An Oregon mother who sued the local school district and some of its employees, charging they interfered with her parental rights and created “a plan” to prevent her daughter, who believes she is a transgender boy, from returning to the mother’s home so that the mother’s custody could be terminated, has lost her case in court.
Greta Leontiev, a special education teacher in the Gresham-Barlow School District, filed the suit in 2017. In the suit, Leontiev, who was divorced from her daughter’s father and had remarried, claimed a teacher convinced Leontiev’s daughter to leave her mother's home and live with her.
According to court documents, on November 19, 2016, the daughter told her father and her sister that she felt uncomfortable living in her mother’s home and was not planning on returning home that evening. After a cast party that night, the daughter left with a teacher’s daughter. The next morning, the daughter emailed Leontiev, “You are probably wondering why I did not come home after the cast party. It’s because I am miserable at home. I do not feel like I am being supported, and I am done with contorting myself to fit an image that you have created. You and Dad both refuse to accept that I am a boy …” Leontiev responded she was going to the teacher’s home to bring her daughter back.
When Leontiev arrived at the teacher’s home, the teacher said she did not know where the daughter was but said she was safe. The teacher also filed a report with the Department of Human Services (DHS) alleging that Leontiev and her husband emotionally abused the daughter. When deputies interviewed the teacher, she stated that the daughter’s parents were “conservative Christian people, which isn’t necessarily a problem, but I know they are often not supportive of situations like this,” adding, “parents who are emotionally abusive to their children always say they are ‘supportive’ of them.”
Later, when the daughter contacted Leontiev and said she would be attending school the next day (which was Monday), Leontiev said she would leave her belongings on the porch and asked her daughter to leave her key on the porch. On Monday, Leontiev filed a complaint with the Corbett School District Superintendent, alleging that her child was a runaway who had been harbored by a teacher and a member of the school board, thus violating Oregon educator ethics codes. A case worker who interviewed Leontiev and her husband concluded, “There is enough evidence gathered via this assessment that indicates that (the daughter) has not been emotionally abused by his parents.”
Months later, the daughter spent spring break with her father, who then filed a petition in state family court for emergency custody. Soon after that, Leontiev filed a federal lawsuit.