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Judge temporarily blocks Chino Valley school board’s transgender notification policy

Judge temporarily blocks Chino Valley school board’s transgender notification policy

A San Bernardino Superior Court judge on Wednesday, Sept. 6, temporarily blocked a Chino Valley Unified policy that would require schools to out transgender students to their parents.

Judge Thomas Garza granted the state’s request for a temporary restraining order against the parental notification policy that requires schools to inform parents if their child identifies as something other than the gender they were assigned at birth.

After nearly an hour of discussion in court, Garza said he granted the injunction against the notification policy in an “abundance of caution,” noting that while most parents are not a danger to their children there are exceptions. The purpose of the notification policy is unclear, Garza said, and too broad.

The Chino Valley Unified school board adopted the policy — the rule echoes a bill that stalled in the state Assembly earlier this year after it was introduced by Riverside County lawmaker Bill Essayli — in a 4-1 vote July 20 after a contentious, four-hour meeting.

After Garza issued his ruling Wednesday, Essayli released a statement arguing that the judge’s decision has no impact on other districts that may be considering a similar notification policy.

“I encourage other school districts to continue their deliberative process and to not be deterred by the attorney general’s intimidation tactics we saw displayed in court today,” Essayli said, according to the statement.

State Attorney General Rob Bonta launched an investigation Aug. 4 looking into the legality of the Chino Valley Unified policy. Bonta said students should not be afraid to go to school and that the policy threatens the safety and well-being of LGBTQ students.

The judge’s ruling Wednesday “rightfully upholds the state rights of our LGBTQ+ student community and protects kids from harm by immediately halting the board’s forced outing policy,” Bonta said in a statement Wednesday.

“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,” Bonta added. “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.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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