News   /   August 28, 2023   /   

California Attorney General Files Lawsuit Claiming “Parental Notification” Policy is Discriminatory and Violates Students’ Civil and Privacy Rights

On Monday, August 28, 2023, California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit against the Chino school district over its “parental notification” policy, which requires schools to notify parents if their children express a change in their gender identity. The suit claims the policy is discriminatory and breaches students’ civil rights and privacy laws. It also claims the policy could pose severe risks to transgender and gender-nonconforming students by potentially outing them to their families before they are ready. The lawsuit requests that the San Bernardino County Superior Court ban the practice immediately.

The Chino Valley Unified school board recently approved the policy, which alerts parents if their child asks to be “identified or treated” as a gender different from the one listed on their birth certificate. It also includes requests concerning names, pronouns, and preferences related to bathrooms and sports. The lawsuit follows debates and protests over other politicized topics and policies, like LGBTQ-inclusive education and critical race theory. Supporters of the notification policy advocate that they preserve parental rights and challenge government overreach. Opponents of the policy maintain it is dangerous, discriminatory, and a violation of privacy and equality rights enshrined in the California Constitution.

OMLO’s Education Practice will be monitoring this case and subsequent developments carefully in order to provide school districts with sound guidance on this sensitive issue.

This alert is for informational purposes only and only provides an overview of specific developments. It is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal advice for any particular fact situation. For actual legal advice and specifics pertaining to your governmental entity, please contact your OMLO attorney for assistance.

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