Transgender rights vs. parent rights. California goes to court to settle school divide

Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Lifestyles

Chino Valley, a hot spot

Chino Valley Unified is at the center of litigation over its parent-notification policy, which resulted in a lawsuit led by Bonta. In a preliminary ruling, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Sachs said the policy was discriminatory because it specifically targeted students who identify as transgender.

Under it, for example, parents were to be notified of any request by a student "to use pronouns that do not align with the student's biological sex or gender listed on the student's birth certificate or other official records." The same notification rules applied to the use of bathrooms or participation in sports.

Sachs wrote in his January ruling that these policies "on their face, discriminate on the basis of sex." In California, transgender individuals are a protected class against whom discrimination is not permitted. The judge noted that a straight male student who wanted to use a different name would not be subject to the policy.

In March, the Chino Valley Board of Education revised the policy, expanding it to all students. Under the revised policy, if any student "requests a change to their official or unofficial records, parents/guardians shall be notified to ensure that parents/guardians are informed and involved in all aspects of their child's education."

In other words, if a straight male student named William suddenly decided he wanted to be called Robert, his parents would be notified.


The revised notification rules apply to a potentially huge number of situations, requiring an alert to parents whenever their child "participates in school-sponsored extracurricular and cocurricular activities or team(s) immediately or as soon as reasonably possible."

For instance, if a child joins a club, parents would be told. The policy, if followed, will keep administrators busy making many notifications to parents, a few of which would pertain to transgender students, the original aim of the policy.

"The updated policy maintains the district's original requirement that school administrators notify parents within three days if their child requests changes to their official or unofficial records, but removed language from the policy requiring staff to notify parents when a student requests to use facilities or pronouns that differ from their sex at birth," according to Liberty Justice Center, a firm with a national profile that has offered pro bono legal assistance and helped map out a legal strategy for Chino Valley and districts with like-minded school boards.

There's a hearing to set a trial date in early May.


swipe to next page

©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus