CHINO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond was invited by students and traveled to Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) on Thursday, July 20, to speak against a policy before the board that would out an LGBTQ+ student to their parents even if the student is not yet ready to share that information. Students had reached out to the Superintendent to request help due to feeling bullied and mistreated. Thurmond took the mic to oppose the policy as antithetical to how trans students should be supported in our schools. His remarks were abruptly interrupted, and he was berated by the CVUSD Board President and then forcibly escorted out of the meeting by security.
After the meeting, Thurmond shared with reporters: “The actions of this board are deeply troubling—and I’m not talking about being thrown out of a public meeting—I am talking about the blatant disregard for student privacy and safety. Forced outing policies harm everyone—students, parents and guardians, families, and school staff. What CVUSD has done may be in violation of state law. We will be working closely with the State Attorney General’s office to verify and enforce California law.”
“Choosing when to come out and to whom is a deeply personal decision that every LGBTQ+ young person has the right to make for themselves. This policy is taking away a student’s ability to seek comfort, safety, and security in our schools and from trusted adults and peers. As educators and education leaders, we should always be putting students first and doing all we can so they can learn and thrive.”
Superintendent Thurmond noted that while some parents and guardians are advocates and allies, not all are or ever will be. Like all young people, LGBTQ+ youth have the right to decide when and how to share their personal details about who they are or who they love, including with their parents and guardians, families, friends, and others at school. LGBTQ+ youth and their parents—not politicians—should decide when to have these conversations.
Thurmond has been at the forefront of fighting for inclusive education for California students. He has fought for budget funding to secure 10,000 new mental clinicians for California schools and has been actively working with the Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom to pass Assembly Bill 1078 (Jackson), legislation he is sponsoring that would impose fines on any school district that withholds books or instructional materials for discriminatory means. Recently, Thurmond secured commitments from textbook publishers to diversify instructional materials and work with his task force on inclusive education. He sent a joint letter with the Governor and Attorney General to local educational agencies cautioning against book bans and outlining legal mandates they are required to follow to preserve freedom and ensure access to diverse perspectives and curricula. The joint letter follows guidance issued from Thurmond’s department addressing this topic.
On the legislative front this year, Thurmond is also sponsoring Senate Bill 760, All-Gender Restrooms (Newman), which requires all K–12 schools in California to provide appropriate and equitable access to all-gender restrooms for students to use during school hours, and Assembly Bill 5, The Safe and Supportive Schools Act (Zbur), which requires all K–12 schools in California to provide training to support LGBTQ+ pupils. Thurmond also hosted a ceremony on June 1, 2023, marking the first time the Progress Pride Flag was raised above the California Department of Education in honor of Pride month.