Chino Valley Unified hires Liberty Justice Center to defend transgender notification policy – Press Enterprise

The Liberty Justice Center, a nonprofit firm focused on constitutional law, has announced it will represent the Chino Valley Unified School District in a legal battle brewing with the state over its adoption of a policy that requires schools to out transgender students to their parents.

California Attorney General Robert Bonta has filed suit against the school district to stop what’s been dubbed a parental notification policy — the new rule gives schools three days to inform parents if their child identifies as transgender, requests access to gender-affirming sports, bathrooms and changing rooms, or asks to change their name or pronouns.

“Liberty Justice Center supports parents being involved in their children’s lives and believes in the constitutional right that parents have in the upbringing of their children,” said Sonja Shaw, Chino Valley Unified school board president.

The firm is known for winning Supreme Court case Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The court sided with the plaintiff, ruling that government employees are no longer required to pay union dues or fees to government unions.

Emily Rae, senior counsel at the center and lead attorney for Chino Valley Unified, said the case straddles the center’s key focus areas — individual rights and stopping government overreach. The firm is representing the school district at no charge.

“This is a pretty straightforward case,” said Rae. “You know, the law here is on our side. Parents have constitutional rights to address the upbringing of their children, and that includes getting information about their children from schools.”

Rae said the firm’s strategy will focus on the fundamental constitutional rights of parents. She said schools do not have the right to keep secrets from parents which, she said, is what Bonta is attempting to require schools to do.

The CVUSD school board adopted the policy — a rule that 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.

Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley school boards passed similar polices in August and Orange Unified adopted a similar policy at its meeting on Sept. 7, one day after the CVUSD policy was temporarily blocked by a San Bernardino Superior Court judge.

On Sept. 6, Judge Thomas Garza granted the state’s request for a temporary restraining order to block the CVUSD policy from being implemented.

Garza said he granted the injunction in an “abundance of caution,” noting that while most parents are not a danger to their children, there are exceptions. The purpose of the school district’s notification policy is unclear, Garza said, and too broad. He set a formal hearing for Oct. 13.

In a contradictory ruling, a federal judge on Sept. 14 blocked an Escondido Union School District policy which would guarantee the privacy rights for transgender students.

In San Bernardino County, Garza will not be the presiding judge on the CVUSD case when it returns to court. Shaw said that a peremptory challenge was made by the district’s attorney, Anthony De Marco of Atkinson Andelson Loya Rudd and Romo, prior to the transfer of the case to the Liberty Justice Center. Judge Michael Sachs has been assigned the case.

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