Parents Sue School System Over Keeping 11-Year-Old’s Gender Status and Pronouns From Them

Four parents are taking their Massachusetts school district to court over allegations that educators promoted the gender transitions of their children while actively keeping it a secret from their parents.

According to the filings, the issue in Ludlow schools began when a sixth-grade class at Paul R. Baird Middle School made a video in which students stated their gender identity and prefered pronouns.

Stephen Foote and Marissa Silvestri, along with Jonathan Feliciano and Sandra Salmeron, both have two children in the district. Their lawsuit charges the Ludlow School Committee with violating both the U.S and Massachusetts constitutions.

Andrew Beckwith, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute and the parents’ attorney, says the lawsuit is about denying government officials the ability to interfere with parents’ rights to raise their children. He asserts the school system deliberately circumvented the parents’ responsibility over the “mental health and religious beliefs” of their families.

Beckwith goes on to show a series of emails between administration and faculty members that demonstrate deliberate attempts to hide the children’s information from their parents.

The filing claims former library media specialist Jordan Funke told new sixth-graders in 2019 to make the video without seeking parents’ consent. The parents say they were ignored after requesting that their children’s mental health not be discussed with teachers, and that one teacher was disciplined for sharing details about their child with them.

Ludlow School Committee chairman James “Chip” Harrington declined to comment about the specific lawsuit. He is on record saying he believes parents should always have “a seat at the table” when important decisions are made about their child’s physical or mental health.

A seat at the table.

The suit further alleges former district superintendent Todd Gazda denigrated the parents at a School Committee public meeting. Gazda is accused of claiming their concerns were merely bigotry against LGBQ people barely concealed behind a “camouflage of parental rights.”

Slopes do not get much more slippery than the one that educators slide down when they interject themselves into private family matters. The fact that Florida needs a law to prevent kindergarteners from being taught about gender identity is more than telling. And in the case of Massachusetts, “a seat at the table” is the best the school system — not the parents, has a right to ask for.