Governance Civil Justice
March 21st, 2023 1 Minute Read Amicus Brief by Ilya Shapiro, Leor Sapir, John Ketcham

Amicus Brief: Foote v. Ludlow School Committee

An emerging issue in public education is school officials’ secret social-transitioning of minor children in alternate gender identities and deliberately withholding that information from parents.

In this case, the school district in Ludlow, Massachusetts, disregarded parents’ instructions to not discuss gender-identity issues with their children and interfered with the parents’ decision-making through secret online discussions in which a counselor suggested that the children were not safe with their parents. Another staff member actively promoted children’s social transitioning. District officials acted according to a protocol they claimed was required by state educational guidelines and non-discrimination laws.

The parents of two children complained to school administration, only to be publicly disparaged by the superintendent and school board chairman. They sued in federal court, alleging a violation of their constitutional rights (1) to direct the upbringing of their children; (2) to make medical and mental-health decisions for their children; and (3) familial privacy. The district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss. The Manhattan Institute has filed an amicus brief supporting the parents’ appeal to the First Circuit and presenting medical research showing that social transition is not a neutral act but an active intervention. Its use on children and adolescents in schools falls squarely within parents’ fundamental right to guide their children’s healthcare.


Ilya Shapiro is a senior fellow and director of Constitutional Studies at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

Leor Sapir is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

John Ketcham is director of state and local policy and a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

Photo by DNY59/iStock


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