OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a coalition of 16 attorneys general in an amicus brief in support of the Ludlow School Committee’s efforts to create a safe and supportive environment for transgender children and all students. The Ludlow School Committee in Massachusetts is currently facing a challenge to its policy that seeks to prevent the unnecessary disclosure of a student’s gender identity, while also striving to include families in creating a safe school environment for transgender students. In the friend-of-the-court brief, the attorneys general reiterate the role of states in supporting safe, inclusive school environments that help all children learn, thrive, and grow into contributing members of society.
“All students, including those who identify as transgender, deserve a safe and supportive school environment that respects their identities,” said Attorney General Bonta. “We believe in nurturing a culture of understanding and acceptance that keeps students feeling safe, diminishes mental health risks, and sets up all students for success. At the California Department of Justice, we continue to uphold the rights of all students, including those from the LGBTQ+ community.”
Ludlow School Committee and its members, like other school authorities around the country, are charged with one of the most important functions of government — nurturing successive generations of children into capable citizens. In recognition of the paramount importance of this responsibility, courts have long afforded state and local governments significant discretion to shape school policies in order to best serve this goal, so long as they act within the constraints of federal law, including both the Constitution and federal anti-discrimination law. In the current case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the coalition asserts that Ludlow School Committee has exercised its lawful discretion to craft a policy to support transgender or gender-nonconforming students. The policy balances parents’ involvement in their child’s education with the recognition that not all families are supportive, and not all students are open about their gender identity at home. The policy endeavors to keep transgender students supported and safe while at school and at home. In addition, research shows that protecting transgender students’ ability to make choices about how and when to inform others is critical to their well-being, as transgender students are exposed to high levels of harassment and mistreatment at school and in their communities.
In the amicus brief, the coalition asserts:
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.
A copy of the amicus brief is available here.