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California Federal Court Says Teachers Don’t Have to Comply With School’s Secret Gender Transitioning Policy

California Federal Court Says Teachers Don’t Have to Comply With School’s Secret Gender Transitioning Policy

Court: “The school’s policy is a trifecta of harm”—it harms the students, it harms the parents, and it harms the plaintiffs “who are compelled to violate the parent’s rights by forcing plaintiffs to conceal information they feel is critical for the welfare of their students—violating plaintiffs’
religious beliefs.”

After a series of losses in state and federal court, last week finally saw a win in the nationwide battle against public school secret social transitioning policies. California’s Southern District Court Judge Roger Benitez ruled in favor of two middle school teachers who refused to hide information from parents about their children’s newly expressed gender identity.

The teachers claimed that the school’s “parental exclusion” policy violated their constitutional right to free exercise of religion by forcing them to deceive parents. In a strongly worded opinion condemning the policy, the court agreed and temporarily stopped the school from enforcing it against them while it continues to consider the case.

The teachers work at a middle school in California’s Escondido Union School District (EUSD), a public school district with approximately 16,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

They say that at first, few knew about the controversial policy. That’s because school administrators quietly adopted it during the COVID-19 shutdowns over the summer of 2020, “without fanfare, and without opportunity for parental or public input”—much less discussion at a public school board meeting.

As in other cases we’ve covered, children in the EUSD have rights, and those rights override their parents’ rights to be involved in their care and wellbeing. Under the school’s antidiscrimination policy, teachers may not tell parents that their child identifies as a new gender unless they have the student’s consent:

[A] teacher ordinarily may not disclose to a parent the fact that a student identifies as a new gender or wants to be addressed by a new name or new pronouns during the school day – names, genders, or pronouns that are different from the birth name and birth gender of the student. Under the policy at issue, accurate communication with parents is permitted only if the child first gives its consent to the school. A teacher who knowingly fails to comply is considered to have engaged in discriminatory harassment and is subject to adverse employment actions.

The teachers say that the “parental exclusion” policy became more widely known at a virtual district-wide teacher conference held in February 2022. At the meeting, teachers were told that parents had no “legitimate need” to know when their children were changing genders.

At the beginning of the following school year, they received emails with lists of the students, including their preferred names and pronouns. For those students who didn’t want their parents to know about their status, teachers were told to use the students’ given names and pronouns when calling home.

But inside the school, when parents were out of earshot, they should use their new names and pronouns.

Keeping “a sort of double set of books” for transgender students—one to be used when speaking to parents and the other to be used in school—gets complicated, so the school offers guidance:

[O]nce a student, whether in kindergarten, eighth grade, or somewhere in between, expresses a desire to be called by a new name or new pronouns, school faculty and staff are to refer to that student by the newly preferred indicators. “Unofficial” school records such as attendance sheets, school IDs, and report cards are to be changed. From that point forward, the student may go through each school day with the faculty and staff addressing the student in person and on records according to the changed moniker.

As far as the teachers were concerned, the school was forcing them to lie to parents in violation of their free exercise rights under the constitution, because lying was against their religion.

But the school district argued that since its policy didn’t require them to outright “lie” to parents, their rights weren’t infringed.

The court disagreed:

[T]hat cannot be fairly said when the policy requires plaintiffs to conceal from parents, by misdirection and substitution, accurate information about their child’s use of a new name, gender, or pronouns at school.

It is one thing if the policy merely delegated the task of talking with parents about a student’s gender incongruence to dedicated, trained personnel. It is quite another to require teachers to withhold this information with the knowledge that the information will be impossible for the parents to obtain from the school. [emphasis in original]

And in that respect, the court held, the policy violated the teachers’ free exercise of their religious beliefs.

The court’s order suspending the policy as against the two teachers applies only for the time being, but it signals they are ultimately likely to succeed on the merits.

So does the court’s condemnation of the policy, in no uncertain terms:

The school’s policy is a trifecta of harm: it harms the child who needs parental guidance and possibly mental health intervention to determine if the incongruence is organic or whether it is the result of bullying, peer pressure, or a fleeting impulse. It harms the parents by depriving them of the long recognized Fourteenth Amendment right to care, guide, and make health care decisions for their children. And finally, it harms plaintiffs who are compelled to violate the parent’s rights by forcing plaintiffs to conceal information they feel is critical for the welfare of their students — violating plaintiffs’religious beliefs.

Only the week before the court’s ruling, a California state judge temporarily blocked the Chino Valley Unified School District from notifying parents when their children tell their school they want to change genders, as we wrote here. But Thomas More Society‘s Special Counsel Paul M. Jonna, the teachers’ lawyer, says California school districts should now think twice before implementing “parental exclusion” policies:

[T]he State of CA and all school districts are now on notice that policies that require teachers to hide information from parents about their students’ gender identity violate the US Constitution.

And at a court-sanctioned hourly rate of $1200, any school district that does so proceeds “at their own risk and at major taxpayer expense.”



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Ty so much Jane. Finally good news.

A few times I have wondered about court decisions re parents rights..If you read the ruling, this is summarized in section C. Federal Constitutional Rights of Parents (page 14) It seems there are a whole bunch of decisions supporting, constitutionally supporting, the rights of parents.. These two teachers are heroes in my book. The case was about religious freedom, but it was substantially more profound.

It was especially interesting that a trans woman expert supported parents rights, that they have to be involved to make sure that an actual medical/psychological diagnoses is provided. That just made so much sense..

Maybe the grownups are returning. I hope so.

    TargaGTS in reply to amwick. | September 22, 2023 at 8:03 am

    Yes, I agree completely. While 1A considerations are very important and applicable in many of these cases, it’s the Supreme Court’s own parental case law that is rooted primarily in 14A that really undermines the idiotic claims of these schools – and in CA’s case, its own legislature. Parental rights are CONSTITUTIONAL rights. They cannot be waived away by school boards or even state legislatures irrespective of the religious leaning of the parents themselves.

      amwick in reply to TargaGTS. | September 22, 2023 at 8:24 am

      Exactly.,,, I tried to look it up on my own.. but the cases they cited in the ruling really summarized it sooooooooo well.

I pray there is a special place in H3ll for people who demand the right to abuse children, especially those of other people, because that is exactly what “gender affirming” care is for children.

Lucifer Morningstar | September 22, 2023 at 8:41 am

>>Under the policy at issue, accurate communication with parents is permitted only if the child first gives its consent to the school.<<

Give "its" consent? Not "their", "her" or "his" but "its". They've reduced the children to being simply an "it"? A thing? How disgusting is that.

St Benitez has been almost single-handedly defending 2A rights in Cali for a few years now.

It’s not surprising he ruled this way.

    henrybowman in reply to The Packetman. | September 22, 2023 at 6:39 pm

    Yeah. They’re gonna have to “find” the kiddie porn on his work computer real soon now. He’s proven to be WAY too based, especially on the gun stuff.

How can a minor’s rights supersede his/her parent’s rights?

    Milhouse in reply to herm2416. | September 23, 2023 at 7:12 am

    That’s no surprise. Cf a minor’s “right” to have her baby murdered without even informing her parents, let alone consulting them.

Unfortunately the ruling is far to narrow .

It only prevents the schools / school district from punishing the teachers that refuse to participate in the charade which untimaley harms the child.

It does nothing to prevent teachers who agree to participate in the charade.

It likewise does nothing to stop the ideology that believes that participating in the enhancement of the students mental delusions is a viable treatment for the students mental illness

    CommoChief in reply to Joe-dallas. | September 22, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    It was brought by teachers who disagreed with the policy. The CT addressed the controversy in front it which was whether teachers had to comply with this insane policy. The CT did make it as plain as they could in the ruling, given the lack of Parents as plaintiffs, that Parents have rights ‘dominion’ over the decisions regarding the health, welfare, upbringing of their children.

Hollywood movie idea: When little Johnnie returns home one day from school attired in petticoats and castrated, answering only to Jane, the concerned parents seek clarification from the local grammar school. They are then told that their child has always been Jane, and are then involuntarily committed to an insane asylum for their dangerous delusion.

That American society is even debating issues such as whether it’s appropriate to exploit, manipulate, mutilate and chemically damage emotionally vulnerable children and teens, and, to conceal from parents their child’s indoctrination into the evil “trans” cult and ideology, shows how far we have fallen as a nation, in moral terms.

This really started with abortion, when the vile Dumb-o-crats began treating unborn babies as cancerous tumors and rationalizing the murderous excising of them from the womb. The decision to ignore thousands of years of human cultural history, to reject the perfectly acceptable and rational compromise of civil unions and to arrogantly demand that homosexuals be allowed to enter into “marriage,” was the next step in this pervasive moral and cultural rot.

And, now, here we’ve arrived at this insane “trans” phenomenon, with all of its utterly obnoxious, misogynist, narcissistic and child-abusing traits being lauded, enabled and rationalized by the vile Dumb-o-crats.