A California mother filed a lawsuit against representatives of the school district that allegedly facilitated her daughter’s gender transition.
Aurora Regino, represented by the Center for American Liberty, filed a complaint against the superintendent and five school board members of the Chico Unified School District on Friday, alleging her 14th Amendment rights were violated when her 11-year-old daughter was pressured to adopt a transgender identity and conceal it from her.
“The District’s policy of transitioning kids behind their parents’ backs is radical gender ideology at its worst,” said Harmeet Dhillon, the founder of The Center for American Liberty. “For the government to assume this role is both unconstitutional and reprehensible.”
The Center for American Liberty is seeking a permanent injunction to the “Parental Secrecy Policy” adopted by the district, which allows school personnel to implement a powerful psychosocial intervention on children without the knowledge or consent of their parents.
“Under the Parental Secrecy Policy, schools in the District are prompting students to question their sexuality and gender, facilitating their social transition to a new gender identity, and integrating this new person into the school ecosystem, all without informing or receiving consent from their parents,” the lawsuit alleges.
Regino’s daughter, referred to as A.S. in the complaint, was a fifth-grade student at an elementary school in the district during the school year of 2021-2022, where she was allegedly influenced by a school counselor to adopt a transgender identity and hide it from her mother.
The suit alleges the school’s counselor, Mandi Robertson, regularly visited classrooms to instruct students on the topics of sexuality and “gender identity.”
The concept of “gender identity” is controversial; while it has exploded in popularity as a way for transgender individuals to express the feeling of “misalignment” with their bodies, many scientists have come forward saying that there is no empirical evidence to support its existence and that teaching the concept may be resulting in a “social contagion” effect on trans-identification.
The complaint alleges that Robertson would “encourage students to explore their identity and consider whether they felt like they were not the gender associated with their biological sex” and claim that “such feelings were normal and that students should embrace them.”
When A.S. began struggling with anxiety after the recent death of her grandfather, her mother’s battle with breast cancer, and her father’s disability, she was left “feeling mentally exhausted and emotionally confused” and “wondered if her new feelings of anxiety and depression were because she was born the wrong gender,” the complaint reads. “These feelings were the result of her exploring her identity consistent with Ms. Robertson’s instructions.”
Robertson is alleged to have invited A.S. to participate in an arts and crafts group but “the subject of the meetings quickly changed” to “a discussion regarding sexuality and gender identity,” the complaint said.
The suit alleges that Robertson invited A.S. to one-on-one sessions without her mother’s knowledge or consent and then persuaded her to adopt a male identity, including a male name and male pronouns.
The complaint asserts that much to A.S.’s discomfort, Robertson purportedly took it upon herself to tell other school employees and teachers to refer to A.S. by a male name and male pronouns. A.S. then said she felt “stuck” in her new identity, which she maintained for the rest of the school year.
The complaint alleges that Robertson discouraged A.S. from discussing her new identity with her mother. When Regino found out and confronted school administrators, they stood by Robertson’s actions and insisted they were abiding by a “California law.”
It is unclear whether or not the superintendent and school board members deliberately deceived Regino or were mistakenly under the assumption that such a law exists forcing school personnel to hide their trans-identified students’ identities from their parents.
AB 1266, the legislation in question, provides only that California public schools allow students to participate in sports and use the bathroom “consistent with his or her gender identity.” The California Department of Education created an FAQ on AB 1266, recommending that school personnel keep students’ chosen trans-identities private at their request, but this guidance does not claim to have the force of law, according to the complaint.
Even though A.S. has since desisted and resumed her female identity, Regino said she would have supported her daughter no matter what – she just wanted to be included in the process.
As A.S. is now in middle school, and Regino’s other young daughter also attends a school in the Chico Unified School District, her concern lies with history repeating itself – as her fundamental rights to direct the upbringing up her children continue to be threatened so long as the “Parental Secrecy Policy” is in effect.
“If the school system thinks this is the law, then someone needs to stand up for our children and let them know how wrong and damaging it is,” Regino said. “Our rights as parents do not stop as soon as we drop our children off at school.”
According to the press release, the Center for American Liberty is seeking declaratory relief and an injunction that would prohibit the Chico Unified School District from continuing to implement the Parental Secrecy Policy.
Schools transitioning children, often without their parents’ knowledge, is becoming increasingly common. Many schools now provide students with individualized “gender support plans” that ask the student to indicate if they would like their parents to be kept in the dark. Some schools even provide “transition closets” so that students can change into clothes that match their “gender identity” at school, and change back before heading home.
All available research suggests that this seemingly innocuous act of support is an active psychosocial intervention that can greatly increase the likelihood of a child persisting in the rejection of their bodies. The best data currently indicate that roughly 60-90% of children who identify as transgender, but do not socially or medically transition, will no longer identify as transgender in adulthood.
England’s National Health Service recently put forth new guidelines for treating trans-identifying youth that said social transition is not a “neutral act” and could have “significant effects” in terms of “psychological functioning.”
Dr. Erica E. Anderson, a clinical psychologist for 40 years who identifies as transgender, joined a legal effort last month to counter the trend of school policies designed to conceal a student’s chosen trans-identity from their parents.
“It’s well established that one of the most important factors in helping gender-questioning children is family support,” said Anderson. “So to deliberately deprive a child of support at a time potentially when they most need it is, I think, a serious error in judgment.”