How one state is taking on the ‘forced outing’ of transgender students

Several California school boards in conservative pockets of the state have required school officials to notify parents if students come out as transgender.

The Chino Valley Unified School District’s new policy on transgender students has drawn the legal ire of the state of California. The state’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, is suing the southern California district because, he warns, rules adopted in July have placed “transgender and gender-nonconforming students in danger of imminent, irreparable harm.”

Chino Valley Unified School District’s policies require schools to notify parents if their child asks to use a name or pronoun that’s different from what’s on their birth certificate or official records. Educators must also inform parents if a student wants to use bathrooms or participate in programs that don’t align with their sex on official records.

These mandates are unconstitutional and violate the privacy and civil rights of LGBTQ+ students, Bonta said in a statement. “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,” he continued.

Chino Valley Unified School District officials defended the policy, insisting it actually protects transgender students. If a transgender student says they are in danger, schools must contact police or social services before parents are notified, The Guardian reported.

“We will stand our ground and protect our children with all we can because we are not breaking the law,” Chino Valley USD school board President Sonja Shaw told The Guardian. “Parents have a constitutional right in the upbringing of their children. Period.”

Several other California school boards have ignited controversy by adopting or considering similar parental notifications—and the debates caused tempers to flare at this summer’s school board meetings. Most recently, the Temecula Valley Unified School District, which is near Chino Valley USD in Los Angeles’ more conservative outer suburbs, now requires school officials to “notify parents within three days if their child requests to be treated as a gender other than what’s on their birth certificate,” KVCR news reported.

“This shouldn’t just happen in our district,” Temecula Valley board president Joseph Komrosky said. “This should be happening in all schools around the world.”

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The Anderson Union High School District, which sits in a conservative pocket of inland Northern California, adopted a policy that ostensibly covers several aspects of a student’s in-school experience. Parents there will be notified when students are having academic, attendance, social, emotional or behavioral difficulties—and if they identify as transgender, Action News Now reported. The district will also alert parents if a student is being bullied or if they appear to be suicidal or are considering self-harm.

Earlier in August, the Murrieta Valley Unified School District’s board of trustees adopted Chino Valley USD’s policy by a 3-2 vote. “I do think that passing it sends a strong signal to the community that we stand with parental rights,” trustee Nicolas Pardue said, according to

“On that note, I would say that passing this board policy sends a clear message to our students that they are not safe in our schools,” trustee Linda Lunn—a dissenter—responded.

Orange USD, also in southern California’s more conservative region, is now considering a three-day notification policy.  “We believe it is important to clarify communication between the school district and parents and guardians on these important matters pertaining to the mental health and social and emotional issues of their students in order to prevent or reduce potential issues of self-harm,” Orange USD school board Rick Ledesma said, according to the Voice of OC.

Bonta, the attorney general, is asking the court to immediately prevent Chino Valley USD from enforcing its new transgender policy while he is also reviewing the rules passed by the other districts.

“The Board’s plain motivations in adopting the policy were to create and harbor animosity, discrimination, and prejudice towards transgender and gender-nonconforming students, without any compelling reason to do so,” Bonta’s lawsuit says of the Chino Valley school board. “Board members described students who are transgender or gender nonconforming as suffering from a mental illness or perversion, or as being a threat to the integrity of the nation and the family.”

Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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