A California school district secretly counseled an 11-year-old through a gender transition, prompting the mother to file a lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that members of the Chico Unified School District (CUSD) in northern California encouraged a fifth-grade girl to transition without parental consent during the 2021-2022 school year. Aurora Regino, the child’s mother, filed the lawsuit against the school’s superintendent, Kelly Staley, and the five-member Board of Education.
“They were talking to my daughter about different support groups in town to help her with her transition and then discussed breast binding with my daughter that I had no knowledge of,” Regino told Fox News’ Claudia Cowan.
While Regino’s daughter began struggling with anxiety due to a family member’s death and her mother’s battle with breast cancer, she was also allegedly subjected to discussions on gender identity by a school counselor who continually visited classrooms to discuss the subject.
That counselor invited Regino’s daughter to an “Arts and Crafts” group that allegedly continually devolved into discussions regarding sexuality and gender identity. The counselor also counseled the student one-on-one without the mother’s knowledge.
When Regino’s daughter said she “felt like a boy,” the counselor instructed her to adopt a male identity and pronouns, to not discuss the transition with her mother, and told fellow staff members to refer to the student by that identity.
According to the mother’s complaint, her daughter said she felt “stuck” with the new identity and kept it up for the rest of the year.
When Regino discovered the deception, she went directly to the school’s administration. She claims the administration backed the counselor’s actions, saying they were abiding by “California law.”
The school’s approach stems from guidance given by the California Department of Education, advising schools only informs parents of a student’s desired gender transition with written consent from the student.
That policy was the center of controversy during last Wednesday’s CUSD board meeting when a horde of parents voiced their frustrations.
“Schools, teachers, counselors and staff do not have the right to keep families in the dark as to what is going on with their child,” a local mother told the board. “Parents’ rights are fundamental and supreme. Schools need to support the family unit, not try and replace it.”
“It is not in our children’s best interest to confuse them about topics that are beyond their mental capacity to grasp,” another parent said, “and to furthermore encourage our vulnerable and impressionable children to reconsider their gender behind their parents’ backs.”
Despite the pleas of frustrated parents, the board voted to table any further action regarding gender and identity policies until it received “sufficient guidance from legal counsel.”
Board member Matt Tennis was the sole opposition in the vote, calling for a universal requirement to inform parents if their student transitions unless there is a “clear and compelling reason” not to inform them.
Tennis was overruled by the other four members, but made his point clear:
“We’ve got unidentified people at the California Department of Education making mealy-mouthed statements that they want us to follow. But the takeaway of it is that they want us to keep parents in the dark. I’m sure that I don’t want to keep parents in the dark about gender transitions that may or may not be going on.”
U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-California, criticized the school, located within his congressional district, in a statement through district representative Teri DuBose:
“The parents of Chico Unified School District are rightfully and understandably outraged at the unconscionable behavior of the school district,” DuBose wrote. “Know that the congressman shares your outrage and demands accountability from Chico Unified School District.
“It is detestable that a public school system would think that it’s acceptable to pressure an impressionable child to change their gender, their name, and their pronouns and make them hide it from their parents.”
Regino’s daughter has resumed her female identity amid all the controversy. Regino asserts that she would support her daughter regardless of her choice and that she just wanted to be included in the process.
“I just want them to stop. Stop keeping parents in the dark,” Regino said.