On Monday, October 18, 2021, the Child & Parental Rights Campaign, Inc. filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Florida on behalf of Mr. and Mrs. Littlejohn against the Leon County School Board (LCSB). The defendants also include Superintendent Rocky Hanna and Dr. Kathleen Rodgers.
Tallahassee Reports has previously written about this issue.
The suit alleges that the LCSB ignored the Littlejohn’s parental rights relating to their daughter’s gender confusion by concealing from them actions taken by school officials.
Child and Parental Rights Campaign, Inc. (CPR-C) is a non-partisan, non-profit public interest law firm whose mission is to defend parental rights and protect children’s well-being against the impacts of gender identity ideology.
The lawsuit was filed after the parents made repeated requests to the Leon County School District for the legal justifications for the district’s actions. However, no such legal authority was ever provided.
For over a year, Mr. and Mrs. Littlejohn had been meeting with school officials and Superintendent Rocky Hanna to resolve the issue.
Meeting Without Parents
The conflict began in August 2020, when the parents told their daughter’s teacher about her gender confusion and explained their daughter was receiving counseling to guide her.
They explained to the teacher their daughter would be allowed to adopt a new nickname at school if she desired, but they had not consented to her changing her name or pronouns.
Several weeks later, the parents discovered by the admission from their daughter that several school staff members met with her to note such things as what bathroom she wanted to use and what sex she wanted to room with on overnight trips. During these actions by school officials, neither Mr. nor Mrs. Littlejohn had received any communication from the school regarding a meeting involving their daughter.
After the Littlejohn’s received a copy of the “LCS Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Nonconforming and Questioning Support Guide,” during a meeting with school officials, they were alarmed by its contents.
The guide claims that under federal and state law, parents are not to be informed if a child identifies as transgender, which restroom the child chooses to use, and the child has the right to keep their chosen gender identity from their parents.
The parents noted that,in their view, the most egregious violation in the Guide is found on page 15 under Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: A student has exhibited behavior in school leading administrators or teachers to believe the student is LGBTQ+. Should the parents or legal guardians be notified?
A: No. Outing a student, especially to parents, can be very dangerous to the student’s health and well-being. Some students are not able to be out at home because their parents are unaccepting of LGBTQ+ people out. As many as 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ+, many of whom have been rejected by their families for being LGBTQ+. Outing students to their parents can literally make them homeless.
Subsequently, the parents requested the guidance document be publicly rescinded by LCS (Leon County Schools) and a new policy requiring parental notification be put in its place. Though Superintendent Hanna has personally addressed the issue and has said that the guidance document would be amended, it has not been modified so far.
The lawsuit asserts that LCS violated their parental rights under the United States and Florida constitutions. CPR-C attorney Mary McAlister states that “school officials cannot continue to ignore the direction of parents concerning their minor children’s mental health and well-being. Parental rights are amongst our most venerated constitutionally protected rights and are critical to the integrity of our public school system of education.”