Virginia Parents Sue Over School Policy Allowing Students to 'Transition' Genders Without Notifying Parents

Brittany M. Hughes | June 7, 2022
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A group of Virginia parents are taking their local school district to court over a policy that instructs school staff to conceal children’s gender identity and pronouns from their families.

According to this, six parents and teachers are suing Harrisonburg City Public Schools over a policy the district adopted last August that instructs teachers and faculty to ask students their preferred pronouns at the beginning of school, then to use that “identity” in their interactions. If the child’s own parents aren’t aware that their son or daughter is using pronouns different from their biological ones, school staff is forbidden from sharing that information. The policy was instituted after the Virginia Department of Education last year required all school districts to come up with similar "anti-discrimination" frameworks to supposedly protect trans kids - including, apparently, from their own families.

Suffice it to say that those rules didn’t sit well with some parents, who don’t take kindly to a school system deciding to insert itself between them and their children.    

Represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the parents – listed in documents filed in Rockingham County Circuit Court as Deborah Figliola, Kristine Marsh, Timothy and Laura Nelson, and John and Nicole Stephens- say the policy violates the parents’ religious freedom to raise their kids according to their faith-based beliefs about gender. It also asserts that the district’s policy runs afoul of teachers’ First Amendment rights by requiring them to call students by their preferred pronouns instead of their biological ones.

The case is a landmark one, as no current precedent exists regarding such a policy.

Earlier this month, a Wisconsin court sided with parents who are suing their school district, alleging their 12-year-pold daughter’s school encouraged her to socially transition to a boy – including calling her by male pronouns and a boy’s name – against her parents’ wishes. The court denied a motion by the school system to dismiss the case, saying that the parents’ suit “demonstrates a potential violation of their rights as parents to direct the upbringing of their child and is sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss.”