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California school can keep gender notification policy, critical race theory ban


(The Center Square) – Temecula Valley Unified School District can keep its ban on critical race theory and its policy requiring parents to be notified if a child wishes to be called by a different name or use facilities or programs not consistent with his or her gender as listed in school records.

With a Riverside County judge declining to issue an injunction against the two policies, they can remain in place until a lawsuit against them is heard in late March. California Attorney General Rob Bonta is a key supporter in the lawsuit against TVUSD.

Superior Court Judge Eric Keen, in blocking the injunction against TVUSD’s CRT and parental notification policies, wrote, teaching “individuals are either a member of the oppressor class or the oppressed class because of race or sex… would seem to be incongruous with the Legislature’s clear intent found in [the] California Education Code,” revealing support for the CRT ban. Keen also wrote, regarding the parental notification policy, that it “applies equally to all students within the district and does not apply disparately to two or more similarly situated groups.”

TVUSD’s ban on teaching critical race theory includes specific bans on teaching that “an individual, by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist and/or sexist, whether consciously or unconsciously,” “individuals are either a member of the oppressor class or oppressed class because of race or sex,” and “an individual should be discriminated against or receive adverse treatment due to the individual’s race or sex or should receive favorable treatment due to the individual’s race or sex.”

TVUSD’s parental notification policy requires that schools notify parents of any injury, bullying, talks about suicide, or requests to identify with or participate in programs or use school facilities that are for a gender different from what is on their birth certificate or official records. A similar policy at Chino Valley Unified School District was partially blocked by a judge, who stopped the gender notification provisions until that case can go to full trial.

The case against TVUSD, brought forward by students, parents and teachers against the school board and school district, is supported by Bonta, who issued an amicus curiae in the case against the policies.

Lawyers representing the group suing TVUSD are from Public Counsel, which argued the CRT ban was vague and left teachers unsure of what they could teach. Public Counsel, a public interest legal group, recently secured a settlement for a $50 million phonics-based reading intervention in the state’s worst-performing public schools, and a further $2 billion settlement to support science-based learning interventions across the state.

“It seems clear to the Court that a person of ordinary intelligence would have a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited as what is prohibited is set out specifically in the Resolution,” responded Keen in his ruling.

Bonta, meanwhile, said the parental notification policy violates “state constitutional right to equal protection and statutory protections from discrimination” and “state constitutional right to privacy, depriving them of their fundamental ability to express who they are.” Bonta also said the ban on critical race theory bans “diverse and inclusive perspectives” and is a form of “discrimination.”