EL CAJON, Calif. — People in the Grossmont Union High School District community are upset after the school board abruptly ended a decades-long relationship with San Diego Youth Services. Parents and students are now questioning why the sudden switch was made, which has led to more questions about if the district truly supports its LGBTQ population as well.

“They canceled the contract after one meeting without doing any diligence in my opinion,” Krysta Henningsen said.

At a July 20 board meeting, public comment included some concern over the provider offering gender affirming care. Though board members haven’t given a clear reason why they ended the relationship with San Diego Youth Services, board member Dr. Gary Woods said “we need to look for alternatives that best reflect East County values,” before voting to cancel the contract.

“The comments made at that meeting were enough to raise serious concern among many members of our community regarding the true motives of the GUHSD board and district leadership,” Bryan Meyer said.

FOX 5 spoke with Walter Philips, the CEO of San Diego Youth Services, who says the most recent services to the district involved mental health and suicide prevention for all students.

“The suicide prevention program was provided to the school district at no cost. We actually have funding separate from the school district to provide that,” Philips said.

While the provider does have a specific program for transgender youth, Philips says it was not offered on campus.

FOX 5 reached out to the district for comment and were told mental health services have been expanded and swapped for an agreement with Wellness Together, a different provider.

The following statement was provided on behalf of Superintendent Mary Beth Kastan:

“All of our Board members fully understand the importance of providing mental health services for our students. That’s why a special board meeting was scheduled on August 14 to expand the District’s agreement with Wellness Together and deliver additional mental health services at all of our comprehensive campuses. To be clear, this Governing Board has publicly and boldly stated their commitment that the District ‘has a moral obligation to provide a safe, equitable, and high-quality education for all students’ and that they are committed to an ‘inclusive working environment for all employees.’ When our Board Members said ‘all,’ they meant ALL. That includes every single one of our LGBTQIA+ students and staff members.”

The district says the on-boarding process for the Wellness Together Specialists is underway and it hopes to have them placed at all campuses “as soon as possible”. A district spokesperson also told FOX 5 “providing suicide prevention education is a top priority for us as well, and we continue to explore our options for delivering it.”

Parents and students say they plan to keep bringing up this issue until they get clear answers.