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California School District Votes to Notify Parents of Child’s Mental Health Crisis

California School District Votes to Notify Parents of Child’s Mental Health Crisis

A Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District meeting in Placentia, Calif., on Jan. 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Sophie Li

Sophie Li

10/16/2023

Updated: 10/16/2023

Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) voted Oct. 10 to become the eighth California school board to adopt a policy to notify parents and guardians of their child’s mental health condition while at school.
Unlike its forerunners that implemented policies to notify parents if a student wants to change their pronouns, name, or gender identity, the district’s notification policy prioritizes mental health concerns.
Under the policy, a school counselor is required to inform parents when such could “avert a clear and present danger to the health, safety or welfare [of students].”
“We have a great number of students that are facing many challenges coming out of the pandemic,” said Supt. Alex Cherniss at the Oct. 10 meeting. “So, whatever we can do to strengthen the relationship between staff and parents, to support students, it’s our responsibility to do so.”
The school board voted 3–2 to adopt the policy with Trustees Leandra Blades, Shawn Youngblood, and Todd Frazier voting in favor.
“This is a tool to be able to make sure that our parents are informed about things all the way from disruption of student learning up through extreme situations,” Mr. Frazier said during the meeting.
He added such a policy would facilitate early prevention measures, potentially averting situations from escalating into severe incidents.
“There are several steps before we get to suicidal ideation, and there are intervention steps that can be taken with parents involved,” he said.
However, Trustee Carrie Buck expressed concern about whether the policy could be targeting students who identify as LGBT.
Ms. Buck added that state education code already requires such notification and that the policy is not necessary.
“This seems to me like it’s just putting that together and putting a new name on it for political reasons,” she said during the meeting.
Ms. Buck’s concern was refuted by Mr. Cherniss, who said that the policy covers far beyond gender issues.
“When kids are in crisis, parents need to know that crisis. This covers bullying ... mental health, depression, anxiety, suicide ideation … this is not addressing one particular issue,” he said.
Ms. Blades agreed.
“Let’s stop with this whole ‘This is people trying to out people.’ No, we are looking out for the safety of the students, which we are responsible to do,” she said.
Last month, the Orange Unified School District passed a parent notification policy that will require schools to notify parents if their child identifies as transgender, becoming the first district in Orange County to implement such a policy.
An LGBT flag at an Orange Unified School District meeting in Orange, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

An LGBT flag at an Orange Unified School District meeting in Orange, Calif., on Aug. 17, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The district’s policy is similar to those implemented in five other districts within the state including Murrieta Valley Unified, Temecula Valley Unified, the Anderson Union High School District, Rocklin Unified, and Chino Valley Unified. Capistrano Unified School District, the largest school district in Orange County, will be considering a similar proposal Oct. 18.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced in August that he is suing the Chino Valley Unified School District over its recently approved policy, saying it violates the California constitution and federal privacy rights for students.
A hearing is scheduled Oct. 19 in San Bernardino Superior Court to decide whether a judge will grant a preliminary injunction to the state to prevent the policy from being enforced. The policy has previously been temporarily halted by a judge.
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Sophie Li

Sophie Li

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Sophie Li is a Southern California-based reporter covering local daily news, state policies, and breaking news for The Epoch Times. Besides writing, she is also passionate about reading, photography, and tennis.

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