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A California mom who says her eleven-year-old daughter's school encouraged her to transition also 'ignored her' request to reveal her gender identity to family - as the school district votes to keep the 'parental secrecy' policy.
The Chico Unified School District voted to keep the policy in place that allows them not to inform parents if a child identifies by another gender at school, with trans activist Squeaky Saint Francis adamant the policy could save lives.
The board weighed a measure that would allow for 'more parental inclusion' but ultimately voted to keep the existing 'parental secrecy policy' in place with a 3-2 vote.
Aurora Regino, who is suing the district, expressed her frustration and is calling for more transparency claiming that her daughter, who now identifies as female again, was under stress when making the decision.
Aurora Regino, who says her eleven-year-old daughter's school encouraged her to transition also 'ignored her' request to reveal her gender identity to family - as the school district votes to keep the 'parental secrecy' policy
'I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My daughter was distressed and began questioning her sexuality, so she decided to reach out to a wellness counselor at her elementary school,' she said.
'The day my daughter shared with her guidance counselor that she felt like a boy. The counselor immediately affirmed this new identity.
'My daughter told the counselor she wanted to tell me about her new identity. The counselor ignored her request and did nothing to support her and letting me know what was going on at school.'
Meanwhile, trans activist Squeaky Saint Francis, who is polyamorous, said school can often be the only place for children to discover their gender identity.
'I will speak loud for those who cannot speak, I'm a proud he, she, they, them, whatever I am a boyfriend to a beautiful woman, I am a girlfriend to a handsome transman, and I am also a girlfriend to an incredibly beautiful woman,' they said.
'Growing up in this town my mother always told me to love myself for who I am not what I am not.
'Not all of us can be as lucky and have a supporter like that in fact I knew friends in school who would bring an entire change of clothes with them so they could dress the way that they felt inside and be free of persecution that they would feel at home or the sideways glances.'
They went on to explain that they had been one of the lucky one's and learnt that 'trust' in the process but not everyone has access to that at home.
Meanwhile, trans activist Squeaky Saint Francis (pictured) said school can often be the only place for children to discover their gender identity
One of the first things we learn in a healthy family is trust and unfortunately some parents don't trust their children when they say this is me and they make that decision for them,' they said.
'That may make the child fearful from the people that claim to be trying to protect them these children may see the hate and prejudice at home for people just like them and feel the only place they can be themselves is at school.
'Every child needs to control when they out themselves.'
They went onto support the policy explaining that it could mean the difference between life and death.
'If you take away this ability this control to out themselves you are forcefully putting them into a possibly violent household where their parents could kick them out, force them into conversion camps or relinquish their parental rights and put them into the system and god forbid they might consider suicide,' they said.
'Changing this policy would create a very slippery slope.'
The policy that board members voted to uphold, according to Regino, extends to children as young as pre-kindergarten who are approximately five years old and reaches through the 12th grade.
'It's incredibly damaging that they're upholding such a crazy policy for such young children,' she told Fox News, arguing that such a tumultuous time in children and adolescents' lives is when they need parental guidance the most.
She is suing the school district for allegedly spending weeks encouraging her fifth-grade daughter to transition to a male - including changing her name and pronouns' - after she said she 'felt like a boy'.
Regino said she was 'appalled' that a guidance counselor at Sierra View Elementary School in Chico had not informed her of the advice they were giving her child.
She claims a 'Parental Secrecy Policy' from California's Assembly Bill 1226 – a 2013 law that extended protections to transgender individuals in schools – meant she was not told about the discussions.
Regino (pictured) said she was 'appalled' that she was not informed of the gender discussions
Regino said that her daughter – referred to only as AS in the lawsuit – had been seeing guidance counselor Mandi Robertson in early 2022 due to the death of her grandfather.
One day the girl confessed to the counselor she 'felt like a boy'. According to her mother, Robertson affirmed her feelings 'that very day' and 'within minutes'.
The daughter was allegedly 'unsure' whether she wanted a male name or pronouns but felt 'pressured' by Robertson to adopt them.
Regino said that her daughter even wanted to tell her what was happening but that the school told her to 'come out' to other people first, meaning the mother was not informed.
The lawsuit says she did not 'fully understand what was happening' but began to be known by a male name at school while still being addressed as female at home - which eventually led to her wanting to change schools.
The counselor began to encourage discussions of 'sexuality and gender identity' between classmates over the following weeks, including how to cope with feeling like being in a different gender, according to the lawsuit.
Regino told Fox News: 'For a few months she had opened up to a guidance counselor and the guidance counselor the very day that she opened up and said she felt like a male, she walked her to class and affirmed it that day.'
But the lawsuit states that the 14th amendment means Regino should be able to direct the upbringing of her child and be involved in decision-making about her education - something that it accuses the school of denying her.
It says: 'By socially transitioning AS without informing Ms Regino or obtaining her consent, the District violated Ms Regino's fundamental right to direct the upbringing of her child'.
Eventually the girl told her grandmother, who told Aurora - and she contacted the principal of the school immediately.
In April 2022 Ted Sullivan the District's Director of Elementary Education Ted Sullivan told Regino that Californian law requires schools to socially transition students without telling their parents, unless the student authorizes them to do so.
The district's deputy superintendents Jay Marchant and Kelly Staley also said the Parental Secrecy Policy was required by law.
Regino was keen to affirm that she is supportive of her child and any identity she chooses - but has taken issue with the fact she was not informed first by the school.
She said she wanted daughter to be 'happy and healthy in whatever identity' she chooses but added she would have requested that she see a mental health professional due to her young age and the quick onset of these feelings.
'AS' now identifies as female again and her mother said the confusion was only brought about by other stresses in her life at the time, for which she now attends private therapy.
'I want this to stop', Ms Regino told Fox News, 'Our children need protection.'
Both her two daughters still attend schools in the district - although AS now attends Marsh Junior High.
The district is a public school in Chico and operates 23 schools - twelve elementary, four junior high, three high schools and four others.
Regino said she filed the lawsuit against the district on January 6.