Respect Equality

Lawsuit claims gender counseling to blame for child’s suicide attempts

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Story at a glance

  • Two parents are suing their daughter’s school district after school officials met with the 12-year-old girl to talk about her gender identity without her parents’ knowledge.
  • The girl, who has not been named, tried to take her own life twice because of her struggles with her gender identity, according to her parents’ lawsuit.
  • The school district maintains that the claims made by the girl’s family and the organization representing them are “invalid.”

Two parents are suing their child’s Florida school district after they were told their 12-year-old daughter had twice tried to take her own life following meetings about her gender identity that were reportedly conducted by a school administrator without the parents’ knowledge or consent.

The Child & Parental Rights Campaign on Jan. 24 filed a suit in federal court against Clay County District Schools on behalf of Wendell and Maria Perez, who allege their daughter’s mental health and gender identity struggles were concealed from them for months by school officials.

The parents say a school counselor conducted “secret” therapy sessions with their daughter regarding her alleged gender dysphoria, which the Perez’s were only made aware of following their daughter’s first suicide attempt.

On two separate occasions, the young girl, who has not been named because she is a minor, tried to take her own life by hanging herself in a school restroom.


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During an appearance on Fox News last week, Wendell Perez said he and his wife were kept in the dark about the meetings between his daughter and the school counselor because of their “Catholic beliefs.”

“The counselor had secret meetings with our daughter about gender. She was groomed to something that she’s not, and she was encouraged,” Perez told host Laura Ingraham on a Thursday episode of “The Ingraham Angle.”

Perez said he believed the counselor and school officials had “precipitated a pattern of bullying” by referring to his daughter using male pronouns and a “fictitious” male name in front of other students.

According to the lawsuit, school officials invoked “confidentiality rules” in justifying their decision to keep meetings about their daughter’s gender from Wendell and Maria Perez, but, according to the Child & Parental Rights Campaign, children do not have a confidentiality right in school counseling sessions, meaning the school should have obtained parental consent before speaking with the child about her gender identity.

“It is a serious mental health decision that school personnel are not qualified, not competent, and not authorized to make,” Vernadette Broyles, the organization’s president, told CBS-affiliate WJAX-TV on Friday. “Parents must be involved in these important decisions.”

Clay County District Schools in a statement to WJAX-TV said the allegations made by Wendell and Maria Perez and the Child & Parental Rights Campaign are a misrepresentation of the incident.

“We performed an investigation into these allegations and believe the statements made by this out-of-state organization invalid,” the statement reads.


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