Parents Sue School District For Allegedly Transitioning Daughter in Secret: 'You Don't Get to Lie to the Parents About Anything'
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Michigan parents are suing a public school district over the claim district employees began socially transitioning their daughter without their consent, purportedly concealing these efforts in the process.
Listen to them on the latest episode of “Quick Start”
Dan and Jennifer Mead have sued the Rockford Public School District in Michigan, with the parents telling CBN News the case shows the troubling ways parental rights are sometimes undermined and upended.
“While we were working with the school closely to address [our daughter’s] academic needs in regards to her autism, it came to our attention that the school was actively deceiving and hiding from us the fact that they were transitioning our daughter from being a girl to a boy, using a boy’s name and pronouns,” Dan Mead said in a recent interview.
The parents said they only became aware of the purportedly covert social transitioning after being given paperwork in which they said a school employee had “inadvertently forgotten to change one of those male names and pronouns.”
Jennifer said she initially assumed it was a mistake and that the name and information pertained to someone else’s child. Upon emailing the school to ask if it was an error, she said she found it odd no one responded.
“We started to kind of dig a little bit more and say, ‘Well, why would they not respond to an email over important information like this?” she said. “So, once we found out what was really happening, clearly I was just in shock [and] disbelief.”
Watch the Meads explain:
Dan said he and his wife started to piece together what was happening and were trying to make a plan for how to handle it. Then, they said they found a “very explicit” book in their daughter’s bookbag that purportedly came from the school counselor; he said the book contained a story about a “homosexual boy trying to kind of coerce the boy into a relationship with him.”
They then realized they needed to take action.
“We had a meeting with the school principal,” Dan said. “He said to us, ‘Look, you have to understand this is the school policy. We’re mandated to do this. The desires of the children outweigh those of the parents, and there’s not a whole lot we can do in that regard.'”
Kate Anderson, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, the firm representing the Meads, said such policies have become “very pervasive” in some areas across the U.S., with districts choosing not to tell parents about changes in student pronouns.
“You have situations where they’re actively hiding that information from parents like they were with the Meads,” Anderson said. “They were actually erasing the male name and male pronouns on documents and replacing it with their daughter’s real name and her female pronouns.”
The attorney said this is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, as parents “have the right to direct the upbringing and education of their kids.” In the end, Anderson said parents know their children best and must be included in major decisions such as these.
“A school should never hide information from parents,” she said.
Jennifer became emotional while discussing her daughter’s plight, noting she and her husband have always told their kids they’ll love them no matter what — even if they disagree with their decisions.
“We have always told our children … we will always love them and, of anybody in the world, we are there for them,” she said. “They can trust us. We are here to speak truth to our children, and I look back and I think that that relationship sort of changed for a little while.”
Jennifer said she knew her daughter was facing some turmoil and added that her anxiety was “through the roof,” with depression also taking hold. With her daughter missing school and no longer wanting to attend, she felt something was wrong.
“We were working with the school counselor very closely to come up with a plan for her,” Jennifer said. “I was sharing personal information about what was going on within our family dynamic as well, and I thought that we were being transparent.”
Despite all of the chaos, the Meads said their daughter is “no longer confused” and knows she is loved and can come to them with anything.
“She is thriving, her grades are up, she is happy,” Jennifer said. “She’s like a different child now, and it’s wonderful that we’ve got her back.”
Dan said he and his wife knew they could have left their initial meetings with the school and quietly ignored what had unfolded to avoid public scrutiny and chaos.
But, in the end, they felt a responsibility to speak out and take action.
“How many other parents have done this before us?” he asked. [H]ow many are going to come after us? And if I ever had to look at another father or mother who went through this and say, ‘Oh yeah, that happened to us, too, but we didn’t do anything about it,’ I don’t know how I could handle that.”
Dan said he and his wife want to “make this right” and stop it from happening to other parents and children. The purported lies and deceit are what have left him and his family most stunned.
“You don’t get to lie to the parents about anything,” he said. “You don’t get to withhold information, change documents — none of that stuff.”
Anderson said the lawsuit was filed just before Christmas and is very early on in the process. The Meads are asking the court to see the incident as a violation of the family’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights and are seeking damages pertaining to the cost of taking their child out of school.
CBN News will continue to cover the case as it unfolds.
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