Michigan parents sue Rockford Public Schools over child’s pronouns, gender



(The Center Square) – A lawsuit claims a Michigan school district began treating a middle-school daughter as a boy for more than six months without their knowledge or consent.

The lawsuit, filed this week by Dan and Jennifer Mead, claims Rockford Public School District employees secretly treated their 13-year-old daughter as a boy, referring to her by a new masculine name and male pronouns and tried to conceal these actions from the parents.

The complaint, filed with aid from the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, claims that the district violated the Meads’ fundamental parental rights found in the U.S. Constitution to protect their right as parents to make decisions about the upbringing, education, and health care of their children.

The Meads withdrew their daughter from the eighth grade at East Rockford Middle School in October 2022 after district employees allegedly treated their daughter as a boy by referring to her by a masculine name and male pronouns without notifying the Meads or seeking their consent.

The lawsuit claims employees had altered the girl’s records to remove references to the district’s actions before sending the records home.

“Parents, not the government, have the right to direct the upbringing, education, and health care of their children,” ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson said in a statement.

“Schools should never deliberately hide vital information from parents, yet that’s exactly what the Rockford Public School District did. District employees didn’t even notify Dan and Jennifer – let alone seek their consent – before beginning to call their young daughter by a masculine name and male pronouns. Worse, district policy required employees to alter official records to conceal the district’s actions. By intentionally concealing this information from the Meads, the school district violated their constitutionally protected right to make decisions regarding their daughter’s education and wellbeing and destroyed the trust the Mead family had placed in the district and its employees.”

The Meads discovered the district’s actions when an employee unintentionally failed to completely alter a report about their daughter before sharing it with them.

Rockford Public Schools hasn’t responded yet to a request for comment.

“Although the District and its employees were now regularly referring to G.M. with a masculine name and male pronouns at school, they continued to refer to her by her actual name and with female pronouns when speaking to or corresponding with the Meads.”

The lawsuit says the district has referred to the child as both a girl and a boy, but never told the parents.

“In other words, in a series of emails sent—some to the same person— over less than five minutes on the morning of September 20, Ms. Thorsen referred to G.M. both as a girl and as a boy.”

The Meads chose to homeschool because they can’t afford private school.

The lawsuit claims the school tried to “socially transition” the Meads’ daughter without their knowledge or consent.

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