A California mother is suing her local school district alleging school officials withheld information from her about her daughter's decision to change genders.
According to the law firm, Regino's daughter, A.S., is a fifth-grader attending an elementary school within the district. After the then-11-year-old girl reportedly expressed her gender confusion to a school guidance counselor, the counselor determined in a brief period of time that A.S. was a boy. The counselor told her when she was at school, she would be identified as a male with a new name and new pronouns.
The school's officials failed to tell Regino about her daughter's gender change, according to the Center for American Liberty.
"That is because the Chico Unified School District, like school districts across California, have adopted official California Department of Education guidance to Cal. Ed. Code 221.5 (AB 1266). Here, the California DOE's guidance prohibits teachers and school administrators from notifying parents of their student's gender transition until directed to do so by the student," the law firm said in a statement.
"This flips the Constitution on its head! Parents have a fundamental right under the Fourteenth Amendment to direct the upbringing of their kids—at a minimum this includes being made aware of life-changing decisions being made at school," the statement said.
"And it would certainly prohibit a school guidance counselor from actively excluding a parent from such a decision, as was the situation here. A.S. wanted to talk to her mom about her 'transition,' but her guidance counselor manipulated her into keeping her mom in the dark," the statement contends.
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief to put a stop to the California DOE and Chico Unified School District's "Parental Secrecy Policy."
School District Responds
CUSD Superintendent Kelly Staley responded in a statement addressed to "Chico United Families" that was posted to the district's website, wanting to "assure our community that Chico Unified does not have a 'Parental Secrecy Policy', nor do we ever try to change a student's individual identity."
"In regard to the lawsuit, we value our community and will thoroughly review and investigate any claims. As you know, Chico Unified continues to focus on family engagement and works hard to maintain open and transparent communication. We highly value the relationships our families have built with their schools," Staley said.
"While we cannot discuss legal proceedings, we do encourage our families to reach out to our District Office if they have specific questions regarding our curriculum, instruction or policies," her statement concluded.
School Officials Reportedly Told Mother They Were Following State Law
During a recent interview with Fox News's Jessie Watters, Regino said her daughter was doing well and that she doesn't identify as a male now and that she was "appalled by the actions the school district has taken."
When asked how long her daughter was identifying as a male without her knowledge, she replied, "For a few months. She had opened up to a guidance counselor and the guidance counselor the very day that she opened up and said she felt like a male, she walked her to class and affirmed it that day."
Regino also said she never gave permission to meet with her daughter without her.
"My daughter did mention to the school counselor that she wanted to tell me, and the school counselor dismissed her request and was trying to get her to come out to other people first," she said.
"My daughter eventually told my mother," Regino explained, "which my mother told me and I reached immediately out to the principal of the school."
School officials told Regino about AB 1266, a state law requiring them to hide her daughter's new identity. The law was signed in 2013 to permit trans students to participate in sports and use bathrooms based on their chosen gender identity, not their biological sex.
Center for American Liberty Executive Director & General Counsel Mark Trammell told Fox News "this is not the law."
"The school district might argue that it is. There's been a guidance issued by the California Department of Education. But this guidance so clearly violates the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment. That's really why we filed this lawsuit. Parents have a fundamental right to direct the upbringing of their children. And it's really hard for parents to exercise that right when school districts are keeping secrets from them, especially on matters like this that are of such significant importance to a child."
According to the California Family Council (CFC), the text of the bill says nothing regarding keeping a student's gender identity secret from parents. But the state Department of Education's Q&A page on AB 1266 recommends keeping a separate file on a student's gender identity, which is kept secret from parents.
"Under no circumstances should a school hide personal information about a student from their parents, much less provide private counsel without their knowledge or consent. Parents know their children best and they alone have the right to direct the mental health of their children," the CFC wrote in a post on the organization's website.
"Children suffering from gender confusion need the guidance and wisdom of their parents, not activism from school staff," the CFC said.
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