Four parents have filed a case against a middle school in Massachusetts for allegedly pushing their children to adopt new gender identities without their knowledge or consent.
A Massachusetts middle school is at the center of a lawsuit filed by two pairs of parents who accused staff of encouraging their children to adopt new gender identities without their knowledge or consent. Stephen Foote and Marissa Silvestri, and Jonathan Feliciano and Sandra Salmeron are the Plaintiffs in a case filed on April 12 in a Massachusetts federal district court with the assistance of Child and Parental Rights Campaign and the Massachusetts Family Institute, organizations that support parents in navigating issues on gender identity and parental rights.
According to the Christian Post, the lawsuit named several Baird Middle School officials as defendants, including Superintendent Lisa Nemeth, former Superintendent Todd Gazda, Baird Middle School Principal Stacy Monette, school counselor Marie-Claire Foley and former librarian Jordan Funke.
Foote and Silvestri said they were unaware of the "transitioning" of their young son and daughter, who the lawsuit referred to as G.F. and B.F. respectively. They were only made aware of this in December 2020 when their daughter's teacher, Bonnie Manchester, informed the parents that their daughter was struggling with her self-esteem. The teacher forwarded an email to the parents in which their 11 year old daughter referred to herself as "genderqueer" and cited her new name and preferred pronouns of "he/him."
The parents then contacted Baird Middle School in Ludlow, Massachusetts and requested its staff to refrain from discussing the issue with their children and let them "direct the mental health care of their children" instead. The complaint added that Foote and Silvestri have "sincerely held religious beliefs that human beings are created male or female and that the natural created order regarding human sexuality cannot be changed regardless of individual feelings, beliefs, or discomfort with one's identity, and biological reality, as either male or female."
Foote and Silvestri claimed they made it clear to the school that they would provide their daughter with the appropriate help from a "mental health professional" but that the school disregarded their instructions. The parents claimed that their daughter "changed her preferred name at least twice since December 2020" without their knowledge and that the school continues to address their daughter by "whatever iteration of her name she has indicated she prefers" despite their clear instructions otherwise.
In addition, the lawsuit also claims that the couple's son has "identified as transgender and requested to be called by a female name" and accused the school of helping him hide it from his parents. The lawsuit also describes an incident in 2019 when librarian Jordan Funke asked students to create a video fo their preferred gender pronouns. B.F. and possibly G.F. participated in the assignment without their parents' consent or knowledge.
Meanwhile, parents Feliciano and Salmeron are also named as Plaintiffs in the lawsuit and they accused the school of preventing them from knowing "whether their children are being secretly counseled about and affirmed in discordant gender identities without their knowledge or consent." They argued that this "violates parents' fundamental rights under the United States and Massachusetts constitutions and violates children's reciprocal rights to the care and custody of their parents, familial privacy, and integrity."
Massachusetts Family Institute's President Andrew Beckwith, who is representing the families in the lawsuit, told the Epoch Times that the school is "affirming a child's discordant gender identity," describing the act as "effectively mental health treatment intervention" that they do not have the qualifications or authority to do.