Image 01 Image 03

Federal Courts Allowing Secret Social Transitioning in Schools, Rebuff Parents’ Rights

Federal Courts Allowing Secret Social Transitioning in Schools, Rebuff Parents’ Rights

Public schools are encouraging students to socially transition behind their parents’ backs, claiming secrecy is necessary to keep kids “safe”—from their parents.

Stephen Foote and Marissa Silvestri’s 11-year-old daughter was a sixth-grade student at the Baird Middle School in Ludlow, MA, during the 2020-2021 school year when her parents say they learned she identified as “genderqueer.”

It was news to the parents, but not to the school.

They sued the school for keeping that news from them. To read through their  federal complaint, which we first covered here, it should not have come as a surprise to anyone.

The Ludlow school staff played an active role  in socially transitioning students to other genders, the parents allege. [Complaint par. 58] The chief instigator was the former school librarian: She advertised her own “nonbinary” status to the school community and told students not to refer to one another as “boys” and “girls.” She also met one-on-one with both their son and daughter, the parents say in the complaint, “on multiple occasions to discuss alternative genders, affirm the children’s choices of alternative names, and provide encouragement for their assertion of a transgender identity”—all without their knowledge or consent. [Complaint, par. 90]

In fact, the parents might never have found out about their daughter if it weren’t for one brave teacher who they claim forwarded  them the email she sent to school staff [Complaint, par. 60]:

Hello everyone, If you are reading this you are either my teacher or guidance counselor. I have an announcement to make and I trust you guys with this information. I am genderqueer. Basically, it means I use any pronouns (other than it/its). This also means I have a name change. My new name will be R****. Please call me by that name. If you deadname me or use any pronouns I am not comfortable with I will politely tell you. I am telling you this because I feel like I can trust you. A list of pronouns you can use are: she/her he/him they/them fae/faerae/aer ve/ver xe/xem ze/zir. I have added a link so you can look at how to say them. Please only use the ones I have listed and not the other ones. I do not like them. Thank you. R*** Foote. [Complaint, par. 56]

The teacher was later fired, the parents allege, for her “inappropriate contact with the parents,” i.e., for sharing the student’s email with her own parents. [Complaint, par. 71]

That is because under the alleged Ludlow public school policy, when a student asks to be called by a new name and pronouns of another gender, staff members have to keep it a secret from the parents, unless they have the student’s consent.

From the Complaint, par. 35:

35. Plaintiffs are informed and believe and based thereon allege that from July 2021 to the present Defendant Nemeth, as Interim Superintendent of Ludlow Public Schools, has implemented the Protocol throughout Ludlow Public Schools and directed administrators, teachers, counselors and other staff in all district schools adhere to the Protocol by not notifying parents regarding their child’s gender nonconformity or transgender status unless the child had consented to his or her parents being notified.

It must get confusing for teachers, having to keep straight which set of names and pronouns to use when speaking to the parents and which set to use when speaking to their child in school:

From the Complaint, par. 103:

103. Defendant School Committee has condoned and facilitated the continued implementation of the Protocol, and in particular the intentional and blatant disregard for parental rights reflected in concealing information from parents regarding their children’s gender non-conformity or transgender identification and in actively deceiving parents by directing staff to use children’s given names and pronouns when speaking with parents but using the child’s asserted preference for alternative names and pronouns at all other times.

But those are the rules.

And anyone who objects to them, the former Ludlow superintendent later said at a school committee meeting, is just showing their “thinly veiled intolerance” masked as “parental rights,” the court found this past December. In defense of the school policy, he said that for “some students who are transgender or gender nonconforming, school is the only safe place to express who they are.” In other words, the policy was there to protect the students—from their parents.

In Court, Keeping Kids “Safe” Overrides Parents’ Rights

When Foote and Silvestri challenged that policy in federal court last year, they claimed that withholding information about their children’s gender identity violated their constitutional rights to direct the upbringing of their children and make medical and mental-health care decisions for them, as well as their right to family privacy.

But in December, U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni dismissed those claims. The court ruled that the parents failed to explain how social transitioning—referring to a person by his preferred name and pronouns—had clinical significance as a mental-health care intervention. “Addressing a person using their preferred name and pronouns,” therefore doesn’t violate the parents’ rights, it “simply accords the person the basic level of respect,” the court held.

Ultimately, keeping kids “safe” trumped the parents’ interests. The court admitted that the school’s policy “requiring school staff to actively hide information from parents about something of importance regarding their child” was “disconcerting.”  Nonetheless, it was “consistent with Massachusetts law and the goal of providing transgender and gender nonconforming students with a safe school environment.”

The Ludlow parents appealed to the First Circuit, where their case is pending.

A parent in California fared no better last week when the federal district court tossed her challenge to a similar “Parental Secrecy Policy,” as we first reported here. In that case, Aurora Regino sued her daughter’s school in northern California, claiming it violated her parental rights by socially transitioning students without notifying parents or obtaining their consent.

Just as the defendants had argued in Ludlow, the California school insisted the policy was necessary to keep kids safe: In some cases disclosure can lead to harm to students from “potential domestic violence,” they said. Judge John A. Mendez agreed. He ruled that the school had demonstrated a legitimate state interest in “creating a zone of protection for transgender students” from harm—in their own homes.

An appeal to the Ninth Circuit is planned, Regino’s lawyer, Harmeet Dhillon[*] tweeted.

But the real harm to children doesn’t come from the home; it comes from the schools that socially transition them behind their parents’ backs. That is the thrust of the amicus brief filed by Ilya Shapiro of the Manhattan Institute in support of Ludlow plaintiffs Foote and Silvestri.

They say the Massachusetts district court was wrong to dismiss the clinical significance of social transitioning. In fact, decades of medical research show it to be an active mental-health intervention with potentially long-term catastrophic consequences:

Minors who are socially transitioned … are more likely to persist in their cross-gender feelings and, in time, seek medical interventions in the form of gonadotropin releasing analogues (puberty blockers), cross-sex hormones, and surgeries. These interventions carry known and anticipated risks, including lifelong sterility, sexual dysfunction, mood disorders, and increased risk for cancer and heart disease.

As Shapiro explains here, “far from a neutral act or polite convention,” secret social transitioning in schools violates parents’ constitutional rights.

You Don’t Want This To Happen In Your Family

When the Ludlow parents come before the court this next time, they won’t be going it alone.  The Manhattan Institute is one of scores of organizations that have filed amicus briefs with the First Circuit Court of Appeals, on both sides.  And a total of 35 states—19 in support of the parents and 16 in support of the school—had also weighed in by the end of last month. What began as a local conflict is shaping up to be a closely watched battle royale.

Parents are finally waking up to what child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Miriam Grossman has been watching with growing alarm for years: Transgender ideology has taken hold in public schools nationwide.

“It’s not only one school here and there,” she explained recently in an interview on Steve Bannon’s War Room, where she talked about her new book, Lost in Trans Nation. Transgender ideology is by now “baked into” the country’s educational associations.

Parents have to be proactive, she warns, because in the name of “safety” and “inclusion,” schools across the country are secretly encouraging social transitioning:

I want parents to understand that if your daughter is using the boys’ bathroom, or your daughter is changing her clothes in the boys’ locker room, your school is going to hide that from you, unless your daughter gives her permission for you to know. So the school is going to be complicit in the child’s delusion that they are the opposite sex.

Grossman doesn’t want one parent to find out from another parent at the grocery store that their daughter is using the boys’ facilities. By then it’s already too late. “You don’t want that to happen in your family.”


*Regino is represented by Dhillon Law Group, where my husband is a partner.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


SeymourButz | July 18, 2023 at 7:39 pm

In what universe is inflicting mental illness on a child keeping them safe? There is no such thing as being born in the wrong body. We used to teach kids girls can wear pants and still be girls, or a boy could enjoy sewing or play with dolls and still be a boy. Now the schools give them hormone pills and help connect them to doctors who will permanently disfigure them for profit.

We’re done as a society.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | July 18, 2023 at 7:59 pm

What can you say, really?

Western Leftists are soulless ghouls. The whole lot of them.

They are self-hating nihilists who are out to make all of us pay for the fact that they were even born.

I put my money where my mouth is and am paying for my 9 and 7 year old grandchildren to go to parochial school. Aside from this issue, the school was only ever not on full schedule during Covid in the Spring of 2020.

That’s so…wrong. I am strongly encouraged to call parents if I suspect their kid is just sad about stuff or otherwise struggling. If a kid has a major issue going on and I don’t bring it to the parents, then that is grounds for a mark in my employment file.

The Right by it’s very nature has limitations. There’s an understood point at which the majority on the Right agrees, “No. That’s not allowed. If we come to that we’ve gone too far.”

The Left has no boundaries. There’s no point at which the majority on the Left says, “Okay, beyond here is too far. We don’t want to go there.” Because of this lack of any real limits the Left has no bottom.

Those on the Left are beginning to debate whether pedophilia is really that all bad. And why not allow the sick, elderly and severely depressed to choose euthanasia? Nice people on the Left with families and businesses are considering these points of view while waiting to see what their Lefty friends think.

How long before those against capital punishment decide it might be best to consider euthanizing certain people for the greater good? And why is cannibalism so frowned upon?

Every other week another Leftist politician proposes an even more ludicrous law regarding the police or separating parents from their children. Each seems to be set on making a name for themselves by one upping the previous asinine Leftist.

It’s not going to stop. Whatever today’s situation happens to be it will be far exceeded in the near future. The only thing Leftists are allowed to disagree with is whatever the Right believes.

    CommoChief in reply to JohnC. | July 18, 2023 at 9:21 pm

    Frightening analysis b/c of the likely accuracy.

      JohnC in reply to CommoChief. | July 19, 2023 at 6:06 am

      Thing is the Left has no good answer to the question “Why not?” whereas the Right does.
      Why shouldn’t someone allow their prepubescent child to be sterilized with hormones by the school nurse?
      Why shouldn’t someone allow their prepubescent children to be mutilated by a hospital such that they will never experience an orgasm?
      Why shouldn’t a 12-year-old be allowed to have sexual relations with a 29-year-old?

        CommoChief in reply to JohnC. | July 19, 2023 at 10:08 am

        You are preaching to the choir. They leftists never seem to have any limiting principle for their policy preferences.

        One thing about the CT ruling that violates logic:

        The ruling seeks to ‘protect’ the student’s trans decisions from the potential, but unproven, negative reaction of the Parents. It does so by concealing the ‘trans identity’ of the student.

        Thus it doesn’t validate the student’s trans identity at home. Instead it suppresses and hides it. If it is justifiable for the ‘trans identity’ not to be affirmed at home then why is it justifiable to seek to impose affirming speech codes and force folks to participate in the delusional fantasy cosplay in other environments?

        Either the trauma created by lack of affirmation of ‘trans identity’ is so substantial as to require the involuntary participation of society (which is what we see being imposed elsewhere) including at home (the ultimate safe space) OR it is not. Both can’t be simultaneously true.

        I suspect the CT understands this and ruled in such a way as to attempt to avoid being perceived as imposing impermissible compelled speech onto Parents. Ultimately this ruling gets overturned, IMO, but in the meantime damage is being done by those who conspire to harm minor children.

    chrisboltssr in reply to JohnC. | July 19, 2023 at 9:46 am

    The reason it will never stop is because we no longer have conversations about what is good and what is evil. In fact, the conversations has led to an inversion of what is good and what is bad. The most blaring example is how we view police and how we view criminals. The former is under constant scrutiny of perceived “brutality” while we are go be sympathetic to the latter depending on the race of the criminal.

    We are fast approaching the point of unsustainability for this wickedness.

      CommoChief in reply to chrisboltssr. | July 19, 2023 at 10:14 am

      In my experience leftists don’t believe in evil. Not from a religious perspective or from personal experience. They tend to keep within the confines of their lefty bubbles both physically and intellectually and so don’t have much, if any, experience with the menu evils in the world. The information they consume is carefully curated to eliminate dissenting opinions or data that doesn’t cleave to their existing orthodoxy.

Switch to “pointers” and “setters” like restrooms in hunting lodges. Legacy genitalia rule.

Suburban Farm Guy | July 18, 2023 at 8:49 pm

What tangled webs we weave
When first we practice to not confine mentally ill individuals and get them the treatment that they desperately need

The days of trusting a public school admin or its teachers not to pull these stunts are over.

It’s time for parent monitoring of classrooms. Parent associations should create a rotating roster of duty parents or grandparents to sit in the back these classrooms and observe them all day. Videoing classes is also an option.

    I’d support this.

    JohnSmith100 in reply to Gosport. | July 19, 2023 at 12:59 am

    Public school administrators have been a problem for at least 6 decades. becoming increasingly worse.

    alohahola in reply to Gosport. | July 19, 2023 at 9:15 am

    I’d support parent presence in the classroom, but no video or photography AT ALL.

      GWB in reply to alohahola. | July 19, 2023 at 9:32 am

      Why no video or photography? Is there something that should not be on record?

        CommoChief in reply to GWB. | July 19, 2023 at 10:18 am

        Agreed. No reason for the activities within a public building carried out by public employees not to be easily accessible to the public who pay for all of it.

        Obviously this applies to common areas; hallways, cafeteria, gymnasium and classrooms but not areas where privacy considerations override that like restrooms, showers, changing rooms, locker rooms or admin offices.

    GWB in reply to Gosport. | July 19, 2023 at 9:33 am

    I think video streaming is a good option nowadays.
    Can you imagine the fun of several parents simultaneously saying to their bosses, “I gotta go to my kid’s school, NOW.” And all of them descending on the school as a near flash mob?
    THAT would put accountability front and center.

    George S in reply to Gosport. | July 19, 2023 at 10:38 am

    Sounds like a plan.

    Until they are arrested for trespassing when they attempt to walk in the building and refuse to leave when told…

    And then have trouble finding a lawyer because the MA woke Bar Association threatens any lawyer who defends them…

    And if they find a lawyer, they will most likely require a retainer, which alone could decimate their retirement savings…

    As they say: It’s the process that’s the punishment.

    Azathoth in reply to Gosport. | July 20, 2023 at 12:24 pm

    “It’s time for parent monitoring of classrooms. Parent associations should create a rotating roster of duty parents or grandparents to sit in the back these classrooms and observe them all day. Videoing classes is also an option.”

    And? What good does this do? Will you report them to their collegues who are likely doing the same thing? To the people higher up in bureacracy who implemented what you are complaining about? To the police who do the bidding of these monsters?

    There is no one to report them to–no authority that will do the >something< everyone wants done but no one wants to be the first to do.

    Except us.

    Start a homeschooling group, create one class with 20 kids and 40 parents, each parent takes off one day in 40 (not including weekends) to oversee the class.

    Get your kids out of their indoctrination centers and protect them from their groping fingers.

    And do it now.

E Howard Hunt | July 18, 2023 at 10:21 pm

Men need to start acting like men again. Insult these sexual perverts in no uncertain terms, and put these crazy female school teachers in their place. Society has become totally feminized. Hell, if I were a woman, I’d hate men too-they’ve become such wimps.

Here’s a few state website based documents on how to treat “gender issues” in school. They link to other things as well. I recommend a few shots of Pepto Bismol before reading.

These are all legitimate and frightening. I’d give trigger warnings, but those are part of the problem.

thalesofmiletus | July 19, 2023 at 12:47 am

[[[Ultimately, keeping kids “safe” trumped the parents’ interests.]]]

Why doesn’t keeping kids safe trump the school’s interest? No one at the school has a greater interest in the child than the child’s own parents.

My policy is that no one may keep secrets with my child behind my back. If you cannot honor that policy, you are fired.

    No one at the school has a greater interest in the child than the child’s own parents.
    Ah, but you’re ignoring the interest of the society at large. After all, you want them to become productive citizens, right? And not some wastrel or ruffian, preying on their fellow citizens?

    And right there they go from there being an interest by society, to total control by whomever runs society. Your kids no longer belong to you, but to “society at large”.

      DSHornet in reply to GWB. | July 19, 2023 at 6:41 pm

      As in Huxley’s “Brave New World.” We’re getting there if we haven’t gotten there by now.

chrisboltssr | July 19, 2023 at 1:09 am

Get your kids out of public schools and stop believing that education is a “right.” It’s not. It is a service just like any other service provided in this forsaken country and the consumer of the service is the one who should pay for it, not the taxpayer.

nordic prince | July 19, 2023 at 1:10 am

Perverts always use the same line on kids:

“It’ll be our little secret.”

The teachers union is run by a queer groomer and she has convinced every teacher that queer is better. These teachers are dimwits.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | July 19, 2023 at 8:18 am

It’s interesting that their default assumption is that parents are “unsafe”. It tells you about more than just their position on pronouns and such.

This is another enlightened leftist judge carrying water for his fellow travelers.

Public schools should be abolished. Nothing that happens in school should be secret

    thalesofmiletus in reply to geronl. | July 19, 2023 at 9:21 am

    Public schools started out as private Protestant schools, but were eventually taken-over by the state. That was clearly a bad move.

      Yes and no. “Public” schools became a thing when the Progressives decided you couldn’t just let a community decide how to handle things, and that uniformity and equity were more important than freedom. And the American people bought it, hook, line, and sinker.

      (The first “public” schools – that is, gov’t run, state funded – were based on the Prussian model, because it made good little citizens. Until that effort began, most schools were charitable (run by often religious people or organizations) or community run and funded. And, since there were people who couldn’t afford as good a school as everyone else, the Progs had an in – spreading the wealth, as it were.)

Steven Brizel | July 19, 2023 at 9:00 am

This is a battle that has to be fought on every level possible

The weird thing is that it wasn’t that long ago when the school nurse had to have a permission slip from the parents to even give their child an aspirin.