May 22nd, 2023 2 Minute Read Public Filings by Ilya Shapiro, Leor Sapir, John Ketcham

Amicus Brief: Littlejohn v. School Board of Leon County

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 board of Leon County, Florida, established a comprehensive “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Gender Nonconforming and Questioning Support Guide,” which specifically provided that: (1) parents are not to be informed when their children announce that they identify as transgender, and (2) children have a legally protected right to keep from their parents information regarding their gender identity and steps taken by the district to affirm that identity.

Operating according to that guidance, administrators met secretly with January and Jeffrey Littlejohn’s 13-year-old daughter to develop a “gender support plan” that permitted the child’s unilateral decision on what name and pronouns to use, which restroom to visit, and with which sex to lodge on overnight trips. The document also indicated that school staff would use a new name and “they/them” when referring to the child at school, but would use the child’s given name and “she/her” when talking to her parents, effectively deceiving the parents regarding what was going on at school. The Littlejohns 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, updating one we previously filed in a similar case, supporting the parents’ appeal to the Eleventh 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 a fellow and director of state and local policy at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.

Photo by DNY59/iStock


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