California’s Attorney General, Rob Bonta, recently issued a legal alert to school districts, asserting that schools in the state are not obligated to disclose a student’s transgender status to their parents. This declaration aligns with the provisions of the California Constitution and various state laws.
Bonta’s statement emphasizes the protection of transgender and gender nonconforming students from potential harm due to involuntary disclosure of their gender identity. He argues that such “forced gender identity disclosure policies” could lead to detrimental consequences for these students, potentially forcing them to either conceal their identity or risk unwanted revelation to their parents. He highlighted that such a situation could lead to emotional, psychological, or even physical harm.
In the four-page memo, Bonta outlined three legal grounds for his stance. Firstly, he claimed that these policies violate the Equal Protection Clause of the California Constitution due to discrimination based on gender identity. Secondly, he pointed out the infringement of the state’s statutory ban on discrimination based on gender identity. Lastly, Bonta argued that involuntary disclosure of a student’s gender identity violates their right to privacy under the state Constitution.
This announcement comes amid a legal dispute involving the Chino Valley School District, which had adopted a policy to shield minors from gender ideology in schools. However, parts of this policy were blocked by a court ruling in October 2023.
Chino Valley School Board President Sonja Shaw criticized Bonta, accusing him of overstepping his bounds and neglecting parental rights. Jacob Hiebert, an attorney for Chino Valley, echoed Shaw’s sentiments, arguing that Bonta’s approach wrongfully assumes all parents to be potential abusers.
In another case in Monterey County, the Spreckels Union School District settled a lawsuit with a mother whose daughter was reportedly “socially transitioned” to a boy at school without her consent.
Additionally, California was designated a “sanctuary state” in 2023 for transgender children seeking gender transition treatments. A bill was also passed to consider a parent’s support of a child’s “gender identity” in custody battles, though it was eventually vetoed by Governor Gavin Newsom.