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A group of 21 Republican-led states are taking legal action on behalf of Florida parents who sued their daughter’s school after teachers launched a ‘transgender support plan’ for their 13-year-old without asking for their parental consent.
January Littlejohn said her then 13-year-old daughter had a group of friends who were ‘obsessed’ with anything to do with the LGBTQ community, and when three of them began identifying as trans or non-binary her daughter said she was confused about her own gender.
Despite bringing their daughter to a counselor help her work through her confusion, the Littlejohns learned that school bosses had spoken to the youngster about changing her name and which bathroom she wanted to use – without their permission.
As a result, Littlejohn and her husband sued the school for violating their parental rights at the end of 2021, and now other state leaders are getting involved.
Littlejohn, center left, and her husband, right, with their family. Littlejohn and her husband are parents to three. They live in Tallahassee, Florida
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who is leading the 21-state brief in support of the Littlejohns with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, told DailyMail.com that it is ‘unconscionable’ that school districts are ‘deliberately’ shutting parents out of decisions.
‘Parents have a fundamental and longstanding constitutional right to direct the upbringing and care of their children,’ he said.
‘Unfortunately, it’s happening in schools across the country. It’s past time for the courts to do their job and step in to protect children and put a stop to woke school administrators violating parents’ rights,’ Knudsen continued.
The state leaders filed the brief Tuesday in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
The states who signed on in addition to Montana and Florida include: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.
The case rose to prominence when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted about it as he worked to pass his parental rights bill.
The now-passed bill bans teachers from giving classroom instruction on ‘sexual orientation’ or ‘gender identity’ in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
He posted on March 28: ‘The bill I signed today protects Florida parents like January Littlejohn. School officials manipulated her daughter to ”transition,” calling her a male name & pronouns without January’s knowledge or consent. This is wrong & today’s legislation will ensure it doesn’t happen again.’
When school resumed in 2020, Littlejohn told a teacher at the Deerlake Middle School in Tallahassee, Florida, about the situation and informed her that she and her husband were not affirming their daughter’s new preferred name and pronouns at home while they were working through her feelings, and that they did not feel that transitioning was in her best interest.
Littlejohn says officials at the Deerlake Middle School in Tallahassee, Florida, gave her daughter a ‘transgender support plan’ to fill out after she expressed gender confusion
The case rose to prominence when DeSantis tweeted about it on March 28 as he signed his parental rights bill
Littlejohn also told the teacher that she was okay with her daughter adopting her preferred name as a nickname at school.
But weeks later Littlejohn said after one day school her daughter happily told her she had spoken with officials about changing her name, and they’d asked her which bathroom she wanted to use.
Aghast by the discussion the school had had with her daughter without parental consent, Littlejohn called them immediately and asked them about it.
She was told by the school guidance councilor and vice-principal that they could not disclose what had been talked about in the meeting, and that Littlejohn’s daughter needed to give consent by-law for her parents to be informed about or be present for future discussions.
‘My 13-year-old daughter who can’t vote, drink, or enter into any other legal contract without our permission or input,’ Littlejohn said in 2021.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen is leading the 21-state brief in support of the Littlejohns with Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody
Littlejohn says that after several weeks of back-and-forths with the school district, the principal finally showed her a ‘transgender non conforming student support plan’ that the school had filled out with her daughter.
‘This was a six page document that she completed with the vice principal the guidance council, and a social worker I had never met.’
‘They asked her questions that would have absolutely impacted her safety, such as which bathroom she preferred to use, and which sex she preferred to room with on overnight field trips,’ Littlejohn said on Fox & Friends First in May.
The document also asked for the student’s preference on preferred names, pronouns, sports teams and locker rooms, and whether or not they wanted their parents to be informed about their transition.
‘The plan also stated to use her birth name when speaking to us in effect to deceive us of the social transition that had occurred,’ Littlejohn said.