A group of Ohio parents is suing their local school district, alleging that “activist teachers” talked about gender and sexuality with students as young as six.
The eight parents filed the lawsuit Monday in federal court against Hilliard City Schools in Columbus.
The lawsuit claims the district allows “activist teachers” to have “intimate conversations” with children as young as six about “sexual behaviors, sexual attitudes, mental and psychological questions of the student and the student’s family, and private religious practices.”
These conversations are taking place “without parental consent and knowledge” and that teachers are taking “specific actions” to hide them from parents, according to the lawsuit.
“This is a recipe for indoctrination and child abuse,” the lawsuit states.
The conversations with students have “led to a very dangerous outcome,” said attorney Joshua Brown, who is representing the parents.
“The parents were contacted one day and told that the student was suicidal at school. And when they got to the school and talk to the social worker, they were told that the school was counseling and treating the child for gender dysphoria, and never informed the parent,” Brown said.
The parents also claim that a teacher posted sexual educational materials on a bulletin board that included “definitions of sexual items” that are “not part of the district standards.”
The parents claim that the district’s legal counsel refused to explain the district’s official policy on these issues.
“The schools do not have the right to withhold information from parents for any reason. Especially when it involves mental health,” said Lisa Chaffee, one of the lawsuit’s plaintiffs and the director of Ohio Parents Rights in Education.
Superintendent David Stewart said the parents are making “broad-brush accusations” in a statement Wednesday.
Stewart said he took action when he was alerted to the issue of teachers surveying students about their pronouns and asking them which pronouns should be used in parental communications.
The superintendent said that the district does not support surveying students on this topic, and every teacher should now be aware of this.
“While it may not be best practice, it is not illegal,” Stewart said.
Stewart also addressed the LGBT “I’m Here” badges issued by the local teachers union and worn by some teachers.
The lawsuit claimed that the badges have a QR code linking to instructions about sexual positions that could be scanned by students from far away and that one student was given a badge.
The superintendent said that the front of the badge, the part visible to students, reads “I’m Here” with the signature LGBT colored stripes. The back of the badge has a QR code for teachers that could potentially lead to material “inappropriate” for students. The district decided to cover the QR codes, and they are not aware of any student accessing it, Stewart said.
“The lawsuit calls for counselors, not teachers, to be called in when issues arise concerning a student’s medical or mental health. We agree. Indeed, the single example cited in the lawsuit involves a student exhibiting the need for mental health counseling who was taken to a professional social worker. The social worker then contacted and met with the student’s parents,” Stewart said.
Parents in at least four states, Massachusetts, Florida, Wisconsin, and Virginia, have sued their school districts for allegedly hiding their children’s gender dysphoria.