California sues school district over policy outing trans students

In July, the Chino Valley Unified School District adopted a policy that makes it a requirement to out trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming students to their parents or guardians.

Two school students sitting at a desk and writing in notebooks.
Image: Pexels

California Attorney General Rob Bonta has sued the Chino Valley Unified School District over its policy of outing trans, non-binary and gender-nonconforming students. The policy was adopted by the school board in July, making it a requirement that parents or guardians be notified should their child request to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth cert or official records, as well as if they ask to use facilities or participate in programs that do not align with their legal sex. 

The suit, filed in San Bernardino County Superior Court on Monday, August 28, asserts that the practice is in violation of the state’s equal protection clause, education and government codes, and the constitutional right to privacy. It also alleges that trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming students are being placed in danger of imminent, irreparable harm as a consequence of forced disclosures, including mental, emotional and even physical abuse.

Further, it claims that the board’s motivation for adopting the policy was to create and harbour animosity, discrimination and prejudice.

In a press release issued by the office of the Attorney General, board members are accused of saying trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming students suffer from a “mental illness” or “perversion”, and are a threat to the integrity of the nation and the family. The President also reportedly stated that the pupils need “non-affirming” parental actions so that they can “get better”.

“Every student has the right to learn and thrive in a school environment that promotes safety, privacy, and inclusivity – regardless of their gender identity,” Attorney General Bonta said.

“We’re in court challenging Chino Valley Unified’s forced outing policy for wrongfully and unconstitutionally discriminating against and violating the privacy rights of LGBTQ+ students. 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.

“Our message to Chino Valley Unified and all school districts in California is loud and clear: We will never stop fighting for the civil rights of LGBTQ+ students,” he concluded.


Members of the local queer community have praised Bonta for taking action, with Equality California Executive Director Tony Hoang saying, “This lawsuit sends a clear message that discrimination and harassment have no place in our schools, and no place in California.”

Similarly, Los Angeles LGBT Center’s Chief Impact Officer Terra Russell-Slavin said, “Chino Valley Unified School District will learn today that when you come for our community, we show up with everything we have.”

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