A federal judge ruled in favor of two Christian teachers who refused to follow their school’s policy that required staff to lie to parents and hide students’ gender confusion.
U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez issued a preliminary injunction that protects two Christian middle school teachers who challenged San Diego County’s Escondido Unified School District (USD) policy.
The teachers argued that the “secrecy policy” infringed on their rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion, and that if they were to comply with it and be dishonest with their parents, it would violate their “sincere religious beliefs”.
Although Judge Benitez issued an injunction that only temporarily blocks implementation of the policy, he wrote that the policy appears to infringe on constitutional rights, calling it a “trio of harm.”
“This harms the child who needs parental guidance and possibly mental health intervention to determine whether the incongruence is organic or the result of bullying, peer pressure or “a passing impulse,” Benitez explained. “It harms parents by depriving them of their long-standing Fourteenth Amendment right to care for, guide, and make health care decisions for their children. And finally, it harms plaintiffs who are forced to violate parents’ rights by forcing them to withhold information they believe is essential for the well-being of their students – violating the plaintiffs’ religious beliefs.”
He also noted that teachers “are faced with an illegal choice of ‘lose your faith and keep your job, or keep your faith and lose your job.’ »
Benitez made it clear that school districts that insist that a child’s right to privacy is greater than a parent’s rights are mistaken and that the “Constitution neither requires nor tolerates this type of discrimination.” .
Currently, more than 1,000 school districts have adopted policies aimed at keeping parents in the dark about any changes in their child’s gender-related behavior.
The policies span 37 states covering more than 18,000 schools with nearly 11 million children enrolled, according to Parents Defending Education.
“Requiring teachers to be dishonest in the course of their job is unconscionable. The First Amendment prohibits forcing someone to lie. Additionally, parents have the right to direct the education of their children,” Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement.
As CBN News reported, only six school districts in California voted in favor of policies that would require teachers to notify parents if their child changes gender identity.
Chino Valley Unified School District in San Bernardino was the first district in the state to adopt such a policy.
However, California State Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the district in August to block the policy and obtained a temporary restraining order.
California State Judge Thomas Garza ruled that the school district must wait to implement its new policy that would not only require schools to notify parents if their children change gender identities, but would also require schools to inform parents if a child is suicidal. bullied or seriously injured.
Chino Valley Board President Sonja Shaw, who has received death threats over the policy, says “parents have the right to know what is happening at school and not to be the last person informed.
Meanwhile, California Family Council President Jonathan Keller called the decision “a temporary setback in the ongoing fight to assert parents’ God-given, constitutionally protected right to direct education.” of their children.”
The state court’s decision blocks the policy until an Oct. 13 hearing to determine whether to authorize or permanently block the policy. It is unclear what impact the Federal Court’s decision will have on the case.
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