Schools across the country have adopted a controversial policy of hiding the LGBT statuses of students from their parents. Sold to the public as an effort to protect children from abuse, the policy effectively circumvents parental consent and notification about their children’s health, safety, and well-being.
One Texas family told Chronicles how they fought to protect their children from transgender ideology. After finding out that staff of a public school had encouraged their daughter to transition to a male gender, they withdrew their children from the school. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) came knocking at their door, demanding to conduct a safety assessment of their family environment.
In telling us his family’s story, the father, who we’ll call John, asked Chronicles to protect their identities, for fear of retaliation. He gave Chronicles copies of all the documents he received and sent to DFPS during the agency’s investigation.
What John and his family experienced is the result of a countrywide effort to push through schools radical ideas about sex and gender to influence children at their most vulnerable developmental stages. Even more sinister, their story shows how the enforcement arm of the government is being used to punish and harass those who resist. A war for the hearts, minds, and bodies of America’s children, which can often result in devastating and irreversible consequences—is being waged in every state, red or blue, and there is no opting out of the conflict.
John is a native Texan. He and his family live—or so they thought—outside Austin’s progressive sphere of influence. Over the last two years, John and his wife noticed their daughter, whom we’ll call Jane, acting strange. Jane cut her long, light brown hair to a much shorter, militaristic style during her freshman year of high school and adopted a more masculine style of dress. She withdrew from family life altogether, and her parents began practically begging her to interact with them as she used to do. Jane asked to start seeing a therapist, but wouldn’t explain why. Worried about her state of mind, they agreed to arrange mental health therapy sessions.
The truth about what was bothering Jane came out “in bits and pieces,” John said, but they never could have anticipated what was behind it all. The moment of revelation came when the family met with the high school guidance counselor last autumn. It was a routine appointment to review a catalog of classes and plan for their daughter’s future. John and his wife noticed that Jane had an uncanny rapport with the counselor. John said the counselor and Jane were finishing each other’s sentences and seemed privy to a whole world impenetrable to the parents. He appeared to have the kind of intimate relationship with Jane that John and his wife had lost and were struggling to reestablish.
After the meeting, John asked Jane about what was going on, and she revealed the truth. The guidance counselor and other staff at the school had encouraged their daughter to adopt a new identity as a boy, and to hide that from her parents. She had lived a secret life as a boy for her freshman and sophomore years, and the school staff had conspired to keep her parents in the dark.
The family decided the best thing to do was to prepare to withdraw their children from the school district. John and his wife did as much research as they could on homeschooling, even joining the Texas Home School Coalition. Then, one Friday last October, the kids spent their final full day in the district. John and his wife filed the proper forms with the schools, stating that Jane and her brother were beginning home schooling the following Monday.
When Monday came, John received a call from DFPS. Someone had filed a report “concerning the safety of the child(ren) in your family,” according to a later DFPS letter. A social worker showed up at their house the next day to perform a child welfare check that left the family confused and disturbed. Later that week, DFPS notified John that someone else had filed a second report alleging abuse.
It was easy enough to refute the allegations. DFPS personnel even told the family that the reports appeared retaliatory. Someone was trying in bad faith to get John’s kids taken away. Moreover, the charges were so specific that it made the family suspicious of how anyone could know so much about them.
John sat down with Jane and laid out the stakes. He said that the people who had filed these reports “were willing to tear you and your brother away from your family and probably separate you from each other, simply because your parents aren’t going along with this.” Her eyes widened, and the weight of what was happening dawned on her. John relayed what the reports alleged: that Jane had been kept in isolation, denied medical care, and locked inside the house with a security system. “But, we have our own codes to the security system,” she said, just as confused as her father. Then it clicked.
Jane remembered a counselor asking her leading questions, including whether she had been denied medical care. Jane mentioned that at a routine health check-up her parents had declined a doctor’s suggestion to put her on anti-depressants, saying they had enrolled her in mental health therapy instead. The counselor also asked about her living situation, including, oddly, about her house’s security system.
John and his daughter realized together that the leading conversation she had with the guidance counselor seemed to inform the allegations of child abuse, and that he had made an erroneous assumption that the security system was some kind of device to keep Jane locked up. They suspect a teacher at the school may have been involved as well, and may have filed one of the abuse reports. At any rate, it became clear that the school’s staff had exploited Jane’s trust and used it to attack her parents.
Unfortunately, this kind of subversion has become common in public schools everywhere. State by state, examples abound of teachers and administrators actively pushing LGBT ideology on children behind their parents’ backs, causing chaos and division within families.
Jeffrey and January Littlejohn, of Leon County, Florida, in October filed a lawsuit against their school district after discovering that the staff of their middle school had secretly met with their 13-year-old daughter to develop a transgender “support plan.” The Littlejohns’ lawsuit alleges that the district was involved in “training district staff to conceal from parents information regarding their children’s assertion of a discordant gender identity, including, inter alia, assumption of a new name, use of different pronouns, use of opposite sex privacy facilities and use of opposite sex lodging on off campus trips.”
The journalist and author Abigail Shrier reported in November on her Substack newsletter that Buena Vista Middle School teachers Lori Caldeira and Kelly Baraki “stalked”—a term used by Caldeira—students’ online activity to identify candidates for an LGBT club. Parents responding to Shrier’s story characterized the teachers’ efforts as “grooming.”
The Spreckels Union School District—of which Buena Vista Middle School is a part—now faces a lawsuit alleging teachers manipulated a woman’s daughter into changing her gender identity and kept it hidden under its “Parental Secrecy Policy.”
And, in November, a Wisconsin family and the Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal firm that tries cases on religious freedom and parental rights, sued the Kettle Moraine School District because of its policy allowing students to change their names and gender pronouns without parental consent. The lawsuit alleges that staff at the school’s mental health center didn’t help their 12-year-old daughter with depression and questions about her gender, but “quickly ‘affirmed’ that she was really a transgender boy and encouraged her to transition to a male identity.”
The proliferation of LGBT ideology in schools is connected to the expansion of “social-emotional learning” (SEL) curriculum. In a nutshell, parents and parents’ rights activists describe SEL as a Trojan horse for introducing children to “critical race theory and gay and transgender advocacy,” as the Washington Examiner put it. It also cuts out parents from caring for children’s mental health, shifting that responsibility onto those versed in SEL. In other words, teachers assume the role of parents.
For all their talk about family values, Republican politicians are reluctant to act. Three of them—Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and State Rep. Dade Phelan—took a combined $2.47 million in campaign funds from political action committees affiliated with pediatric gender-modification clinics, according to an analysis of Transparency USA campaign finance records by Katy Christian Magazine. The three later helped kill bills that would have prohibited the gender modification that goes on at such clinics.
John, the father from Texas, and his family were cleared by the DFPS of child abuse allegations in October. John said the agency’s caseworker told him that there have been more and more retaliatory actions against parents who don’t go along quietly with the highjacking of their children’s gender identities. Although the Texas DFPS keeps the names of those reporting child abuse confidential and protects them from civil or criminal liability, it is, nevertheless, a felony to falsely report child abuse or neglect under the Texas Family Code. Yet overzealous or disingenuous reporting is more common than people think. As the Houston Chronicle reported in 2018, a Texas judge ordered the state to pay a family $127,000 after caseworkers wrongly accused them of child abuse.
The formal process of uncovering who filed a report against John’s family takes months. In the meantime, they are left waiting and wondering. John believes the point of the reports was to threaten the loss of his children for interfering with the educational establishment’s vision of progress. He said he’s distraught at the thought that even if his family come out of this okay, other families may not. Some parents may lose their kids or be cowed into going along with gender transitions, hormone therapies and surgeries.
John said he is encouraged, however, by Jane slowly emerging from her shell. “My wife, my daughter, and I now all go to a family counselor because we want her to know she can open up to us,” he said. Above all, they want her to see that she was a victim of a dangerous ideology, one that nearly tore her family apart.
(Pedro Gonzalez / image created from stock art by Canva)