Judge Tentatively Blocks California District’s Transgender Parent Notification Policy

Judge Tentatively Blocks California District’s Transgender Parent Notification Policy

Chino Valley Unified School Board President Sonja Shaw speaks in support of a parental rights policy proposal at a press conference in Chino, Calif., on June 15, 2023. (California Family Council/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

10/21/2023

Updated: 12/30/2023

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A state court judge has ruled a California school board policy that requires schools to notify parents when their child identifies as transgender is unconstitutional, because it discriminates against students based on their gender identity.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the Chino Valley Unified School District in August over the policy, which the district enacted in July.
In a tentative Oct. 19 ruling, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael Sachs granted the attorney general’s request for a preliminary injunction, saying the district can’t enforce the policy until its validity has been decided at trial.
In a previous September hearing, another judge temporarily blocked the enforcement of the policy at the request of Mr. Bonta.
Judge Sachs’ tentative ruling sided with the state’s argument saying it singled out students who identify as transgender, and that gender identity is considered a protected class by both the state and federal government.
Attorneys for the district, however, argued it did not single out transgender students because it also required parental notification when a student expressed something that might raise concerns for their mental health.
The policy also requires schools to notify parents in writing within three days if their child tells a school staff member if they are involved in violence, or if they are having thoughts of suicide.
“It’s not a matter of discriminating based on gender. It’s a matter of notifying parents when a student asks a government entity, or a school district, for treatment,” Emily Rae, an attorney for the district, said at the hearing.
However, the judge said that while the district has a compelling interest to address students’ mental health concerns, “gender nonconforming students cannot be lumped together simply because the group as a whole is at greater risk for significant social emotional concerns with suicide.”
“That over-broad generalization is simply insufficient to justify assessment classification because equal protection rights are held by individuals, not groups,” Mr. Sachs said.
Chino Valley Unified was the first of several local school boards to enact a parent notification policy.
Since then, at least seven other California school districts have enacted similar policies: Murrieta Valley Unified, Temecula Valley Unified, the Anderson Union High School District, Rocklin Unified, Orange Unified, Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified, and Dry Creek Elementary Joint School District.
Capistrano Unified School District, however, became the first school board Oct. 18 to reject such a policy in a 4–2 vote.
Chino Valley Unified School Board President Sonja Shaw was not immediately available for comment.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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