ACE & CUSD Reach Agreement on Policy Disputes


In October and November 2022, the district changed its Board Policies on Controversial Issues and added a new policy on personal Items. The policy states that personal items can’t be displayed if they reflect “politics, religion, social movements, and/or personal ethics.” 

When the policy was first adopted, ACE expressed concern that it was too broad and vague and, on its face, could be used to limit protected forms of speech, harm the learning environment, and discriminate against certain groups. We sent a letter to the Superintendent stating these concerns. 

Shortly after that, we began seeing the policy used almost exclusively to remove LGBTQ+ Pride flags from classrooms. Several teachers came forward with stories of the policy being enforced inconsistently and without clear guidance. ACE sent a follow-up letter to the Superintendent to express concerns that this policy was discriminatory, harmful to students and staff, and violated the law.

Around the same time, the district replaced the Gender Acknowledgement Plan with the School Site Plan. It stated that trans-gender or non-binary students who needed to access programs and facilities consistent with their gender identity would not be allowed to do so without first notifying their parents. Under the previous Gender Acknowledgement Plan, and consistent with state and federal law, students’ privacy rights were recognized, and parental involvement – while ideal and valuable when appropriate – was not a condition of students’ accessing programs and facilities consistent with their gender identity.   This followed long-standing guidance from the California Department of Education on supporting transgender students. 


We knew these issues were controversial and saw legal fights up and down the state. We heard from the Attorney General’s Office, the ACLU, and other entities concerned about Clovis’ policies. Our message to them was to ask that they give the district an opportunity to do the right thing. We believed that a solution that was negotiated with Clovis stakeholders would be better than one imposed by the state.

Because ACE has the right to bargain over policy changes that could impact our jobs, we first asked the district to take the policies to the bargaining table with the ACE School Psychologists. The conversation started but quickly stalled. After trying to resolve the issue directly with Admin, we ultimately filed charges with PERB for the district failing to bargain policy changes in good faith.

After a conference with a PERB agent, ACE, and CUSD agreed to discuss the issues and put the PERB case on pause. When these conversations started, we found that they were productive. At times, there was frustration with setbacks or disagreement, but ultimately, we found common ground and worked toward a climate of respect and professionalism. Finally, after over six months of talks and over a year after the first policy changes, ACE and the district agreed that the policies could be modified in a way that wouldn’t violate the law. We believe these policies don’t go as far as some advocates would prefer, but we ensured that students and families could accept them as a reasonable solution.

The District is issuing Guidance on the Controversial Issues and Personal Items policies that provide clarification without changing the policies. It states that items in the classroom can be defined as Classroom Items or Personal Items and that Personal Items may include those that reflect one’s personal interests (such as college, athletics, flags, and the arts), one’s culture, or religious beliefs. Personal Items can be displayed in the classroom as long as they don’t disrupt the learning environment. The district agreed that personal interest items may include a Pride Flag. A teacher’s personal items should be displayed separately from classroom items, usually on and around their desk, as long as they don’t interfere with teaching. Other employees can display personal items in a proportionate workspace as well.   

For the Student Site Plan, the district policy will now allow all students to access programs and facilities that are consistent with their gender identity, even if they are afraid to tell their parents. The plan encourages the involvement of parents, but if a student shares that they are concerned for their physical or emotional health if their parents are involved, the plan can proceed with supportive staff.

ACE was able to gather student input regarding the revised Student Site Plan. With the changes of removing a parent notification practice and the opportunity to have a documented SSP or verbal plan with safeguards consistent with the district’s previous Gender Acknowledgement Plan our student was extremely happy and satisfied with the new SSP. 

ACE is proud of these policies and the work that we have put into achieving them. Educators are essential in creating policies that address everyone’s concerns. Their input is crucial in developing effective policies that meet the needs of all stakeholders. Without educator participation, policies risk being ineffective or counterproductive. Therefore, it is important to actively involve educators in the policy-making process. We can only have a real voice when we stand up for what is right and work through the conflicts and controversy instead of shying away or giving up our voice. ACE can do this because we recognize that only a strong, independent union of all Clovis Educators will give us a legitimate seat at the table. 

Certainly, there will be questions, concerns, confusion, and disagreement regarding these policies. They may even be enforced inconsistently or unfairly. Please contact ACE if you need support in addressing the issues these policies address. Email us at