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Michigan Parents Sue School, Allege It Concealed Daughter’s Transition From Them

Attorneys for the Alliance Defending Freedom have filed suit against a Michigan school district on the behalf of a mother and father who allege that employees of the school district assisted the couple’s child, a middle schooler, in transitioning, and concealed the school’s actions in that process from the parents.

In the lawsuit, the Alliance Defending Freedom alleges that the school district assisted the child in transitioning by referring to her as a boy, and that the school district thus violated the Constitutional rights of the parents.

Explaining the situation, a press release put out by the Alliance Defending Freedom claims, “Dan and Jennifer Mead withdrew their daughter from the eighth grade at East Rockford Middle School in October 2022 after district employees, acting in compliance with Rockford Public School District policy, treated their daughter as a boy by referring to her by a masculine name and male pronouns without notifying the Meads or seeking their consent.”

Continuing, the press release argues that the school district’s employees violated the rights of the parents by concealing critical information about their child, saying, “Employees had altered the girl’s official records to remove references to the district’s actions before sending the records home. The Meads only discovered the district’s actions when an employee unintentionally failed to completely alter a report about their daughter before sharing it with them. By concealing this important information, the district violated the Meads’ fundamental parental rights. The U.S. Constitution protects their right as parents to make decisions about the upbringing, education, and health care of their children.”

ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson, director of ADF’s Center for Parental Rights, spoke about the situation as well, saying, “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.”

Continuing, Ms. Anderson said, “District employees didn’t even notify Dan and Jennifer—let alone seek their consent—before beginning to call their young daughter by a masculine name and male pronouns. Worse, district policy required employees to alter official records to conceal the district’s actions. By intentionally concealing this information from the Meads, the school district violated their constitutionally protected right to make decisions regarding their daughter’s education and wellbeing and destroyed the trust the Mead family had placed in the district and its employees.

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Stating that claim, the lawsuit, after describing how the school employees allegedly hid critical information from the Meads, argues, “These actions and the other actions detailed below violated the Meads’ long-settled constitutional rights. The First Amendment protects their right to exercise their religion by directing G.M.’s education and upbringing, including on fundamental questions of existence like how G.M. identifies herself. And the Fourteenth Amendment guarantees their fundamental right to make decisions about her upbringing, education, and healthcare.”

Continuing, the lawsuit provides, “By intentionally concealing from the Meads important information about their daughter’s education and health—on a subject as morally fraught as gender confusion—the District denied them these constitutional rights. Absent extraordinary circumstances, a school district’s concealment from parents of such information violates the Constitution. The District did not attempt to justify its actions here based on any extraordinary circumstances. Those actions were not rationally related to any legitimate purpose, let alone narrowly tailored to a compelling one.”

In its prayer for relief, the lawsuit demands “A declaration that the District’s policy facially and as applied to the Meads violates the Meads’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution; Nominal damages, compensatory damages, and such other damages to which the Meads may be entitled; The Meads’ reasonable attorneys’ fees, court costs, and other costs and disbursements in this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988; and, All other relief to which the Meads may be entitled.”

Featured image credit: Alliance Defending Freedom

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