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VA Families, Teachers Fight For Parents’ Right To Direct Upbringing, Education of Children

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kate Anderson, director of the ADF Center for Parental Rights, offered the following statement regarding a brief that ADF attorneys filed Tuesday in the Rockingham County Circuit Court in Virginia on behalf of a group of parents and teachers in D.F. v. Harrisonburg City Public School Board. Anderson asked the court to temporarily halt the school board from usurping parents’ right to direct the upbringing of their children and forcing teachers to violate their religious beliefs by affirming the board’s view on gender identity while their lawsuit proceeds:

“Parents know what is best for their children and have a responsibility and a constitutionally protected right to direct their upbringing, education, and care, yet public schools across the country continue to unlawfully usurp the role of parents. In Harrisonburg, the school board is going so far as to force staff to affirm its radical view of gender ideology, even if doing so violates teachers’ religious beliefs as it does for those we represent. Parents should be free to make decisions regarding their child’s physical, emotional, and mental health needs, and teachers should support them, not supplant them, in that effort. We’re asking the court to let parents and teachers do their jobs.”

Upon a child’s request, Harrisonburg City Public Schools’ policy requires staff to immediately begin using opposite-sex pronouns and forbids staff from sharing information with parents about their child’s request, instead instructing staff to mislead and deceive parents. The policy resulted in the school district implementing “Gender Transition Action Plans,” which clarify that students’ families will only be involved where it is deemed “appropriate.”

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