California Court Upholds Temecula Valley School Policies: Gender Notification and CRT Ban

The Temecula Valley Unified School District in California has received approval to maintain its policy requiring parental notification if a student wishes to use facilities or programs not aligned with their gender listed in school records, as well as its ban on teaching critical race theory (CRT). A Riverside County judge declined to issue an injunction against these policies, allowing them to remain in effect until a lawsuit challenging them is heard later in March. California Attorney General Rob Bonta is a prominent supporter of the lawsuit against TVUSD.

Superior Court Judge Eric Keen, in his decision to block the injunction against TVUSD’s CRT ban and parental notification policy, expressed alignment with the state’s legislative intent, suggesting that teaching concepts like categorizing individuals based on race or sex conflicts with California’s education code. He emphasized that the parental notification policy applies uniformly to all students and does not disproportionately impact any particular group.

TVUSD’s ban on teaching CRT includes prohibitions on promoting ideas such as inherent racism or sexism based on race or sex and the classification of individuals into oppressor or oppressed categories. The parental notification policy mandates schools to inform parents about various matters, including discussions about suicide, instances of bullying, and requests by students to identify with a gender different from what is documented in official records.

A similar parental notification policy at Chino Valley Unified School District faced partial obstruction by a judge pending a full trial. The lawsuit against TVUSD, initiated by students, parents, and educators, has received support from Bonta, who filed an amicus curiae brief in opposition to the policies.

Lawyers representing the plaintiffs argue that TVUSD’s CRT ban lacks clarity and may leave educators uncertain about permissible teaching content. They contend that the ban on CRT stifles diverse perspectives and inclusive learning environments, constituting a form of discrimination.

Responding to the ruling, Judge Keen emphasized that the CRT ban is clearly articulated in the district’s resolution and provides adequate guidance for compliance.

Attorney General Bonta opposes the parental notification policy, asserting that it violates state constitutional rights to equal protection, privacy, and freedom of expression. He also criticizes the CRT ban, characterizing it as inhibiting diverse perspectives and constituting discriminatory practice.

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The legal battle surrounding these policies underscores the ongoing debate over educational practices and ideological frameworks in California’s public schools.

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