Federal Bill Would Defund States That Allow Secret Gender Transitions at School

By Brad Jones
Brad Jones
Brad Jones
Brad Jones is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California.
March 16, 2023Updated: March 21, 2023

Dozens of parents and parental rights advocates displayed signs and banners with slogans such as “No More Secrecy” outside the Chico, California, school district office on March 15 in support of proposed federal legislation that would defund states that allow the secret gender transitioning of school children without parental consent.

On March 14, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) introduced a bill in the U.S. House known as the Prohibiting Parental Secrecy Policies in Schools Act (H.R. 1585), which would require states receiving funds under Title II of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to implement a nationwide policy prohibiting secret social transitioning at school.

At a news conference, LaMalfa said the measure intends “to put parents back in charge of the education decisions for their children and personal family decisions—value decisions.”

Epoch Times Photo
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) holds a press conference on H.R. 1585, a U.S. House bill known as the Prohibiting Parental Secrecy Policies in Schools Act, in Chico, Calif., on March 15, 2023. (Screenshot via Facebook/Rep. Doug LaMalfa)

The bill comes in the wake of a lawsuit filed by the Center for American Liberty on the behalf of Aurora Regino, the mother of a child in the Chico Unified School District, against school district staff. She alleges that a school counselor affirmed her 10-year-old daughter’s gender identity as a transgender male for about three months at Sierra View Elementary School without her knowledge. The lawsuit seeks to end the district’s policy of secret gender transitions.

“She’s very young and didn’t understand what being transgender really meant or the obstacles she would face going through a transition. The school transitioned her and left her to figure it out by herself. This is wrong,” Regino said at the news conference.

Regino says she will continue to love her daughter no matter what gender identity she chooses, but that “keeping important information a secret from parents is not the answer.”

Prior to suing the school district, Regino said she pleaded with school officials and staff to communicate with her about her daughter’s social transition after her daughter stated that she had transitioned.

“At every level within our district, they shut the door in my face and told me that this is law, and they can’t tell me. This is a lie. It’s not law … and if any parents have experienced the same lie, please know that this is a hoax,” Regino said. “If this bill was in place, it could have prevented a lot of stress and emotional trauma for my child and me last school year.”

Epoch Times Photo
Aurora Regino looks out a window in Chico, Calif., on March 12, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

The California Department of Education has issued guidance to school districts, teachers, and counselors to keep gender transitions secret from parents, unless a student wishes to tell them. State law, based on 2013’s Assembly Bill 1266, however, “doesn’t specify that,” La Malfa told The Epoch Times after the news conference.

Schools have no business getting between parents and their children, especially on matters of gender and sexuality, LaMalfa said.

“It’s completely outrageous that these bureaucrats think they’re going to get away with this. It erodes the confidence in the public school system,” he said.

LaMalfa introduced the bill by title only, meaning the text of the legislation hasn’t yet been received by Congress.

Meanwhile, on March 13, California Assemblymen Bill Essayli (R-Riverside) and James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) introduced parental rights legislation that would require teachers, counselors and other school staff to notify parents in writing within three days if they find a student is identifying as a gender other than what is stated on their birth certificate.

If enacted, the measure would end the state’s current policy of keeping the gender transition of some students secret, depending on whether the child wants to inform his or her parents.