ESCONDIDO, Calif. — Two teachers at Rincon Middle School are suing the Escondido Union School District and the State Board of Education over gender identity privacy policy.

According to state and district guidelines, a transgender student’s identity must be kept private, even from parents, unless the student says otherwise.

“It forces them to lie to parents and to deceive parents and to participate in a student’s social transition,” said Paul Jonna, the attorney representing the teachers.

According to the lawsuit, policy requires teachers to refer to students by preferred names and pronouns at school, while reverting to biological pronouns and legal names when speaking with the students’ parents.

“Experts on both sides of the spectrum agree that when you’re dealing with a child that has gender dysphoria the solution is not to leave the parents out of the picture, the solution is not to leave the parents in the dark,” Jonna said. “These children need love, care and attention and the school and the state have no business presuming that parents will be unsupportive or that parents will be harmful or abusive.”

Education officials say it’s a policy that’s in place to protect transgender students.

“As a parent, I would hope my child would come to me first with that information,” said Kari Crittenden, a parent of a Rincon student. “For the teachers, I think it puts them in an awkward position if they need to speak to a child one way and then respond to a parent in another.”

In a statement, Superintendent Dr. Luis A. Rankins-Ibarra said, “The Escondido Union School District is committed to providing a safe and positive environment that enables our students to learn and actualize their unlimited potential and that empowers our teachers to excel as educators. As part of that commitment to student learning, the District observes all federal and state laws.”