The attorney general of California announced on Friday that an investigation is underway to determine whether a local school district violated students’ civil rights by implementing a policy mandating teachers to inform parents if their child identifies as transgender or wishes to adopt a different name or pronoun that differs from what is on their birth certificate.
The policy stipulates that parents must be notified within a three-day period if their child requests participation in gender-specific sports or intends to utilize a different restroom or changing facility that doesn’t correspond to their birth-assigned gender.
Attorney General Rob Bonta expressed concerns that the policy, which was sanctioned by the Chino Valley Unified School District in July, might compel schools to reveal a student’s transgender identity, potentially exacerbating the risk of bullying, self-harm, or suicide.
“Students should never fear going to school for simply being who they are…forced outing policy threatens the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ students vulnerable to harassment and potential abuse from peers and family members unaccepting of their gender identity,” Bonta said in a statement.
In response, the school district board president Sonja Shaw said state officials are “overstepping their boundaries.”
“This is a ploy to try to scare all the other boards across California from adopting the policy,” Shaw said. “I won’t back down and will stand in the gap to protect our kids from big government bullies.”
Hopefully, Bonta’s investigation won’t prevent this policy from taking effect. The right of parents to guide the care and upbringing of their child takes precedence over a minor’s privacy rights. Parents have every right to know exactly what their child is experiencing at school for the sake of their child’s safety and well-being. This is entirely lawful.
“School districts do not violate any state or federal law by disclosing information to parents regarding their child’s gender identity,” wrote Robert Tyler, President and General Counsel for Advocates for Faith and Freedom. “The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) already affirms parents’ right to review their child’s student records…Information related to a child’s request to go by a different name or to be treated as a different gender is needed by parents so that parents can ensure their child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs are being fully met at home and school. Read Tyler’s legal memo.
We are hopeful that conservative leaders in California continue to stand firmly in support of parents’ rights, despite unwarranted opposition.