so this isn’t something new. I find that there is value to the community to also acknowledge the proclamations during” a portion of the meeting reserved for councilmembers’ comments.

He added: “It’s disappointing to see one of our council member representatives refusing to recognize a valued and important group within our community, because I think it’s antithetical to our purpose here on the City Council.”

“More than anything else, behavior like that from the dais continues to divide this community in ways that are not conducive towards building a better Temecula.”

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Temecula City Council Meeting – June 13, 2023: (Alexander’s remarks start at 40:10)

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Riverside County

Riverside County school district kills trans outing policy

MVUSD’s forced outing policy is identical to the Chino Unified School District policy which a judge described as “discriminatory on its face”

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Murrieta Valley Unified School District support services & administration building. (Photo Credit: Murrieta Valley Unified School District)

MURRIETA, Calif. – The Murrieta Valley Unified School District Board (MVUSD), abandoned its controversial policy that would have forced school faculty and staff to “out” trans and non-binary students to parents.

In an emailed sent out Friday to parents, faculty, and staff members, school district administrators noted that the policy was reversed.

The California Department of Education found that it violated the state’s education codes and warned MVUSD that the policy “provided no educational or administrative purpose that could justify the discrimination of LGBT+ students.” The Department of Education stated the policy “singles out and is directed exclusively toward one group of students based on that group’s legally protected characteristics of identifying with or expressing a gender other than that identified at birth.”

In its email, MVUSD noted that the policy “is inconsistent with Education Code Section 220 and for this reason the mandatory notification requirements set forth in BP 5020.1 will not be implemented.”

Last month the MVUSD school board voted 3-2 to keep the forced outing policy on the books even though, according to a Press-Enterprise report, MVUSD Board President Paul Diffley was warned by the district’s law firm, Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo (AALRR), that “‘going ahead (with the policy) in such an environment’ could cost the district $500,000 in legal expenses.”

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After the board vote, two district educators, Jamie Goebel and Karen Poznanski, filed a complaint with the California Department of Education about the policy due to its “discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression.”

“This policy not only violated the privacy and dignity of our students but also perpetuated harm and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals and their families,” Poznanski told the Press Enterprise once the California Department of Education sided with the teachers last week.

MVUSD’s forced outing policy is identical to the policy passed by Chino Unified School District (CVUSD) that California Superior Court Judge Michael Sachs described as “discriminatory on its face” and placed under a preliminary injunction in October 2023. 

The lawsuit, The People of the State of California, Ex Rel. et al -v- Chino Valley Unified School District (San Bernardino County Superior Court Case No. CIVSB2317301), was introduced by California Attorney General Rob Bonta on August 28, 2023, and was placed under a temporary restraining order on September 6, 2023 prior to the October ruling.

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Riverside County

Riverside judge refuses to block trans outing & CRT policies

Forced disclosure requires schools to inform parents if a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from their birth certificate

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Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education admin offices (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – A Riverside County Superior Court judge denied a motion on Friday morning, Feb. 23, to issue an injunction seeking to stop the Temecula Valley Unified School District from enforcement of two controversial polices on transgender notification to parents or guardians and a ban on teaching of critical race theory.

Superior Court Judge Eric Keen denied plaintiffs’ motions to issue the injunctions without clarification or elaboration. The Daily Bulletin media outlet reported Public Counsel, which sought the injunction, will appeal Keen’s ruling Public Counsel attorney Amanda Mangaser Savage said after the hearing.

“We always knew that this case was going to go up on appeal, whether we prevailed or not,” she said. “This is a question that the California appellate courts really need to decide to set a precedent for superior courts across the state of California.”

She added: “While yes, we are disappointed in today’s ruling, we are excited about the possibility of taking this up on appeal and having a court rule on the merits of our claims in a way that will impact courts across California.”

“Despite the small but vocal opponents that seek to rewrite history and indoctrinate students, I am very optimistic for our school district,” Dr. Joseph Komrosky, President of the school board said in a statement issued Friday after the ruling. “I believe that the diversity that exists among the District’s community of students, staff, parents, and guardians is an asset to be honored and valued. These policies were enacted by the school board to ensure our district puts the needs of students and their parents above all else. Our district remains focused on providing a holistic education for all of our students, free from both discrimination and indoctrination.”

According to the Daily Bulletin last week Keen ruled that the lawsuit, described as a groundbreaking challenge of a critical race theory ban, could move forward.

The battle over parental notification of trans and non-binary students policies at school board levels across California, which opponents say are plainly dangerous forced outings, resulted in another court fight, which in that case San Bernardino California Superior Court Judge Michael Sachs issued a preliminary oral injunction last Fall against the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education’s mandatory gender identity disclosure policy, further halting the enforcement of the policy.

The Superior Court’s ruling came after California Attorney General Bonta in August announced a lawsuit challenging the enforcement of the Board’s forced outing policy. Prior to filing a lawsuit, Attorney General Bonta announced opening a civil rights investigation into the legality of the Board’s adoption of the policy.

Bonta in January issued a legal alert addressed to all California county, school district, and charter school boards and superintendents, warning them against forced gender identity disclosure policies detrimental to the privacy, safety, and well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

Forced disclosure policies require schools to inform parents whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission or when doing so would put them at risk of physical, emotional, or psychological harm.

Such policies also require notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that do not align with their sex on official records. In today’s alert, Attorney General Bonta reminds all school boards that these forced gender identity disclosure policies violate the California Constitution and state laws safeguarding students’ civil rights.

According to City News Service, Yi Li, a fellow at Public Counsel said: “Unfortunately, Temecula is just one example of school districts and states around the country that are putting culture war politics before the needs of the students and communities. Temecula students are now in classrooms where they cannot learn material required by state standards, or have open and honest discussion about current events. And Temecula teachers are at risk of facing sever and arbitrary penalties just by doing their jobs.”

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Riverside County

Season’s Greetings, Riverside! (and Southern California)

Happy Holidays, Riverside!❤ We’re wishing you a joyful holiday season filled with happiness, health, and cherished times with loved ones

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Photo Credit: City of Riverside

WARM WISHES FROM THE
CITY OF RIVERSIDE!

Happy Holidays, Riverside! We’re wishing you a joyful holiday season filled with happiness, health, and cherished times with loved ones. Looking ahead to the new year, we are eager to serve you, support you, and to continue to make a meaningful difference in Riverside.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS, SANTA MEET-AND-GREET, ICE-SKATING & MORE!

Join us at the Historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa’s Festival of Lights and enjoy millions of holiday lights and holiday-themed décor, all in the heart of Downtown! 

Swing by the North Pole on Main St. to meet Santa and grab your ice skates for the return of our beloved ice-skating rink located near The Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the holiday lights and grab treats from a variety of food vendors opened daily from 5 PM – 10 PM.

SUPPORT RIVERSIDE NEIGHBORS WITH
LITTLE FREE PANTRY DONATIONS

Help your neighbors in need this holiday season by donating to your local Little Free Pantry. The program provides Riverside families with non-perishable food and personal item donations at one of the many local pantries in a neighborhood near you.  

You can help expand access to food and create a positive impact within our community. Make an even bigger impact by becoming a pantry steward and host today! 

LEARN MORE & APPLY TODAY

CITY OF RIVERSIDE HONORED FOR EXCELLENCE

Celebrating a milestone in financial transparency, the City of Riverside has been honored with the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The prestigious award is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.  

Accompanied by the Award of Financial Reporting Achievement (AFRA), this achievement highlights our City’s commitment to transparency, high standards, and effectively communicates Riverside’s financial journey.  

PIONEERING THE FUTURE OF
RENEWABLE ENERGY

Riverside Public Utilities (RPU) has secured 125 megawatts of wind-generated energy from a new facility being built in New Mexico. This groundbreaking deal will allow RPU to reach the 2030 statewide clean energy mandate with more than three years to spare. The power purchase and sale agreement will boost RPU’s renewable energy resources from 45.4% to nearly 70% when the project comes online in March 2026. The agreement reinforces the City’s dedication to clean energy and helps RPU continue to meet and exceed statewide mandates for clean energy. 

ELEVATE YOUR HOLIDAY SAVINGS WITH ENERGY STAR REBATES

Dreaming of new appliances this season? The holidays are ideal for smart home upgrades. That dishwasher or TV on your wish list may qualify for rebates. Take advantage of Riverside Public Utilities Energy Star rebates to reduce your energy bills and enjoy energy-efficient products. Holiday savings are just a click away! 

SAVE THE DATE

Mark your calendars for an insightful evening with Mayor Patricia Lock Dawson and The Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce for The State of the City Address. The address will highlight this past year’s achievements and share the vision for what 2024 holds. Mayor Lock Dawson will also present the honoree of the Innovation Award, which is given to a group or individual who epitomizes the spirit that helps make Riverside the City of Arts and Innovation. Join us in-person or via live stream on RiversideTV and social media.  

Please note, the City of Riverside upcoming holidays and special hours of operation.
As a friendly reminder, trash services will be delayed after City observed holiday. Holiday Schedule.

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Riverside County

Chino Valley Unified School District set to ban LGBTQ+ books

Critics charge that Board President Shaw has been tone-deaf to understanding the needs of LGBTQ+ and other minority students

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The Chino Valley Unified School Board passed a revised policy proposal submitted by CVUSD Board President Sonja Shaw, that policy bans books & restricts curriculum that deals with LGBTQ+ and racial subject matter. (Screenshot/YouTube CVUSD)

CHINO, Calif. – The Chino Valley Unified School Board (CVUSD) on Thursday passed a new policy that may lead to books and other teaching materials getting pulled over “sexually obscene” content notably books on LGBTQ+ subjects, deals with racial issues or even political material.

In a 3-2 vote, the conservative majority led by CVUSD Board President Sonja Shaw, set forth a new policy process that may directly conflict with Assembly Bill 1078, signed into law by Govern Gavin Newsom in September.  AB 1078 prohibits censorship of instructional materials, and strengthens California law requiring schools to provide all students access to textbooks that teach about California’s diverse communities.

“From Temecula to Tallahassee, fringe ideologues across the country are attempting to whitewash history and ban books from schools. With this new law, we’re cementing California’s role as the true freedom state: a place where families — not political fanatics — have the freedom to decide what’s right for them,” Newsom said when he signed AB 1078 into law.

Critics charge that Board President Shaw has been tone-deaf to understanding the needs of LGBTQ+ and other minority students by focusing efforts on removal of books that address those communities and labeling them sexually explicit.

A progressive Chino Valley parents’ group, Our Schools USA, said in a statement that Shaw introduced her original seven-page book banning proposal in October, and expanded it to apply to “classroom books/materials.”

Shaw, who asserted she was not “a puppet or a servant” upon introducing her proposal, appears to have lifted entire paragraphs of it directly from the generic one-size-fits-all “Model Policy to Challenge Vulgar Books in School Libraries” template provided in Tennessee-based extremist Karen England’s “Take Back the Classroom” toolkit

Kristi Hirst, a parent, former teacher, and co-founder of Our Schools USA in an emailed statement noted:

“Our teachers are overworked, underpaid, and very clearly under appreciated by this board who believe they have time to do their important jobs teaching our children and, as a nefarious extracurricular, indoctrinate them.” Hirst said.

“Teachers tell me they’re worried about the chilling effect curriculum censorship will have on classroom learning, resources, and an increasingly challenging and negative school climate,” she continued.

“This censorship is a naked attempt to discourage innovative teaching, squash creativity, and bury this school district in red tape and unsustainable legal expenses. The result of passing this type of censorship will diminish the quality of education available to our students, diminish the quality of teachers available to our students, and increase an already too-high number of teacher vacancies in this district.” 

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Protesting anti-LGBTQ+ actions by school board, students walk-out

Students are angry over actions recently taken by the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education

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Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education admin offices (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

TEMECULA, Calif. – One hundred plus students from Great Oak High School in Temecula walked out of class last week protesting what one student said was an oppressive toxic anti-LGBTQ+ environment.

On Wednesday, school officials warned students who participated that they would be disciplined. [See letter below]

“On Wednesday, the school sent out an email saying anyone who participated would be punished,” Moxxie Childs, a student who helped organize the protest told KABC 7.

The walk-out received the attention of California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis who tweeted:

Students are angry over actions recently taken by the Temecula Valley Unified School District Board of Education. At the beginning of this month the board passed a controversial new policy that bans all flags except for the U.S. National Standard and the California State flags on any TVUSD properties including in classrooms.

On August 22, 2023, the Board voted to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy. The enacted policy requires schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don’t align with their sex on official records.

A similar mandatory gender identity disclosure policy in neighboring Chino enacted by the Chino Valley Unified School District is now being challenged in San Bernadino Superior Court by California Attorney General Rob Bonta

In July the board voted to reject inclusion of a book and curriculum that included mention of slain former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk and LGBTQ+ topics as required by state law. The board voted 3-2 to dismiss the state’s mandated textbooks and continue on with instructional materials that are nearly two decades old.

Board member Jen Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky referred to Milk as a pedophile, drawing the ire of California Gov. Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “An offensive statement from an ignorant person. This isn’t Texas or Florida. In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn. Congrats Mr. Komrosky you have our attention. Stay tuned.”

After Newsom indicated the state would step in and also fine the district the board rescinded its earlier vote and moved forward to purchase the text books and accompanying instructional materials.

Southern California student protests school flag ban policy; hands out hundreds of Pride flags:

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Riverside County

Temecula school district bans all flags other than U.S. & state flags

“We’re seeing BLM flags, Pride flags- we’re not anti-LGBTQ, we’re not anti-anything but a classroom is not a place for political beliefs”

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Screenshot/YouTube KCAL CBS Los Angeles

TEMECULA, Calif. – The Temecula Valley Unified School District passed a controversial new policy that bans all flags except for the U.S. National Standard and the California State flags on any TVUSD properties including in classrooms.

While the policy passed last night in a 3-2 vote doesn’t specifically list unapproved flags, there has been tense discussions over display of the LGBTQ+ Pride Flag and the Black Lives Matters flag which drew the ire of conservative parents and three of the board members including board member Jennifer Wiersma, one of the three who is backed by the Inland Empire Family Pac, a far-right group that opposes LGBTQ+ rights, Board President Dr. Joseph Komrosky, who had publicly referred to LGBTQ+ civil rights advocate Harvey Milk as a pedophile, and Danny Gonzalez who is also opposed to LGBTQ+ equality rights.

The policy’s text says in part:

“No flag other than the United States of America and state of California may be displayed on school grounds, including classrooms, unless it is a country, state or United States military flag used solely for educational purposes within the adopted curriculum. Any other flag must be approved by the Superintendent or designee prior to displaying if, and only if, it is used for educational purposes and only during the related instructional period.”

Komrosky had placed the item dealing with flags and display on Tuesday’s agenda. There was a large crowd gathered for the board session and upon the final vote those in favour of the policy stood and applauded loudly.

Tensions flared at times in the large showing of parents, teachers, students and community members in the audience.

KTLA 5 who had a reporter present noted:

“This rainbow flag is infiltrating every corner of education and we need to talk about that,” a supporter of the policy said.

No text in the policy specifically mentions Pride flags on school campuses, however, members of the LGBTQ+ community believe the ban is being aimed at preventing Pride flags from being flown.

“Taking down a Pride flag is telling people they’re not wanted,” said a policy opposer.

Audience members who supported the policy told KTLA they believed Pride flags, or any other types of flags, should not be flown on school campuses.

“We’re seeing a lot of activism in the classrooms,” said Milana Cubana, a supporter of the flag policy. “We’re seeing BLM flags, Pride flags, trans flags and we’re not anti-LGBTQ, we’re not anti-anything but a classroom is not a place for your personal political beliefs.”

Opposers, however, are concerned over issues of censorship and lack of inclusivity in the classroom curriculum.

“When my children and I see LGBTQ flags and Pride flags, we all know that we’re going to be accepted there,” said, Ashley Williamson, who opposes the policy. “We know that we’re not going to be berated for what we believe in or how we look or how we act or the people who we are in relationships with.”

“It’s officially Transgender History Month in August,” said Love Bailey, a critic of the policy. “How will you teach that to the kids unless you display a trans flag? How, unless we embrace diversity, are we going to give our kids a good education moving forward?”

The Temecula Valley Unified School District has been at the center of the clash in Southern California between LGBTQ+ supporters in school districts and those opposed to LGBTQ+ rights.

In July the board voted to reject inclusion of a book and curriculum that included mention of slain former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk and LGBTQ+ topics as required by state law. The board voted 3-2 to dismiss the state’s mandated textbooks and continue on with instructional materials that are nearly two decades old.

During discussions around the issue at the time Wiersma argued:

“I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue. I don’t want them going into gender ideology.” Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky referred to Milk as a pedophile, drawing the ire of California Gov. Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “An offensive statement from an ignorant person. This isn’t Texas or Florida. In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn. Congrats Mr. Komrosky you have our attention. Stay tuned.”

After Newsom indicated the state would step in and also fine the district the board rescinded its earlier vote and moved forward to purchase the text books and accompanying instructional materials.

Then on August 22, 2023, the Board voted to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy. The enacted policy requires schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don’t align with their sex on official records.

A similar mandatory gender identity disclosure policy in neighboring Chino enacted by the Chino Valley Unified School District is now being challenged in San Bernadino Superior Court by California Attorney General Rob Bonta

Additional reporting from KTLA 5

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Riverside County

Temecula school district’s forced outing policy detrimental says AG

“The rise in school districts adopting policies that target California’s vulnerable LGBTQ+ student population is of grave concern” 

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California's Attorney General Rob Bonta listens intently to a teen member of the LGBTQ+ community during the launch of the first of a new series of youth community conversations with young leaders to foster civic engagement. (Photo Credit: Office of the California Attorney General)

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statement Wednesday following Temecula Valley Unified School District Board’s decision to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy that is detrimental to the well-being of LGBTQ+ students on August 22, 2023.

The enacted policy requires schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don’t align with their sex on official records.

The vote comes just weeks after Attorney General Bonta issued a statement denouncing Murrieta Valley Unified’s decision to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy targeting transgender and gender nonconforming students.

In June, Bonta and Governor Gavin Newsom issued a joint statement urging the Board to provide information regarding its decision to reject the Social Studies Alive curriculum for grades 1 through 5, which highlights the contributions of various groups, including gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans. 

“The rise in school districts adopting policies that target California’s vulnerable LGBTQ+ student population is of grave concern,” said Bonta. “My office is closely monitoring the situation and will not tolerate districts compromising the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students. We will remain committed to ensuring school policies do not violate students’ civil rights.”

Research shows that protecting a transgender student’s ability to make choices about how and when to inform others is critical to their well-being, as transgender students are exposed to high levels of harassment and mistreatment at school and in their communities.

Seventy-seven percent of students known or perceived as transgender reported negative experiences such as harassment and assault, and over half of transgender and nonbinary youth reported seriously considering suicide in the past year.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Bonta announced opening a civil rights investigation into potential legal violations by Chino Valley Unified School District’s adoption of its mandatory gender identity disclosure policy.

Prior to opening the investigation, Bonta in July sent a letter to Superintendent Norman Enfield and the Board of Education cautioning them of the dangers of adopting its forced outing policy, emphasizing the potential infringements on students’ privacy rights and educational opportunities. 

AUG-22-2023 6:00 PM ◇ Regular Meeting ◇ Open Session ◇ TVUSD Governing Board:

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Riverside County

Riverside school district enacts Outing policy for trans kids

The MVUSD board vote was 3-2 adopting the policy, which is nearly identical to CVUSD’s policy now under investigation by the Attorney General

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Murrieta school district OKs new transgender policy. (Screenshot/YouTube KTLA)

MURRIETA, Calif. – The Murrieta Valley Unified School District Board (MVUSD), Thursday night approved a policy mirroring one recently adopted by the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), that forces school faculty and staff to “out” students to parents whose gender identities may be changing.

The MVUSD board vote was 3-2 adopting the policy, which the language of is nearly identical to CVUSD’s policy, that is now under investigation by California Attorney General Rob Bonta. The Attorney General announced last week that he opened a civil rights investigation into potential legal violations by CVUSD that he noted that proposed Parental Notification policy, likely has potential infringements on students’ privacy rights and educational opportunities.

The board in approving the policy delayed implementation until the administrative guidelines are written.

The local newspaper, the Press Enterprise, reported that the board room — which holds about 147 people — was full well before the open session of the meeting began at 5 p.m. An overflow crowd was in the entryway. About a dozen law enforcement officers stood by. It took hours to get a vote, which came about 10:30 p.m.

Board member Nancy Young, who defeated a candidate backed by a conservative PAC in the November election, said Wednesday, Aug. 9, that she is “adamantly opposed” to the potential policy.

“Its illegal,” she said. “It’s a violation of Ed Code and state law and discriminates.”

Young cited the risk of lawsuits or a civil rights investigation by the state, as well as the stress the policy would cause to transgender students, who she said have “a suicide rate that is four times the suicide rate” of other students.

“Educating children works best with engaged parents and caring teachers working together to create a safe space for all children to learn,” said former teacher and Our Schools USA co-founder Kristi Hirst to the Blade. “This policy breaks down trust between our most vulnerable students and their teachers. Murrieta following the lead of Chino Valley – with copies of Chino Valley’s illegal resolution in hand – makes it clear that attacking LGBTQ students for political gain is part of a larger inorganic movement that Our Schools USA is fighting against.”

California Attorney General Rob Bonta in an emailed statement to the Blade said: “I am deeply disturbed to learn another school district has put at risk the safety and privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students by adopting a forced outing policy. My office remains committed to ensuring school policies do not target or seek to discriminate against California’s most vulnerable communities. California will not stand for violations of our students’ civil rights.”

Stephanie Young, a Murrieta resident and district teacher, attended the meeting the Press Enterprise noted, to oppose the potential policy and support transgender students. Young has a 17-year-old son who is trans.

“There’s gonna be kids who feel like nobody cares,” she said.

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Riverside County

Temecula school board backs off, adopts new curriculum & book

Attorney General Bonta & Gov. Newsom announced an inquiry into the district by the state Dept of Justice related to civil rights violations

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The oft times contentious, acrimonious and emotional public comments as both sides presented arguments in favor or against California’s new elementary level social studies book and curriculum during a special session of the Temecula Valley Unified School District's school board. (Screenshot/YouTube)

TEMECULA, Calif. – In a Friday special session, after oft times contentious, acrimonious and emotional public comments as both sides presented arguments in favor or against California’s new elementary level social studies book and curriculum previously rejected twice, the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s board relented and voted unanimously to adopt it.

At numerous points during public comments, School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky threatened to clear the room, warning the audience that they were trying his patience.

The new social studies book in question is called, “Social Studies Alive!” and complies with 2011 state laws requiring that students get instruction about “the role and contributions of people with disabilities; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans; and other ethnic and cultural groups.”

Curriculum that deals with LGBTQ+ history is mandated under California’s FAIR Education Act, which was signed into law on July 14, 2011, and went into effect on January 1, 2012. It amends the California Education Code to include the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful reference to contributions by people with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community in history and social studies curriculum.

The cover of the book “Social Studies Alive!” rejected by the school board. (Screenshot/KTLA)

The school board had met for more than 5 hours this past Tuesday, hearing from parents, teachers, and even people outside the Temecula area regarding the state’s mandatory curriculum standards for elementary school kids. Three conservative members of the board have publicly denounced the book and the accompanying curriculum.

On Tuesday, the board voted 3-2 to dismiss the state’s mandated textbooks and continue on with instructional materials that are nearly two decades old.

That prompted a response from Governor Gavin Newsom, following the School Board’s failure to adopt the updated social studies curriculum, to announce the state is entering into a contract to secure textbooks to ensure students in the district begin the school year with access to up-to-date books and materials that comply with state law.

“The three political activists on the school board have yet again proven they are more interested in breaking the law than doing their jobs of educating students — so the state will do their job for them,” the governor said.

“California will ensure students in Temecula begin the school year with access to materials reviewed by parents and recommended by teachers across the district. After we deliver the textbooks into the hands of students and their parents, the state will deliver the bill — along with a $1.5 million fine — to the school board for its decision to willfully violate the law, subvert the will of parents, and force children to use an out-of-print textbook from 17 years ago,” Newsom said.

During the board meeting two months ago, Board Member Jennifer Wiersma, one of the three board members backed by the Inland Empire Family Pac, a far-right group that opposes LGBTQ+ rights, transparent sexual education curriculum, and so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ although that material is not taught in K-12 schools anywhere in the United States argued:

“I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue. I don’t want them going into gender ideology.” Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

In the May 16 board meeting, School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky referred to Milk as a pedophile, drawing the ire of California Gov. Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “An offensive statement from an ignorant person. This isn’t Texas or Florida. In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn. Congrats Mr. Komrosky you have our attention. Stay tuned.”

Late Friday night after the board’s vote to adopt the book and curriculum, Governor Newsom reacted in a statement:

“Fortunately, now students will receive the basic materials needed to learn.  But this vote lays bare the true motives of those who opposed this curriculum. This has never been about parents’ rights. It’s not even about Harvey Milk – who appears nowhere in the textbook students receive. This is about extremists’ desire to control information and censor the materials used to teach our children.

“Demagogues who whitewash history, censor books, and perpetuate prejudice never succeed. Hate doesn’t belong in our classrooms and because of the board majority’s antics, Temecula has a civil rights investigation to answer for.”  

The Temecula Valley Unified School District board majority’s actions are being investigated by the California Department of Education. On June 7, 2023, Attorney General Bonta and Governor Newsom announced an inquiry into the district by the California Department of Justice related to civil rights violations.

Related:

JUL-21-2023 7:30 PM ◇ Special Meeting ◇ TVUSD Governing Board:

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Riverside County

Newsom says state will secure textbooks for students in Temecula

Last week, the Governor and state leaders demanded the school district follow the law and adopt an updated curriculum

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Governor Gavin Newsom discusses new programs to assist at risk students in California's public schools. (Photo Credit: Office of the Governor)

SACRAMENTO – Following the Temecula Valley Unified School District’s failure to adopt an updated social studies curriculum, today Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state is entering into a contract to secure textbooks to ensure students in the district begin the school year with access to up-to-date books and materials that comply with state law.

Elementary students in Temecula are slated to begin the school year on August 14, 2023, without proper instructional materials – in violation of state law – because of the school board’s 3-2 majority’s repeated decision to reject an updated curriculum.

 “The three political activists on the school board have yet again proven they are more interested in breaking the law than doing their jobs of educating students — so the state will do their job for them,” said Newsom.

“California will ensure students in Temecula begin the school year with access to materials reviewed by parents and recommended by teachers across the district. After we deliver the textbooks into the hands of students and their parents, the state will deliver the bill — along with a $1.5 million fine — to the school board for its decision to willfully violate the law, subvert the will of parents, and force children to use an out-of-print textbook from 17 years ago.”

During the board meeting two months ago, Board Member Jennifer Wiersma, one of the three who is backed by the Inland Empire Family Pac, a far-right group that opposes LGBTQ+ rights, transparent sexual education curriculum, and so-called ‘Critical Race Theory’ although that material is not taught in K-12 schools anywhere in the United States argued:

“I don’t want my 3rd grader studying an LGBTQ issue. I don’t want them going into gender ideology.” Wiersma, supported by the other two conservatives, Danny Gonzalez and Dr. Joseph Komrosky, signaled that they were also opposed to any curriculum that included lessons or information about former openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk.

School Board Dr. Joseph Komrosky referred to Milk as a pedophile, drawing the ire of California Gov. Gavin Newsom who tweeted: “An offensive statement from an ignorant person. This isn’t Texas or Florida. In the Golden State, our kids have the freedom to learn. Congrats Mr. Komrosky you have our attention. Stay tuned.”

Due to the board majority’s inaction, students in the district are forced to use a textbook published in 2006. According to the district’s own documents published online, the district is out of compliance with at least three separate state laws and frameworks with its current curriculum.

Last week, the Governor and state leaders demanded the school district follow the law and adopt an updated curriculum. Yesterday, July 18, 2023, the school board again voted by a 3-2 majority to reject the adoption of a new social studies curriculum that was recommended by teachers representing every elementary school in the district and reviewed by parents and community members.

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