I Will ‘Stand in the Gap’: Chino Valley School President Defies State AG, Death Threats over Parental Rights
If LGBTQ activists thought their threats — legal or illegal — would make Christian school board president Sonja Shaw back down, they guessed wrong.
Shaw led the Chino Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) in California to require that teachers inform parents within three days if their children begin to identify as transgender. Eerily specific death threats soon poured in. While many sources of these violent messages remain unsolved, the Democratic Attorney General of California announced he is investigating the school district.
California State Attorney General Rob Bonta, a Democrat, announced last Friday he has opened a civil rights investigation into “potential legal violations” of notifying parents. “Students should never fear going to school for simply being who they are,” said Bonta in a statement attacking the Parental Notification Policy, which CVUSD adopted on July 20 by a 4-1 vote. Bonta claimed telling parents about their children’s lives, which he called “forced outing,” actually “threatens the safety and well-being of LGBTQ+ students” and renders them “vulnerable to harassment and potential abuse from peers and family” who might be “unaccepting of their gender identity.” Extreme gender ideology insists that refusing to call a child by a newly adopted name is “violence” and eschewing a minor’s preferred pronouns constitutes “abuse.”
But Sonja Shaw, president of the CVUSD Board of Education, says the state’s efforts to roll back parental rights only strengthen her resolve.
“This is a ploy to try to scare all the other boards across California from adopting the policy,” said Shaw in a press release. “We have united all over California, and people from all over the nation are linking up to protect our kids and ensure parental rights.” The Newsom administration “did us a favor and just revealed more of their agenda, and exposed their intentions,” said Shaw.
“I won’t back down and will stand in the gap to protect our kids from big government bullies,” concluded Shaw, a professed Christian who leads a Bible study.
Bonta attempted to convince board members not to adopt the policy last month, sending a letter to CVUSD Superintendent Norman Enfield and the school board on July 20, the day of their meeting. Bonta asserted telling parents about their children’s gender confusion would “very likely” result in “emotional, mental, and even physical harm” to children. Another member of Governor Gavin Newsom’s (D) administration, California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, spoke out at the meeting.
Bonta contends the parental rights measure violates the state’s antidiscrimination law. But legal experts say Shaw stands on firmer legal ground.
“Bonta cites a general right to privacy under the state constitution, but fails to cite any case applying this right to gender identity, much less in the context of a child’s right to keeping information private from their parents,” analyzed Laura Powell, Esq., who has testified before the state legislature. Bonta, she said, misapplied every case he cited, such as Powell v. Schriver, which “isn’t binding in” California. “Bonta also cites a statement from the California Department of Education,” but courts, not state agencies, determine laws.
“Interestingly, the right to privacy for transsexualism is based on the idea that it’s a ‘profound psychiatric disorder,’ and people have a general right to keep their medical history private,” she wrote. “The question presented here is whether children have a right to keep serious psychiatric conditions they are suffering from secret from their parents,” she concluded.
Bonta promised to initiate litigation against CVUSD and any other school district that adopts a similar policy. This lawsuit “stresses our commitment to challenging school policies” such as CVUSD’s Parental Notification Policy, or other pro-parent laws, which he considers “violations of our students’ civil rights,” he said. But family and education advocates say the flimsy case only underscores the Newsom administration’s desire to indoctrinate children in radical left-wing ideology.
“Parents, do we have your attention yet? The state is coming for your kids,” said Lance Christensen, vice president of California Policy Center. “Using case law that he knows to be incorrectly applied, the AG is going after a duly elected school district that implemented a policy completely consistent with current state law.” Bonta’s legal challenge proves that “California officials think the government should be parenting children,” according to the Education First Alliance.
Bonta’s investigation came six days before another California school board, in the Murietta Valley Unified School District, plans to contemplate strengthening its own parental notification policy to include minors’ transgender identity. The board will vote on the matter this Thursday.
The attorney general is also investigating the Temecula Valley Unified School District for its June vote to reject a textbook celebrating Harvey Milk, an LGBT activist/politician who had sex with a 16-year-old boy before the minor’s suicide. Newsom charged TVUSD a total of $3.1 million, including a $1.5 million fine. The district ultimately adopted state-approved books, vowing to edit the section idolizing Milk.
Democratic officials and educational bureaucrats are “afraid that we’re going to find out that there is an effort to indoctrinate our children into a progressive worldview, and they know that this is something that most parents don’t agree with,” Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at the Family Research Council, told “Washington Watch” host Tony Perkins. “They don’t think we should be able to say what our children are taught. They also don’t think we should be able to know what our children are taught. We can’t see it. We can’t hear it, and we certainly can’t have any opinion about it.”
Legally, things will get worse before they get better, she says. “This effort to stop the momentum around the parents’ rights movement is definitely going to continue from the Left, because they can't give up their new recruits for their agenda, who are our children.”
But despite death threats and lawsuits, Shaw has yet to budge.
“I still stand with my decisions,” said Shaw. Bonta’s lawsuit has “only made it that more evident who is the danger to our children.”
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.