In a recent ruling that has stirred controversy, San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Thomas S. Garza issued a temporary restraining order against the Chino Valley Unified School District’s parental notification policy.
The policy, which required school staff to inform parents if a student identified as transgender, faced legal challenges from California Attorney General Rob Bonta, who argued it was discriminatory against LGBTQ+ students.
California judge suggests some parents pose 'danger' to trans students after blocking notification policyhttps://t.co/LDXAZvCkib
Reminder: the government does not own your children!
— OneSmallVoice 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@SmilingOutrage) September 7, 2023
Garza’s decision has sparked a heated debate, with conservatives rallying behind the principle of parental rights and local control of education. Critics of the policy argue that it compromises the rights of parents to be involved in their children’s education and raises concerns about the government’s role in family matters.
During the court hearing, Garza made a noteworthy comparison, drawing parallels between students changing their gender identity and changing their religion. He emphasized that students are students, regardless of their gender identity, and expressed concerns that the policy singled out a specific group of students, potentially exposing them to a “clear and present danger.”
According to Garza, the district’s policy is “too broad, too general” and doesn’t have a “clear purpose or reference of parental support and involvement.
“The judge admitted he had not fully read the district’s argument against the restraining order, but said the issue is ‘how do we safeguard students identifying as LGBTQ+?’” noted Real Clear Politics’ Susan Crabtree.
While some may question the judge’s understanding of the policy’s purpose, conservatives argue that his concern for parental rights and the well-being of students is well-founded. The Chino Valley Unified School District, like many others, believes that parents have a legitimate role to play in their children’s educational journey.
Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education President Sonja Shaw vehemently criticized the judge’s decision and the attorney general’s stance. She labeled opponents of the policy as “government bullies” and defended the policy’s approach to safeguarding children.
“Bonta does not get to talk to us regarding our policies and procedures,” Shaw remarked.
“He continues to distort the truth, and muddy the waters so everyone gets confused. Our administration regulations spell this out, and he knows that. When a child wants to change their records etc., admin will ask them if their parents know. If the student says they are in danger, then right there, before any harm is done, as mandated reporters, they are required to take action,” he added.
Shaw also argued that parents have a fundamental right to be actively involved in their child’s education and criticized Bonta for advocating secrecy in identity matters.
“Bonta’s solution is to sanitize secret-keeping. He is doubling down on a child’s mental health issues by encouraging an identity at home and one at school. Bonta is a direct danger to our children,” she declared.
The battle over LGBTQ+ student rights and parental involvement in education is far from over, and this case is likely to have broader implications for how schools handle sensitive matters related to gender identity.