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Massachusetts parents sue school, say officials encouraged children to use new names and pronouns without consent


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The parents are suing their children’s school, alleging that teachers encouraged their children to change their pronouns and names without the parents’ knowledge.

Parents Stephen Foote and Marissa Silvestri say their child was encouraged by Ludlow Public School officials to adopt a new name and different gendered pronouns. Parents Jonathan Feliciano and Sandra Salmeron, who are also involved in the lawsuit, allege that the school’s policy of not disclosing information about children’s gender identity to parents violates their parental and religious rights.

The Massachusetts state flag displayed outside the State House.
(Rob Dirienzo/Fox News)

“[The Ludlow School Committee and implicated educators] overstepped the bounds of legitimate pedagogical concerns and usurped the role of [the plaintiffs] and other parents in the town of Ludlow to direct the upbringing and education of their children, to make medical and mental health decisions for their children, and to promote and preserve family privacy and integrity,” the lawsuit alleges.

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“Defendants’ protocol and practice of withholding information about their children’s gender identity from parents and efforts to affirm students’ discordant gender identity at school violate parents’ fundamental rights under the constitutions of the United States and Massachusetts and violates the reciprocal rights of children to the care and custody of their parents, the privacy and the integrity of the family.”

Massachusetts parents sue school, say officials encouraged children to use new names and pronouns without consent

Lori Gadreau asks a question at Loranger Memorial School in Old Orchard Beach, Maine on September 8, 2020.
(Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

The lawsuit focuses on specific complaints on behalf of Feliciano and Salmeron, which base their lawsuit on religious freedom.

“As for plaintiffs Jonathan Feliciano and Sandra Salmeron, it also violates their fundamental right to the free exercise of religion under the constitutions of the United States and Massachusetts.”

The lawsuit was prepared and filed on behalf of the families by two organizations – the Massachusetts Family Institute and the Child and Parental Rights Campaign.

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“We want to support our students as best we can,” Ludlow School Committee Chairman James Harrington told MassLive. “But we should bring parents to the table and hope they respond with love and support as well.”

The case is expected to go to federal court.


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