State agencies, psychologists support Chico Unified Anti-discrimination policy needed to protect LGBTQ student privacy, they say

photo by Karen Laslo
CUSD offices

by Natalie Hanson
posted Jan. 24

Educators and experts have joined California’s leaders in urging an appeals court to uphold a ruling that supports Chico Unified School District’s (CUSD’s) anti-discrimination policy.

California’s Attorney General Rob Bonta filed Jan. 9 in support of the district, along with representatives of 15 other states, arguing that the policy is designed to be flexible on a case-by-case basis to support transgender and gender-nonconforming students, and to withhold parental notice when a student does not consent. The only exception for parental notification, against a student’s wishes, is if the student’s well-being is at risk. read more

Chico parents form anti-racism coalition Parents demand zero tolerance for discrimination

Mele Benz

by Natalie Hanson
posted Oct. 31

Chico Unified parents who demand that their school district crafts stronger protections for students and faculty against hate speech say they are forming an anti-racism coalition.

Mele Benz is one of numerous parents in Chico who say they want children to have better protection from discrimination and hate speech. She is one of three parents who head the board of what is now the NorCal Anti-Racism Coalition, which represents about 100 family members and allies. It asks that Chico Unified School District (CUSD) demonstrate no tolerance for hate speech or discrimination on its campuses. (See sidebar on increased bullying in California schools here.) read more

Lawsuit over gender identity dismissed by federal judge Schools can't be forced to out trans children, Mendez says

U.S. Senior Eastern District Judge John Mendez

by Natalie Hanson
posted July 15

A federal judge has dismissed a Chico parent’s claim against Chico Unified School District (CUSD) over maintaining confidentiality rights for students.

Chico mother Aurora Regino’s lawsuit, which claims that the district must out students who are trans or exploring their gender identity, has been tossed out of federal court. CUSD had argued that it follows state law in protecting the confidentiality of students seeking counseling. read more

Lawsuit over gender identity, children’s privacy, creates turmoil ACLU files motion, asking to join with CUSD defendants

Aurora Regino, who grew up in Chico, has filed suit against CUSD trustees and the superintendent.

by Leslie Layton & Natalie Hanson
posted March 7

A lawsuit filed against Chico Unified over its response to a student who was questioning their gender identity has opened a new front for Butte County culture wars.

The lawsuit, Regino v. Staley, filed Jan. 6 in federal court in the Eastern District of California, alleges that a school counselor at Sierra View Elementary coaxed a student into adopting a male identity after the fifth-grader confided that they “felt like a boy.” The lawsuit names as defendants the Board of Education and Chico Unified (CUSD) Superintendent Kelly Staley. read more

Chico’s Stonewall responds to parent complaint, media report Stonewall Alliance gives LGBTQ 101 workshops

photo courtesy of Andrea Mox

by Natalie Hanson
posted Nov.11

Stonewall Alliance Chico’s Executive Director Andrea Mox was worried last month when a parent at Blue Oak Charter complained to school staff that their child came home asking about terms for LGBTQ+ people after attending a suicide prevention workshop.

Mox said the parent complained to the school and local media that they did not know their child would be attending a “sex education” workshop. The parent, quoted by a local news station without giving a name, was angry that their 12-year-old child was learning about terms like “pansexual.” read more

Chico Unified enrollment rises CUSD recovering from pandemic and fire trauma

by Natalie Hanson
sidebar posted Sept. 24

Despite a turbulent period since the Camp Fire, further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Chico Unified School District (CUSD) administrators say so far this fall, enrollment is rising and teacher staffing levels are recovering. That has given some running for the school board hope to be able to tackle multiple high-pressure concerns. read more