A Southern California school district’s parental notification policy will remain largely unenforceable following a judge’s Oct. 19 ruling for a preliminary injunction while the state’s lawsuit opposing the policy is litigated in court.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit Aug. 28 against Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) over its parental rights policy passed in July.
The policy dictates that schools must notify the parents of any child who asks to be identified at school as a gender other than the student’s biological sex or gender listed on the student’s birth certificate or other official records. Three more California school districts—Murrieta Valley, Temecula Valley and Anderson Union—have since passed the same policy.
But Bonta’s lawsuit claims that the policy “has placed transgender and gender nonconforming students in danger of imminent, irreparable harm from the consequences of forced disclosures.”
San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Sachs said parts of the policy were unconstitutional. While litigation continues, he ruled, the district cannot require staff to tell parents when a student asks to be identified or treated as a gender other than their biological sex. The ruling also blocks parents from being notified if a student wants to access sex-segregated facilities or participate in athletic teams.
Sachs, however, upheld part of the policy which mandates that staff must notify parents if their child wants to change information in their official and unofficial student records. The judge’s decision follows a September ruling by another judge that had temporarily blocked the policy.
CVUSD Board President Sonja Shaw said the ongoing litigation with the state’s attorney general over the school district’s parental notification policy is spurring more parents, like herself, to defend their rights to raise their children without government interference.
“This is part of the legal process, which I believe wholeheartedly,” Shaw told Fox News Digital in a statement. “This battle is not over and has just begun. It’s not a victory or a defeat. I honestly believe it’s a gift to bring awareness to what is going on.
“I view this as a pause until we get our day before a jury. The question of whether a parent or guardian should be involved in the care and welfare of their children is extremely important to all Californians and parents across the state. People want to settle the question once and for all: who do our children belong to? The government or their parents? The overwhelming majority of people that I have come across regardless of political affiliation, religion, or other position agree that children belong to their parents and parents have a constitutional right in the upbringing of their children’s lives. I have complete faith in our legal team and as I said I look forward to our day before a jury. We are committed to this for the long haul as we believe the state has continued to overstep boundaries,” she added.
The Liberty Justice Center (LJC), which argued for the school district in court, said they remain hopeful that the law will land on their side as litigation continues. “The 14th Amendment and over a century of legal precedent guarantee parents the right to direct their children’s upbringing, and nothing in California law requires schools to keep secrets about children from their parents,” LJC President Jacob Huebert said in a statement. “We are confident that as litigation continues, the court will find that the Attorney General’s case has no legal basis and will rule in Chino Valley’s favor.”
Senior Counsel Emily Rae added that both the “law and public opinion” are on the side of the district. “Recent polling shows that a supermajority of Californians believe parents should be involved in their kids’ education and that schools should not keep secrets from parents,” she said.
Included in his ruling, Sachs also granted the petition of a group of San Bernardino parents, allowing them to join the school district as defendants in the lawsuit.
Rae applauded Sach’s decision to allow the parents to participate in the case, saying, “This case directly impacts these parents, so we are glad that they will have the opportunity to vindicate their rights in court.”
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 26.
Photo: Jake Lee Green/ZUMA Press Wire/Newscom