TALLAHASSEE, FL – A Florida family is suing it’s local county school board for keeping them in the dark about their 13-year-old daughter’s transgender expressions at school. Filed on October 18 in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida, by Child & Parental Rights Campaign, Inc. (CPR-C) a non-profit, non-partisan parent advocate group on behalf of the Littlejohn family, the lawsuit claims that Leon County Schools (LCS) procedures undermine the parents’ authority, and can potentially harm the mental health of their minor child.
According to CPR-C, in August the Littlejohns told their daughter’s teacher at the Deerlake Middle School that the girl had become confused about her gender and was receiving counseling to resolve the gender-related issues. They also told the teacher that they had not consented to the girl changing her name or to using non-specific self-related pronouns, but that they agreed to allow the girl to use a new nickname at school.
The girl later told her mother that she had met with members of the school’s staff and that they asked her several gender-related questions including what bathroom she wanted to use, what sex a person was that she would like to share a room during overnight trips.
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The Littlejohns were not notified by the school about the meetings, and when they questioned school officials about the meetings they were told that at age 13, the girl was the only person who could authorize the school to notify her parents about the meeting.
After several attempts to meet with school officials over the matter, the principal of their daughter’s school finally admitted that staff had met with the girl without her parents’ approval to develop a Transgender/Non-Conforming Student Support Plan which laid out school procedures.
The document also instructed school staff to use a new name of the girl’s choosing, and to use the pronouns they/them when referring to the girl at school. It also instructed staff to use the girl’s given name and gender-specific pronouns when talking to her parents.
The Littlejohns later requested that the guidance document be publicly rescinded by LCS and a new policy requiring parental notification be put in its place, but the District declined according to CPR-C.
The lawsuit was subsequently filed.
According to CPR-C attorney Mary McAlister the suit represents only one case of school districts exceeding their authority at the expense of parental rights.
“School officials cannot continue to ignore the direction of parents concerning their minor children’s mental health and well-being,” McAlister said. “Parental rights are amongst our most venerated constitutionally protected rights and are critical to the integrity of our public school system of education.”
The case remains pending.