Governance Civil Justice
November 1st, 2023 2 Minute Read Press Release

New Amicus Brief: Schools Cannot Violate Parental Rights

New York, NY — The Manhattan Institute has filed an amicus brief to the Ninth Circuit court of appeals in Regino v. Staley, a case involving a public school district withholding information about student gender transitions from parents. The Manhattan Institute's Ilya Shapiro, John Ketcham, and Leor Sapir summarize the case and their amicus brief below:

An emerging issue in public education is school officials’ secret social-transitioning of minor children in alternate gender identities and deliberately withholding that information from parents. In this case, the Chico (Calif.) Unified School District adopted a policy in which the school will not inform a child’s parents about a social transition unless the child explicitly authorizes disclosure. The school district argues that the secrecy policy is required by California law. 

Beginning in January 2022, the district enforced this policy against Chico parent Aurora Regino, socially transitioning her 11-year-old daughter for several months without Aurora’s knowledge or consent. Ms. Regino sued, alleging violations of (1) a parent’s fundamental right to direct the upbringing of her children, (2) procedural due process, and (3) family integrity under the First Amendment. The district court denied her motion for a preliminary injunction but granted school officials’ motion to dismiss all causes of action. Ms. Regino has now appealed to the Ninth Circuit.

The Manhattan Institute has filed an amicus brief, updating two we previously filed in similar cases, supporting her appeal and presenting medical research showing that social transition is not a neutral act but an active intervention. Its use on children and adolescents in schools falls squarely within parents’ fundamental right to guide their children’s healthcare.

Read the full amicus brief here.

Ilya Shapiro is director of constitutional studies and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

John Ketcham is director of state and local policy at the Manhattan Institute.

Leor Sapir is a Manhattan Institute fellow.


Are you interested in supporting the Manhattan Institute’s public-interest research and journalism? As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, donations in support of MI and its scholars’ work are fully tax-deductible as provided by law (EIN #13-2912529).