AG Seeks Permanent Injunction and Declaratory Relief against Chino Valley Unified’s Forced Outing Policy

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

By Vanguard Staff

Oakland, CA – On Tuesday, AG Rob Bonta filed a motion for final judgment in Bonta v. Chino Valley Unified School District seeking injunctive and declaratory relief to ensure that the Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education (Board) does not reenact or implement their recently-rescinded forced outing policy—Policy 5020.1—which was detrimental to the physical and emotional safety, well-being, and privacy of transgender and gender-nonconforming students.

Back in August, Bonta sued to challenge the policy on the basis that it violated students’ civil and constitutional rights under California law.  In October, the court granted a preliminary injunction enjoining the facially discriminatory provisions of the forced outing policy.

The District then voted to rescind the policy on March 7, however, the AG’s office noted “in response to the San Bernardino County Superior Court’s preliminary injunction order, the District’s Board continues to stand ‘proudly’ by Policy 5020.1, the District’s counsel continues to maintain that it was ‘common sense and constitutional,’ and the District continues to make comments echoing the anti-trans comments they made publicly before enacting the policy.”

As a result, the AG’s office said on Tuesday that Bonta “is seeking a permanent injunction and declaratory relief to protect students’ civil rights and ensure that the Board does not reenact or implement its original, discriminatory policy.”

“Chino Valley Unified has an obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the students it is charged to serve, especially our most vulnerable student communities who are susceptible to violence and harassment,” said Attorney General Bonta.

Bonta continued, “It took a lawsuit and court order to get Chino Valley to rescind their discriminatory forced outing policy, but even now, the Board has continued to assert that it was lawful, and board members continue to echo the anti-trans rhetoric they relied upon when passing it.”

Bonta issued a letter to the Board on July 20 stressing “the potential harms and infringements on students’ civil rights from the adoption of Board Policy 5020.”  However, the Board enacted the policies over the AG’s objections.

According to the AG’s office, “The forced outing policy required schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requested to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission and even when disclosure would cause physical or mental harm to the student.”

The policy also required notification “if a student requested to use facilities or participate in programs that did not align with their sex on official records.”

The current motion is seeking a permanent injunction and declaratory relief against the forced outing policy, and Attorney General Bonta underscored the importance of the Court’s issuance of final adjudication to guarantee the safety and well-being of transgender and gender-nonconforming students from future identical or similar forced outing policies, and declare that the forced outing policy violates students’ constitutional and statutory rights to be free from unequal and discriminatory treatment on the basis of sex, gender, and gender identity.

As part of the motion, Bonta urged the Court to issue a final judgment because a live controversy exists, as the District’s conduct signals that it could re-adopt the discriminatory policy absent a final ruling by the Court, the discriminatory message communicated by the enactment of a discriminatory policy must still be redressed, and the case presents clear issues of public interest broadly affecting students, parents, school officials, and teachers that are likely to recur.

Bonta added, “Today’s motion seeks to ensure no child becomes a target again by blocking Chino Valley Unified from ever adopting another forced outing policy. As we continue to defend the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming students, I urge all school districts to take note and ensure every student can enjoy their right to learn and thrive in a school environment that promotes safety, privacy, and inclusivity.”

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