Despite claims to the contrary, the Coronado Unified Board of Trustees DID NOT vote to provide menstrual products in boy’s restrooms. On 29 August, Lauren Phinney of KUSI news interviewed the President of the Coronado Unified School Board on the impact of California’s Menstrual Equity for All Act on public schools.
Ms. Phinney prefaced her interview by quoting an advocacy organization’s description of the problem Menstrual Equity legislation was intended to solve, phrased thusly: “Over 500 million menstruating individuals experience ‘period poverty.’” Ms. Phinney stated her purpose for interviewing a School Board President was to “…explain what this law does and the intent behind it.” President Valdes-Clayton prefaced her answers by first responding directly to the implicit, linguistically tortured “menstruating individuals” premise, “I’m not a menstruating person, I’m a woman. I have ovaries.” She then answered questions about what the law does and the law‘s intent:
1) What the law does: She described the purpose as laudable and good; ensuring all poor women and girls have access to menstrual products in all girls’ restrooms, all-gender restrooms, and in at least one men’s restroom in public schools, grades 6-12.
2) The law‘s intent: President Valdes-Clayton stressed the mandate for menstrual products in a boys’ restroom inherently made the legislation controversial. She took strong exception to what she described as legislators cynically “piggy-backing” on bills to address challenges faced by poor Back and Latino women “to justify what really amounts to be gender ideology.” She said the legislative intent attached to the bill clearly stated one purpose was to normalize [the idea of] menstruation for all genders and to educate boys that boys can also menstruate. Speaking as Board President, Ms. Valdes-Clayton unequivocally affirmed, “We know that to be illogical, we know that to be biologically impossible.” While one assumes the Board President speaks the consensus position of CUSD Trustees, this must be confirmed by individual Trustees.
Ms. Valdes-Clayton said she agreed to be interviewed on Menstrual Equity Act as CUSD School Board President because she felt responsible to alert San Diego County parents to prepare to answer awkward questions from their children returning from their first day of school, “Why are there tampons or pads in boys’ restrooms?”
President Valdes-Clayton stated even-handed responses and discussion cannot be biased to suggest the “gender-affirming” position that boys menstruate is true. She claimed both the California Legislature and the California School Board Association are intent on promoting this ideological bias in public schools. She concluded a brief thought exercise with this refreshingly sane statement, “You are still fundamentally a woman and that biological difference is what needs to be preserved and needs to be resolved with parents, and not necessarily at the state legislature level.”
Ms. Phinney concluded her interview asking why the new law’s mandates hadn’t received more public attention. President Valdes-Clayton responded, “That’s part of the insidiousness of what happens when you are on a local school board.” She claimed administrators buried Menstrual Equity for All implementation details inside a packet of 400 or 500 pages of board meeting preparation materials without comment. Therefore, CUSD Trustees WERE NOT briefed. They certainly DID NOT vote to approve. They weren’t even afforded the opportunity to discuss a unified board response to adverse public reactions.
The Board of Trustees is not to blame here. State legislators and school administrators essentially treated local School Boards as irrelevant. Be forewarned, this cynical misuse of legislation portends future misuse of political power to pass laws circumventing local school boards to force promotion of sexual and gender ideologies in our schools. President Valdes-Clayton’s concluding remarks should be a call to action, “…give that power back to parents and not California politicians.” Parents and grandparents, ask yourselves this question: “Do I want those who believe it to be true that men menstruate shaping my children’s views of human sexuality for twelve years in public schools?”
There has been plenty of criticism of CUSD Trustees of late. When they get it right, when they warn San Diego County about legislative double-dealing used to promote sexual and gender ideologies, we should acknowledge it. When they courageously do so by speaking openly and plainly in a public media forum, we owe them a debt of gratitude.
Well done President Valdes-Clayton.
VOL. 112, NO. 36 - Sept. 7, 2022