Rob Bonta, the state attorney general in California, has sued a school district in Southern California, hoping to force it to stop notifying parents that their children are transgender.
The policies of the Chino Valley Unified School District has school officials notify parents that their child is transgender when they come forward with that information to school officials such as guidance counselors.
But, Bonta’s suit says that the policy violates the constitutional and civil rights that students have, which could ultimately cause them “mental, emotional, psychological and potential physical harm.”
Some conservative school boards around the country have adopted similar policies, and liberal state officials are trying to fight those policies in court.
Other California school districts that have passed similar policies in just the last few months include Anderson Union, Temecula and Murrieta Valley High School.
In a statement, Bonta commented on the suit by saying:
“Our message to Chino Valley Unified and all school districts in California is loud and clear: We will never stop fighting for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ students.”
The Chino Valley policy was passed in July. It requires all schools in the district to inform parents any time that a student requests that a different pronoun or name is used to refer to them compared to what’s in their official school record. Parents also have to be informed any time that a student requests to participate in a program or use a facility that doesn’t align with the sex they were assigned at birth.
A statewide proposal that is similar to this policy was introduced by Bill Essayli, a Republican state assemblyman, in California. That proposal has stalled, though, and doesn’t have much of a chance at ever passing since Democrats have a supermajority in the California state Legislature.
Those in support of the policy believe it’s a “parental rights issue.” On the flip side, Bonta has argued that the school board is discriminating against gender-nonbinary and transgender students illegally. He said in the statement:
“In discussing the policy before its passage, board members made a number of statements describing students who are transgender or gender non-conforming as suffering from a ‘mental illness’ or ‘perversion,’ or as being a threat to the integrity of the nation and the family.”
The attorney general’s lawsuit argues that the district’s policy is infringing on several protections that the state provides, including the equal protection clause, the constitutional right to privacy, and the state government and education code.
Some conservative groups could be looking to get ballot measures up for a vote throughout the state that could relate to issues such as these at schools.
At the same time that’s happening, the LGBTQ+ caucus in the California Legislature is also about to introduce a new bill that would prohibit any and all such policies from going into effect.
This is certainly going to be an issue that pops up throughout the country in the future, but one that is playing out right before our eyes in California.