U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez placed a preliminary injunction blocking an Escondido Union School District policy that barred educators from discussing students’ gender identity with their parents.
The lawsuit filed by the two educators alleged that teachers are required to “use any pronouns or a gender-specific name requested by the student during school, while reverting to biological pronouns and legal names when speaking with parents in order to actively hide information about their child’s gender identity from them.”
Benitez wrote in his ruling that “a parent’s right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, control, and medical care of their children is one of the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests that Americans enjoy. However, if a school student expresses words or actions during class that may be the first visible sign that the child is dealing with gender incongruity or possibly gender dysphoria, conditions that may (or may not) progress into significant, adverse, life-long social-emotional health consequences, would it be lawful for the school to require teachers to hide the event from the parents?”
The judge also wrote that students could be disadvantaged because they require “parental guidance and possibly mental health intervention to determine if the incongruence is organic or whether it is the result of bullying, peer pressure, or a fleeting impulse.”
The state of California, for its part, has laid out guidelines encouraging privacy for student.
“Revealing a student’s gender identity or expression to others may compromise the student’s safety. Thus, preserving a student’s privacy is of the utmost importance,” it states.
The school district said it is currently reviewing the decision.