SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement following the Rocklin Unified School District School Board’s (Board) decision to implement a mandatory gender identity disclosure policy targeting transgender and gender-nonconforming students on September 6, 2023. Similar to other forced outing policies recently enacted by certain school districts, the policy requires schools to inform parents, with minimal exceptions, whenever a student requests to use a name or pronoun different from that on their birth certificate or official records, even without the student’s permission. The policy also requires notification if a student requests to use facilities or participates in programs that don’t align with their sex on official records. The vote comes after Attorney General Rob Bonta sent a letter to the Board cautioning them of the dangers of adopting its forced outing policy, emphasizing the potential infringements on students’ civil rights and educational opportunities.
“Despite our ongoing commitment to stand against any actions that target and discriminate against California’s transgender and gender-nonconforming youth, Rocklin Unified has chosen to endanger their civil rights by adopting a policy that forcibly outs them without consideration of their safety and well-being,” said Attorney General Bonta. “I have said it before and I will say it again: We will not tolerate any policy that perpetuates discrimination, harassment, or exclusion within our educational institutions.”
The Attorney General has a substantial interest in protecting the legal rights, physical safety, and mental health of children in California schools, and in protecting them from trauma, harassment, bullying, and exposure to violence and threats of violence. Research shows that protecting a transgender student’s ability to make choices about how and when to inform others is critical to their well-being, as transgender students are exposed to high levels of harassment and mistreatment at school and in their communities when those environments are not supportive of their gender identity.
- In the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 10% of respondents said that an immediate family member had been violent toward them because they were transgender, and 15% ran away from home or were kicked out of their home because they were transgender. Fewer than one-in-three transgender and gender nonbinary youth found their home to be gender-affirming.
- Nearly 46% of transgender students reported missing at least one day of school in the preceding month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable there and 17% of transgender students reported that they left a K-12 school due to the severity of the harassment they experienced at school.
- Seventy-seven percent of students known or perceived as transgender reported negative experiences such as harassment and assault, and over half of transgender and nonbinary youth reported seriously considering suicide in the past year.
Attorney General Bonta is committed to defending the rights and safety of LGBTQ+ youth. Yesterday, Attorney General Bonta issued a statement commending the San Bernardino Superior Court’s ruling to issue a temporary restraining order against Chino Valley Unified School District Board of Education’s (CVUSD) mandatory gender identity disclosure policy, immediately halting its enforcement. Just last week, Attorney General Bonta announced a lawsuit challenging the enforcement of CVUSD’s forced outing policy. Prior to filing a lawsuit, Attorney General Bonta announced opening a civil rights investigation into the legality of CVUSD’s adoption of its mandatory gender identity disclosure policy. Prior to opening the investigation, Attorney General Bonta in July sent a letter to Superintendent Norman Enfield and the Board of Education cautioning them of the dangers of adopting its forced outing policy, emphasizing the potential infringements on students’ privacy rights and educational opportunities. Recently, Attorney General Bonta issued a statement following Anderson Union High School District, and Temecula Valley and Murrieta Valley Unified School District Boards’ decisions to implement copy-cat mandatory gender identity disclosure policy targeting transgender and gender-nonconforming students.