Legal Battle in the Golden State: California’s Lawsuit Against Rocklin Unified School District’s Gender Notification Policy

Legal Battle in the Golden State: California's Lawsuit Against Rocklin Unified School District's Gender Notification Policy

Sacramento, CA: The state of California is suing a school district in Northern California, saying that the district failed to fix a problem with a controversial policy it put in place last summer about gender disclosure.

According to court documents obtained by CBS Sacramento, a teacher from Placer County filed a complaint with the California Department of Education (CDE) on September 7, 2023. She said that the Rocklin Unified School District had implemented a policy the day before that was unfair to students who were already at a disadvantage.

The district approved the policy in September of that year. It said that schools had to let parents know if their child asked to be identified as something other than their biological sex, use a name or pronouns that don’t match their biological gender, or ask to use bathrooms that don’t match their gender.

The case now says that the CDE wants a court order against the district because it “unlawfully refused and failed” to follow the steps for fixing things that were laid out in an investigation report that the CDE released on February 1, 2024. On September 22, 2023, the CDE started its probe.

The CDE said in its report that the district’s policy was unfair and only affected a certain group of students. The lawsuit says that the policy “violates a student’s constitutional right to privacy and the choice of when and where to share private personal information regarding their gender identification and expression.”

The state also says the policy doesn’t help education and gets in the way of ties between students and parents for reasons that aren’t related to education.

Within five days of getting the CDE’s report, Rocklin Unified had to write to all school staff and students to let them know that the CDE thought the policy was against the state’s education code and they shouldn’t follow it. In addition, the district had to show proof of agreement to the CDE within 10 days.

California Assemblymember Bill Essayli used strong words in his fight against Rocklin Unified. He wrote a bill about the parent notification policy that did not become law because of the fight.

In the case, the state is asking the judge to throw out the policy right away and for the school district to pay the state’s legal fees.

Rocklin and a number of other school boards in California have now adopted the policy on their own.

The suit was put in on April 10 and was given to the other side on April 23. Parents are going to the district board meeting on Wednesday night to continue to voice their worries because they just learned about the lawsuit.

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