Clovis Unified, forced outings update

Update April 2024

After more than six months of talks and over a year since the initial policy changes, Clovis Unified has agreed to modify the Student Site Plan and the “Controversial Issues and Personal Items policies in a manner that complies with the state law. Transgender or non-binary students may now access gender-affirming programs and facilities without the requirement of parental permission or involvement. Teachers may now have family photos and flags that celebrate their identity.

Read more here

Starting in March of 2023, the Clovis Unified School District, with no public discussion or vote, began to enforce a Student Site Plan for transgender and gender-nonconforming students. The Student Site Plan, which the students must renew annually, forcibly outs them by requiring the presence or consent of the parents to access gender-affirming services. This policy restricts students from accessing gender-affirming facilities, updating their names, and sports participation.

A copy of the form, explicitly states, “Do not proceed”, without parental consent.

The bottom of the parental involvement section of the form includes a policy to alert the principal about any safety concerns with disclosing the student’s gender identity to their parents. While the Clovis Unified School District believes adding this measure may eliminate the danger of outing children to their parents, exposing a person’s gender identity is never safe, and abuse is not always apparent. Teachers file only 10% of abuse or neglect reports for students of all gender identities, despite the mandatory statutes of every U.S. State.

Requiring parental consent to acknowledge a student’s gender identity creates an unnecessary bureaucratic barrier to accessing essential resources. Policies like this effectively deny transgender and gender-diverse students their right to a safe and inclusive educational environment. Requiring parental consent does not protect parent’s rights but violates those of the student.

Transgender and gender-diverse children cite the non-disclosure of their gender as a significant source of stress. Experiencing a loss of control over the disclosure of their identity and forceful outing causes trust issues and can lead to violent or deadly repercussions. Forcefully outing students facing rejection at home exposes them to harm, discrimination, or homelessness. The requirement to disclose a child’s gender identity sends a harmful message that students’ identities are conditional and subject to external approval.

Several parts of the country are implementing state-wide policies such as this plan that restrict the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming students. The recent change in the Chino Valley Unified School District’s policy demonstrates the potential to stop forced outing policies.

Alternative approaches that prioritize the dignity and rights of students are possible, and it is critical to speak out for these vulnerable students.

Here’s how to help:

  1. Attend the upcoming board meeting on September 20th at 6:30 p.m. 1680 David E. Cook Way, Clovis.
    To speak, you MUST sign up, in person by 6:30 p.m.
  2. Write to Clovis Unified Board Members and Superintendent using the form above or send individual messages to: Hugh Awtrey, David DeFrank, Steven Fogg, Clinton Olivier, Yolanda Moore, Deena Combs-Flores, Tiffany Stoker Madsen, and Superintendent Corrine Folmer.
    (How to write an impactful message.)
  3. Stay engaged! Join our advocacy text list by texting “advocate” to 559-862-1040 and join our email list.

How to attend:

Anyone and everyone is encouraged to attend, even if you do not live in Clovis, even if you do not have students in CUSD, even if you decide to not speak.

If you wish to provide public comments you must complete and submit a public presentation form BEFORE 6:30 p.m. of the day of the meeting. The form is available outside the board meeting room. Each speaker generally has up to 2 minutes to speak, but this time may be reduced.

You CAN clap/cheer/react at CUSD meetings.

Board members and/or Superintendent CAN comment on what they hear. If they chose to, it would occur directly after public comments have ended.

Talking Points:

Students of all races, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and genders deserve to feel safe, supported, and affirmed at school—and trans and nonbinary students are no different.

Trans and nonbinary youth and their families deserve to decide on their own terms when and how to have these conversations, both at home and at school. Young people thrive when they have parental support and feel safe sharing their full identities with them, but it can be harmful to force young people to share their full identities before they are ready.

Policies that require outing students without their consent harm everyone—students, parents
and guardians, families, and school staff—by removing opportunities to build trust.

We can see how those holding onto power try to exploit the lack of familiarity with trans
people by pitting parents and teachers against one another and spreading misinformation.