California’s attorney general sued a Southern California school district Monday over its recently adopted policy that requires schools to notify parents if their children change their gender identification or pronouns.
Attorney General Rob Bonta said he filed a lawsuit against the Chino Valley Unified School District over the policy that mandated this notification, calling it a “forced outing” of transgender students that violates their civil rights.
“It tramples on students’ rights,” Bonta told reporters. He said he is seeking a court order to immediately halt the policy from taking effect.
The move comes after Chino Valley Unified, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles, adopted the policy following a shift in leadership on the school board. Other Southern California districts have adopted similar policies and Bonta said he believes they will also be affected by this litigation, though they are not named in the suit.
In a response for a request for comment, the district’s director of communications said the district was not notified of the filing until after news organizations reported on the lawsuit. The district had not been provided an opportunity to examine the lawsuit Monday morning.
“At this time, the District is working with its legal counsel to review the lawsuit and its contents,” Director of Communications Andi Johnston said in an email. “Prior to the filing, District personnel had been working with complete transparency in providing Attorney General Bonta’s office with requested documents and records. Superintendent Enfield spoke with the DOJ’s legal counsel weekly to confirm the District was providing requested files, which had changed several times from the original subpoena.”
The suit argues the policy discriminates against transgender and gender non-conforming students and violates the state constitution which requires equal protect for all students regardless of their gender expression, identity or sexual orientation. It also argues the policy violates students’ privacy rights.
“Every student has the right to learn and thrive in a school environment that promotes safety, privacy, and inclusivity – regardless of their gender identity,” Bonta said in a statement. “We’re in court challenging Chino Valley Unified’s forced outing policy for wrongfully and unconstitutionally discriminating against and violating the privacy rights of LGBTQ+ students. The forced outing policy wrongfully endangers the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of non-conforming students who lack an accepting environment in the classroom and at home. 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 policies have sparked divisions in communities between those who say parents have a right to know the decisions their children are making at school and those who say that such policies would forcibly out transgender students to their parents and threaten the well-being of some of the most vulnerable students.
The fight over the proposed school district policies in Southern California come as states across the country are battling over transgender rights through efforts to impose bans on gender-affirming care, bar trans athletes from girls and women’s sports, and require schools to “out” trans and nonbinary students to their parents.
NBCLA’s Jonathan Lloyd contributed to this report.
Source: NBC Los Angeles