Parents in Massachusetts are suing officials at their children’s middle school as well as the school district for concealing their children’s struggles with accepting their sexual identity, and for ignoring parents’ clear warnings to the school that mental health professionals were already involved and school officials should steer clear.
The lawsuit, brought on behalf of the parents by lawyers with the Child & Parental Rights Campaign and the Massachusetts Family Institute, an ally of Focus on the Family, alleges school officials at Baird Middle School in Ludlow, Massachusetts, not only actively concealed information from the parents, but encouraged the children to accept gender identities that conflicted with their biological sex.
The school went so far as to offer the children, including an 11-year-old girl, the use of whatever restroom, boys or girls, they desired.
The facts, as alleged in the parents’ lawsuit, offer a chilling view into a pattern of disregard for parental rights.
For example, the parents say that teachers and counselors continuously spoke to and encouraged the children involved to use different names and pronouns at school, despite the parents’ specific instructions not to.
The school even suspended and later fired a teacher who contacted the parents to inform them their 11-year-old daughter was “experiencing depression, asserting a discordant gender identity, and requesting to use an assumed male name.” The teacher was told she had violated district policy.
In a nutshell, the parents’ legal complaint reads, “Defendants have intentionally and purposefully driven a wedge between Plaintiffs and their children, fostered distrust of parents, planted seeds of doubt that the parents can appropriately care for their children and keep them safe, and otherwise irreparably harmed the parent-child relationship.”
A second set of parents named as plaintiffs in the suit are worried that the school’s secrecy policy has “deliberately hindered [them] from ascertaining whether their children are being secretly counseled about and affirmed in discordant gender identities without their knowledge or consent.”
Those parents are also concerned the school and the school district are violating the family’s free exercise of religion by contradicting the biblical view that God created us as either male or female and are attempting to “coerce” their children into supplanting their parents’ views with the government’s.
In response to an email containing parental concerns about the school’s policy that was read aloud at a public meeting of the School Committee, a prepared response from the district superintendent said the parental concerns amounted to “intolerance of LGBTQ people thinly veiled” behind a “camouflage of parental rights.”
The superintendent also remarked that schools are the only “safe spaces” for children, not their homes and loving parents, and vowed to continue ignoring parental wishes when it came to the subject of young students’ sexual identity confusion. He allegedly labeled parental concerns about their children “prejudice and bigotry.”
The school, and the district’s policy underlying the school’s actions, violated fundamental parental rights, according to attorney Andrew Beckwith with Massachusetts Family Institute.
“This lawsuit is about protecting the right of parents to raise their children without the interference of government officials,” Beckwith told The Boston Globe. “By deliberately circumventing the authority of parents over the mental health and religious beliefs of their children, activists at the Ludlow schools are violating time-honored rights guaranteed under the US Constitution and the Massachusetts Constitution.”
Gender ideology in many of the nation’s public schools is premised upon secrecy and furthered by school policies that consider parents to be the problem, not the solution. Parents in some states are pushing back, resulting in laws such as Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act, which requires schools to keep parents informed of any changes to a “student’s mental, emotional, or physical well-being.”
The Massachusetts situation is not unique to The Bay State; parents everywhere need to stay vigilant in protecting their children from harmful ideologies being pushed in schools. It is our primary obligation as parents to “train up a child in the way he should go ….” (Proverbs 22:6 ESV). School policies that set schools, not parents, as the final authority are in direct contradiction of that biblical imperative.
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