FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – California Attorney General Rob Bonta spoke about the new lawsuit his office is filing against the Chino Valley Unified School District in San Bernardino County on Tuesday.
“You’re not allowed to single out, and target, and hurt children, based on their transgender identity. The law makes it clear,” Bonta said.
The district is now enacting a notification policy when it comes to students who identify as transgender. The policy requires teachers in the district to report to parents if a child comes out as transgender to a teacher, and they are required to do so within 72 hours of a student telling a teacher they identify as a different gender, use different pronouns, or have requested to use a different restroom.
“It is illegal, and unconstitutional, and breaks California law, to have a mandatory disclosure policy no matter what,” Bonta said.
The school board voted four to one for the policy after parents in the district petitioned the school board for it. The parents in favor of the policy said they believe it supports parental rights.
Bonta says if their suit is successful, they’ll go after other districts with similar policies.
Community organizer in Fresno for LGBTQ+ rights Robin McGehee says this policy is not just unconstitutional, but dangerous.
“There’s nowhere they feel safe. They don’t feel safe at home, and they don’t feel safe at school,” McGehee said.
She says transgender youth are much more likely to be homeless or die by suicide than their peers. She says this policy, forcing students to come out to unsupportive parents, could unfortunately lead to severe outcomes like this.
“If they feel like they’re safe with their teacher to self-disclose something that may make them feel safe in a learning environment, and then they’re going to be reported about something as simple as how they want to be addressed in the classroom,” she added.
She said she wants districts in the Central Valley to stay away from policies like this.
Our news team did reach out to the Fresno Unified School District about their policies towards transgender students, but we did not hear back from their communications office.
The Clovis Unified School District provided this statement, saying “Clovis Unified School District does not have a Governing Board Policy addressing this specific topic. We are following AB1266 and Ed Code 221.5 while recognizing the rights held by both parents and students. We will continue to closely follow this case as it makes its way through the courts.”