Delaware Valley Regional High School Faces Lawsuit Over Covert Transition of Teenager; Claims Protection Under Unmandated Policy 5756
Legal Battle Unfolds: Allegations of Social Transitioning Without Consent While School Board Doubles Down In Pursuit of Removing Parental Rights
The absence of a mandate for public school systems to inform parents when their child expresses a desire to identify as a different gender while on school premises is increasingly recognized as a widespread issue in the United States, drawing escalating attention over recent years. Most recently, a New Jersey father has lodged a federal lawsuit against the state’s Board of Education Superintendent of Schools, Scott McKinney, and Ashley Miranda, a Delaware Valley Regional High School counselor in Frenchtown, NJ, for socially transitioning his daughter without the father’s knowledge or consent. Also named in the suit are New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin and Acting Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, Angelica Allen-McMillan.
The plaintiff in the case is the unnamed father of a Delaware Valley Regional High School student who began having emotional issues after the death of her mother and sought guidance from school counselors. In this particular case, the child seeking support has “a documented diagnosis of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (“ADHD”) and Unspecified Mental Disorder (“UMD”).” The suit says that the young girl, referred to as Jane Doe, “endured the childhood trauma of the death of her mother and has been under the care of a therapist for depression, anxiety, and gender confusion since April 21, 2022,” but that mental health professionals and the plaintiff, (John Doe) have agreed to “take a cautious approach to Jane’s gender confusion given her underlying trauma and psychiatric co-morbidities.”
In the suit, Mr. Doe states that his parental rights are being violated under the Fourteenth Amendment:
“The Board’s actions constitute deliberate interference with Mr. Doe’s fundamental constitutional right to care for and raise his child, a liberty interest under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, as determined by the Supreme Court in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000) (plurality). Such acts, and the enforcement of the laws and policies on which such interference purportedly is based, must immediately be restrained and enjoined since Mr. Doe is being deprived of his constitutional right to make critical child-rearing decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of his minor child.”
The father says Jane participated in Students Advocating for Equality (“SAFE”), an extracurricular club where Mrs. Miranda is named as one of two staff advisors for the club. The club’s website states, “The Student Advocates For Equality (SAFE) Club exists to promote open discussion and awareness about modern cultures and topics surrounding intersectionality while aiming to make positive contributions to our community and school.”
It is alleged that during one of these “SAFE” meetings, Jane Doe approached Miranda, and expressed that she wanted to begin socially transitioning at school, to which according to the suit, Miranda “immediately affirmed” and began to “facilitate Jane’s social transition.”
Miranda reportedly then sent notice via email to all but two teachers at the high school to inform them of Jane’s name change and that it was imperative Mr. Doe, her father was not to be informed of these changes. The lawsuit states that the two teachers who did not receive this email had direct contact with members of the Doe household.
It was not until Mr. Doe heard another parent calling his daughter by a male’s name that he became aware of this social transitioning occurring at the school. When Mr. Doe asked the other parent why they were using that name to refer to his daughter, they explained that she went by that name at school “since she was being socially transitioned.” Mr. Doe immediately removed his daughter from the school and placed her on home instruction.
During a meeting with Miranda and other staff at the high school, Mr. Doe informed them of his daughter’s UMD and ADHD diagnoses and past trauma, which Miranda stated that she was unaware of. When Mr. Doe explained to the school’s administration that he did not consent to the continued social transition of Jane, the district responded by saying they would continue to refer to Jane by her chosen male name until Jane indicated otherwise.
A cease and desist demand was served by Mr. Doe’s attorneys, to which the district’s attorneys responded by first approving Jane for home instruction but stated, “that the District will continue to abide by federal and state law as well as the Department of Education guidance regarding transgender students to ensure that the District is not discriminating against a student based on gender identity or expression.”
Under the board’s interpretation of Policy 5756, Jane would only be allowed to reenroll in the school if Mr. Doe waived his parental and constitutional rights and allowed Jane to go by her chosen male name. Just last month, Mr. Doe received an email in which the board stated the goal was to have Jane continue her instructions at a public library, but that Mr. Doe “should know that during home instruction the teachers will comply with district policy, NJDOE guidance, and federal and state laws regarding A. H.’s name preference.” Mr. Doe is seeking an independent monitor so as to not have his rights as a parent violated further by the board under home instruction.
Mr. Doe additionally asserts that board Policy 5756 guidance, to be elaborated upon shortly, has been enforced across all district schools, with AG Platkin stipulating adherence to the policy, “which provides certain anti-discrimination provisions with respect to gender” under threat of legal repercussions according to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
First adopted on January 21, 2015, and most recently revised on June 28, 2023, Policy 5756 states the following:
“This policy establishes the Board’s expectations for addressing the needs of transgender students in compliance with applicable anti-discrimination laws. For grades 6 through 8, the school district shall accept a student’s asserted gender identity; parental consent is not required.”
Children enrolled in Pre-K through the age of 5 can also have the school use preferred pronouns, but the policy states that since children this young “are not yet able to advocate for themselves, the responsibility for determining a student’s gender identity rests with the student’s parents/guardians.”
Policy 5756 states that Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) concepts “should be incorporated into school culture and curricula,” and the superintendent “should ensure training is provided to school staff members on sensitivity and respect towards transgender students.”
The policy further states that in the “belief” that a student being addressed by a different gender and/or name other than their natural name and gender would “pose a threat of harm to a student” the principal or other school administration “shall not be obligated” to let parents know their child is essentially living a double life while in school.
In addition to the policy not requiring parents to be made aware of their children adopting a new persona while on school property, the child doesn’t need any clinical diagnosis nor do they need to have legally changed their name for the school staff to begin using their “preferred pronouns.” It’s sufficient for the child to simply say they feel like a different gender and administrators will swiftly pull out their confidential file, separate from their permanent student record. A separate, separate file “containing records bearing the student’s chosen name may also be kept”.
Students who identify as transgender will receive updated school documents, including student identification cards with the student’s new name.
In the case of 6th-8th grade students who seek to change their pronouns and name at the school and on school records, without the consent of their parents, the policy states the superintendent should consult the Board Attorney for guidance on how to proceed citing New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD.)
Using this method, the parents of these minor children are demonized and the policy recommends school staff refer to resources available through the New Jersey Department of Education’s “Child Abuse, Neglect, and Missing Children” webpage where anonymous calls can be made to report parents that school personnel feels are not being compliant.
LibsofTikTok posted the following on 𝕏 Thursday, including the clip that follows it:
“This is long but worth the watch.
A teacher explains how schools groom kids into being confused about their identity by affirming their gender transition all while hiding it from parents. The teacher thinks she’s keeping the kid safe.
This video is very telling.
A kid goes through a difficult time, like most kids do. The kid decides either on her own or most likely with the help from tiktok or her teacher, that the issue is her gender. The parents rightfully explain to her that she’s going through a phase and she’s not the opposite gender.
Instead of realizing the parents know their kid best and kids go through hard times and phases, the school and teachers collude to affirm her nonbinary identity and keep it a secret from the parents. This obviously causes further distress and anxiety for the kid.
The kid doesn’t come out of the phase, rather goes further into it because she was affirmed by ‘trusted adults’ at school.
The teachers create a bigger and bigger separation between the kid and her parents. The parents are kept out of everything and have no clue what’s going on with their child. The kid is told the teachers are keeping her ‘safe’ from her harmful parents.
Once they make you believe that parents are ‘harming’ their kids, they can use that as justification to take them away. It's happened before. It could happen to your child next.
Grooming 101. Keep your kids far away from these teachers.”
The Equality Federation works in tandem to create state-based LGBTQ+ advocacy groups in “protecting transgender people, ending HIV criminalization and ensuring access to care, banning conversion therapy across the country” with a particular focus on “defeating anti-transgender bills” is funded by its members and other major donors, raking in millions every year to fight legislation, part of which wants to rip parent’s rights away from them.
Tracking bills across the country that deal with education is just the tip of the iceberg for The Equality Federation. The organization touts the fact that it works with state partners and state leadership to track bills that seek to shut down legislation that would allow trans athletes to compete in sports teams of the opposite sex and maintain drag performances where children may be present, among other LGBTQ+-based legislation being proposed.
The Equality Foundation sponsors include:
Wells Fargo, among others.
Since the implementation of Policy 5756, several school districts have rejected it and have instead passed versions that would require school staff and administration to inform parents if a student wanted to socially transition. Four of these districts were sued last summer in the state of New Jersey for pushing back on Policy 5756 including Hanover Township, Middletown, Manalapan-Englishtown, and Marlboro. The action specifically against Hanover Township was backed by Governor Phil Murphy last May.
The fight for parents to maintain their rights over rearing their offspring continues to be fought in New Jersey and around the country. Parents are finding themselves up against LGBTQ+ advocacy groups who wish to remove the parents from the equation, essentially replacing them who are backed by major donors.
If you’d like to help support the family fighting for parental rights against Delaware Valley Regional High School in New Jersey, please consider signing this petition calling to repeal Policy 5756.
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