The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) accused Monument Academy (MA) of violating Colorado anti-discrimination laws this August in a letter threatening to sue the school if it refused to support transgender ideology.
The letter primarily takes issue with a resolution the school adopted in June giving parents authority over whether their children identify and dress as something other than their biological sex at school.
In 2021, Colorado passed a bill making discrimination against a person based on their “gender identity” and “gender expression” illegal, along with previously protected classes like disability, race and religion.
The bill mandates charter schools allow students to dress and use sex-segregated facilities, like bathrooms and locker rooms, consistent with their assumed gender identity instead of their biological sex.
In contrast, MA’s resolution requires both parents or legal guardians to consent before allowing a student under 18-years-old from dressing and using facilities inconsistent with their sex.
The ACLU claims this requirement is an illegal, “discriminatory prerequisite,” to gender confused children attending school, but MA’s board believes the Constitution protects parents’ right to determine their children’s gender identity and expression.
The resolution specifically quotes a 2000 Supreme Court case that found the 14th Amendment’s Due Process Clause protects citizens from “government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests, including parents’ fundamental rights to make decisions concerning the care, custody and control of their children.”
Board Chair Ryan Graham says MA’s policies are designed to comply with the highest law of the land, explaining:
“We are bringing parents to the table. If the parents are standing against their child expressing or identifying [as a different gender], we believe the 14th Amendment protects [MA] from having to allow that child to [do so]. We’re protecting parental rights by honoring that.”
In addition to protecting parents’ rights, the resolution protects students by empowering parents to advocate for their children’s right to privacy. MA intends to alert affected families if a student changes gender identities so families can request measures — like establishing a bathroom or locker room monitor— to prevent their children from being forced to use facilities with a member of the opposite sex.
If a child’s privacy or safety is violated by another child identifying as the opposite sex, MA pledges to support parents who pursue legal action against the offending student and their guardians.
The ACLU claims this policy “endorses the ostracism of [a gender confused] student by encouraging others to avoid sharing facilities with them.” They do not acknowledge the testimony two MA seventh graders, who stood in front of the school’s June town hall to describe their feelings of discomfort and violation when a boy entered the girl’s restroom last year.
Nor do they show awareness that giving gender confused children unrestricted access to the restroom or locker room of their choice removes safeguards protecting students —particularly girls — from assault and trauma.
The resolution reflects MA’s belief that switching gender identity and expression is a serious decision that can be harmful. Accordingly, the school promises not to “promote gender confusion” in students or “promote, encourage or motivate” students’ transition.
To prevent them from making hasty decisions to identify differently, the resolution requires students’ official school records be changed to reflect their new gender identity instead of their sex — in addition to obtaining parental consent — before they are allowed to dress and use the facilities of their chosen gender.
The ACLU says this language is “open[ly] hostile” to gender-confused students and illustrates the school is unwelcoming toward them, and therefore discriminatory. It further claims the school board is “totally unqualified to prescribe the course of a student’s transition,” and that, “The resolution gives power to the school over decisions that belong to the students, their families, and medical professionals by prescribing the inflexible ways a student must present and express themselves in order for Monument Academy to accept aspects of their identity at school.”
These statements represent a fundamental, if ironic, misunderstanding of the resolution. The board pledges to make no decisions about any student’s gender identity or expression without parent’s explicit knowledge and consent.
That’s not withholding rights from parents — it’s giving them total control.
“It’s egregious to me that the public school system is condoning and pushing [children to identify as a different gender at school without telling their parents],” says Graham. He wants the resolution to assure parents that MA will not covertly teach their children transgender ideology.
The vast majority of families reportedly back the resolution, including many of the 300 people who attended the town hall where the measure was passed. Several thanked the board for drafting the resolution, including one attendee who said, “Thank you so much for taking seriously [my children’s] safety and right to privacy.”
It’s an indictment of Colorado’s legislation that schools need to author specific resolutions to protect their student’s constitutional rights — and that mothers feel they must thank them for doing so.
It’s an indictment of our society that an organization claiming to represent civil liberties cannot or will not acknowledge the risks of allowing children to identify as any gender they want.
Graham says the problem is not limited to Colorado:
“What we are seeing on a nationwide scale is that organizations are coming against [schools] who fight for what we’re trying to protect—the privacy of our students and their parental rights.”
Though MA responded to the ACLU noting the organization did not have a family or entity to represent, it has not replied with further legal challenges. Please keep MA — and schools like them across the nation — in your prayers as they stand up for their students.
Photo from Shutterstock.