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School District Vows to Continue Fight After CA Judge Blocks Parental Notification Policy: ‘Battle Not Over’

October 23, 2023

(Fox News)—Portions of a Southern California school district’s parental notification policy will remain blocked, after a judge granted a preliminary injunction to the state of California to stop the measure the state says discriminates against LGBTQ students.

Chino Valley Unified School District passed the policy in July. Part of the policy requires its schools to notify parents if their child identifies as transgender. California Attorney General Rob Bonta immediately sued CVUSD over this policy, saying it unconstitutionally discriminates against LGBTQ students and violates their privacy rights.

San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Michael A. Sachs said parts of the policywere unconstitutional. While litigation is ongoing, 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.

However, Sachs denied the state’s request to block a part of the policy which says staff must notify parents if their child wants to change information in their official and unofficial student records.

The judge’s decision comes after another judge temporarily blocked the policy in early September.

Attorney General Rob Bonta celebrated the ruling, calling it a “significant step forward” that should serve as a “warning” for other school boards who want to pass similar policies.

“Today’s bench ruling is a significant step forward that will set a precedent in our efforts to ensure every student is guaranteed the right to learn and thrive in a school environment that promotes nondiscrimination, safety, and inclusivity,” the California official wrote in a statement. “Let this decision serve as a stern warning to other school districts that have passed or are contemplating similar policies: enforcing discriminatory practices will not be tolerated in our educational institutions.”

Kristi Hirst, a former teacher and parent in the district who co-founded Our Schools USA, called the ruling a “win for students, parents, teachers” and the community. Hirst’s group joined teachers unions, civil rights groups, and Democratic leadership in the state to oppose the policy.

“The judge accurately described the forced outing policy as ‘discriminatory on its face,’ and we agree. It’s embarrassing that this school board chooses to ignore the harm they are causing in Chino and in communities throughout California in order to pursue a political crusade,” she said in a statement.

However, lawyer Laura Powell, who testified against the state of California over its now-shelved medical misinformation bill, argued the ruling wasn’t a complete win for the state.

“An important point is that the judge rejected the state’s arguments that a child has a right to privacy with respect to gender identity vis-à-vis their parents. That was their primary argument a couple months ago, and now they’ve shifted to discrimination claims,” she wrote in a post on X.

CVUSD Board President Sonja Shaw told Fox News Digital that she didn’t see the ruling as a victory or defeat, and said “the battle” wasn’t over.

“This is part of the legal process, which I believe wholeheartedly. 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,” she said in a statement to Fox News Digital.

“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, which argued for the district in court, and said they were hopeful that the law would land on their side as litigation continues.

“The Fourteenth 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.

“[R]ecent 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.

Parental notification policies regarding a student’s gender have been passed in a handful of districts across the state. Several have faced lawsuits and attracted controversy at school board meetings.