OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced opening a civil rights investigation into potential legal violations by the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD), which adopted a policy that forces schools to “out” students whose gender identities may be changing. Enacted in July, the “Parental Notification 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 if such disclosure is against the student’s wishes or could expose a student to parental abuse or increase their risk of self-harm or suicide. The policy also requires notification if a student accesses facilities or participates in programs that don't align with their sex on official records. Attorney General Bonta last month sent a letter to Superintendent Norman Enfield and the Board of Education, emphasizing the potential infringements on students' civil and privacy rights and educational opportunities.
“Students should never fear going to school for simply being who they are,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Chino Valley Unified’s forced outing policy threatens the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ students vulnerable to harassment and potential abuse from peers and family members unaccepting of their gender identity. Today’s announcement stresses our commitment to challenging school policies that target and seek to discriminate against California’s most vulnerable communities. California will not stand for violations of our students’ civil rights.”
The Attorney General has a substantial interest in protecting the legal rights, physical safety, and mental health of children in California schools, and in protecting them from trauma, harassment, bullying, and exposure to violence and threats of violence. Prior to its enactment, Attorney General Bonta sent a letter urging CVUSD not to adopt the forced outing policy and to fulfill its obligation to create an inclusive and safe environment for all students. Community members opposing the policy included current and former CVUSD LGBTQ+ students, parents, teachers, mental health professionals, and advocates who expressed fear that the policy would endanger transgender and gender non-conforming students.