Last week I attended the Roseville Joint Union High School District Board Meeting. Pictured here are Board members Heidi Hall (Clerk), Pete Constant (President), Julie Hirota (VP), Superintendent John Becker, and speakers Natalie Robbins (President of the Roseville Secondary Education Association), and Barb Brass of PFLAG.
The meeting was almost entirely dedicated to the nearly two hours of public discussion around a proposed parental notification policy. Like other policies that have recently passed in the State, including nearby Rocklin and Dry Creek school districts, these policies mandate schools to notify parents if their child requests to be identified as a gender other than their biological sex or asked to be addressed by different pronouns.
Who showed up?
There were roughly 250 people in attendance. The only students or recent graduates who spoke were all opposed to the policy, and often told very personal stories. Natalie Robbins, President of the Roseville Secondary Education Association, also shared her opposition, as did some teachers. Others opposed to the policy included a nurse, foster mother, parents of current and former teachers and various community members.
Other parents. and community members spoke in opposition, often very loudly and angrily. They said they believe that their high schoolers have no right to privacy. As parents, they have every right to know about anything that concerns them. They also believe that all parents love their children and are responsible for them, and need to know everything about them to be good parents.
Speakers opposing the policy made the argument that violence happens in households in every school district, and that at the very least, many households have parents that would not be supportive if they learned that their youth had expressed gender-related issues. Information about the high numbers of suicidal behaviors related to LGBTIQ youth was also part of the conversation.
The legal and financial implications of such a policy were also addressed multiple times. Speakers noted that the district would have to spend significant funds to defend such a policy with Attorney General Rob Bonta already saying he would challenge these policies. Some speakers asserted that the current language in the California Education Code, the California State Constitution and various federal laws, all protect the privacy of minors.
Others simply said there is currently no problem to solve, so why would a policy that particularly singles out one group of youth even be needed?
The debate became a little verbally heated at times. Audience members spoke up loudly, and President Pete Constant threatened to have people removed. Police were present.
For those of us who have been around for awhile, we’re definitely noticing echoes of the past. Remember the Briggs Initiative and Anita Bryants “Save Our Children” campaign? To quote Mark Twain, ”History doesn’t repeat itself, we know, but it does rhyme.” Sadly, it feels like it will just be. a matter of time before these policies make their way to the Supreme Court, which is exactly what El Dorado County GOP’s Chairman Todd White said he hoped would be the case last month at the El Dorado school district’s board meeting.
- Nikon 780 body (smallest, lightest full-frame sensor Nikon body)
- Nikkor 70-200 mm f/2.8 zoom
- Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 zoom
- Nikkor 1.4x teleconverter
- 20mm (D series), f/2.8 prime
I had several challenges for photographing this event. First, I was not able to move around to get different positions, and sat in the front row. It was also very dark inside, and the paint color on the walls of the theate was awful. I had to use my 70-200 lens to get the range I wanted, so shot very open at f/2.8 and 3.5. That’s hard for me because it is a heavy lens and I did not want the ISO to be more than 6400 and the shutter at 1/160. Thank goodness for VR! Again, Topaz DeNoise software is a lifesaver!
* * *
All photos are copyright Chris Allan and cannot be used without my written permission. Please contact me for usage rights. Thank you for reading my blog post about the Roseville Joint Union High School District board meeting. To learn more about me and my work, please see my About page.