Liberty Justice Center

Liberty Justice Center Urges Court of Appeals to Reverse Ruling Denying Parents’ Rights in Regino v. Staley

November 7, 2023

On November 6, the Liberty Justice Center (LJC), the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL), and Dr. Erica E. Anderson—a clinical psychologist with over 40 years of experience, focusing primarily on children and adolescents dealing with gender-identity-related issues—jointly filed an amici brief urging the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse a lower court’s decision to dismiss a parent’s lawsuit against a California school district for concealing information about her child.

In Regino v. Staley, plaintiff Aurora Regino sued the Chico Unified School District for concealing her child’s social transition at school without her notice or consent, arguing that the district had violated her fundamental interest to oversee the care, custody, and education of her minor child. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed her case.

In their amici brief, LJC, WILL, and Dr. Anderson argue that this dismissal ignores longstanding Supreme Court precedent establishing parents’ constitutional right to be involved in their children’s upbringing—as well as precedent recognizing that schools violate parents’ constitutional rights when they usurp parents’ role in significant decisions.

“Keeping secrets from parents doesn’t just violate their rights—it also prevents kids from receiving appropriate care,” said Emily Rae, Senior Counsel at the Liberty Justice Center. “The Ninth Circuit should reverse the District Court’s decision and affirm parents’ constitutional right to direct their children’s upbringing.”

In addition, the amici argue that organizations such as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health recommend parental involvement in medical decisions for their minor children—and even encourage deference to parents’ decisions. By contrast, no professional association recommends that teachers and school officials facilitate a social transition at school while preventing parents from accessing information needed to care for their children.

“Parental involvement is necessary to provide appropriate care to children experiencing gender dysphoria and other gender-identity-related issues,” said Dr. Erica Anderson, PhD. “However, if a school maintains a policy of deception regarding their children, then parents cannot provide support during a transition, screen for dysphoria and other coexisting issues, or obtain professional mental health support for their children.”

The Liberty Justice Center’s amicus brief is available here.

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