SANTA ANA, Calif. - A judge on Wednesday halted a Southern California school district from requiring parents to be notified if their children change their gender identification or pronouns at school.
San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Thomas S. Garza ruled after California Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the Chino Valley Unified School District for adopting a policy requiring schools to tell parents when their children change their pronouns or use a bathroom of a gender other than the one listed on their official paperwork.
"Today’s decision by the San Bernardino Superior Court rightfully upholds the state rights of our LGBTQ+ students and protects kids from harm by immediately halting the board’s forced outing policy," Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.
Garza’s order halts the district’s policy while Bonta’s lawsuit continues. Full details of the order and Garza’s reasoning were not immediately available.
Bonta said his office will continue to challenge the policy in court. The next court hearing on the issue was scheduled for Oct. 13.
Messages were left for Chino Valley Unified.
The district, which serves 27,000 students about 35 miles (55 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, is one of several that requires parents to be informed if their children are transgender. Two nearby districts have done the same, while at least two others in the state are bringing up similar measures this week.
Bonta argues the policy will forcibly out transgender students in violation of their privacy rights and threaten their well-being. Chino Valley contends the policy seeks to involve parents so they can provide support their children need.
The national conversation over transgender rights has intensified as other states have sought to impose bans on gender-affirming care, bar transgender athletes from girls and women’s sports, and require schools to "out" transgender and nonbinary students to their parents.
In California, parental notification policies cropped up after Republican state lawmaker Bill Essayli proposed a statewide bill on the issue, but it never received a hearing in Sacramento. He then worked with school board members and the California Family Council to draft the policy that was voted on in Chino Valley.
Many of the conversations about transgender students and LGBTQ+ curriculum are taking place in communities that elected more conservative school board members after the pandemic drove many parents who were angry about closures to political action. The districts are increasingly at odds with Gov. Gavin Newsom and fellow Democrats who dominate the state’s political leadership.
The Rocklin Unified School District School Board is set to vote on the issue Wednesday.