California attorney general sues to stop Chino Valley’s transgender notification policy – Press Enterprise

California Attorney General Rob Bonta on Monday morning, Aug. 28, announced his office is suing the Chino Valley Unified School District to stop enforcement of a recently passed policy requiring parents to be notified if their child is transgender.

At a Los Angeles news conference, Bonta said the district’s policy, which the Chino Valley school board passed in July, “presents students with a terrible choice. Either walk back your rights to gender identity and gender expression to be yourself (and) to be who you are or face the risk of serious harm — mental harm, emotional harm, physical harm.”

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“This policy is destructive. It’s discriminatory and it’s downright dangerous,” Bonta said. “It has no place in California which is why we have moved in court to strike it down.”

While the Chino Valley district is the only defendant in the lawsuit filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court, Bonta said that, if his office prevails, similar transgender policies in other public school districts would be struck down.

Sonja Shaw, Chino Valley board president, said via a text message that she’s “not surprised at the aggressive stance Sacramento is taking against the district for daring to question motives and agendas that don’t sit well with parents and families fighting to keep themselves involved in the lives of children.”

Bonta, she said, “knows better and this is another ploy to stop all the districts around California from adopting a common-sense legal policy. We will stand our ground and protect our children with all we can because we are not breaking the law. Parents have a constitutional right in the upbringing of their children. Period. Bring it.”

Chino Valley spokesperson Andrea Johnston said via email that the district “was not notified of the filing until after media outlets began to report on the situation.”

“At this time, the district is working with its legal counsel to review the lawsuit and its contents,” Johnston wrote. “Prior to the filing, district personnel had been working with complete transparency in providing Attorney General Bonta’s office with requested documents and records.”

Equality California, an LGBTQ civil rights group, praised Bonta’s lawsuit.

“Policies like those approved by the Chino Valley school board and school boards in Murrieta Valley and Temecula are intensifying the already alarming increase of anti-LGBTQ+ hate we are experiencing,” Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang said in a news release.

“California must stand up against these policies that fly in the face of the principles of equality and respect for all people.”

Transgender notification policies have become a hotly debated topic in local school boards after a Republican bill requiring all California schools to tell parents if their child is transgender died this spring in the state Legislature.

That bill’s sponsor, Inland GOP Assemblymember Bill Essayli, denounced Bonta’s lawsuit.

“Today the California Attorney General officially declared war on every parent in the state of California,” Essayli, who represents part of western Riverside County, said in a news release.

“The fact that he is spending taxpayer resources on suing school districts for providing information to parents is remarkable and inconsistent with a century of Supreme Court precedent holding that parents have a constitutional right to raise their children without government interference.”

Generally, the transgender notification policies passed by school boards give district staff a deadline to inform parents in writing of their child’s transgender identity if, for example, they request to be identified by pronouns that don’t correspond to their birth gender or use bathrooms or changing rooms that don’t correspond to their birth gender.

Supporters say parents have a right to know if their child is transgender. But critics argue the policies could endanger children whose parents aren’t accepting of the LGBTQ community.

The 23-page lawsuit alleges that Chino Valley’s policy violates California’s constitution, state education code and students’ rights to privacy.

The “board’s plain motivations in adopting the policy were to create and harbor animosity, discrimination, and prejudice towards transgender and gender-nonconforming students, without any compelling reason to do so,” an attorney general’s news release states.

Board members “made a number of statements describing students who are transgender or gender-nonconforming as suffering from a ‘mental illness’ or ‘perversion,’ or as being a threat to the integrity of the nation and the family,” according to the release.

Bonta’s office launched a civil rights investigation into the San Bernardino County school district after the board passed its policy.

After Chino Valley approved the rules in July, school boards in Temecula and Murrieta adopted similar policies. The Orange Unified School District board is considering adopting its own version of the policy.

Monday is shaping up to be a significant day in California in the ongoing culture war showdown over transgender children.

On Monday afternoon, conservatives are scheduled to announce in Sacramento the launching of a bid to put three transgender-related ballot measures in the 2024 ballot.

One would establish a statewide version of Chino Valley’s policy, another would ban anyone who wasn’t born a girl from competing in girls’ sports and the third would ban gender-affirming care to California children.

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