‘This Is a Ploy’: California AG Launches Probe Into District that Voted to Alert Parents If Children Identify As Trans

Parental rights advocates say California's top cop trying to stifle dissent

California attorney general Rob Bonta (Getty Images)
August 7, 2023

California’s Democratic attorney general launched a probe into a school district that plans to alert parents if their child starts to identify as a different gender. Critics say he’s trying to stifle opposition to the state’s LGBT agenda in schools.

The state’s top cop Rob Bonta said Friday he is exploring "potential legal violations" by Chino Valley Unified School District in Southern California, alleging that its parent notification policy could "expose a student to parental abuse or increase their risk of self-harm or suicide." Chino’s board voted last month to reject state guidance that urges schools to keep students’ gender exploration hidden from their parents.

"This is a ploy to try to scare all the other boards across California from adopting the policy," Chino school board president Sonja Shaw told the Washington Free Beacon. "We have united all over California, and people from all over the nation are linking up to protect our kids and ensure parental rights. They did us a favor and just revealed more of their agenda and exposed their intentions."

Bonta’s investigation comes amid a spate of Democratic crackdowns on parents and school officials in the name of LGBT ideology. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D.) condemned Armenian parents in Glendale who protested against their school district’s decision to celebrate Pride month. He also threatened a $1.5 million fine against a different Southern California school board that rejected an LGBT-themed social studies curriculum—a move he lacked the legal grounds to make—which ultimately led the board to backtrack.

Dozens of California school districts are considering policies similar to Chino’s, said Jonathan Zachreson, a Northern California school board member and parental rights advocate. One of these, Murrieta Valley Unified School District in Riverside County, is poised to pass its own version on Thursday.

"There are plenty of school boards in California that understand the importance parents play in their children's lives and plan to pass a similar policy," Zachreson said. "I don't anticipate these school districts being deterred by Bonta's baseless investigation."

When the Chino school district trustees approved the parental notification policy on July 20, they drew a rare in-person appearance from state public schools chief Tony Thurmond, who condemned the move and tried to take over the meeting. Bonta also sent the district a warning letter saying the policy may violate state and federal privacy laws—although he failed to cite any relevant statutes or legal precedents.

Lance Christensen, vice president of policy for the California Policy Center and a 2022 Republican candidate for public schools chief, said the investigation shows that Democratic leaders are doing the bidding of left-wing activists, by trying to "silence parents any way they can whether it be through intimidation, bullying, lawfare, or a massive disinformation campaign."

The California Justice Department missed a deadline for a Free Beacon public records request for emails discussing Chino’s case, saying Friday that "an extension is needed to consult with multiple components of the Department with a substantial interest in the records requested." The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A statewide poll in June found that 62 percent of California voters would support a law requiring schools to tell parents if their child is "identifying, requesting to identify, or being treated as a gender that doesn’t align with their biological sex."