Chino Valley Unified School District, the school system responsible for nearly 27,000 students in San Bernardino County, is just one of the institutions facing a state-led attack because it chose to prioritize the safety of its students and their families over the political agenda of California Democrats.
The CVUSD board voted on Monday to retain the Liberty Justice Center, a nonprofit, public-interest litigation center, to defend the district against California Democrat Attorney General Rob Bonta who recently sued them over a popular parental notification policy.
The policy in question requires school staff to notify parents if their child shows symptoms of gender dysphoria including switching to the pronouns, bathrooms, or sports teams of the opposite sex. The rule reinforces the idea that parents, not the state or school districts, have the final say over their children’s well-being until those kids turn 18 years old.
“The state can’t intimidate parents who have spoken loud and clear—their parental rights will not be taken away, and we won’t be intimated into giving them up,” president of the CVUSD Board Sonja Shaw said in a statement. “We have the law on our side and look forward to our day in court as parents will be watching coast to coast across the nation.”
LJC says Bonta’s latest legal attack on the school district threatens local elected officials’ autonomy and parents’ rights, which is why its lawyers, including LJC Senior Counsel Emily Rae, “look forward to defending the propriety of this policy in court.”
“Parents have a constitutionally protected right to direct the upbringing of their children. That exists above and beyond policies like this Chino Valley policy but the Chino Valley policy was enacted to just ensure that there are no secrets kept between the school district and the parents when it comes to critical information about their children’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being,” Rae told The Federalist.
CVUSD’s journey to codifying the pro-parents rule was not an easy one. Plenty of politicians and administrators including California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond publicly opposed the district’s attempts to recognize parents’ rights to information about their children.
Despite Thurmond’s attempts to hamstring the board’s plans, the policy successfully passed with a 4 to 1 vote in July.
Mere hours after CVUSD adopted the rule, Bonta penned a letter to the district warning that the new policy contradicted the California Department of Education’s guidance on gender dysphoric children. Because CVUSD ignored the DOE’s recommendation to hide a child’s social transition from his or her parents, Bonta threatened to “take action as appropriate to vigorously protect students’ civil rights.”
After a short investigation into CVUSD, Bonta announced on Aug. 28 that he would sue the district for supposedly violating LGBT students’ civil rights and causing them “emotional, physical, and psychological harm.” His narrative that CVUSD was orchestrating the “forced outing” of LGBT students was quickly picked up by national Democrats and the corporate media.
Rae told The Federalist the state’s attempt to “enforce their will on this school board is inappropriate.”
“Our position is that the attorney general does not have any legal authority to bring this case, that the school district properly enacted this policy,” Rae explained.
Bonta’s request for a temporary restraining order against the policy was granted by a San Bernardino judge on Sept. 6.
The AG celebrated the judge’s decision as a “significant step towards ensuring the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming students” but CVUSD and LJC say the fight isn’t over yet.
“Schools should not be keeping secrets from parents. That’s at the heart of the policy and that’s what this fight is about for us. Parents have a right to know what’s going on with their children and their schools and so we’re gonna fight to make sure that they continue to keep those rights,” Rae said.
The next hearing for CVUSD’s case is on Oct. 13 where LJC plans to argue that the temporary injunction “is not appropriate in this case.”
Several other California school districts have either passed or plan to enact similar parental notification policies like the one enacted by the CVUSD board. These districts’ attempts to protect parents’ rights also face scrutiny from Bonta, who is threatening even more lawsuits.
LJC attorneys, however, said they are prepared to “defend educational freedom and parents’ rights” anywhere, not just at CVUSD.
“If other schools are facing these kinds of threats, we want to hear from them. We want to talk to them. We’re prepared to defend parents’ and students’ rights all over on these issues,” LJC President Jacob Huebert told The Federalist.