In Education

Judge Blocks Blue State School District Policy To Hide Pronouns From Parents

A U.S. District Court judge ruled on Thursday that a school district policy requiring teachers to keep preferred pronouns from parents undermines their constitutional rights and “conflicts with knowledgeable medical opinion,” according to the decision.

Two teachers, Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West, filed a lawsuit against the Escondido Union School District (EUSD) in April after the school board adopted a policy that says if a child identifies as a “new gender, or wants to be addressed by a new name or new pronouns during the school day,” then teachers must withhold it from parents unless given permission by the student, according to the ruling. Judge Roger T. Benitez expressed concerns about the constitutionality of such a policy and ordered that the district be enjoined from enforcing it until the lawsuit has made its way through the courts.

“Parental involvement [is] essential to the healthy maturation of schoolchildren,” Benitez wrote. “The Escondido Union School District has adopted a policy without parent input that places a communication barrier between parents and teachers … For these parents, the new policy appears to undermine their own constitutional rights while it conflicts with knowledgeable medical opinion. An order enjoining the new district policy is in the better interests of the entire community, as well as the plaintiff teachers.”

The judge noted that both teachers expressed that their sincerely held religious beliefs prevented them from willfully misleading parents on matters that involved their children, according to the ruling. Mirabelli and West believed that parents and staff had not been given proper notice about the proposed policy and that it wasn’t made public until February 2022 during a staff training, and then subsequently implemented that fall, according to their lawsuit.

Benitez cited transgender Doctor Erica Anderson, who testified that parents are the ones who truly know their children and are often the best able to determine if their child is struggling with gender dysphoria.

“To sum up, the plaintiffs correctly understand that the EUSD policy of confidentiality and non-disclosure to parents explicated by AR 5414.3 is not conducive to the health of their gender incongruent students,” the ruling reads. “Anderson’s expert opinion is unrebutted.”

The opinion mentions the “impetuous and ill-considered life decisions” that children often make and argues that parents have the right under the Constitution to direct their child’s “education, health, and upbringing.” Benitez stated that he believed it was “unlikely” that Constitutional rights to privacy for minors include a “right of confidentiality from their own parents.”

EUSD did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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