In a unanimous vote of 4-0, the Orange Unified School District approved a policy on Thursday evening. The policy mandates that school officials must inform parents and guardians when a child requests to use a name or pronoun different from their assigned one at birth, or if they participate in activities or access facilities typically designated for the opposite sex.
The recently approved policies of Chino Valley Unified and Murrieta Valley Unified have faced criticism from state officials, who consider them violations of students’ civil rights. Consequently, an investigation has been launched into Chino Valley Unified.
The policy would additionally require school principals to be notified about students who are facing gender dysphoria or gender incongruence.
The school board meeting leading up to the vote was heated, with dozens of parents going toe-to-toe with self-described communist activists. Several scuffles broke out during the ordeal, and the three board members who opposed the policy walked out of the meeting before the vote, following a disruption.
Despite the hard work, persistence, and celebration of the parents who went through the democratic process to get these measures passed in multiple counties, activist judges are waiting in the wings to block them one by one.
A ruling from a San Bernardino County Superior Court judge on Wednesday stated that the enforcement of Chino Valley Unified School District’s newly implemented policy, which mandates parental notification if students express their transgender or gender-nonconforming identity, must be temporarily withheld.
Judge Thomas Garza has approved the state’s request for a temporary restraining order. A hearing is scheduled for October 13th to further discuss whether Chino Valley’s policy violates state civil rights and privacy laws pertaining to students and their gender identity.
During Wednesday’s hearing, Garza stated that this case represents a clash between parental rights and student privacy rights. He believes that this legal dispute will likely be appealed to higher courts and will require legislative guidance. Nonetheless, Garza determined that Chino Valley’s policy is overly broad and lacks a clear purpose or indication of parental support and involvement.
“There will be parents who won’t take kindly to these discussions,” Garza said.
Chino Valley has implemented a policy that requires district staff to inform parents in writing within three days if they become aware of a student using different names, pronouns, or accessing facilities that do not correspond with their biological sex.
Attorney General Rob Bonta and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond strongly oppose Chino Valley’s policy, as well as other similar measures, asserting that California laws protect students’ privacy rights regarding gender issues, even from their parents. Bonta has filed the lawsuit that is currently being reviewed by Judge Garza.
In announcing the lawsuit, Bonta emphasized his refusal to allow Chino Valley or any district board of education to endanger children or violate their rights, especially those belonging to vulnerable and at-risk groups. He emphasized that the ‘LGBTQ+ community is facing attacks both nationally and locally,’ with transgender and gender-nonconforming students being ‘particularly affected.’
“I refuse to stand by and allow Chino Valley or any district board of education to put our children at risk or infringe upon their rights, especially not one of our most vulnerable at-risk groups,” Bonta said in announcing the lawsuit. “Across the country and in our own backyard, the LGBTQ+ community is under attack, and transgender and gender-nonconforming students are on the front lines.”