Child and Parental Rights Campaign, a nonprofit public interest law firm, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Oct. 18 on behalf of January and Jeffrey Littlejohn, whose daughter attended Deerlake Middle School, a Leon County District school, in Tallahassee, Florida during the 2019-2020 school year.
According to the lawsuit, the Littlejohns’ daughter—referred to as A.G.—had expressed to her parents that she was confused about her gender during the spring of 2020 and believed she might be nonbinary. That summer, A.G. had asked her parents to permit her to change her name to “J.” and to use “they/them” pronouns. The Littlejohns agreed to allow their daughter to use “J.” as a nickname at school but said she would still be addressed as A.G. and with female pronouns.
Mrs. Littlejohn had found out earlier in the year that three of her daughter’s friends had begun identifying as transgender. She believed that A.G., who suffers from ADHD, was being influenced by her friend group to question her gender.
In September 2020, A.G. made an off-hand comment to her mother saying that she had had a meeting with several school officials, in which they asked her what restroom she preferred to use as a result of changing her name.
Given that the Littlejohns had never given the school permission to change A.G.’s name, let alone have a meeting with their daughter about her preferred restroom, the parents emailed the school counselor expressing their displeasure and asked for a meeting with school officials.
In response, the counselor and the assistant principal called and informed Mrs. Littlejohn that they could not tell her anything about her daughter’s meeting with school staff and that A.G. was “protected” under a nondiscrimination law that does not include parental notification or input.
Later, the Littlejohns discovered that school staff had also created a “Student Support Plan” for A.G., in which other staff members were directed to affirm A.G.’s belief that she is nonbinary and to conceal “information regarding their children’s assertion of a discordant gender identity, including … assumption of a new name, use of different pronouns, use of opposite sex privacy facilities and use of opposite sex lodging on off campus trips.”
The lawsuit argues that the school district violated the Littlejohns’ parental rights by facilitating their child’s social transition to a different gender identity at school without their consent. The plaintiffs are demanding that the district’s Student Support Plans, as well as its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Nonconforming and Questioning Support Guide, be rescinded and amended to include parental participation.
The case has not yet been scheduled, according to the U.S. District Court’s website.
Photo: Ronnie Chua/Alamy Stock Photo