Judge blocks California school district policy forcing teachers to out trans pupils to parents

A person in gather amid a crowd in a protest holding a sign that reads 'Protect trans kids'

A judge has blocked parts of a policy in a California school district that would require teachers to ‘out’ trans students to their parents. 

A judge ruled on Thursday (19 October) that parts of the Chino Valley Unified School District policy requiring school staff to tell parents if their child comes out as trans or non-binary will remain blocked until a final decision is made in the case, Associated Press reported.

The Chino Valley school board approved the policy in summer 2023 to inform parents in writing within three days of the school becoming aware of their child asks to be identified as a gender different from what is listed on official records. The policy also requires staff to tell parents if their child starts using bathrooms not aligning with their sex assigned at birth.

San Bernardino County superior court judge Michael A Sachs reportedly called parts of the policy “unconstitutional”, while deputy attorney general Delbert Tran claimed the “case is about a policy that is discriminatory”.

Sachs, however, denied California’s request to block another part of the school district’s policy requiring school staff to inform parents if their child asks for information in their student records to be changed.

The ruling on Thursday came after another judge temporarily halted the policy in September, while California attorney general Rob Bonta filed a lawsuit against the school district in August.

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Rob Bonta, California Attorney-General
California’s attorney general Rob Bonta has opposed all attempts to pass parental notification policies. (Getty Images)

Of his lawsuit, Bonta said in August: “I refuse to stand by and allow Chino Valley or any district board of education to put our children at risk or infringe upon their rights, especially not one of our most vulnerable at-risk groups.

“Across the country and in our own backyard, the LGBTQ+ community is under attack, and transgender and gender-nonconforming students are on the front lines.”

Emily Rae, a lawyer representing the school district, claimed on Thursday (19 October) that parents have the right to know if their child comes out as trans or non-binary, so they can better support them.

Rae said: “Chino Valley implemented this policy because it values the role that parents play in the educational process and understands that giving parents access to important information about their children is necessary.”

Several other school districts in California have debated or adopted similar policies, amid a year in which anti-LGBTQ+ bills, and legislation that particularly targets trans young people, have exploded in America.

States across the US have attempted to introduce bans on gender-affirming care, bans on trans women and girls from taking part in women’s sports, or require schools to “out” trans and non-binary students to their parents