Parents near Jacksonville, Florida, have sued Clay County District Schools because their daughter attempted suicide two days in a row after meetings with a school counselor about gender identity confusion.
Wendell and Maria Perez said that the school did not inform them about these meetings that their 12-year-old had, First Coast News reported.
“We met with the principal, the assistant principal and the police officer and the counselor who informed us that our 12-year old-daughter, this is an elementary-schooler, had tried to commit suicide at school by hanging herself twice in two days,” Wendell Perez said.
On Jan. 5, 2022, the school counselor called the parents and told them to come to school immediately.
The 12-year-old’s father said that the school counselor told them that they believed these suicide attempts in the school bathroom were due to a gender identity problem.
“The school counselor alleged that it [suicide attempts] was because of a gender identity issue, and that they knew we as parents would not be in agreement because of our Catholic Christian beliefs. My daughter never exhibited any signs of gender confusion or questioning her biological sex,” he said.
According to the Perezes, the school counselor also pointed out their religious beliefs were part of the problem.
“I asked why my daughter had tried to commit suicide. She [the counselor] said because of her identity issues. I asked what those were, and she said, ‘Well, you know, she wants to be called this, and she wants these pronouns,’ and she said, ‘Because she knows that you guys are not going to accept her because of your religious beliefs,'” Maria Perez said.
But all of these discussions had taken place behind the parent’s backs.
“We were told that they knew about the gender issue due to meetings they were having with our daughter, behind our backs. We learned that during these meetings our daughter’s confusion was affirmed and validated through the use of fictitious male names and male pronouns. Our daughter was living a double life, without our consent or knowledge,” Wendell Perez said in a meeting before the state surgeon general, according to a video senior Manhattan Institute fellow Christopher Rufo tweeted.
Florida father Wendell Perez tells the state surgeon general that Clay County District Schools secretly “transitioned” his 12-year-old daughter without his knowledge and “affirmed” a male name and pronouns, which contributed to her attempted suicide in a school bathroom. pic.twitter.com/VY8Le9KqCi
— Christopher F. Rufo ⚔️ (@realchrisrufo) August 23, 2022
The young girl’s father said that his daughter was affirmed and “socially transitioned” in school.
He then went on to describe how his daughter was taken away from the family for a week before being returned to them.
“As a family we had to pick up the pieces, pick up the mess and start a period of painful healing. However, we decided as parents from the beginning that we were not going to affirm the dysphoria. We were not gong to validate the delusion, contrary to the recommendation from professionals in the field. We did provide unconditional support with proper mental health care and non-affirming therapy to our daughter,” he explained.
“We brought her back from her confusion. She is steadfast and sure of her gender, and the suicidal ideation is gone.”
The administrators at the school allegedly told the Perezes that confidentiality issues had prevented them from telling the 12-year-old’s parents about these meetings and action, First Coast News reported.
Since then, the Perezes have filed a lawsuit with The Child & Parental Rights Campaign.
The Campaign’s president, Vernadette Broyles, is representing them.
The lawsuit lists the school superintendent, principal, assistant principal and school counselor as defendants.
The suit outlines 7 different ways the school ignored the Pereze’s rights as parents of their own daughter.
“Defendants have violated Plaintiffs’ fundamental rights by, inter alia, a) failing to notify Mr. and Mrs. Perez about their daughter A.P.’s mental health issues as required under Florida law, b) secretly meeting with A.P. over the course of several months to promote and affirm the idea that A.P. could be a boy named “M” rather than addressing A.P.’s problems with self-confidence and bullying; c) promising A.P. that her parents would not be informed about A.P. being treated at school as a boy named “M,” d) breaching A.P.’s privacy by informing peers to refer to A.P. as a boy named “M” without A.P.’s permission, leading to increased bullying of A.P. e) continuing to breach A.P.’s privacy by promising to convince all of her teachers to refer to her as a boy named “M” without A.P. making such a request, causing A.P. increased distress; f) continuing to refuse to communicate with A.P.’s parents regarding A.P.’s mental health issues and bullying occurring at school until after A.P. attempted suicide twice while on school property, and g) blaming A.P.’s suicide attempt on Mr. and Mrs. Perez’s perceived lack of agreement with their daughter’s gender confusion because of their Catholic Christian faith,” the lawsuit said.
“This lawsuit is about protecting the rights of parents to raise their children in accordance with their beliefs, with their religious beliefs and their understanding of science and biology without the interference of the state,” Broyles said, according to First Coast News.
This issue between the school and the Pereze’s also came at a crucial time; just a few months before, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law the Parental Rights in Education Act.
The controversial law, that many on the opposing side called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, simply expanded parental rights in education and banned any classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade, the Washington Examiner reported.
The law specifically prohibits what happened in the Pereze’s case. Schools are not allowed to “adopt procedures or student support forms that prohibit school district personnel from notifying a parent about his or her student’s mental, emotional or physical health or well-being, or a change in related services or monitoring, or that encourage or have the effect of encouraging a student to withhold from a parent such information. School district personnel may not discourage or prohibit parental notification of and involvement in critical decisions affecting a student’s mental, emotional or physical health or well-being.”
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