Mesa Public Schools (MPS) policy (the “Trans Policy”) assists and encourages students to “transition” their gender while keeping this information hidden from parents. After this policy of parental non-notification caused controversy in the local community, the school district rewrote its policy to obfuscate what was going on. In practice, however, the non-notification policy appears to continue in force, and MPS employees do not notify parents about a student’s sexual identity issues unless the student consents to notification. Furthermore, MPS still encourages confused students to transition their gender, and at most, parents only get notified after their child has already started to socially transition at school.
The Trans Policy violates Arizona’s Parents’ Bill of Rights, which establishes that “[t]he liberty of parents to direct the upbringing, education, health care and mental health of their children is a fundamental right,” A.R.S. § 1-601(A), that is “exclusively reserved to a parent of a minor child without obstruction or interference from this state, any political subdivision of this state, any other governmental entity or any other institution.” A.R.S. § 1-602(A). In fact, the Parents’ Bill of Rights specifically prohibits what MPS is doing—all public employees, including school employees, are prohibited from “encourage[ing] or coerc[ing]” minors “to withhold information from the child’s parent.” A.R.S. § 1-602(C). Moreover, Arizona law absolutely forbids school employees from ever talking to children about any matters related to human sexuality without advance parental notification and consent.
On behalf of Rachel Walden, a current member of the Governing Board of Mesa Public Schools, AFL sued MPS and Superintendent Andi Fourlis for encouraging and assisting students to identify as having a gender different from their biological sex and to hide this from parents, violating the laws of the state of Arizona.
This case is currently being litigated.