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Parents Sue Over School Transitioning Their Autistic Daughter

by | Thu, Jan 11 2024

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The Christian parents of an autistic girl are suing their daughter’s US school district for allegedly socially transitioning her without their knowledge or consent. Dan and Jennifer Mead allege school staff started treating the 13-year-old as a boy and referring to her with masculine pronouns and a male name.

The child reportedly told a school counselor that she identified as a male after she was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder in 2022, their lawsuit claims. The Meads allege the school in Rockford, Michigan hid those details by deceptively altering its records before the documents were sent home.

The Christian Post reports that when they asked school teachers and staff to refrain from treating his daughter as a boy, they allegedly refused, citing district policy. The Meads claim that the school district’s “constitutional violations destroyed [their] trust in the counsellors, administrators, and other employees with whom they had shared intimate details about their daughter and themselves. That prompted them to pull their daughter out of the school.

“No one with the school district told the parents that it had begun to treat their daughter as a boy by calling her a masculine name and referring to her with male pronouns. They weren’t able to help her in a difficult time in her life. So it prevented them from helping her and that denied them their constitutional rights. Schools shouldn’t keep information like that from parents,” said the Meads’ attorney Vincent Wagner.

Their lawsuit accuses the district of violating their “sincerely held religious beliefs and parental rights” under the First and 14th Amendments of the US Constitution. “Parents, not the government, have the right to direct the upbringing, education, and health care of their children. Schools should never deliberately hide vital information from parents, yet that’s exactly what the Rockford Public School District did,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kate Anderson who is also representing the couple.

The Meads are seeking both nominal and compensatory damages because Mr. Mead has been forced to give up his job to home-school his daughter.

The Christian Post reports: “The issue of public schools keeping gender transitions a secret from parents has proven to be a flashpoint issue in other school districts. A report from the advocacy group Parents Defending Education released last August shows that more than 1,000 school districts across the United States have enacted policies permitting or advising staff to withhold information from parents related to their children’s desires to transition to the opposite sex or identify as non-binary.”

Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom