A California judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking the implementation of a policy in the Chino Valley Unified School District that requires schools to inform parents if their child changes their gender identification or pronouns. The decision by San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Thomas S. Garza came after the California Attorney General's office filed a lawsuit against the school district, arguing that the policy violated students' civil and constitutional rights.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta praised the court's decision, stating that it upholds the rights of the LGBTQ+ student community and protects them from harm. He emphasized the importance of ensuring the well-being of students and promoting inclusivity. Meanwhile, Sonja Shaw, the President of the Chino Valley Unified Board of Education, expressed disappointment with the ruling, stating that the battle has just begun. She criticized politicians in Sacramento for trying to marginalize parents and separate them from their children.
The lawsuit filed by the Attorney General's office accuses the school district of violating the Protection Clause, Education and Government Code, and the constitutional right to privacy. Bonta argued that the policy would force transgender students to be outed to their parents, putting their well-being at risk. The district, which serves 27,000 students, is one of several in the state that have implemented policies requiring parental notification if a child is transgender.
During the court proceedings, attorneys for Chino Valley Unified argued that the policy would not affect private conversations between students and teachers but would involve parents in situations such as name changes, pronoun use, restroom choices, and participation in sports teams. They maintained that the policy was intended to keep parents informed and did not aim to prevent students from expressing their gender identity.
This temporary restraining order could have broader implications for other California school districts considering similar policies. The ruling may deter other districts from implementing parental notification requirements regarding gender identity. Several districts, including Anderson Union High School District, Murrieta Valley Unified School District, and Temecula Valley Unified School District, have recently enacted policies similar to the one in Chino Valley Unified. The Orange Unified School District is also set to consider a transgender notification policy in the coming days.
The Chino Valley Unified School District will now have to suspend its notification policy and await further court proceedings. The next hearing is scheduled for October 13. The outcome of this case will have significant implications for transgender students' rights and parental involvement in such matters.