". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


School Parental Notification Policy Wins in California Court

March 2, 2024

A California school district’s parental notification policy won a preliminary victory in a California state court, when a Riverside County Superior Court judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction against it in a February 23 ruling (Mae M. v. Komrosky). The judge also declined to block a resolution that prohibited the teaching of certain concepts related to critical race theory (CRT).

“This is a temporary victory not only for TVUSD, but for other school districts across our state and country who are thinking about banning CRT and standing for the rights of parents,” Dr. Joseph Komrosky, president of the Temecula Valley School Board, told The Washington Stand.

The Temecula Valley USD enacted its CRT resolution in December 2022 and its parental notification policy in August 2023. These changes came after political newcomers ran on a pro-parent platform and flipped three of the five board positions in November 2022 (the other two seats were not up for election until 2024).

“These policies were enacted by the school board to ensure our district puts the needs of students and their parents above all else,” explained Komrosky. “Our district remains focused on providing a holistic education for all of our students, free from both discrimination and indoctrination.”

The parental notification policy requires school staff to notify parents if their children wanted “to be identified or treated as a gender … other than the student’s biological sex.” This includes if a student wants any change made to his or her official or unofficial records, including name changes, if he or she wants to be called by different pronouns, or if he or she wants to use a different bathroom or changing facility.

Parents are also to be notified if their student is injured at school, expresses suicidal intent, experiences bullying, plans to participate in a protest, interrupts classroom instruction, or is suspected of certain illegal activities.

“Name changing is the first step in ‘social transition,’” Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. “This is a serious intervention, made in the name of mental health, and parents should absolutely be — at a minimum — aware of this process. Ideally, parents should be able to opt out of it.”

The CRT resolution prohibited teaching of “five elements and the eight doctrines” of CRT because, it declared, CRT “is based on false assumptions, is fatally flawed, is a divisive and racist ideology, assigns generational and racial guilt, violates equal protection laws and views social problems as racial problems.”

Left-wing activist group Public Counsel sued the school district in October 2023 over the parental notification policy and CRT resolution. The Los Angeles-based legal non-profit operates on an annual budget of more than $16 million. “This is what parents who want to protect their children are up against,” remarked Kilgannon.

The left-wing lawsuit lodged nearly a dozen arguments against Temecula USD’s policies, but they have so far failed to convince Judge Eric Keen, a registered Republican who was appointed to the bench by former California Governor Jerry Brown (D) in 2018, that their arguments were likely to succeed (a key element of the standard for issuing a preliminary injunction).

Keen rejected the teachers’ contention that the parental notification policy was discriminatory because “the Policy applies equally to all students.” He rejected their argument that the CRT resolution was vague, countering that, “a person of ordinary intelligence would have a reasonable opportunity to know what is prohibited.” He rejected their argument that the CRT resolution unconstitutionally infringed upon California’s education rights because the prohibited, racist concepts “lack[ed] any legitimate pedagogical concern.”

Keen’s ruling leaves the policy and resolution in place for now. Their next court date is scheduled for May 23, said Komrosky.

The preliminary victory is due in part to years of work by pro-parent school board members in Temecula and other California school districts. “Parent leaders have dug in, done their research, worked with attorneys and staff to come up with a policy that will ensure parents are informed about consequential decisions made for their children at school, like name changes,” said Kilgannon.

“I’m incredibly grateful for this victory in Temecula,” said Sonja Shaw, school board president for Chino Valley USD, and who helped pioneer these pro-parent policies. “Our communities are steadfastly standing up for what’s right, emphasizing the importance of local voices in shaping our children's futures.” Chino Valley USD also filed a brief with the court supporting Temecula Valley USD in its lawsuit.

However, the victories did not come painlessly. Komrosky described the current state of California politics as “a tribal battle stifling the voices of the communities who vote people in.”

Temecula Valley USD and Chino Valley USD have certainly felt the impact of differing from Sacramento on how much of the LGBT agenda to promote in schools. Last year, California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) obtained a temporary restraining order against Chino Valley USD, preventing them from enforcing key parts of their parental notification policy. He also threatened Temecula Valley USD with a $1.5 million fine for rejecting a textbook celebrating Harvey Milk, an LGBT activist who had sex with a male minor who later committed suicide.

On top of the pressure from state officials, local LGBT activists mounted a recall campaign against Komrosky, gathering enough signatures to trigger a recall election, which will be held on June 4.

“I want to express how immensely proud we are of Temecula for enduring all the pressure, harassment, and recall efforts because of their unwavering stance for our children,” said Shaw in a statement to The Washington Stand. “Despite facing adversity, their resilience and commitment to our children’s well-being are commendable.”

“First and foremost, I’m a concerned parent,” Komrosky told TWS. “The parents of my community voted me in because I told them I would take action on things like: 1) advocating for their parental rights, 2) condemning racism and banning CRT [and] 3) getting pervasive profanity, obscenity, vulgarity, pornography, and erotica out of schools as these evil things harm our innocent children.”

“The majority of the parents in Temecula are sick of the woke ideology and just want a ‘back to the basics’ approach to education for their innocent children,” Komrosky added. He said parents “voted me in for what I said I was going to do, and I passed everything and more in one year. The liberal activists, (the small minority here) hate me for it, but I think they have woken up a sleeping giant, and the parents of my community will remind them of their first vote by voting me in again.”

“Parents have a constitutional right to guide our children’s lives, even after dropping them off at school. It’s not unconstitutional for school boards to prioritize student safety — it’s common sense,” said Shaw. “Let’s remain resolute and united in advocating for our children’s safety and well-being, regardless of the hurdles we face.”

“We are grateful for school board members who answer the call to run,” said Kilgannon. “The Temecula school board members who are working to safeguard children from dangerous ideologies like gender ideology and critical race theory will be vilified and demeaned by a loud minority of parents, so it is important that we support them with our prayers, our thanks, and celebrate these victories.”

Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.