The William S. Hart Union High School District is planning to host a discussion about parental-notification policies Nov. 15, according to an email shared online credited to Superintendent Mike Kuhlman and confirmed by a Hart district official.
That discussion was originally intended to occur Wednesday, but was delayed after the district became aware that “external groups” were encouraging people from outside the Santa Clarita Valley to attend the meeting, raising concerns about safety, according to the email.
Kuhlman has not yet responded to requests for comment after governing board member Joe Messina requested on Oct. 18 that the board have an agendized discussion regarding potential policies on parental notification for students having mental health issues.
Messina had said Friday he was surprised to see the item left off the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting after he made the request during the discussion of items for future consideration at the last meeting.
He said he just wanted to have a discussion of the issues and couldn’t understand anyone not wanting to have the discussion.
A governing board member for the SCV chapter of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or PFLAG, who’s also a longtime therapist in the community, said such policies can be very problematic for some students’ safety, particularly if their situation at home is a concern.
An email from Kuhlman appeared to explain why the district delayed the decision:
“The Hart district governing board and district staff have received a large number of emails regarding the proposed discussion of ‘parental notification’ policies. The emails include perspectives on both sides of this issue. The district was planning for a presentation on parent notification policy issues at the Nov. 1, 2023, board meeting. The presentation was intended to update board members on the topic and its associated legal aspects, while also offering the community an opportunity to share their opinions.”
As the district was finalizing its agenda for Wednesday’s meeting, the district became aware of external groups “encouraging individuals from outside the Santa Clarita Valley to attend the meeting,” according to the email.
Kuhlman’s email said that, based on past scenarios, such a crowd could represent a public safety concern, and so the district wanted more time to coordinate a crowd response with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
“Postponing the discussion also enables us to consider whether an alternate location is better suited for this type of meeting,” Kuhlman’s email said, adding the district still intends to have the discussion at the Nov. 15 meeting.
The governing board’s regular meetings are held in its office at 21380 Centre Pointe Parkway in Santa Clarita.
“We understand that discussions around these issues can elicit strong opinions and heightened emotions,” Kuhlman wrote. “However, we want to make it clear that violence will not be tolerated, and we are actively cooperating with law enforcement to ensure that our board meetings remain peaceful and productive.