Two Florida parents have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that their daughter’s school orchestrated her gender transition and intentionally deceived the mother and father about the matter.
The lawsuit alleges that staff at Deerlake Middle School in Tallahassee, Fla., called the 13-year-old girl by her preferred name and pronouns and allowed her to use the boys’ restroom – all without the permission of her parents. Further, the lawsuit alleges, the school’s staff were told not to use the girl’s preferred name and pronouns around the mother and father.
The parents allege that the school violated their parental rights under the U.S. and Florida Constitutions. The Washington Examiner also reported on the lawsuit.
“What the school district did is tantamount to saying children need to be protected from their parents, rather than by their parents,” the parents’ attorney, Veronica Broyles, told the Examiner. “This guidance that they had in place and their actions convey the message that parents are presumed to be dangerous to their children.”
The girl identified as non-binary and preferred plural “they/them” pronouns. The lawsuit says she has been diagnosed with ADHD and is seeing a counselor. Further, the suit says, the girl’s self-identity likely is due to her circle of friends – three of whom identify as transgender.
“By excluding parents from discussions regarding their child’s/children’s assertion of a discordant gender identity and adopting protocols aimed at secretively affirming the discordant gender identity, Defendants are making … decisions that affect the mental health of their child in contravention of Plaintiffs’ fundamental rights,” the lawsuit says.
The controversy began when the child asked her parents if she could be identified as non-binary and use a different name and a different set of pronouns at school. The parents agreed to a name change, but only as a nickname.
The parents told the child’s math teacher about the nickname but also said they wanted her to be identified as female at school and to be referred to using female pronouns, the suit says.
The parents are Jeffrey and January Littlejohn. The child is known as “A.G.” in the lawsuit.
“Unbeknownst to Mr. and Mrs. Littlejohn until November 2, 2020, A.G.’s request to change her name with the guidance counselor unleashed a flurry of activity aimed at secretly affirming A.G.’s belief that she was nonbinary and was to be called ‘J.’ and be referred to by the pronouns ‘they/them’ by all of A.G.’s teachers in direct contravention of her parents’ decisions and direction to school staff. … Mr. and Mrs. Littlejohn also learned that as of September 8, 2020, teachers and staff at Deerlake Middle School had been told that A.G. identified as ‘nonbinary’ and of her preferred name and pronouns. Staff had also been directed not to use her preferred name or gender-specific pronouns when talking to A.G.’s Parents.”
It is the second such lawsuit in recent weeks to become public. Alliance Defending Freedom is representing a Wisconsin couple who allege that the principal and staff of a school district identified their daughter as a transgender boy over their objections.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Vladimir Vladimirov
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.