Parent Notification: Things to Consider

A discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people does not constitute a discussion about human sexuality or family life education and does NOT require parent notification according to the California Education Code.

The California Education Code (51938) mandates that parents/ caregivers be notified 15 days before classroom instruction about sexuality, human growth and development, including sexually transmitted disease/HIV infection. Further, parents/caregivers must be given the opportunity to review instructional materials and exclude their child from curriculum sections related to family life and sexuality. Parent Notification materials can be found in the District Student and Parent/Guardian Handbook, distributed each academic year.

Teachers may include topics about LGBTQ persons in classroom discussions.

This includes, but is not limited to: LGBTQ historical figures, family members, and the community.

No Parental Notification is needed for these classroom discussions

Notification is NOT the same as permission.

Permission demands a response from the parent/caregiver before a student can remain in a classroom for a piece of instruction or attend an activity. Notification means that parents are notified of an upcoming educational experience, and requests that parents/caregivers respond only when a student is to be excused from a class or activity.

A discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning people does not constitute a discussion about human sexuality or family life education and does NOT require parent notification according to the California Education Code.

 

Parent notification does NOT need to be sent in the following instances, which reflect the teachable moment:

  • When students ask for definitions: What does gay mean?

    Review the approved vocabulary list for developmentally appropriate definitions. Answering this question does not mean that you are discussing sex with a student.

    Beware of how “gay” is used by students as slang to mean anything “uncool”, “stupid”, or “ugly”. Gay is not meant to be an insult; educators need to intervene when gay is used in this way.
  • When intervening in name calling incidents

    We have an obligation to create a safe learning environment for all students. SFUSD’s Anti-Slur Policy should be enforced at all times. Hearing the word gay or lesbian used as insults needs to be addressed immediately to promote diversity and prevent an escalation of school site violence.

    Students should also understand that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning people are part of our larger community, and deserve as much respect as anyone else does.
  • When students discuss families

    All students have a right to discuss their families, even if they include LGBTQ members. Parent notification does not need to be sent home if a child has two moms or two dads, and discusses his/her parent/caregivers.

    Likewise, if parents are invited into classes to talk about their careers or other topics, they can mention whom the student’s other parent is -- even if the other parent is same gendered. This is not a discussion about sexuality.

    Supporting children in sharing facts about their life, which may include family structure, gives a message that the students -- and the families in which they live -- are respected.
  • Reading a book with LGBTQ character(s)/plots/subplots.

    The presence of LGBTQ character(s) in a book does not require parent notification. If student questions focus on sexuality issues, re-center the discussion on the piece of literature.
  • When celebrating Diversity Days, Gay Pride, or Health Fairs

    When different communities, (e.g. racial, religious, neighborhood, or nationality groups) are being celebrated, it is appropriate to acknowledge that diversity includes the LGBTQ community. As long as human sexuality is not the focus of the discussion, parent notification is not required.
  • Speaking about LGBTQ persons in the curriculum other than Health.

    Mentioning LGBTQ persons does not constitute a discussion about sexuality. Teachers do not need parent notification. Within the context of literature, art, civil rights or other areas of history where LGBTQ persons have played important roles.

    Mentioning LGBTQ persons in class discussions decreases the invisibility students experience regarding their own sexual orientation, or that of a family member or friend who may be LGBTQ.
  
 

Quote - “Treat everyone like you love them, even if they are different.” - 12th grader, School of the Arts High School

Support Services for LGBTQ Youth    Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer