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Chico Unified receives blowback from parents at board meeting

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Chico Unified board members listened to the concerns and outrage of parents and people of the community since receiving a lawsuit about a student's gender identity.

CHICO, Calif. - Several parents and people of the community attended the Chico Unified School District Board Meeting to express concerns and thoughts about the allegations the district faces in a lawsuit. In that lawsuit, Aurora Regino alleges one of the districts school's facilitated the social transition of her 11-year-old daughter's gender identity without her knowledge for several months. 

At the meeting, several Chico Unified representatives addressed the public near the start of the meeting about the subject of the lawsuit. 

"While schools operate under strict laws governing student's privacy. We firmly believe students benefit when families and schools work together," said Superintendent Kelly Staley. "Our goal is to ensure that every student, everyday has as much support as possible from as many sources as possible including their family. Whenever possible and as permitted by law we seek to ensure that the student has full support of their family."

"Later tonight, during agenda item number 11, when board members may propose items for a future agenda, I will be proposing a discussion of this subject," said Chico Unified board member Matt Tennis. "So, going forward Chico parents will be able to rest assured that Chico Unified will not infringe on their sovereign right to direct the raising of their own children."

Staley said the district is investigating the issues and is appreciative of the questions and comments the district has received from the community. 

Those who spoke during public comment expressed concerns towards parental secrecy policy that was mentioned in the lawsuit. Some parents came forward saying they had similar experiences with not being told what was going with their children at school  

"There's controversy on whether it's actually a policy but not much a controversy over the fact that it's happening and there's been enough families impacted by it," said Patrice Harrison-Ingles

Deanna Lindstron has two kids who have been with Chico Unified School District for 13 years. Lindstron told Action News Now she had a file placed in the records of her children to prevent officials from and staff from talking to her children alone without her permission. She attended tonight to share her experience with the district after learning details about the case.

"Unless it's curriculum related they can't do something without my permission or without my presence and this lawsuit is the tip of the iceberg," said Lindstron.

Several others that Action News Now spoke with had hopes the board would take away the messages the public sent to them. 

I hope that the board will learn about this and be woken up a bit from what's happen," said James Bishop.

"I just hope they will do their job of oversight, they will investigate," said Tom Mount, one of the speakers during public comment. "They will look over what the policy actually states and they'll take another look at it legally and see what their options are."

When the board members reached agenda item number 11, Tennis did open the idea of having a conversation about the comments that were presented at the meeting and the topic of gender identity on the agenda in the future. A lot of discussion surrounding the situation was brought up with ideas of focus groups with parents and addressing district policies.

The board went into closed session after discussing agenda item 11. After the closed session, Board President Cailtlin Dalby addressed that no action was taken by the board in the closed session and adjourned the meeting. 

The next Chico Unified District board meets is Feb. 1 for a special board meeting, the next regular board meeting is on Feb. 15. 

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