The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

The student news site of Whitney High School in Rocklin, Calif.

Whitney Update

Rocklin Unified School Board of Trustees passes Amendment 21 with 4-1 vote

At the school board meeting Sept. 6, ASB President Nayeli Glaude, Cade George and Mrs. Meredith Kane talk about the previous speakers during the first recess. The six-hour meeting included two separate recesses. Photo by Emerson Kibby.

Following the prior discussion on Aug. 9, the Rocklin School Board of Trustees finalized its decision to approve Amendment 21 during the Sept. 6 meeting. After listening to public comments for over four hours, the board approved the policy at 12:38 a.m. by a 4-1 vote. 

This policy, located in Regulation 5020: Parents Rights and Responsibilities, mandates teachers and staff to notify a parent within three days if their student wishes to be identified as a different gender, requests to go by a different name and if their student requests access to sex-segregated programs, activities, bathrooms and changing facilities that do not align with their child’s biological gender. Because of this, the meeting received a higher attendance than the majority of meetings. The scheduled vote led hundreds of community members to attend the meeting.

“It’s so awesome to see so many people here in support of our students. At the end of the day, that’s who the policy impacts,” Mrs. Meredith Kane said. 

The evening began with Rocklin Teachers Professional Association members handing out pizza, treats and water. Under umbrellas and tents, people exchanged pride ribbons, flags and signs. The doors opened at 5:55 p.m., and by 6:25 p.m. the room was full, requiring extra supervision at the exits. The board alluded to emails from parents concerning the policy expressing worries. The same concerns filled the air during the meeting from the audience. 

“Parents don’t show up because the board mandates it; they show up because they care about things that they feel is meaningful and impactful to your student’s education,” Board of Trustee Member Michelle Sutherland said. 

ASB Presidents from Whitney and Rocklin, Nayeli Glaude and Sophie Burns, arrived together at 5:30 p.m. After Burns’ report, the two gave a joint statement which included quotes from students at their respective schools. The audience cheered and waved their pride flags in response.

“As the elected student body president, it was an honor to voice the overarching opinion of the students that I represent. My goal was to readdress our high school’s main priority which is student safety as well as inclusivity, and make it clear to the Board of Trustees that we do not agree with the policy they are trying to pass. We are here, and we still want to promote inclusivity for everyone no matter what the vote ends up being,” Glaude said. 

Of the 164 emails received by the Board of Trustees, 22 were in favor of the policy revision. Other California school districts recently tried to adopt similar policies, such as Anderson and Chino Valley. California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the Chino Valley Unified School District for the employment of the same policy issued in the Sept. 6 meeting. 

RTPA President Travis Mougeotte said the California Teachers Association will be filing a lawsuit against the Rocklin Unified School District. Public commenters including law experts attended the meeting as well, giving similar feedback.

“Numerous courts have held that gender identity and sexual orientation are among the most intimate and private details of one’s life and are protected by the Constitution. As others have mentioned, the California Court affirmed this by blocking a similar policy of Chino Valley Unified. Policies like this break down trust at school, and a person’s ability to explore and discuss their identity at school as part of preparing them to discuss it at home,” NAACP Attorney Jennifer Joy said. 

The Board of Trustees originally brought the policy forward Aug. 9. Board President Julie Hupp and Trustee Derek Counter said they spoke extensively with their legal team, examining the ins and outs of 5020 and 51043 “with a fine-toothed comb.” The board said its goal with the policy is to open communication between parents and teachers. 

“There are many students on both sides of this issue, and they talk about this issue at school with awesome dialogue,” Boomer Bennett said, speaking on the behalf of students and teachers who did not wish to speak at the meeting.  “Teachers, educators and administrators are growing weary of playing the role of parent. The best way for students to succeed is for them to partner with their parent when it comes to the mental, physical and physical matters concerning their students.” 

The public comment portion of the meeting began at 8:17 p.m. After six hours, multiple recesses and countless public comments, the board voted. The policy was approved at 12:38 a.m. with a vote of 4-1. Friday, RTPA plans to file against the district with the Public Employees Relations Board, as the policy violates the contractual agreement. It also violates the Educational Employment Relations Act, as it requires changes in hours and/or working conditions to be bargained prior to initiating a new policy.


with additional reporting by ISABELLA TOMASINI

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