A school district in California is being sued by a mom who says that teachers at her daughter’s school manipulated her into changing her gender identity.
The mother said that her 11-year-old daughter was manipulated by teachers in the Spreckels Union School District who she accused of “extreme and outrageous conduct” that led the student to transition into a boy and drove a wedge in the relationship between the mother and child, Mercury News reported.
Jessica Konen said two middle school teachers who ran the school’s Equality Club — later known as UBU (You Be You) — planted the seed that her daughter was bisexual in 6th grade and then introduced the idea she was transgender.
The legal claim — a precursor to a lawsuit — follows a dustup in the district last fall after the author of a book widely criticized as “anti-transgender” quoted the two teachers speaking at a conference about how to run an LGBTQ+ club in a conservative community.
Spreckels is a speck of a town in the agricultural Salinas Valley. It was once home to the world’s largest sugar refinery and was the setting for some scenes in the 1955 film based on John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden.”
While Konen said her daughter had revealed she was bisexual, the mother was unaware she was identifying as a boy until she was called to a meeting at the Buena Vista Middle School principal’s office in December 2019 when her daughter was in 7th grade.
She wasn’t told the purpose of the meeting until her daughter entered the room and sat across a table from her and teacher Lori Caldeira broke the news.
The mom said he cried when she was informed.
“I literally was caught off guard. I was blindsided,” she said. “I didn’t even know what to feel like because I didn’t even know where it came from.”
She said she gave the school permission to use a boy’s name, but when the school went to remote learning the little girl began to go back to her old self and began using her birth name again.
The two teachers were caught in a leaked recording of a meeting with the California Teachers Association where they admitted that they “stalked” students online for recruits to their program.
“When we were doing our virtual learning — we totally stalked what they were doing on Google, when they weren’t doing school work,” one of the teachers said. “One of them was googling ‘Trans Day of Visibility.’ And we’re like, ‘Check.’ We’re going to invite that kid when we get back on campus.”
The school placed the teachers on administrative leave in November and said “many of the comments and themes stated in the article are alarming, concerning, disappointing” and didn’t reflect the policies of the district.
The California Teachers Association criticized the lawsuit and said that the group suing was doing it to raise funds for their cause.
“We are concerned about a political climate right now in which outside political forces fuel chaos and misinformation and seek to divide parents, educators and school communities for their own political gain, which is evident in this complaint,” Lisa Gardiner, a spokeswoman for the group, said. “The Center for American Liberty is concerned with pushing its own political agenda through litigation and has filed multiple lawsuits against various school districts and communities.”
But the mom complained that she was kept in the dark about her daughter’s participation in the support group.
“Parents are supposed to have access to all the educational records of their children,” attorney Harmeet Dhillon said. “The concept that the schools have a right to be running secret, don’t-tell-your-parents clubs and don’t-tell-your-parents programs and actively coaching children how to mutilate themselves, which is you know, not growing your breasts, is certainly not consistent with California law.”