Children's Rights

Attorney General Bonta: Mojave Unified School District Achieves Compliance with DOJ’s Four-Year Stipulated Judgment, Commits to Additional Reforms to Protect Students from Disproportionate Discipline and Increase Mental Health Support

May 9, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) has ended monitoring of the Mojave Unified School District (District), concluding the four-year term of a 2020 stipulated judgment that addressed the District's policies and practices, including with regard to complaints of discrimination and retaliation. The settlement followed findings that the District failed to investigate a report that a principal threatened immigration-related consequences and retaliated against a student and his family for advocating for the student's legal rights. The terms of the 2020 judgment put in place reforms to protect students and ensure the District would improve its investigation and response process for complaints of discrimination and retaliation, revise policies, procedures, and practice, and staff training. The District has achieved substantial compliance with the judgment, and has agreed to implement an additional plan to significantly reduce disproportionalities in discipline for African-American students and students with disabilities, for a minimum of two years and provide DOJ with evidence of implementation two times a year.

“As the People's Attorney, I am committed to protecting students from discrimination and retaliation. The California Department of Justice and the Mojave Unified School District have worked together over the past four years to successfully implement the corrective actions set out in our 2020 stipulated judgment to address concerns regarding discrimination and retaliation,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “With the agreement announced today, Mojave Unified will take critical steps to ensure that no student is subject to discrimination in discipline and to provide additional mental health services for struggling students. My office will continue to work with the District to ensure the plan to reduce disproportionality in discipline is fully implemented, and we will continue to monitor over the next two years.”

 “Reflecting back to the start of the oversight, there were substantial changes needed to structure and maintain an environment that not only provided for, but addressed, the needs of all of our students,”said Dr. Aguirre, Mojave Unified School District Superintendent. “I thank all of our teachers, staff and administrators for their tremendous work and dedication to ensure that our practices and procedures are legally compliant, non-discriminatory and equitable. I am proud of their commitment to reviewing practices and procedures and for their reflection on what is fair and equitable in addressing and responding to our students’ needs. We could not have done so without the continuing support of our Governing Board members.”

In 2019, a DOJ investigation found that the District failed to properly investigate the family and student’s complaint of discrimination and retaliation. The investigation also found that the district violated state law with respect to search and seizure practices, special education identification, independent study and county community school placements, maintaining student record confidentiality, and the process for investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination and retaliation. DOJ and the District entered into a stipulated judgment that required significant reforms and a four-year monitoring period. 

At the conclusion of the judgment, the District achieved substantial compliance with all terms of the judgment by: 

  • Improving procedures for handling student complaints, including ensuring that staff understand their obligations under the law to adequately respond to and track reports of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
  • Ensuring alternative education programs meet legal requirements, following findings that the District provided only 10-15 minutes of support per week to below-grade-level students in independent study and that students placed in supervised suspension did not have a credentialed teacher for at least half a school year.
  • Training staff in records management, as part of an effort to prevent the loss or removal of confidential student records.
  • Addressing potentially inappropriate transfers to county community day schools, which, if not for expulsion, generally may only occur with the voluntary and informed consent of the student and family.
  • Increasing the accessibility of special education evaluations, building on the District’s affirmative move to eliminate a screening process in order to help parents or guardians have a meaningful opportunity to engage in decisions about whether to evaluate their child for mental health-related disabilities.
  • Reforming practices on searches and seizures, making sure there is reasonable suspicion, as legally required, before class-wide or grade-level-wide searches are conducted.
  • Notifying families of the availability of translation and interpretation services, recognizing that meaningful access to education cannot be dependent on a student’s ability to translate between staff and a parent or guardian.
  • Conducting a quarterly community advisory survey, supporting efforts to gage the efficacy of the independent study program and alternative education arrangements.
  • Remedying grievances suffered by the individual harmed student, including by removing certain absences in the student’s record and providing 125 hours of free compensatory education and mental health services. 

The District has further committed to implementing a two-year suspension disproportionality reduction plan, and providing DOJ with evidence of implementation twice a year. The plan includes: 

  • Continued comprehensive implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), including re-entry protocol for students returning from out-of-school removals.
  • Working with a consultant to provide guidance and support in the District’s PBIS implementation.
  • Additional mental health and behavioral support staff at school sites.
  • Training and implementation of restorative justice.
  • Training for all staff and consistent teacher supports in PBIS, restorative justice, nondiscrimination, bias, conflict resolution and de-escalation, trauma, and social emotional learning curriculum.
  • Tracking and monthly review of disaggregated PBIS and discipline data to identify trends and address root causes of discipline and disproportionality in discipline and implement necessary remedies. 

A copy of the agreement reached with the district is available here. A copy of the stipulated judgement is available here


Attorney General Bonta Calls on Congress to Fund Civil Legal Assistance

April 29, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

 OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a broad, bipartisan coalition of 39 attorneys general in submitting letters to U.S. House and Senate leaders urging them to fund the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) in full. LSC is funded by federal appropriation and is a critical compliment to state and other funding for legal aid. LSC provides civil legal services to low-income Americans across the United States.

“As the People’s Attorney, I share a commitment to the equal access of our justice system and understand the barriers that low-income families can face when trying to access legal services,” said Attorney General Bonta. “The Legal Services Corporation provides on-the-ground legal assistance to Americans experiencing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including our country’s Native American communities, individuals with disabilities, domestic violence survivors, survivors of natural disasters, and undocumented folks. I sincerely urge Congress to support our neighbors and prioritize investment in The Legal Services Corporation.”

Since its establishment by Congress 50 years ago, LSC has provided civil legal services to low-income Americans across the United States who otherwise would not have access to such services. LSC is funded by federal appropriation and the amount of the investment will determine the number of Americans in need that LSC will be able to assist. Each year, LSC provides grants to local nonprofits who together provide legal services to low-income individuals throughout the United States from approximately 900 offices nationwide, stretching from urban centers to small towns. However, despite 94% of federal dollars going directly toward eligible nonprofits delivering civil legal aid, the need for legal assistance is outpacing LSC's funding.

In submitting the letters, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of the District of Columbia, Georgia, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and American Samoa, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A copy of the letters can be found here, and here

As Part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, Attorney General Bonta Highlights Resources to Support Victims and Survivors

April 26, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – As part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, California Attorney General Rob Bonta today highlighted resources available through the California Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Victims’ Services Unit (VSU), and through additional outlets to support and empower victims, survivors, and their families. Attorney General Bonta urges service providers and all members of the public to use these resources to help ensure all those who have been the victim of a crime are aware of many of the key rights, resources, and protections available to them in California.

“Victims of crime often struggle to rebuild their lives, and so, it is incumbent on all of us — in particular those of us in positions of power — to have their backs,” said Attorney General Bonta. “At the California Department of Justice, we are shining a light on the life-saving resources available to those who have been impacted by crime. During National Crime Victims’ Rights Week and all year round, my office will continue to lead with compassion and offer crime victims the support that they deserve. 

California DOJ Victims’ Services Unit

VSU works to provide victim-centered, trauma-informed, and culturally sensitive support services to crime victims, including underserved, at-risk, underrepresented, and vulnerable populations. Through the unit’s services, victims can track the status of appeals, recusal cases, and other matters being handled by DOJ’s prosecutors. VSU has a dedicated and well-trained team of advocates who provide appeal notifications to victims and their families. These updates allow victims and their families to exercise their rights to address the court or otherwise participate in criminal justice proceedings. Our newly revised Marsy’s Card aims to empower victims and survivors by advising them of their rights as victims of crime, and provide updated resources available to them.

VSU also supports service providers and members of the public in tracking the progress of sexual assault evidence kits as they are processed both at the state and local level through the Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Tracking (SAFE-T database). Importantly, VSU’s advocates work to help victims and their families access available resources that are a critical part of the healing process, such as mental health services, safety net services, and assistance through the California Victim Compensation Board for related crime expenses. VSU’s latest Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights publication provides resources and supports available, tailored to sexual assault victims and survivors.  

VSU has updated publications for crime victims in an effort to provide comprehensive resources and supports tailored to their needs. The Marsy’s Rights CardAppeals brochureSexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights, and the Victims’ Services Unit brochure offer information and resources to crime victims.  

Additional Resources Available for Victims

  1. Victim Compensation BoardCan help victims pay for mental health counseling, funeral costs, loss of income, crime scene cleanup, relocation, medical and dental bills.
  2. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Office of Victim & Survivor Rights & ServicesProvides information on offender release, restitution, parole conditions and parole hearings when the offender is incarcerated in prison.
  3. National Domestic Violence Hotline: Offers free, confidential, and compassionate support, crisis intervention information, education, and referral services in over 200 languages.
  4. Adult Protective Services County Information (Elder Abuse): Offers 24-hour hotline numbers by county in California.
  5. National Child Abuse Hotline: Provides treatment and prevention of child abuse.
  6. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network: Operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country.
  7. The Victims of Crime Resource Center: Offers a range of services, including case management, medical care, and access to resources.
  8. National Human Trafficking HotlineCall the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
  9. The California Relay ServiceProvides speech-impaired, deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals with telephone conversation relay assistance.
  10. Safe at Home: California Secretary of State: Offers a confidential address program for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and  human trafficking. 

Attorney General Bonta is committed to protecting all victims of crime and violence. On February 8, 2024, he urged Congress to provide critical support and services to victims and survivors of crime by taking steps to increase the Crime Victims Fund with short term, bridge funding. On April 9, 2024, he announced his sponsorship of a bill authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) and joint authored by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-Colton) that would allow state courts to levy increased monetary penalties on corporations convicted of criminal offenses. Such penalties would in turn provide much-needed funding for crime victim service programs in California.

To receive information on resources, notification of an appeal, or notification on a case the Attorney General's Office is prosecuting, visit, call VSU at (877) 433-9069, or contact VSU at To learn more about the work of VSU, please watch our Demystifying the DOJ Presentation on the Victims’ Services Unit.

ICYMI: SB 976 in the LA Times: Social Media Companies Refuse to Safeguard Kids. It’s Up to Lawmakers Now.

April 23, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

The LA Times published an op-ed yesterday highlighting the urgent need for Senate Bill 976 (SB 976), The Protecting Our Kids from Social Media Addition Act. SB 976, authored by Senator Skinner (D-Berkeley) and sponsored by Attorney General Bonta, would limit the harms associated with social media addiction, and marks an important continuation of Attorney General Bonta’s commitment to improving child safety online.

The op-ed, excerpted below, can be read in its entirety here.

By The Times Editorial Board

From state capitols to Washington, D.C., lawmakers are scrambling to come up with regulations that can protect kids from the potential harms of social media, since the platforms have been unwilling to adopt reasonable safeguards themselves. A dozen other states, including California, are considering or have passed laws that would force companies to design their platforms to be safer for kids. 

This legislation is driven by a growing understanding that social media apps can be addictive and are dangerous to children’s mental health. The American Psychological Assn. urged again this month that policymakers require that tech companies reduce the risks embedded in the platforms.

Yet the drive for regulation is facing stiff pushback from the tech industry, which has lobbied against the bills and filed lawsuits to block new legislation from taking effect, arguing the laws are unconstitutional.  

Senate Bill 976 by Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) would require that social media platforms essentially turn off their algorithms for users under 18 and instead serve them content through a chronological feed from people they follow and information that they’ve searched for. The algorithms are designed to feed users a steady stream of content they didn’t necessarily ask for that keeps them on the app, which is why the algorithms have been called addictive.

The bill is sponsored by Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta, who sued Meta last year alleging the company used harmful and “psychologically manipulative product features,” such as “likes,” infinite scroll and constant alerts, to hook young people on Instagram and Facebook and keep them engaged for as much time as possible in order to boost profits.

These are reasonable safeguards and much less restrictive than proposals in other states, yet tech industry groups have opposed the bill. It’s likely that any law attempting to put guardrails on social media platforms will face legal challenges. This is complex legal and regulatory terrain, but that’s exactly why California lawmakers should keep pushing ahead with SB 976 and similar efforts. The tech industry has been unwilling to voluntarily change its practices to protect children. Lawmakers have to do it for them.

Attorney General Bonta: Stockton Unified School District’s Department of Public Safety Achieves Compliance with DOJ’s Five-Year Stipulated Judgment

April 11, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) has ended monitoring of the Stockton Unified School District (District) and its Department of Public Safety (Department), concluding the five-year term of the stipulated judgment that addressed system-wide violations of the civil and constitutional rights of Black and Latino students and students with disabilities. The District has also committed to implementing a plan to further reduce disproportionalities in law enforcement referrals through school year 2026-2027, which will institutionalize the revised policies and practices and continue the progress made under the judgment.

“Over the past five years, the California Department of Justice and the Stockton Unified School District worked together to successfully implement the corrective actions set out in the stipulated judgment to protect the rights of students in schools,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Today we can celebrate that the agreement has helped the District take important steps to address concerns regarding interactions between police officers and students and to promote an equitable and positive learning environment. My office is committed to ensuring that the District’s plan to reduce disproportionalities is fully implemented and all students have an equal opportunity to achieve their fullest potential in schools.”

“This achievement is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our educators, staff, students, and Department of Public Safety, said Dr. Michelle Rodriguez, Superintendent of Stockton Unified School District. “We reaffirm our commitment to continue the important changes and policies and remain steadfast in our mission to improve services and support for all students, ensuring that each child has the opportunity to succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. We will continue to collaborate with stakeholders, implement evidence-based practices, and prioritize equity in everything we do.”

“The Department is proud of the work that was completed surrounding the DOJ Agreement which has not only made us a better Department but has placed us at the forefront of progressive policing,” said Chief Mayra Franco. “We will continue with our commitment to the work that has been completed and ensure that we provide our staff and students with a safe learning environment ensuring fair and equal justice.”  

“The consent decree was phase one. Now we must build on this momentum to cement the progress that has been made, and fix policies and practices that continue to hurt SUSD students and families,” said Jasmine Dellafosse, Director of Organizing and Community Engagement at End Poverty in CA. “The District should take the last few years as a lesson that accountability and transparency are non-negotiable when it come to our students’ well-being.”

“The Stockton Unified School District was placed under a consent decree because its school police were out of control, arresting and traumatizing kids for acting like kids. Students of color, especially Black students, and students with disabilities were hurt the most,” said Linnea Nelson, Senior Staff Attorney at the ACLU of Northern California. “Even though the consent decree is over, those disparities still exist, and we will continue to monitor the District's progress to prevent resurgent discrimination.”

“The requisite collaboration that took place with community members and the Stockton Unified School District was an admirable beginning,” said Pastor Trena Turner, Victory In Praise Church. “Continued efforts of transparency and inclusion that outlasts the monitoring period, will be of paramount importance to further strengthen the district and ultimately improve the lived experience of our students.”

In 2019, a DOJ investigation concluded that the District’s policies and practices with respect to law enforcement referrals discriminated against Black and Latino students and students with disabilities. The investigation also found unconstitutional search and seizure practices. DOJ and the District entered into a stipulated judgment that required significant reforms and a five-year monitoring period. As part of the stipulated judgment, which concluded on February 19, 2024, the District: 

  • Established clear policies and procedures limiting when school administrators refer students to law enforcement.
  • Created a formal diversion program in lieu of citations and arrests to address minor school-based offenses.
  • Revised policies and procedures relating to treatment of students with disabilities in order to prevent discrimination, including the hiring of a trained Disability Coordinator.
  • Created clear processes for school site administrators to refer students with mental health needs to support services rather than a referral to law enforcement.
  • Instituted mandatory annual training of all officers and staff regarding civil and constitutional rights, disability and special education laws, and elimination of bias.
  • Reformed use of force policies, procedures, and practices, including implementing a comprehensive review process.
  • Updated search and seizure policies.
  • Used data to track and analyze all arrests and referrals to law enforcement from schools; and
  • Established the Community Advisory Group, which collaborated with the District to provide input and review updated policies.

Overall, the judgment led to markedly improved outcomes for students. Total arrests of students dropped significantly; in school year 2018-2019, there were 155 arrests, compared to nine arrests during school year 2022-2023. Calls for service to the Department decreased by 54% and unwarranted calls for service decreased by 52%. Under the disproportionality plan, the Community Advisory Group and Transformative Justice subcommittee, consisting of community organizations and other stakeholders, will continue to meet regularly to improve and reduce disparities in law enforcement referrals and receive and analyze disaggregated and anonymized District data on use of force, law enforcement contacts, citations, arrests, and calls for assistance.  

A copy of the stipulated judgment is available here. A copy of the complaint is available here.

Attorney General Bonta Announces Citrus Heights Sex Offender Sentenced to 14 Years in Prison for Possession of Child Pornography

April 11, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Bonta today announced 41-year-old Christopher Campbell was sentenced to 14 years in prison for possession of child pornography after he was arrested during an undercover operation to combat child sexual predators within Sacramento County. On February 27, 2023, the California Department of Justice (DOJ) Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Team (HT/SPAT), along with Homeland Security Investigations and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, assisted the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force in the joint operation. The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California prosecuted the case.

“Let this conviction serve as a warning to those who harm children: You will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Our office is fighting on behalf of the most vulnerable Californians in the field and in the courtroom. I am thankful for the hard work of our Special Agents during this operation and all our partners who work collaboratively with our regional Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension teams throughout the state. When we work together, we get results.”

During the operation, Campbell contacted an undercover HT/SPAT agent to engage in sexual misconduct. It was discovered that Campbell was a registered sex offender, and a search warrant revealed that Campbell had approximately 517 images and 45 videos of child pornography on his iPad and cellphone. Law enforcement also searched Campbell’s cloud storage account, which contained approximately 169 videos of child pornography, including depictions of toddlers and other minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. On April 9, 2024, Campbell was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography. Campbell was subject to an enhanced statutory penalty for possession of child pornography because he had a prior conviction relating to sexual abuse involving a minor.

The mission of the HT/SPAT program is to disrupt and dismantle violent human trafficking and child exploitation organizations through a comprehensive, collaborative, and statewide response. This program is committed to using a victim-centered approach to aggressively investigate, identify, and recover victims of the brutal crime of forced labor and sexual exploitation for profit or gain by human traffickers and sexual predators. The HT/SPAT program works closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to identify emerging human trafficking trends in order to dismantle domestic and transnational criminal organizations. This program educates communities by providing tools on how to identify human trafficking and works with non-governmental organizations to provide resources and services to victims and survivors.

Attorney General Bonta Proposes COPPA Update: Children’s Private Online Information Must Be Protected

March 11, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

Updates to COPPA need to go further to protect children’s online data 

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, in response to the Federal Trade Comission's (FTC) notice of proposed rulemaking, joined a bipartisan multistate letter to the FTC proposing updates to regulations implementing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). In the letter, the attorneys general express support for updates to COPPA and advocate for further clarity and specification for proposed rules.

“The Federal Trade Commission’s proposed rule would strengthen our ability to enforce restrictions on companies selling children’s data and protect consumers who seek to manage what information websites can collect from kids,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Together with a broad bipartisan coalition from across the country, I support this effort and look forward to working collaboratively with the FTC to keep protecting children’s privacy.”

COPPA requires operators of websites and online services that are either directed to children under 13, or that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information from children under 13, to provide notice to parents and obtain parental consent before collecting, using, or disclosing personal information from children. 

The proposed rule would update COPPA by:

  • Requiring separate “opt-in” consent for targeted advertising: The proposed new rule would require separate notice and parental consent before an operator can disclose children’s information to third parties, including third-party advertisers.
  • Clarifying the “mixed audience” category:  There currently is ambiguity about when child-directed websites must provide COPPA protections to all users and when they may screen users for age and only provide COPPA protections to users who self-identify as under 13 years old. The FTC proposes to clarify this distinction by providing a new definition of “mixed audience."
  • Adding “biometric identifiers” to the definition of “personal information”: The FTC proposes to expand the definition of “personal information” under COPPA to include biometric identifiers, like fingerprints or handprints, retina and iris patterns, genetic data, or data derived from voice, gait, or facial data.
  • Limits on the “support for the internal operations” exception: Operators may currently collect persistent identifiers without first obtaining parental consent under an exception that permits “support for the internal operations of the website or online service.” The FTC proposes adding new requirements and disclosures for operators who rely on this exception.
  • New limits on nudging kids to stay online: The FTC proposes adding new limitations on operators’ use of personal information to prompt or encourage children to use their service more.
  • COPPA and schools: The FTC seeks to permit schools and school districts to provide consent for the collection, use, and disclosure of children’s personal information, but limit that consent to use for educational rather than commercial purposes.
  • Data security, retention, and deletion: The FTC proposes strengthening data security, retention, and deletion requirements. For example, the FTC proposes requiring disclosure of data retention policies, and prohibiting operators from using retained information for any secondary purpose.

In the letter, the attorneys general support proposed updates to the COPPA Rule and respond to certain issues raised by the FTC, including how to define “personal information” as it relates to children and how to obtain parental consent to use children’s personal information in connection with advertising. The letter also advocates for limiting potential exemptions being considered by the FTC and addresses proposals regarding limitations on the use of personal information in ways that could be harmful to children, such as nudging kids to stay online longer.

Attorney General Bonta is committed to protecting children online. In October 2023, Attorney General Bonta co-led a bipartisan coalition of 33 attorneys general in filing a federal lawsuit against Meta Platforms, alleging that Meta, among other things, designed and deployed harmful features on Instagram and Facebook that addict children and teens to their mental and physical detriment. In November 2023, Attorney General Bonta announced the public release of a largely unredacted copy of the federal complaint against Meta. The removal of the redactions provides additional context for the misconduct that the attorneys general allege.

In March 2023, Attorney General Bonta as part of a bipartisan multistate coalition, filed an amicus brief supporting efforts to compel TikTok to produce subpoenaed materials and evidence as part of ongoing nationwide investigations into the company’s role in the growing youth mental health crisis. In December 2023, Attorney General Bonta joined a multistate amicus brief in Murthy v. Missouri supporting the right of the federal government to communicate with social media companies about matters of public concern. In January 2024, Attorney General Rob Bonta, Senator Nancy Skinner, and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks introduced the Protecting Youth from Social Media Addiction Act (SB 976), and the California Children’s Data Privacy Act (AB 1949), landmark legislation seeking to protect youth online.

In submitting today’s letter, Attorney General Bonta is joined by the attorneys general of Oregon, Illinois, Mississippi, Tennessee, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

A copy of the multistate letter is available here.

Attorney General Bonta Calls on Congressional Leaders to Protect Children Against AI-Driven Exploitation

September 5, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a bipartisan coalition of 54 states and territories in sending a letter to Congressional leaders calling for the creation of an expert commission to study how artificial intelligence (AI) can and is being used to exploit children through child sexual abuse material (CSAM). The coalition asks that the expert commission propose legislation to protect children from those abuses. As the U.S. Department of Justice notes, “The production of CSAM creates a permanent record of the child’s victimization.”

“Artificial intelligence is ushering extraordinary advances in healthcare and other sectors throughout the world. But it is also a tool that poses risks — risks that we need to tackle head-on. Among other concerns, AI can be used to threaten the safety and well-being of our children. I won’t stand for that,” said Attorney General Bonta. “As a father, and as the People’s Attorney, I’m proud to join this nationwide, bipartisan coalition in calling on Congress to do more to protect our kids. We have zero tolerance for child sexual abuse of any sort.”  

The attorneys general write that:

  • AI can be used to exploit children, including by identifying their location and mimicking their voices. For example, with only a short recording of a person’s voice, AI tools can clone the voice and use it to say things the person never actually said. Indeed, scammers have even been able to use AI to aid in fake kidnappings.  
  • Most troublingly, AI tools can create “deepfakes” of children. Deepfakes are fake images or videos that seem real. Among other things, AI can be used to study real photographs of abused children and generate new images showing those children in sexual positions, or to overlay photographs of otherwise unvictimized children on the internet with photographs of abused children to create new abusive content involving both children.
  • While Congress is aware of the threats posed by AI generally, the safety of children should not fall through the cracks. 

Attorney General Rob Bonta is committed to protecting the safety and well-being of children, and to ensuring that AI tools are responsibly developed and regulated. In August 2023, he announced 22 arrests as part of “Operation Bad Barbie” in Kern County, which targeted adults seeking to sexually exploit children by using undercover agents and detectives posing as minors offering sex for pay on online websites commonly used by victims of sex trafficking. In June 2023, he joined a bipartisan coalition in submitting a comment letter to call for AI transparency and accountability. In June 2021, he formally launched the Human Trafficking and Sexual Predator Apprehension Teams (HT/SPAT) within the California Department of Justice to take action against human trafficking.

In sending today’s letter to Congressional leaders, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia. Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A copy of the letter is available here.

Attorney General Bonta Urges Chino Valley Unified School District to Safeguard Student Privacy, Autonomy Amid Proposed Parental Notification Policy Impacting Gender Identity

July 20, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,


OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement urging the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) to prioritize protecting student privacy. In an urgent letter sent to Superintendent Norman Enfield and the Board of Education, Attorney General Bonta expressed serious concern over the proposed Parental Notification policy, emphasizing the potential infringements on students' privacy rights and educational opportunities. The Attorney General's office is committed to protecting the rights and well-being of students in California schools.

"The protection of every student’s privacy and safety is of utmost importance, and that includes protecting their right to choose when, how, and with whom they share their gender identity. That is a personal decision for them, and them alone,” said Attorney General Bonta. “By allowing for the disclosure of a student’s gender identity without their consent, Chino Valley Unified School District’s suggested Parental Notification policy would strip them of their freedom, violate their autonomy, and potentially put them in a harmful situation. Our schools should be protecting the rights of all students, especially those who are most vulnerable, and should be safeguarding students’ rights to fully participate in all educational and extracurricular opportunities. I strongly encourage CVUSD to prioritize the rights and privacy of all their students.” 

The proposed policy is up for consideration tonight at the CVUSD Board of Education meeting. If approved, it would require schools to inform parents, without exception, if a student wants to use a name or pronoun different from what's on their birth certificate or official records. It would also require notification if a student wants to use facilities or participate in programs that don't match their gender on official records or if a student wants to change any information in their school records.

In the letter, Attorney General Bonta calls on CVUSD to fulfill its weighty responsibility as educators to create an inclusive and safe environment for all students. Additionally, the letter underlines that decisions about gender identity are deeply personal and should be handled with sensitivity, allowing students to make their own choices regarding when and how to disclose their identities to their parents. Furthermore, this proposed mandate demonstrates a reckless disregard for the real-world dangers some children may face at home. Any child harmed following such a mandatory parental notification could lead to potential liability for the school district. 

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Attorney General Bonta Brings Enforcement Action Against Los Angeles County Due to Illegal and Unsafe Conditions, Lack of Outdoor Exercise and Education at County’s Juvenile Halls

April 12, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

The Los Angeles County Probation Department’s non-compliance with stipulated judgment—which includes failing to improve conditions and provide adequate staffing—endangers youth 

OAKLAND  California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced today that the California Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed a motion to enforce specific provisions of the 2021 stipulated judgment requiring Los Angeles County to remedy illegal and unsafe conditions of confinement at its two juvenile halls. DOJ seeks an order that the county complies with the judgment, submits periodic status reports on efforts towards compliance, and, should it fail to come into compliance within 120 days, face possible sanctions. The judgment mandates specific improvements at the county’s juvenile halls — including the maintenance of adequate staffing levels and the consistent and timely transport of youth to school. After over two years, the county has failed to voluntarily comply with the terms of the judgment. Due to the county’s non-compliance, staff routinely fail to transport youth to school or to critical medical appointments, and youth are frequently deprived of their right to time outdoors.    

“The conditions within the juvenile detention centers in Los Angeles County are appalling. Every child in our state is entitled to a safe, homelike environment,” said Attorney General Bonta. “For justice-involved youth in particular, it is imperative that our institutions give them every opportunity for rehabilitation, growth, and healing. We are responsible for protecting justice-involved youth and ensuring they receive educational, health, and supportive services necessary to stop the cycle of incarceration.”

Due in part to a staffing crisis plaguing the juvenile halls, the county has not just failed to make forward progress towards compliance with the judgment: It has actually regressed away from complying with the most basic and fundamental provisions that ensure youth and staff safety and well-being. Recently, public reports have revealed that illicit narcotic substances such as fentanyl have entered the halls, requiring the use of Narcan on two youths. And as a result of low staffing levels, youth have been forced to urinate and defecate in their cells overnight. So critical is the staffing situation at the juvenile halls that the county's probation department regularly requires staff to work more than 24-hour-long shifts and also has relied on temporarily reassigned field officers who are not trained to work with youth — all of which threatens youth safety and well-being.

The enforcement motion filed today seeks to enforce judgment provisions requiring Los Angeles County to:

  • Provide timely transport of youth from their units in the juvenile halls to school daily;
  • Deliver compensatory education services to youth who are entitled to those services;
  • Ensure that youth have access to daily outdoor recreation;
  • Timely and accurately document and review all use-of-force incidents, following procedures outlined in the judgment;
  • Install video cameras throughout Barry J. Nidorf juvenile hall; and
  • Implement a positive behavior management plan.

The Department of Justice hopes that Los Angeles County will act with urgency to come into full compliance before it becomes necessary for the court to take action.

Attorney General Bonta is committed to protecting the rights of youth in California and across the country. The Attorney General encourages those with information regarding suspected practices violating state or federal law involving children to report them to the DOJ’s Bureau of Children’s Justice through the online complaint form located at

A copy of the motion to enforce the judgment can be found here.