U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego ruled last week that a California state policy barring schools from notifying parents when their children want to change genders violates the constitutional rights of parents.
The ruling comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and his administration are cracking down on school districts that pass parental notification policies, which are favored by 84% of California voters, according to a recent Rasmussen poll.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported:
“A parent’s right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, control and medical care of their children is one of the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests that Americans enjoy,” U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez of San Diego said in a ruling Sept. 14. That means, he said, that when a school learns that a student has questioned his or her birth gender, or identified as transgender, it must notify the parents, even if the student objects.
It’s no different, Benitez wrote, than a school’s obligation to inform parents if a child suffers a life-threatening concussion during soccer practice, is the victim of a sexual assault or has suicidal thoughts — the parents must be informed, even if the student objects.
And in this case, he said, the Escondido Union School District in San Diego County, and the state whose regulations the district is enforcing, are also violating the rights of teachers to speak to their students, parents and the religious freedom of two teachers who said the policy conflicts with their faith.
The judge’s ruling conflicts with that of U.S. District Judge John Mendez in Sacramento, who tossed a lawsuit in July against the Chico Unified School District for a policy against notifying parents of children’s gender transitions, saying that the proper venue for the issue to be resolved was the state legislature, and not the judicial system.
That logic was lost on Newsom and California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D), who sued the Chino Valley Unified School District last month over a parental notification policy, claiming that “outing” students violated their rights.
Chino Valley school board president Sonja Shaw noted at the time that there was no state law barring parental notification, and argued that it was a parent’s fundamental right to know about life-altering treatments for children.