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N.J. Dad Sues School over Daughter’s Secret Gender Transition

January 31, 2024

A father is suing a Garden State school district after his daughter’s gender transition was allegedly kept a secret from him. The father, who is remaining anonymous to protect his daughter’s identity, found that New Jersey’s Delaware Valley Regional High School (DVRHS) had been calling his daughter by a male name and male pronouns for at least two months, after a pro-LGBT student club’s staff advisor — who is not licensed to practice either medicine or psychology, according to the lawsuit — asked teachers and other school staff, faculty, and administration to refer to the girl by a male name and male pronouns and not to tell her father.

“I was devastated,” the father said. “If a kid gets a headache in school, they have to call the parents to give them Tylenol, but they’re going to choose to allow them to identify as something?” He said that his wife died when his daughter was only four years old, and his daughter has been in treatment for depression and anxiety since 2022. She has also been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and borderline personality disorder, prompting her doctors to agree to a “cautious approach” regarding her gender identity confusion.

The father says he only learned of his daughter’s social transition when a neighbor and fellow parent accidentally told him. The neighbor referred to the girl by her male name, and the father asked, “What the hell are you talking about?” The father removed his daughter from DVRHS and began homeschooling her. He said that LGBT activists in the school system showed her a “fantasyland” version of transgenderism, and once he showed his daughter photos and videos of the reality of gender transition surgeries, she began crying. Last month, the father met with DVRHS staff to inform them of his daughter’s mental health history, but was told that the school district would continue to use a male name and male pronouns for his daughter unless she requested that they stop. The girl’s therapist and doctor both approved of removing her from DVRHS.

In comments to The Washington Stand, Family Research Council’s Senior Fellow for Education Studies Meg Kilgannon said, “These cases are becoming more and more common. And while some of the details are the same, the overall situation is still shocking.” She explained, “Children who have their names changed at school by teachers and are treated as the opposite sex or an imagined gender are not able to consent to these therapies. Social transition is made to seem harmless and reversible by school counselors and gender activists, but it’s neither of those things.”

Last summer, a poll showed that a majority of New Jersey voters — including a majority of Democrats — support mandatory parental notification policies for students’ attempted gender transitions in schools. Another poll found that parental notification requirements were supported by a majority of Americans nationwide. But New Jersey Department of Education’s official guidelines say, “There is no affirmative duty for any school district personnel to notify a student’s parent or guardian of the student’s gender identity or expression.” Although the guidelines are not state law, lawyers say that they are enforced by state anti-discrimination laws.

According to an updated list from Parents Defending Education, nearly 1,100 school districts across the U.S. have policies in place prohibiting teachers from telling parents about students’ gender transition attempts. The majority of those school districts are in California, where Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) has actually sued school districts for keeping parents informed.

The U.S. is increasingly alone in its support of gender transition procedures for children. Last month, the U.K.’s Department of Education introduced new guidelines not only demanding that parents be notified and involved in students’ social gender transitions, but also that teachers wait a period of time before agreeing to even consider a student’s request to be called by a new name or pronouns, in order to ensure the decision is made after careful consideration over time. A report last summer also declared the U.S. an “outlier” among Western nations, where gender transition procedures for minors were concerned. A number of even liberal nations have backed away from the subject — including France, Sweden, Finland, and the U.K.

The New Jersey father’s lawsuit names the DVRHS Board of Education, Superintendent Scott McKinney, School Counselor Ashley Miranda, New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin (D), Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education Angelica Allen-McMillan, and other school staff and administrators. The case will be heard by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.