‘Horrifying’: 21 State AGs Back Florida Parents’ Lawsuit against School for Secret Trans Talks with Daughter
On Wednesday, 21 state attorneys general filed a joint amicus brief in support of two Florida parents who are suing their daughter’s middle school for engaging in private talks with the then 13-year-old about her gender identity without her parents’ knowledge or consent.
The lawsuit filed by January and Jeffrey Littlejohn alleges that school officials at Deerlake Middle School in Tallahassee implemented a “transgender support plan” after their daughter questioned her gender at school without informing them. When January Littlejohn found out about the situation and confronted the school, she was “told by the school guidance councilor [sic] and vice-principal that they could not disclose what had been talked about in the meeting, and that Littlejohn’s daughter needed to give consent by-law for her parents to be informed about or be present for future discussions.”
“Eventually we did see the transgender support plan, which was a six-page document that they completed with my daughter, [who] was 13 at the time behind closed doors, where they asked her questions that would have absolutely impacted her safety, such as which restroom she preferred to use and which sex she preferred to room with on overnight field trips,” Littlejohn said.
The document also asked what names and pronouns the student preferred, as well as whether or not the student wanted to inform their parents about the transition. “The plan also stated to use her birth name when speaking to us in effect to deceive us of the social transition that had occurred,” Littlejohn explained.
After a federal district court in Florida sided with the school, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen led a coalition of 21 state AGs in filing an amicus brief in support of the Littlejohns’ continued legal fight.
“This is a very seminal case,” he contended on Thursday’s edition of “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins.” “I mean, look, you’ve got a situation here where a public school has basically inserted itself between a child and the child’s parents, and that should horrify everyone. What’s even more horrifying is that a federal district court in Florida found that that was okay, which is why we’re going up to the 11th Circuit.”
Knudsen continued, “It’s a long-standing facet of American jurisprudence that parents are the primary decision makers for their children. We call them minors for a reason. They haven’t reached the age of majority yet, to use a legal term. We don’t let minors join the military. We don’t let them consume alcohol. We don’t let them vote until they’re 18. And there’s good reason for that because their brains are not fully developed. We know this from science, but we also know from thousands of years of just being humans that parents are in a better place to make decisions for their children.”
In addition to Montana, the states who signed on to the brief include: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.
In response to Perkins’s question about where a court ruling against the parents could lead, Knudsen was frank. “Does it go next to actual transitioning? Does it go to surgery? … You’re asking the right question — where does this end? That’s what’s so concerning about this.”
The Montana attorney general went on to assert that alternative forms of schooling have only increased in stature in recent years as a result of a variety of public education controversies.
“I would argue that between COVID and some of these crazy decisions that we’re getting out of some school districts, this has been a boon for homeschooling,” Knudsen said. “It’s been a boon for Christian education. It’s been a boon for private schooling. School choice has really benefited from this. And I don’t think the schools probably intended on that. But I think it’s a positive outcome here.”
Perkins concurred, commending Knudsen for his leadership in support of parental rights. “We’ve got to make sure that we have individuals like you that are protecting the rights of parents to make those decisions, because don’t think they’ll stop just with their gender transition. They’ll reach to try to keep [parents] from making educational choices.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.