Lodi Unified announces summer nutrition program

The Summer Nutrition Services Program, hosted by Lodi Unified School District, will serve free meals to all children and teens 18 years old and younger at the following locations:


  • Sutherland Elementary (550 Spring River Cir.), 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. breakfast, 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. lunch – June 5-30.
  • Creekside Elementary (2515 Estate Dr.), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch – June 5-30.
  • Clairmont Elementary (8282 Le Mans Ave.), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch – June 5-30
  • Emerald Pointe Townhomes (9537 Kelley Dr.), 11 a.m. to noon lunch – June 5 to July 14.
  • McNair High School (9550 Ronald E. McNair Way), 7 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. breakfast, 10 to 11 a.m. lunch, June 5 to July 14.


  • Beckman Elementary (2201 Scarborough Drive), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch – June 5-30.
  • Boys & Girls Club (275 Poplar St.), 8:30 to 9 a.m. breakfast, noon to 12:30 p.m. lunch – June 5 to July 14.
  • Heritage Elementary (509 E. Eden St.), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch – June 5-30
  • Lawrence Elementary (721 Calaveras St.), 8 to 8:30 a.m. breakfast, noon to 1 p.m. lunch – June 5-30
  • Lodi High School (3 S. Pacific Ave.), 7 to 7:30 a.m. breakfast, 10 to 11 a.m. lunch – June 5 to July 14.
  • Nichols Elementary (1301 S. Crescent Ave.), 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. lunch, June 5-30.

For more information, call 888-287-5873 or go to www.foodservice.lodiusd.net.

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Friedberger Educational Fund Scholarship awards $61,000 to graduating seniors

Two dozen graduating seniors from San Joaquin County high schools were awarded a total of $61,000 in scholarships from the Friedberger Educational Fund.

According to the San Joaquin County Office of Education, each senior was awarded approximately $2,750, paid out in installments over four years.

To qualify for the scholarship, nominees must meet a list of criteria which includes: need for financial assistance, excellent schoolwork, outstanding character, leadership, public service, and intent to enroll in an institution of higher learning in California.

The applications were then reviewed by a three-member awards committee, which included San Joaquin County Superintendent of Schools James Mousalimas, Stockton Unified School District Superintendent Eliseo Davalos and San Joaquin County Board of Education Area 3 Trustee Peter Ottesen.

The fund, said the SJCOE, was established in 1963 by William Friedberger, a Stockton physician and medical director at San Joaquin General Hospital. He established the fund in memory of his father and mother –  19th-century pioneers to the Mother Lode and Stockton from the old country of Germany. Since the fund was created, the Bank of Stockton has been fund manager.

A big congrats to the following students:

  • Israr Ali, Tokay High School, Lodi Unified
  • Andrea Anaya, Sierra High School, Manteca Unified
  • Mariela Andrade Sanchez, Venture Academy Family of Schools, SJCOE
  • Jamie Castellanos, Pacific Law Academy, Stockton Unified
  • Kayla Davis, Stockton Collegiate International Secondary School, Stockton Unified
  • Kevin Gines, St. Mary’s High School
  • Gia Harris, Edison High School, Stockton Unified
  • Rania Ibrahim, John C. Kimball High School, Tracy Unified
  • Asia Jamosmos, Lincoln High School, Lincoln Unified
  • Sabah Khan, Stockton Early College Academy, Stockton Unified
  • Colby Leiske, Tracy High School, Tracy Unified
  • Megan McDonald, Lodi High School, Lodi Unified
  • Amairani Morales Silva, Merrill F. West High School, Tracy Unified
  • Adia Munoz, Health Careers Academy High School, Stockton Unified
  • Lejla Pepic, Manteca High School, Manteca Unified
  • Natasha Prasad, Lathrop High School, Manteca Unified
  • Emely Rodriguez, East Union High School, Manteca Unified
  • Christian Rodriguez Ochoa, Escalon High School, Escalon Unified
  • Marcos Romero Oropeza, Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy, Lodi Unified
  • Ana Saechao, Cesar Chavez High School, Stockton Unified
  • Kaylee Scholten, Ripon Christian High School
  • Mary Vang, Weston Ranch High School, Manteca Unified

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Trump education budget proposal gets “F” grade by Torlakson

In a press release sent on Tuesday, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson did not hold back on criticizing President Trump’s federal education budget proposal, which includes cuts to teacher training, after school programs, mental health services and additional programs.

“I give this budget an ‘F’ grade for failing public school students in California and across the nation,” Torlakson said in the statement. “We need to invest more in our public schools, not slash away at programs that help students succeed.”

Here’s the rest of the press release:

Torlakson noted that the proposed Trump budget heads in a completely different direction than the California approach to education funding.

“In California, we are providing more resources to students with the greatest needs,” he said. “The proposed Trump budget takes money away from federal programs that benefit our most vulnerable students, including after school programs that engage our students, help them stay in school, and make communities safer by reducing crime.”

The President’s budget would cut federal education programs across the board and use the money to spend about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, and offer another $1 billion to push public schools to favor charter and private schools.

Torlakson noted that California already has nearly 1,000 public charter schools out of more than 10,000 total schools. And students and their families can use several existing methods to transfer between public schools.

In addition, California voters have resoundingly rejected school voucher proposals, which allow students to use public funding to attend private and religious schools. Voters in 2000 cast a 71 percent “No” vote on Proposition 38, which would have created a California voucher program. A similar effort, Proposition 174, received a 70 percent “No” vote in 1993.

“Vouchers are unpopular in California,” Torlakson said. “They take critical resources away from our public schools.”

The Trump budget proposes eliminating at least 22 programs nationwide. Gone, for example, would be $1.2 billion for after school programs that serve 1.6 million children, most of whom are poor, and $2.1 billion for teacher training and class-size reduction.

California, with the most public school students and schools of any state, would suffer, Torlakson said. For example, the federal cuts would decimate federally funded before-, after- and summer school programs that serve nearly 500,000 California’s students at nearly 5,000 sites statewide.

Other federal programs would suffer significant cuts, including grants to states for career and technical education, which would lose $166 million, down 15 percent compared to current funding. Basic adult literacy instruction would lose $95 million.

No money at all would go to a fund for student support and academic enrichment that help schools pay for mental health services, anti-bullying initiatives, physical education, Advanced Placement courses, and science and engineering instruction. Congress created the fund, which totals $400 million this fiscal year, by rolling together several smaller programs. The administration’s budget for it would be zero in the next fiscal year.

“We need the federal government to help support all California students as they learn on their way to success in 21st century careers and college,” Torlakson said. “This budget fails. Congress needs to send it back, correct these errors, and produce a school budget that makes our great nation proud.”

Congress is scheduled to adopt a budget that would start with the new federal fiscal year on Oct. 1.

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Linden High Family Career and Community Leaders of America chapter report

From advisor Laura Nealy:

Estefania Becerril-Palacios, Maria Hernandez-Solis, Annamarie Gayla, Jiana Espinosa, Breanna Lee, Delsy Lopez, Karla Rivera, and Kathy Villanueva of Linden High School attended the 70th California Annual State Leadership meeting in Riverside in early April.

At the meeting the chapter, its members, and advisor were recognized with the following rewards and achievements. The chapter was awarded as a Gold State Superior Chapter and was only 1 of 7 schools in the state to receive this award. The chapter was 1 of 14 schools in the state to receive recognition for having 100+ members.

The chapter also has 100 percent of Home Economics Careers and Technology students affiliated with FCCLA and is only 1 out of 4 schools in the state to do so. Thirty-seven Linden High students (Berenice Anguiano, Dalila Aguilar, Adolfo Aredondo, Erick Balderas, Miranda Barbagelata, Kyra Dosier, Katie Frink, Alexander Godina, Alexander Guerrero, Isabella Grant, Destiny Herrera, Gabrielle Herrera, Lena Iff, Miranda Jackson- Horton, Zander Kuthe, Oliva Lee, Kalei Leppert, Delsy Lopez, Monica Luna, Eduardo Martinez, Sofia Martinez, Daniel Marquez, Anthony Melchor, Jasmin Melchor, Gabriel Miller, Gianna Missal, Natalie Morin, Emily Orr, Miguel Oseguera, Maritza Palacios, Cruz Sayuri Pizano, Nicolas Porter, Yesenia Rodriguez, Destiny Sabin, Matthew Solorio, Eddie Vasquez, Melissa Zaklan and Natalia Zuniga) earned their Chapter Degree pins for their knowledge and participation in FCCLA.

They are 37 out of 87 students in the state to earn this award. Jiana Espinosa earned her Region Degree pin for her knowledge and participation in FCCLA. She is 1 out of 11 students in the state to earn this award. Breanna Lee served as the 2016-17 State Treasurer and she was awarded $1,000 in scholarship money for her service as a State Officer and earned her State Degree pin for her knowledge and participation in FCCLA. She is 1 out of 6 students in the state to earn this award.

Linden High is a part of Region 6 which covers San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties. Annamarie Gayla was the 2016-17 Region Historian. Jiana Espinosa will serve as the 2017-18 Region Vice President and Delsy Lopez will serve as the 2017-18 Region Historian. Laura Nealy was recognized as a silver standing for Outstanding Advisor.

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Manteca Unified hosts district celebration

Manteca Unified School District Board President Stephen Schluer presided at a special district celebration. Along with San Joaquin County Superintendent James Mousalimas, awards were given to district employees and students.

Here is what MUSD said about the event:

“Student board member Joe Contreras conducted the meeting, with assistance from student board member alternate Shubnaz Kaur Jagpal. They begin the recognitions by celebrating employees of the year Jimmie Jacobs, Head Custodian from Neil Hafley school and Robin Miller, Office Manager from August Knodt.

MUSD honors educators of the year in multiple categories. This year, award recipients includes Great Valley educators Melissa King for K-3 Primary, Jeanette Pacheco for 4-6 Intermediate, and Kevin Niendorf for 7-8 Junior High. Also being honored are Lathrop High’s Allison Birakos for 9-12 Secondary and August Knodt’s Heidi Azevedo for her role as a Support Staff educator.

MUSD recognized honored Brock Elliot 8th grader Sofia Fiallos, who was selected by the Association of CA School Administrators of the San Joaquin Charter for the Every Student Succeeding Award. Sofia shows daily resilience in her efforts to be successful despite her health struggles.

The district also chose to honor New Haven School with the District Service to Others Certificate for the school’s efforts to raise $12,000 on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Eighth grade students Hunter Campbell and Nicole Sebastian were on hand to accept the award on behalf of New Haven.

District Spelling Bee winners were also recognized for their achievement, including 4th grader Marlon Montano from Neil Hafley, 5th graders Nolan Marley from Walter Woodward and Christina Nguyen from Joshua Cowell, 7th grader Trinity Hillyard from George Komure and 8th graders Melanie Nguyen from Brock Elliott and Jillian Urbano from Nile Garden.

For their excellence in the arts, MUSD honored Sierra High School’s senior Louisa Hunter, and Weston Ranch’s senior Kimberly Juarez. On this celebratory night, the district art show was also happening inside the district office.

Celebrated from Sierra High School, were junior Haris Hanif and senior Savannah Rohloff-Flores, whose student films were featured in the Grand Foundation student film festival.

Lathrop High School honored seniors Farhat Khairzadah and Ian Steffes with their LHS Gold Shield Award for academics and character.

Also receiving certificates for their being chosen as Boys and Girl’s Club Youth of the Year for 2016 were sophomore Eric Nascimento and junior Kiana Watson from East Union High. Lathrop Elementary’s Kevin Paz, grade 8, was also honored.

Next, Sierra High School honored sophomore Belen Ramos-Hurtado, junior Maleena Salehi, and seniors Kyndra Kiser and Devin Ontai for their attending the annual Focus on Freshman Conference in Los Angeles.

Recognizing students for their success in partner organizations is also important to MUSD. Manteca High Senior Guadalupe Piceno was honored for taking 3rd place in accounting at the DECA Northern California Career Development Conference.

Sierra High School was recognized for achieving the Superior Chapter Award from FCCLA. As members of that chapter, juniors Ashley Rodriguez and Deja Tuggle both won 1st place for their FCCLA service projects. Also recognized were Amy Lee, Valerie Flores, and Liz Aschenbrenner for their achievement of FCCLA silver medal as outstanding advisors.

Honored for the prestigious achievement of earning their FFA State Degrees were senior Dominic Romero and junior Elizabeth Townsend from East Union, senior Victoria Cabello from Lathrop High School and seniors Destinée Perales, Krystal Luis, and Bridgette Walraven from Sierra High.

From Weston Ranch High School, senior Teresa Novoa was honored for winning a top 5 HOSA reflection scrapbook and senior Rajdeep Singh for taking the HOSA Healthcase Issues Exam.

Also this year, be.tech freshman Angela Delgado and Sophomore Rosalinda Valdivia won gold and silver medals respectively in the Skills USA commercial baking competition. Also honored were Freshman Gianni Chavez for his gold medal in culinary arts and senior Donavin Arellano for his gold medal in welding, both at the Skills USA competition. Angela Delgado and Donavin Arellano also won medals at the state level, silver and bronze respectively.

Manteca High’s faculty member Dough Obrigawitch was next recognized for his achievement of being the UC Davis C-STEM Teacher of the Year.

Great Valley’s Principal Patricia Boutte was honored by the University of Pacific chapter of Phi Delta Kappa for Distinguished Service in School Administration. Health Service’s Homeless Liaison Lynda Donelson was honored for the San Joaquin County Children’s Services Coordinating Commission for winning the 2017 Child Abuse Prevention and Intervention Award.

Academic and Scholarship Recognitions

Continuing the celebration, the valedictorians of MUSD’s five high schools were next recognized. From East Union, Emma Rice, has been accepted to USC. From Lathrop High, Navneet Garcha has been accepted to UCLA. From Manteca High School, Lejla Pepic has been accepted to Stanford University. From Sierra High, Komalpreet Badial has been accepted to UC Davis, and from Weston Ranch High School, Charlie Zhang has been accepted to UCLA.

Also showing his unique academic achievements, East Union’s Jordan Barajas was honored for receiving the Quest Bridge Full Scholarship to Stanford University.

Next, winners of the Pappas Foundation Scholarship were recognized. Seniors Arshjot Kaur from Manteca High, and seniors Emily Kehl and Brianna Wollaston from Sierra High were recognized. This local scholarship is awarded to students who wish to attend Modesto Junior College.

Also recognized for their scholarships were some gifted musicians from Sierra High. Seniors Zachary Zumstein and Diana Ayala both received University of the Pacific music scholarships. Xachary Wagner was honored for receiving the UOP Brubeck Jazz Institute full music scholarship.

Manteca High senior Gladis Sandoval was next recognized as the recipient of the VOL Dale Lackey Scholarship for her contributions to the girl’s tennis team. Then, Loretta Kakala of the Manteca High Girl’s Basketball Team was recognized for being named a McDonald’s All-American and for her achieving a Full Athletic Scholarship to the University of Louisville, KY.

Athletic Recognitions

For their athletic achievements, East Union High School’s senior Jack Weaver was honored for being named a CIF San Joaquin Scholar Athlete, recipient of the National Federation Award, and being named to the Valley Oak League (VOL) 1stTeam All Area.

Branden Rullan, Sierra High senior, was then recognized for being a CIF State Qualifier in Wrestling.

East Union’s Manuel Pines was then recognized for his being awarded the Sac-Joaquin Section Model Coach award.

From the Lathrop High Boy’s Golf team, junior Christian Guzman was honored for his being named the Stockton Record Athlete of the Week. Also from Lathrop High, freshman Kassandra Ceja was recognized for being named to the Stockton Record All-Area Team for her contributions to Girl’s Soccer.

Next, East Union’s Natalie Cowan and Kendra Cambell, both juniors, were recognized for being named to the VOL All Team and All League for Girl’s Golf.

For his achievements on East Union’s Boy’s and Girl’s Basketball teams, seniors Gysbertus Hulseboch and Ruby Daube were then honored for being named to the VOL 1st Team All League. Also being given this honor from East Union were Boy’s Soccer players Enrique Garcia, Arturo Galvan, Cameron Chapman and Victor Hurtado—all seniors— and Daniel Gomez and Jesus Jurtado who are juniors on the varsity team. For Girl’s Soccer, junior Chelsey Medeiros and senior Ilena Rivera were also honored for achieving this recognition for being named  VOL 1st Team All League.

Likewise, the CIF Div. III Section Champion Girl’s Tennis Team and the CIF Div. IV Section Champion Football Team, both from Manteca High, were also honored. The football team could not be present, but the MHS Girl’s Tennis Team came up in style with matching team shirts and their coaches.



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Ripon Unified teachers also in fight for contracts

If you’ve missed today’s paper, I wrote about contract negotiations between Lodi Unified and the Lodi Education Association, which represents teachers. That can be found here.

Further down south in San Joaquin County, Ripon Unified teachers are also in the fight for fair contracts.

In an email sent by Susan DaBranca, a RUSD official, the district (with eight elementary schools and one high school) participated in fact finding on April 10 and currently are waiting 30 days with hopes it “will provide clarity and a path for all of us to move forward.”

On the district’s negotiations update page, in 2015-16 there was an offer of a 3 percent raise on the salary schedule but no agreement was reached.  An additional 2 percent was offered for 2016-17 for a total of 5 percent over two years (and 13 percent over three years).

DaBranca stressed that Ripon Unified receives much less funding per student than most neighboring districts, and they are already spending out of reserves, on top of facing the CalPERS and CalSTRS increases in contributions.

Negotiations are ongoing.

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Calaveras Unified kindergarten registration

Below is information regarding how to enroll children in kindergarten and transitional kindergarten in Calaveras Unified for the 2017-18 school year:

2017-18 Kindergarten Registration Poster

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31st annual San Joaquin County Science Olympiad Division B/C Results

More than 600 San Joaquin County students participated in the 31st annual San Joaquin County Science Olympiad Competition for Division B (middle school) and Division C (high school) at McNair High School in Stockton over the weekend.

According to the SJCOE, the Science Olympiad tournaments are rigorous academic interscholastic competitions that consist of a series of individual and team events in the format of popular board games, TV shows, and athletic games, with questions ranging in topics such as biology, earth science, chemistry, physics, computers, and technology.

Division B (middle school)

  • First Place: Wicklund Elementary (Black Team), Lammersville Unified
  • Second Place: Elkhorn School (Gold Team), Lodi Unified
  • Third Place:  Elkhorn School (Blue Team), Lodi Unified

Division C (high school)

  • First Place:  Tokay High School (Purple Team), Lodi Unified
  • Second Place: Mountain House High School (Blue Team), Lammersville Unified
  • Third Place:   Franklin High School (Chlorine Team), Stockton Unified

Eight teams will represent San Joaquin County at the NorCal State Finals in Turlock on April 1:

Division B (middle school)

  • Wicklund Elementary (Black Team), Lammersville Unified
  • Elkhorn School (Gold Team), Lodi Unified
  • Lodi Middle (Blue Team), Lodi Unified
  • Questa Elementary (Red Team), Lammersville Unified

Division C (high school)

  • Tokay High (Purple Team), Lodi Unified
  • Mountain House High (Blue Team), Lammersville Unified
  • Franklin High (Chlorine Team), Stockton Unified
  • Lodi High (Red Team), Lodi Unified

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Winners of the 59th annual San Joaquin County Science and Engineering Fair

The San Joaquin County Office of Education announced Friday the winners of the 59th Annual San Joaquin County Science and Engineering Fair at the Community Science Night and Awards Ceremony.

Judges spent two days reviewing 166 individual, group, and whole-class projects submitted by more than 445 K-12 students in the county. In all, 15 schools from five school districts, three private schools, and one charter school participated in the fair.

Awards were determined by volunteer judges’ evaluations. This year, 35 professionals from the community helped judge the projects and conduct interviews to determine the winners.

The SJCOE Office of STEM said it seeks to promote science and engineering exploration and understanding for students. Each year, SJCOE awards thousands of dollars to students and teachers who exhibit and articulate superior levels of understanding in the areas of science and engineering.

Five project winners of the Fair will represent San Joaquin County in the California State Science Fair in Los Angeles on April 24 and 25:

Kindergarten through second grade:

Class winner: Mrs. Hoptry’s Class for “Ice Ice Baby”Bethany Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

First-Place: Aniston Hunt for “Soaking Through” Dent Elementary School, Escalon Unified School District

Second-Place: Cade Reisenbeck for “YETI vs. RTIC” Dent Elementary School, Escalon Unified School District

Third-Place: Dara and Aviana Reese for “How Pure is Rainwater in My Backyard?”  Montessori Elementary and Middle School of Tracy, a private school

Third through fifth grade:

First-Place: Jordan Prawira for “Turbines, a Wind-Wind Design” Altamont Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

Second-Place: Julia Sorenson for “What Temperature is Your Lunch?” Wicklund Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

Third-Place: ­­­­­­Roen Magbanua and Madden Harada for “Jingle Bells, Needles Fell” Altamont Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

Fourth-Place: Rylan Koops for “Straw Rocket Flight” Dent Elementary School, Escalon Unified School District

Sixth through eighth grade:

First-Place Science: Jacqueline Prawira for “Rice Plasticity:  The Effect of Amylose and Amylopectin in the Formation and Tensile Strength of Rice-based Bioplastic” Altamont Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

First-Place Engineering: Vishnu Matta and Ayush Sheth for “i-Therapy, Robotics Companion for Physical Therapy” Bethany Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

Second-Place Science: Alicia and Ashlyn Roice for “Hidden Sugar Strikes Back, Investigating Hidden Sugars (Glucose and Sucrose) In Food, Using Invertase” Altamont Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District


Engineering: Arsh Muhib for “My 4th Step Towards a 360deg. Periscope” Wicklund Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

Ninth through 12th grade:

First-Place: Nathaniel Chien for “Analyzing Proteins of the BCL-2 Domain” Lincoln High School, Lincoln Unified School District

Second-Place: Meigan Loomis for “Purell vs. The Contenders” Kimball High School, Tracy Unified School District

Environmental Awards 

Environmental Award recipients receive cash prizes donated by the San Joaquin Audubon Society and their teachers receive gift cards donated by Acorn Naturalist.

Paton Pungchai for “The Effect of CO2 on the Temperature” Altamont Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

Avitha John for “Got Water?  How to convert salt water into useable water” Altamont Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

Lizzie Su for “Growing with Greywater” Wicklund Elementary School, Lammersville Unified School District

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Torlakson: State law protects transgender students’ rights

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson released a statement Wednesday, reiterating his support for the rights of transgender students and reminded all Californians that state law requires public schools to allow students’ access to the restroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity.

The statement came shortly before it was announced by the Trump administration that federal protections on transgender bathrooms in schools would be withdrawn.

“All students deserve a safe and supportive school environment. California will continue to work to provide that environment for our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students regardless of any misguided directives by the federal government and the Trump administration,” Torlakson said.

The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice revoked federal guidelines adopted by the Obama administration that protect the rights of transgender students at schools by allowing them to use the bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity.

According to the press release, California became the first state in the nation to enshrine certain rights for transgender K–12 students in state law in 2013, including the right to choose the bathroom or locker room consistent with their gender identity.

Torlakson said action announced by the White House does not roll back protections for California students and educators.

“California students will continue to have their civil rights protected,” he said. “In California we move forward, not backward.”

Governor Brown signed AB 1266 in 2013 and created protections for transgender students.


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