Extremist Temecula Valley school board members–whom we’ve written about previously for their attempts to deny students social studies textbooks simply because they contained LGBTQ content, and who are facing a recall effort due to their radical ideologies–are at it again. This time, they’re coming for trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming kids.
Taking cues from a similar policy in nearby Chino Valley (which is already being challenged at the state level), the Temecula Valley school board will soon consider a measure that would force teachers in the district to “out” students to their parents when students attempt to express their gender identities or even just go by their preferred names and pronouns in school.
Forcibly outing students to their parents has been shown to have dangerous consequences for students whose parents are unsupportive of their identities. These students can be put in danger of physical violence and worse. It’s an unapologetic assault on the safety and wellbeing of students, and it’s part of a larger trend we’re seeing across the country.
Currently, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is tracking nearly 500 bills targeting LGBTQ people, more than 200 of which are related to schools. But as everyone from internet trolls to presidential candidates gives their opinions on these issues, we can’t let the volume of assaults overwhelm us, and we can’t forget the real harm these types of policies will do to real kids.
I’ve written before about my negative experiences with Far Right policies around gender identity, and I was on the ground in Temecula last month with People For’s program Grandparents For Truth. We helped launch an effort to recall these extremist school board members to stop them from harming LGBTQ students and others in the district. Their actions regarding LGBTQ students show just how important the recall effort is.
The mission of Grandparents For Truth is to mobilize everyone we can to fight for the next generation’s freedom to learn and to resist authoritarian attacks on education. There’s no more important right of students than the right to be their authentic selves in the classroom.
As we watch what’s happening in Temecula and around the country, we must come together to protect our young people from authoritarian attacks and stand up for the rights of students to be who they are.
If you’re in the Temecula area, you can participate in the recall effort by visiting RecallAll3.org and help show the Far Right that good people won’t stand idly by while they attack the rights of our young people.
You can also visit our Grandparents For Truth page to learn more about what we’re doing to defend the freedom to learn and how you can be a part of it, whether you’re a grandparent, grandchild, or just believe in the value of honest education.
The Far Right won’t stop attacking the most marginalized groups in this country. We must all stand together to protect students, defend truth, and remind far-right extremists that LGBTQ people–especially young people–are here, queer, and not alone.