- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2022

A Colorado mom says a public school’s LGBT group suggested her 12-year-old daughter might be transgender after inviting the girl to what she thought was an after-school art club.

Erin Lee said that when her daughter showed up at the purported art club, a speaker from the LGBT advocacy group SPLASH Youth of Northern Colorado told the kids that “if they’re not fully comfortable in their body, then they are transgender.”

“So essentially told my daughter if she’s not 100% comfortable in her body, that she is transgender,” Ms. Lee told Fox News Digital.

SPLASH and the school said that meetings of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club are secret, according to Ms. Lee.

The Poudre School District in Fort Collins said in a statement that it established GSAs “as safe spaces for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, allies, and any individual to come together with the goals of ensuring inclusivity, safety, and support. Discussions in GSAs may be confidential given that they can sometimes be sensitive in nature (i.e. a student may be “out” with specific friends but not with the community at large).”

Emails that the conservative Parents Defending Education obtained show the guest speaker asked the teacher to remind Ms. Lee‘s daughter that “the room is a safe space and that she should not share the names of her friends in attendance.”

The group also notes that the federal Equal Access Act guarantees “parents don’t have to approve which clubs and activities their children participate in” at schools that receive federal funding.

Ms. Lee said the law does not apply in this case.

“There’s nothing in the Equal Access Act that prevents parents from being informed about programming,” she told the new site. “It requires schools to have programming, but it does not require secrecy.”

Ms. Lee’s complaint comes as parental rights groups increasingly accuse school administrators of hiding information about perceived changes in their children’s gender identity on campus.

American public grade school teachers recently discussed in a Zoom meeting how to ignore parental requests that they refer to their children by their birth names and biological pronouns at school, according to a report in The Daily Mail.

Kieran Slattery, who is transgender and teaches fifth grade at a Massachusetts school, in the Zoom meeting that he tells parents: “So, in my classroom, I will refer to your child by whatever name and pronouns that they’ve told me they feel most comfortable with.”

Multiple news outlets also reported this week that a counselor at Charles F. Patton Middle School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, told teachers in an email to use “they/them” for one student at school but “she/her” in emails with the parents.

Sara E. Rimm-Kaufman, a professor of education at the University of Virginia, said it is important for public schools to create safe spaces for gender-questioning students “to understand their own identity and how they fit into the broader culture.”

“Children and youth need to feel known and understood at school for them to connect to the activities and experiences that lead to learning,” Ms. Rimm-Kaufman told The Washington Times.

But Alleigh Marré, president of Free to Learn Coalition conservative parents’ advocacy group, said secret school discussions about students’ sexuality only add to the mistrust of parents already upset over school lockdowns during the pandemic.

“These very activists pushed for policies that forced students into isolation and now continue to put activist curriculum ahead of recouping academic losses,” Ms. Marré said in a statement.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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