BREAKING: Judge Issues Preliminary Injunction Says California … – Daily Citizen

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Posted by Jeff Johnston | Sep 14, 2023 | Education
Elizabeth Mirabelli and Lori Ann West, teachers at Rincon Middle School, sued the Escondido Union School District (EUSD) and the California State Board of Education “over policies requiring them to keep secrets from, and even lie to, parents about their minor-age students,” reports the Thomas More Society, which filed a lawsuit on their behalf.
In a decision handed down September 14 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, Judge Roger T. Benitez issued a preliminary injunction, ruling that the school district and the state could not enforce the “offensive policy while the case is under court consideration,” Thomas More announced in a press release.
The conservative Roman Catholic public-interest law firm explained in a news release:
The current Escondido Union School District policies compel staff to deceive parents about whether their own children have requested to socially transition to a new gender at school – in direct conflict with the long-standing policy that teachers are to be honest with parents.
In the request for a preliminary injunction, Mirabelli and West claimed that their First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion were being violated. The court agreed, and stated, “Mirabelli and West face an unlawful choice along the lines of: ‘lose your faith and keep your job, or keep your faith and lose your job.’”
Thomas More Society Special Counsel Paul M. Jonna, a partner at LiMandri and Jonna LLP, said of the case:
This is an untenable situation to put teachers in.
Traditionally, educators have been viewed as highly significant players in a child’s development, partnering with parents – not supplanting them – in the incredibly important responsibility of raising children.
The State of California and the Escondido Union School District have created an unconscionable scenario where it pits these two key influencers in a child’s life against one another by putting up an intentional curtain of dishonesty between them.
At the beginning of the 2022 school year, Mirabella and West “received emails from school staff with a list of students with student-preferred names and pronouns. The list included directions on whether or not said names and pronouns were to be disclosed to the students’ parents.”
They asked the district for a religious accommodation because they did not want to lie to parents, but were refused, with the EUSD attorney replying, “Finally, teachers are required to follow the ‘privacy’ policy that requires them to not share a student’s gender identity status with their parent or guardian without the student’s permission.”
Author and parental rights and school choice advocate Corey DeAngelis broke the story on X, formerly known as Twitter:
He also posted, “The court rejected the school’s argument … that schools have a right to keep sexual secrets about children from their own parents.”
In his decision, Judge Benitez acknowledged parents’ right to know what’s happening with their children at school, emphatically stating:
He also posted, “The court rejected the school’s argument … that schools have a right to keep sexual secrets about children from their own parents.”
BREAKING: A federal court has issued a preliminary injunction protecting teachers' right to inform parents of a child's identification as a different gender or request to be addressed by a new name or pronouns.
— Corey A. DeAngelis, school choice evangelist (@DeAngelisCorey) September 14, 2023

In his decision, Judge Benitez acknowledged parents’ right to know what’s happening with their children at school, emphatically stating:
The United States Supreme Court has historically and repeatedly declared that parents have a right, grounded in the Constitution, to direct the education, health, and upbringing, and to maintain the well-being of, their children.
He concluded his decision by saying:
The school’s policy is a trifecta of harm: it harms the child who needs parental guidance and possibly mental health intervention to determine if the incongruence is organic or whether it is the result of bullying, peer pressure, or a fleeting impulse.
It harms the parents by depriving them of the long recognized Fourteenth Amendment right to care, guide, and make health care decisions for their children.
And finally, it harms plaintiffs who are compelled to violate the parent’s rights by forcing plaintiffs to conceal information they feel is critical for the welfare of their students — violating plaintiffs’ religious beliefs.
The case is Mirabelli, et al. v. Olson, et al.
Related articles and resources:
Back to School for Parents: A busy parent’s guide to what’s happening in your children’s classrooms and practical steps you can take to protect them
California Teachers Told to Hide Information About Students’ ‘Gender’ From Parents – They’re Suing
Florida Parents Sue School for Helping Teen ‘Transition’ – Without Their Knowledge or Consent
Six California School Districts Pass Parental Notification Policies for Children Confused About Their Sexual Identity
What’s Your School District’s ‘Transgender’ Policy?
Photo from Shutterstock.
Jeff Johnston is a culture and policy analyst for Focus on the Family and a staff writer for Daily Citizen. He researches, writes and teaches about marriage, LGBT issues, education and other topics of concern to families. Johnston has been interviewed by CBS Sunday Morning, The New York Times, Associated Press News, The Christian Post, Rolling Stone, Mashable and Vice, and he’s been a guest for numerous radio and television outlets. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from San Diego State University, with a Bachelors in English and a teaching credential. He and his wife Judy have been married 29 years and have three grown sons.
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