Attorney General Bonta Files Amicus Brief in Support of Temecula Valley Unified Students’ Constitutional Rights

Monday, December 11, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed an amicus brief today in the Riverside County Superior Court in Mae M. v. Komrosky, supporting a challenge by teachers, students, and parents to two Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) Board of Trustees’ enactments that violate students’ constitutional and statutory rights. TVUSD Board Resolution 21 purportedly prohibits the teaching of “Critical Race Theory,” and it includes sweeping language that would censor, for example, Native American history and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Board Policy 5020.01 compromises students’ safety, well-being, and privacy, and violates their equal protection rights, by mandating the forced outing of transgender and gender-nonconforming students without their consent and even when doing so would put them at risk of harm. That policy is a duplicate of the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) Board of Education’s forced outing policy; Attorney General Bonta secured a preliminary injunction halting that policy in October.

“Schools have an obligation to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment, with curricula that reflect the contributions of California’s diverse communities,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Temecula Valley Unified’s policies banning inclusive curriculum and forcibly outing transgender and gender-nonconforming students single out California’s most vulnerable individuals, severely harming their well-being and academic success. In the face of ongoing attacks in California and across the nation, my office will continue to stand up against any measures that compromise the civil rights of students.” 

Enacted on August 22, 2023, TVUSD’s forced outing policy requires schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission and when doing so would put them at risk of harm. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don't align with their gender or sex on official records.

The FAIR Education Act mandates the accurate representation of cultural and racial diversity in educational curricula, particularly in social studies for grades 1-12. Enacted on September 25, 2023, Assembly Bill 1078 (AB 1078) expanded this law by requiring the inclusion of contributions from "people of all genders," "Latino Americans," "LGBTQ+ Americans," and other groups in social sciences instruction. In spite of these laws, on December 13, 2022, the TVUSD Board passed Resolution 21, severely restricting students’ ability to learn about the roles and contributions of diverse groups throughout U.S. and California history. On May 16, 2023, the TVUSD Board also initially voted not to adopt the TVUSD Curriculum Committee’s recommendation to approve the “Social Studies Alive!” curriculum for grades 1 through 5 based on its opposition to any discussion of the roles and contributions of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly civil rights leader Harvey Milk. Shortly thereafter, Attorney General Bonta and Governor Newsom issued a joint statement urging the Board to provide information regarding its decision to reject the textbook, and the TVUSD Board changed course and adopted the curriculum, while pushing the chapter associated with LGBTQ+ rights to the end of the school year. However, the Critical Race Theory ban remains in place, and the Board has continued to consider the possibility of banning “objectionable” books, such as The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. The Department of Justice has also been informed that TVUSD, at the Board’s direction, is currently restricting students’ access to biographies of hundreds of historical figures due to the Board’s desire to censor the biography of Harvey Milk.

In today’s amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta supports plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction against these two enactments. The brief sets forth how Resolution 21’s ban on inclusive curriculum:

  • Violates students’ right to receive information and ideas through classroom teaching and reading under the California Constitution.
  • Violates the FAIR Education Act and AB 1078.
  • Discriminates against students of color by restricting their opportunity to see figures like themselves reflected in their curricula. 

Additionally, the Attorney General argues that TVUSD’s forced outing policy:

  • Violates California's Equal Protection Clause by unlawfully discriminating against and singling out transgender and gender-nonconforming students.
  • Violates California Education Code Sections 200 and 220, and Government Code section 11135, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.
  • Violates California’s constitutional right to privacy.

Attorney General Bonta is committed to defending the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ youth:

  • In November, Attorney General Bonta led 21 attorneys general in an amicus brief opposing a state law in Oklahoma severely blocking the ability of transgender youth to access critical, lifesaving gender-affirming care.
  • In October, Attorney General Bonta secured a ruling from the San Bernardino Superior Court enjoining Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education’s mandatory gender identity disclosure policy. The Court held that such disclosure policies are likely to violate transgender and gender nonconforming students’ right to equal protection under the California Constitution and can result in irreparable harm to those students. Attorney General Bonta had previously secured a temporary restraining order against the policy. The Superior Court’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General challenging the enforcement of CVUSD’s forced outing policy. Prior to filing the lawsuit, Attorney General Bonta opened a civil rights investigation into the legality of the CVUSD’s adoption of the policy. Prior to opening the investigation, Attorney General Bonta in July sent a letter to Superintendent Norman Enfield and the Board of Education cautioning them of the dangers of adopting the forced outing policy and explaining that the policy potentially infringed on students' privacy rights and educational opportunities.
  • Attorney General Bonta has issued statements following Dry Creek Joint Elementary School DistrictRocklin Unified School DistrictAnderson Union High School District, and Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley Unified School District Boards’ decision to implement copy-cat mandatory gender identity disclosure policies targeting transgender and gender-nonconforming students. 
  • In October, Attorney General Bonta joined a coalition in support of a Maryland board of education’s policy that permits schools to incorporate LGBTQ+-inclusive books into language arts curriculum to reflect the diversity of the school community.
  • In October, Attorney General Bonta joined a multistate amicus brief in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the rights of transgender students in Doe v. Mukwonago Area School District, challenging a Wisconsin school board’s policy barring an 11-year-old transgender student from using the girls’ restroom based on her sex assigned at birth.
  • In October, Attorney General Bonta joined a multistate amicus brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of plaintiffs in Doe v. Horne, challenging Arizona’s recently-enacted legislation prohibiting transgender students from participating on women’s and girls’ school athletic teams.
  • In September, Attorney General Bonta led a multistate coalition of 20 attorneys general in opposing a state law in Indiana that severely blocks the ability of transgender youth to access critical, lifesaving gender-affirming care.
  • In August, Attorney General Bonta led a multistate coalition in filing an amicus brief opposing state laws in Kentucky and Tennessee restricting transgender youths' access to critical and lifesaving healthcare.
  • In June, Attorney General Bonta joined a coalition in support of the Ludlow School Committee’s efforts to create a safe and supportive environment for transgender children and all students.
  • In May, Attorney General Bonta led a multistate coalition in supporting a challenge to a Florida rule restricting access to gender-affirming care and joined another multistate coalition defending a Colorado law that prohibits gay and transgender conversion therapy on children and youth.
  • In January, Attorney General Bonta joined a coalition in support of a Maryland board of education’s efforts to create a safe and supportive environment for transgender children and all students.

A copy of the amicus brief can be found here.

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