Unfazed by 'forced outing' lawsuit, CA school district vows to fight

Unfazed by 'forced outing' lawsuit, CA school district vows to fight

California Attorney General Rob Bonta

Unfazed by 'forced outing' lawsuit, CA school district vows to fight

After a judge temporarily stopped a school district’s parental notification policy, the school board's outspoken president is urging parents to understand what is at stake when a state government sues for the legal right to keep parents in the dark.

After Judge Thomas Garva issued a temporary injunction against Chino Valley Unified School District this week, school board president Sonja Shaw was ready with a warning. Parents and other school boards, she says, better be paying “close attention” to Attorney General Rob Bonta and his lawsuit against the school district.  

"We can prevail,” she tells AFN, “as long as we stand united and strong against this agenda to marginalize parents and separate us further and further from our children."

The ruling from Garza is temporary while Bonta’s lawsuit works it way through the courts but it means – for now – parents of Chino Valley school children don’t know if a teacher or school administrator is hiding information from them due to the injunction.

China Valley serves approximately 32,000 students in the school district southeast of Los Angeles.

"Take a step back and realize what's going on," parents-rights advocate Nicki Neily said in a Twitter post. "California, New Jersey, and other blue states are in court fighting for policies that claim families can’t be trusted with their own children." 

Bonta, himself a father of three children, appears to have chosen the side of government. He announced last month he had launched a “civil rights” investigation of China Valley after the parental policy was approved. He then filed his lawsuit weeks later.

The attorney general has framed the issue as the “forced outing” of LGBT students by Chino Valley and its policy, and he claims he is protecting those students’ privacy from family members who are “unaccepting” of them.

"Today's decision by the San Bernardino Superior Court rightfully upholds the state rights of our LGBTQ+ students and protects kids from harm by immediately halting the board's forced outing policy," Bonta, repeating similar statements of past weeks, said this week.

"No one is 'outed' as Bonta falsely claims, because the child has already outed themselves at school as having gender dysphoria," countered attorney Dean Broyles, who leads the California-based National Center for Law and Policy. 

Even in California, with thousands of liberal laws in place, it’s unclear what state law Bonta will use to convince a court to stop the school district's policy. In a recent interview with KNBC LA, Bonta cited the state constitution, and education and anti-discrimination state code, but he appeared nervous during the interview and he was mocked on social media for failing to cite a specific law Chino Valley is allegedly violating.

Shaw, meanwhile, has framed the issue as a David-and-Goliath fight in which a “political cartel” of powerful state politicians are trying to stamp out a parental-rights policy before it catches on in other school districts across the state.

"Don't let them intimidate you. Your kids are worth the fight," she says. "While school boards continue to have courage in adopting this policy, let us here stand against these bullies because it's obvious they are discriminating against board members and parents like myself."