Nineteen Republican state attorneys general are siding with parents in a lawsuit against a Massachusetts school district that encouraged their children’s gender transition and shut the parents out of the decision by claiming the parents weren’t support enough.
Led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, the AGs filed an amicus brief in the case against Ludlow Public School in Massachusetts brought by parents Stephen Foote and Marissa Silvestri. The couple says their school deliberately kept them in the dark about their children’s gender transition, secretly promoted ‘social transitioning” and actively subverted the parents’ requests for school personnel to stop.
The school also referred to their two children by new names and pronouns, the parents said.
A lower district court ruled against the parents, who then appealed to the First Circuit. GOP AGs from 19 states argued in their brief that the First Circuit needs to respect parental rights.
“When a student considers transitioning gender, parents have a fundamental, constitutional right to be involved in that decision-making process. Yet school districts across the country, strong-armed by ideologically driven advocacy groups, have shut parents out of the process and trampled on their fundamental rights,” the AG’s brief said. “This Court should therefore reverse or, at a minimum, remand for new analysis.”
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“School districts can’t shut a parent out of their child’s decision about their gender identity because the child objects or because the school believes the parent isn’t supportive enough of an immediate gender transition,” the brief said.
The brief explained that during the 2020-21 school year, Foote and Silvestri sent their children – B.F., an 11-year-old girl, and G.F., a 12-year-old boy – to Ludlow Public Schools.
“In December 2020, they learned that B.F. talked with one of her teachers about depression, low self-esteem, and possible same-sex attraction. Silvestri emailed B.F.’s other teachers, informing them that they would be getting B.F. professional help and asking that no one ‘have any private conversations with B.[F.] in regards to this matter,’” the brief explained.
“But when B.F. emailed her teachers that she identified as ‘genderqueer’ two months later, a school counselor disregarded that request and met privately with B.F.,” according to the brief.
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“After that meeting, the counselor emailed school staff and told them to conceal B.F.’s new name and pronouns from her parents,” the brief said.
Around the same time, Foote and Silvestri learned that their son, G.F., had also expressed an alternate gender identity.
The brief noted that the school’s librarian – who was affiliated with Translate Gender, an organization that shares resources about gender and gender identity – was meeting secretly with both children.
“In these meetings, the librarian actively promoted gender experimentation. And earlier in the school year, he gave students in B.F.’s sixth grade class an assignment to make biographical videos, where he invited students to include their gender identity and preferred pronouns in their videos. He also encouraged B.F. to visit Translate Gender’s website,” the brief said.
The brief said the parents complained to the school administration for concealing critical information about their kids, but that those complains were “brushed aside” and that the school claimed their actions were consistent with school policy.
The school said Foote and Silvestri were exhibiting “thinly-veiled intolerance” by asserting their parental rights.
The brief said even though the district court ultimately ruled against the parents, it still admitted that “it is disconcerting that school administrators or a school committee adopted and implemented a policy requiring school staff to actively hide information from parents about something of importance regarding their child.”
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Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, a nonprofit that advocates for parental rights in the state, told Fox News Digital in a statement they are grateful the AGs “recognize the harm that far-left gender ideologues are doing to children and parents in states like Massachusetts and have joined us in taking a stand against their destructive and unconstitutional actions.”
“As the brief emphasizes, we are seeing more and more school policies popping up in states around the country that sacrifice parental rights – and children themselves – at the altar of radical gender ideology, and we hope that this strong statement by the attorneys general will make the First Circuit Court of Appeals think twice about green-lighting these policies and practices,” Beckwith said.
Republican attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia also signed onto the brief.
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