Today's decision granting TRO halts Chino Valley Unified School District's forced outing policy
LOS ANGELES — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement commending the San Bernardino Superior Court’s oral ruling today to issue a temporary restraining order against Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education’s (Board) mandatory gender identity disclosure policy, which will immediately halt its enforcement. The policy, initially adopted in July, 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 even when the school district knows a student may be harmed emotionally or physically by the disclosure. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don't align with their sex on official records. The Court’s ruling comes one week after Attorney General Bonta announced a lawsuit challenging the enforcement of the board’s mandatory gender identity disclosure policy.
“San Bernardino Superior Court’s decision to issue a temporary restraining order rightfully upholds the state rights of our LGBTQ+ student community and protects kids from harm by immediately halting the board’s forced outing policy,” said Attorney General Bonta. “While this fight is far from over, today’s ruling takes a significant step towards ensuring the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming students. As we continue challenging the policy in court, my office will continue providing our unwavering support to ensure every student has the right to learn and thrive in a school environment that promotes safety, privacy, and inclusivity.”
In the lawsuit, Attorney General Bonta argues that the policy infringes on several state protections safeguarding students’ civil and constitutional rights. Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that the board’s policy has already placed transgender and gender-nonconforming students in danger of imminent, irreparable harm from the consequences of forced disclosures. These students are currently under threat of being outed to their parents against their will, and many fear that the District’s policy will force them to make a choice: either “walk back” their constitutionally and statutorily protected rights to gender identity and gender expression, or face the risk of emotional, physical, and psychological harm. The board’s policy thus unlawfully singles out and discriminates against transgender and gender nonbinary students, subjecting them to disparate treatment and harassment, including mental, emotional, and even physical abuse.
Attorney General Bonta 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 filing a lawsuit, Attorney General Bonta announced opening a civil rights investigation into the legality of the board’s adoption of its mandatory gender identity disclosure 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 its forced outing policy, emphasizing the potential infringements on students' privacy rights and educational opportunities. Recently, Attorney General Bonta issued a statement following Anderson Union High School District, and Temecula and Murrieta Valley Unified School District Boards’ decisions to implement copy-cat mandatory gender identity disclosure policy targeting transgender and gender-nonconforming students.
A copy of the TRO brief and reply is available here. A copy of the order granting a temporary restraining order is available here. The hearing on the AG’s motion for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for October 13, 2023.