Newsom Sued Over Transgender Policy, Teachers Claim They Are Forced To Lie To Parents

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by Tyler Durden
Friday, Feb 16, 2024 - 03:20 AM

Authored by Matthew Vadum via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Teachers are suing California Gov. Gavin Newsom and California Attorney General Rob Bonta in federal court over policies they say force them to conceal the transgender status of young students from parents.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom awaits the arrival of President Joe Biden at San Francisco International Airport, on Nov. 14, 2023. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The lawsuit comes after the governor signed several laws in September 2023 that expanded California’s protections for LGBT individuals.

One law establishes timelines for required so-called cultural competency training for public school teachers and staff. Another law creates an advisory body to determine the needs of LGBT students. A further law requires families to demonstrate willingness to meet the needs of a child in foster care, regardless of the child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. There is also a law requiring elementary and secondary schools to have gender-neutral bathrooms for students.

California is proud to have some of the most robust laws in the nation when it comes to protecting and supporting our LGBTQ+ community, and we’re committed to the ongoing work to create safer, more inclusive spaces for all Californians,” Mr. Newsom said at the time.

“These measures will help protect vulnerable youth, promote acceptance, and create more supportive environments in our schools and communities.”

At the same time, the governor vetoed legislation that would have compelled judges making custody and visitation orders to consider whether a parent accepts a child’s professed gender identity.

In the lawsuit, San Diego-area teachers Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West, who are devout Christians, filed suit to object to policies they say mandate dishonesty.

The legal complaint in the case, Mirabelli v. Olson, was originally filed in April 2023 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California against the Escondido Union School District (EUSD), in San Diego County, and officials with the California State Board of Education.

The lawsuit was prompted by the K–8 school district’s recent policies affecting transgender students.

The policies require teachers to assist in a student’s transgender “social transition” by accepting a child’s assertion of a transgender or gender-diverse identity and, during school hours, using any pronouns or a gender-specific name requested by the student.

At the same time, the policies allegedly require teachers to revert to biological pronouns and legal names when speaking with parents, in an effort to conceal information regarding a child’s asserted gender identity.

The teachers objected on moral and religious grounds to the policies and said they were uncomfortable at the prospect of keeping secrets from parents about their children’s gender identities at school. They asked the district to exempt them from the policies but their requests were denied.

On Jan. 29, the teachers amended the complaint to add Mr. Newsom and Mr. Bonta, both Democrats, as defendants in the lawsuit.

These previously named defendants are all operating under the supervision and control of the governor, who has ultimate responsibility for overseeing the state’s education system,” said Paul Jonna, an attorney from the Rancho Santa Fe-based law firm LiMandri and Jonna. Mr. Jonna is also serving as special counsel for the Thomas More Society, the public interest law firm that filed the lawsuit.

“The Escondido Union School District has asserted that it is compelled by the state to adopt and enforce parental exclusion policies in which California dictates the deception requiring teachers to lie to parents about their students.

That leads to the conclusion that the state, and therefore, the governor is the driving force behind the violation of Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West’s constitutional rights.”

EUSD requires all elementary and middle school teachers to “unhesitatingly accept a child’s assertion of a transgender or gender diverse identity, and ... [to] ‘begin to treat the student immediately’ according to their asserted gender identity,” according to the legal complaint.

“There is absolutely no room for discussion, polite disagreement, or even questioning whether the child is sincere or acting on a whim,” the complaint continues. “Once a child’s social transitioning has begun, EUSD elementary and middle school teachers must ensure that parents do not find out.”

“EUSD’s policies state that ‘revealing a student’s transgender status to individuals who do not have a legitimate need for the information, without the student’s consent’ is prohibited, and ‘parents or caretakers’ are, according to EUSD, individuals who ‘do not have a legitimate need for the information,’ irrespective of the age of the student or the specific facts of the situation.”

The teachers, removed from the classroom by management, have already won several rounds in their legal battle against EUSD policies. The teachers claimed that the school district retaliated against them for filing suit and harassed them.

Last month, District Judge Roger Benitez ordered the school district “to return plaintiffs Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West back to the classroom.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Mr. Newsom and Mr. Bonta for comment but didn’t receive a reply as of publication time.