School District Clarifies LGBTQIA+ Policies

By David M. Greenwald
Executive Editor

Davis, CA – Recent discussions have arisen over DJUSD guidelines regarding gender and sexuality.  In response, the district recently put out an “LGBTQIA+ Support Fact Sheet.”

The district “is committed to safety, inclusion, affirmation and representation for all students, to include providing strong support for students and parents/guardians on topics related to LGBTQIA+ youth.”

In 2017, the school board approved the district’s “We All Belong” Resolution “which provides a clear statement that DJUSD shall be a place where all students, employees and families feel welcome and safe regardless of where they are from, the color of their skin, or their sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or gender expression.”

The resolution also aligns with current state law as well as the district’s Non-Discrimination/Harassment Policy (see DJUSD’s Non Discrimination/ Harassment Board Policy 5145.3 and Administrative Regulation 5145.3).

From the district’s “Frequently Asked Questions”:

When and what are DJUSD students taught about gender and sexuality?

The California Healthy Youth Act (Education Code 51933) requires “that school districts ensure that all pupils in grades seven to twelve, inclusive, receive comprehensive sexual health education and HIV prevention education.” It requires that “instruction and materials shall teach pupils about gender, gender expression, gender identity, and to explore the harm of negative gender stereotypes.” (EC 51933(d) (6). To ensure compliance with the law and California Education Code, DJUSD provides secondary students with integrated and comprehensive sexual health education to ensure they possess the necessary knowledge and skills to create healthy, safe and positive relationships.

What type of medical care does the District provide LGBTQIA+ students? What does it not provide? Does DJUSD provide medication that initiates gender transition for students?

The Student Support Services Health Department has Certificated Nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses and Health Aides who provide basic first aid, manage health care plans and oversee emergency medical responses for all students. When needs arise beyond the scope of their role, health staff provide parents/guardians referrals to an appropriately licensed healthcare provider.

DJUSD staff do not prescribe medication nor administer it without the authorization of a medical doctor and parent/guardian consent. Staff cannot provide a diagnosis or perform any medical procedures. Students and families seeking guidance for gender-affirming and all other medical needs are referred to their healthcare provider.

What mental health services does the District provide to students?

All students may visit their school counselor for short-term counseling, crisis intervention and referrals to appropriately licensed providers. Students may also qualify for school-based counseling by licensed mental health providers from CommuniCare or Auburn/Davis Center for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Students receiving Special Education Services may qualify for Educationally Related Mental Health Services at school. DJUSD also refers students and families to mental health services using Care Solace.

What services does CommuniCare Healthcare Centers (CCHC) provide to DJUSD students?

Yolo County Health & Human Services Agency oversees the Mental Health Student Support Services Act grant that provides school-based mental health in Yolo County schools. CCHC is the community provider, funded by the grant, offering licensed mental health clinician support to students at all DJUSD sites. In addition, CCHC runs a weekly health clinic for limited primary health care at Martin Luther King (Jr.) High School. This service requires written parent/guardian consent (with the exception of confidential sexual and reproductive health services protected by law). See California Minor Consent and Confidentiality Laws for a comprehensive list of students’ rights.

Families and students seeking guidance for gender-affirming healthcare and all other healthcare needs are referred to their healthcare provider.

CommuniCare Healthcare Centers are licensed medical care providers and provide many health services in our community. These services are separate from the services provided through the District.

Do students have the right to confidentiality when they identify as transgender?

In accordance with AB 1266, students have the right to keep their transgender status private and that right is grounded in federal and California anti-discrimination laws. Disclosing a student’s transgender status without their permission may violate California’s anti-discrimination law.

Can students change their name and/or pronouns? Can they do so without parent/guardian permission?

In accordance with AB 1266, also known as the “School Success and Opportunity Act,” students can change their name or pronoun/s without parent or guardian permission.

How many students in DJUSD identify as transgender? How many students identify as LGBTQIA+?

When students were asked if they identify as transgender on the November 2022 Youth Truth Survey, 3% of 7th-9th graders and 4% of 10th-12th graders agreed. In the same survey, 20% of 7th-9th graders identified as LGBTQIA+ and 24% of 10th-12th graders identified as LGBTQIA+.

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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  1. Walter Shwe

    This a good policy designed to balance the rights of students and their parents/guardians. It is grounded by both state and federal law.

  2. Dave Hart

    I think it is particularly important that kids in k-12 understand that they can open up to adults about their gender identification without fear of negative judgment.  The biggest problem these kids face is right there at home if their parents/guardians can’t handle the information in a healthy way.  Confidentiality is all they have to survive these difficult teen years.  Adult guidance, if it isn’t going to be supportive from home must come from the schools.  Where else?

    1. Kendra Smith

      This is a really good point. Sadly, so many of these right wing leaning parents have an attitude of ownership when it comes to their children. They think they own their children and should  make every single decision for them until they are the age of 18 (and for some of them, it’s beyond that age).

      And it is due to people of this mentality that the US is the only advanced, Western nation at this point to not sign on to the UN Rights of the Child Treaty. Because of this attitude of ownership.

      1. Keith Olsen

        Sadly, so many of these right wing leaning parents have an attitude of ownership when it comes to their children. They think they own their children and should  make every single decision for them until they are the age of 18 

        I think this is true of most parents when it comes to their children, left or right wing.  Parents should be involved in big decisions when it comes to their children, especially when they are at a young age.  I can see backing off some when children hit their later teen years.

        1. David Greenwald

          Keith –

          That sounds like a reasonable position… on the surface.

          But there are a host of problems…

          What do we do about issues of gender dysphoria?

          But about the high suicide rate for trans people.

          There was a story from December, “The Trevor Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to LGBTQ+ youth suicide prevention, on Thursday released state-level data from nearly 34,000 queer and trans youth ages 13 to 24, showing alarmingly high rates of suicide attempts, depression and anxiety across liberal and conservative regions.”

          I know how we reacted when our kid announced they were trans. But I also know of many families where trans kids are disowned or kicked out of the house.

          How does your proposed policy address those problems? What recourse does a kid in that situation have? You think a troubled teen is going to have the wherewithal to go to court? And even if they do, is a court in a lot of red areas going to be sympathetic?

          The polarization of this issue is going to make this problem worse. And I don’t see a good solution forthcoming.

  3. beth bourne

    Thank you for reporting on this issue, Davis Vanguard. Some of the policies you mentioned were new to me and pretty upsetting as a parent.
    I would like to share my DJUSD Public Records request response with other parents in Davis who may be concerned about the CommuniCare Health clinicians on DHS campus. Let me know if I can post a link to the PDF here.

    1. Kendra Smith

      “Concerned parents” parent their own children. They do not unilaterally attempt to remove the choices from other parents.

      The “Moms for Liberty” organization (per what the Miami Herald article that came out a couple of days ago uncovered) is trying to obscure the fact that their organization is linked to white supremacist and white nationalist organizations who are willing to use political violence to force their narrow militantly extremist/radical evangelical Christian-based viewpoint on everyone else.

      They are linked to organizations such as the Proud Boys and are far from being a grassroots organization comprised of “concerned parents” and are instead astroturfed by right wing dark money.

      Again, I would expect the over educated populace of this town to recognize creeping neofascism when they see it. Apparently they don’t.

      Don’t let these narrow-minded moralists get a toehold in this community. Please send them packing.

      And I expect better of you, David, than the opening passive sentence you present. “Discussions have arisen.” This hasn’t happened without an active agent. The turmoil has been started due to these agitating neofascist agents trying to shove their viewpoint down the throats of everyone else. These discussions did not organically arise in the absence of extremist right wing agitation.

  4. Sharla Cheney

    Now is not the time to reduce mental health resources for our students. I have no idea why Beth and her Moms for Liberty group would oppose providing these resources, especially since the community has suffered several tragedies at the hands of mentally ill youth.  If Beth is shocked that high school students can access confidential mental health care and other specific types of healthcare, it has been allowed under State law for many decades and there is a clear reason for it.  I suggest that she read the resource provided and talk to her children about where they can get help, if needed. I recommend that for all parents in town.

    1. Walter Shwe

      Confidential access to mental health resources is essential to the well being of today’s youth. I stand in solidarity with Davis High students irrespective of their sexualities and gender identities. The State and Governor Newsom recognize the imperative of promoting youth mental health. On Tuesday I attended a conference in Sacramento. The keynote speaker was the State’s Director of the California Children and Youth Behavioral Initiative. When I was in high school I first suffered the debilitating effects of severe depression. If I had been unable to access counseling and mental health services I may have taken my own life.

      I extend my gratitude to Dave Hart, Kendra Smith and Sharla Cheney for speaking out.

  5. Eleanora Glick

    I just want to applaud DJUSD as a student here. Which DJUSD does not do everything correct and has gotten many things wrong, I applaud them very very much for really caring about their LGBT+ students and protecting them. Schools are supposed to be somewhere safe for people and DJUSD has put many steps in to help queer students feel comfortable and safe.

    I have friends that do not feel comfortable at home sharing their pronouns and desired gender identity but the school will at least respect that. The school always asks us about our preferred pronouns and preferred name so that we can feel comfortable. Some of my friends have applied for a database name change too. This allows them to have the name they want on their student ID, lunch ID and such.

    When Moms for Liberty showed up to our school they did send out multiple emails, talk to us and the principal specifically went to the QSU to talk to us. Dr. Geigle took notes and listened very patiently to what I had to say about them being there. When I joined QSU, the wonderful Ms. Istas who runs the club, was immediately welcoming and listened to my story about my encounter with Moms for Liberty and was amazingly kind to what had happened.

    While DJUSD is no way perfect, I applaud them for doing their best to keep their students safe and make sure that they are learning in a safe environment.

    One thing I really want to say though is that, if kids don’t feel safe talking to their parents about the gender identity, I think that it is up to the school to provide a safe environment for them to do so. People have been outraged that the school does not have to disclose a student’s identity, but there’s a reason why. If they don’t feel safe talking to their parents, why would they talk then? Why would they come to you if they feel unsafe?

    Excuse this comment from being a bit disconjointed, I am very passionate about making sure that queer people are safe so it might seem a bit ramble like.

    1. Walter Shwe

      You are an amazing young woman Eleanora for standing up to the conservative bigotry that has invaded our community. Your parents have raised you well. I applaud our public school system for providing a safe place for students like yourself. Schools have every right to protect the privacy rights of their students just like the Moms for Liberty have their own privacy rights protected by law.

      When the conservative founder of the Moms for Liberty say her organization is funded solely through membership dues and memorabilia sales that is simply not true. One conservative backer donated $50,000.

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