The Chino Valley Unified School District has hired the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center to represent the board in its legal battle with the state of California.
In July, the board passed a controversial gender identification policy that would notify parents if their students want to transition to a different gender on campus. Some have argued this will keep parents informed about their children. Others said that will forcibly out LGBTQ students.
In late August, Attorney General Rob Bonta sued the district over its gender identification policy. He claimed that it may violate student's civil rights.
"That's something that the Attorney General has made up in bringing this lawsuit and trying to intimidate schools," said Jacob Huebert, president of the Liberty Justice Center.
The district's legal team said they would take the case pro bono, or in layman's terms for free. The American Bar Association recommends law firms donate 50 hours of pro bono work a year.
"I think it shows that people want to help our district and other districts," said board president Sonja Shaw. "My question to everybody else is they need to question Bonta and why he's using tax dollars to shut parents out."
The controversial gender identification policy has become a controversial topic in several areas in Southern California, including Murrieta, Temecula and Orange unified school districts.
"It's disheartening to see that our district is being used to advance a personal political agenda," said Kristi Hirst.
Hirst is the co-founder of Our Schools USA and taught in CVUSD for 14 years. Her organization fights to protect quality education for all students. She said students and staff feel attacked by this policy because it's discriminatory against LGBTQ youth.
"When I saw that this firm is who took this case and they did it pro bono, it was even more of a signal that this was always in the works to go to [the Supreme Court]," said Shaw.
When asked if the board intended for the Supreme Court to decide the fate of the controversial policy, Shaw said:
"Knowing how things are processed here in California, we knew that if we win it here in California it's by a miracle. It has to be settled in the higher courts, which I think is sad."
Huebert said his law firm is prepared to bring the case to the Supreme Court if the need arises.
"If that's what it takes, if there's an issue that needs to go to the Supreme Court, we'll take it to the Supreme Court," he said.
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