Chino Valley school district’s anti-trans policy blocked by judge

Sonja Shaw Chino Valley School District Trans Students

Sonja Shaw is president of the Chino Valley Unified School District board of education. Teachers in the district are required to tell parents if their child identifies as transgender, even if the student doesn’t want their parents to know. On Wednesday, a San Bernardino Superior Court judge blocked the policy from being enforced. Photo: Chino Valley Unified School District board meeting screenshot.

Chino Valley school district’s policy that targets transgender and gender-nonconforming students has been blocked for the time being.

Judge Thomas Garza of the San Bernardino Superior Court issued a temporary restraining order on Wednesday that stops the Chino Valley Unified School District from enforcing its policy while a complaint from California Attorney General Rob Bonta makes its way through the courts.

Garza said Chino Valley school district’s policy is “too broad, too general” and without “a clear purpose or reference of parental support and involvement,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

‘Sex Education’ actor Ncuti Gatwa comes out as queer

Bonta issued a statement about the judge’s ruling.

“While this fight is far from over, today’s ruling takes a significant step towards ensuring the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming students,” he said. “As we continue challenging the policy in court, my office will continue providing our unwavering support to ensure every student has the right to learn and thrive in a school environment that promotes safety, privacy, and inclusivity.”

The controversial “parental notification” policy was approved by the board on July 20 in a 4-1 vote. Andrew Cruz, Jonathan Monroe, James Na, and Sonja Shaw (the board’s four ultra conservative members) voted “yes,” while Donald Bridge voted “no.”

The Chino Valley school district, which has a majority evangelical board, was the first in the state to pass such a policy. Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley school districts followed in its footsteps and adopted identical policies.

The policy, which mirrors AB 1314 that was introduced earlier this year and died in committee, requires schools to notify parents in writing within three days after their child wants to change their name or pronouns or asks for access to gender-based sports, bathrooms or changing rooms that do not match their assigned gender at birth.

Late last month, Bonta filed the legal challenge, saying the policy violates the Equal Protection Clause and right to privacy of the California Constitution as well as the state’s education government code that protects against discrimination.

“The forced outing policy wrongfully endangers the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of non-conforming students who lack an accepting environment in the classroom and at home,” Bonta said.

The next hearing on the legality of the Chino Valley school district’s policy is scheduled for Oct. 13.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

Share This

Share this post with your friends!