In June 2023, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) released a 42-page guidance document giving New York schools detailed instructions on how they should affirm and accommodate students who have adopted “transgender” identities. While the guidance document is replete with evil lies and errant nonsense, the most diabolical aspect of it is the fact that it encourages schools to keep students’ “transgender” identities a secret from their parents unless those students give them permission to do otherwise.
Obviously, any school policies or procedures that require schools to keep secrets from parents about their children—or, worse yet, to outright lie to parents about their children—are morally repugnant. Because of the actions of one brave mother, one upstate New York school district that allegedly opted to follow a policy of secrecy and deception regarding student “gender transitions” will find out whether its actions violated the United States Constitution.
On January 31, 2024, with the help of attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Jennifer Vitsaxaki sued the Skaneateles Central School District (the “District”). Mrs. Vitsaxaki’s Verified Complaint alleges that a District guidance counselor directed other District employees to refer to Mrs. Vitsaxaki’s 12-year-old daughter using a male name and “they/them” pronouns in school. This practice, which commenced at the request of Mrs. Vitsaxaki’s daughter, allegedly went on for months without Mrs. Vitsaxaki’s knowledge or approval. In addition, the Verified Complaint alleges that District employees did the following:
- Encouraged Mrs. Vitsaxaki’s daughter to attend a lunchtime LGBTQ club at school;
- Told Mrs. Vitsaxaki’s daughter that her biological sex could be changed;
- Gave Mrs. Vitsaxaki’s daughter information about clinics that could assist her with a so-called “medical transition”;
- Implemented a “Gender Support Plan” for Mrs. Vitsaxaki’s daughter; and
- Actively concealed its actions from Mrs. Vitsaxaki, despite her repeated questions and expressions of concern that arose from her daughter’s anxiety, reluctance to attend school, and other problems.
These actions were allegedly taken at the direction of school administrators and in accordance with District policies.
In May 2021, the principal of Skaneateles Middle School finally told Mrs. Vitsaxaki what was really going on with her daughter at school. Mrs. Vitsaxaki, who is Greek Orthodox, objected to the District’s actions. She and her husband then enrolled their daughter in a private school for the 2021-2022 school year.
The lawsuit asserts that the District’s actions toward Mrs. Vitsaxaki and her daughter violated Mrs. Vitsaxaki’s First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion, along with her 14th Amendment right to due process and her 14th Amendment right to direct her child’s upbringing, education, and healthcare.
New Yorker’s Family Research Foundation thanks the Vitsaxaki family and ADF for filing this lawsuit. It is hoped that this lawsuit and others like it will motivate both the State Education Department and New York’s school districts to respect parental rights and to end their uncritical embrace of destructive transgender ideology.