Court Halts School Policy on Parental Notification of Student Gender Identification Changes


In a recent turn of events from San Bernardino, California, a school district policy mandating parental notification when a student seeks recognition of a gender identity or pronoun different from their birth assignment has been temporarily halted by a court injunction.

The restraining order, issued by Superior Court Judge Thomas S. Garza, impacts specific sections of the Chino Valley Unified School District’s newly enacted protocol addressing sex and gender identification. Citing the need for abundant caution, Judge Garza emphasized that due to the delicate subject matter, the case required meticulous handling.

Garza voiced a concern during court proceedings regarding the protection of LGBTQ+ identifying students, positing that the existing situation singles out this class of protected individuals, treating them differently as compared to their peers.

The grounding for this legal action was laid last month when the newly adopted policy was challenged by California Attorney General Rob Bonta. He heavily criticized the mandatory disclosure policy, dubbing it a “forced outing policy.” According to Bonta, such a regulation could potentially harm “non-conforming students” who may lack a supportive environment at school or home.

Bonta appreciated the Wednesday ruling as a dutiful upholder of the state rights of the LGBTQ+ student community. He also hailed it as a guard that shelters children from potential harm. “Today’s ruling is a noteworthy stride towards ensuring the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming students,” said Bonta, acknowledging that the fight is not yet over.

The contentious policy echoes a number of others being adopted in various states, such as Texas and New Jersey. This coincides with a nationwide push by conservative lawmakers to restrict LGBTQ+ individuals’ rights in realms such as health care access, bathroom facility use, and sports participation.

Not all aspects of the district policy have been affected by Judge Garza’s order. Provisions dealing with parent notification concerning suicide attempts, threats, and bullying remain in effect.

School district spokesperson Andi Johnston conveyed the district’s respect for the judge’s order and reaffirmed their commitment to fostering and maintaining a collaborative rapport between school and home.

The policy has been previously defended by School District President Sonja Shaw against criticisms of potential harm to students. She argued that when a child decides to publicly identify with a new gender, the parents should be involved. “The parents have every right to know about that,” she stated last month.


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