Dear Mr. Deasy – Our School’s Enrollment Forms are Broken

John Deasy, Superintendent
Los Angeles Unified School District
333 South Beaudry Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017

August 21, 2012

RE: Emergency Information Card and Permanent Health History forms

Dear Mr. Deasy:

Our children started in Kindergarten last week.  Two of the forms that were issued, the Emergency Information Card FORM 34-EH-12 Rev. 1/94 and the Permanent Health History FORM 34-EH-67 7/88 had spaces for “Mother” and “Father” instead of “Parent” or “Guardian.”

As you probably know from your own statistics, the percentage of mother-father households with children under 18 represents less than 25% of all American households.  As you may learn from your legal department, California law has required gender neutrality in public forms since 2005 (AB 849).  As you must know from visiting any school today, same-gender and single-parent families abound.  LAUSD is far behind on this issue, and terribly wrong for two important reasons.

In a school system where the participation of parents is critical to the quality of our schools and the education of our children, where you are begging parents to be part of the school, the first message that you are sending to 75% of your families is that they are are not welcome.

The second message that you are sending, to every parent who has to fill out these forms, is that a child with a father and mother is somehow better than a child who doesn’t have a father and a mother.  As the California legislature pointed out, this sets up a hostile situation that fails to protect the children.

I would like some swift action on this matter. You could start with an apology to the single- and same-gender parents and their families who have been hurt over the years, along with a pledge to purge your district of these outdated forms and ideas, as we move to a future where students are measured by their merits, and not their parents.

Sincerely,