Sounding an alarm to parents across the United States, a Florida mother has filed a lawsuit against Leon County School District after her “transgender child transitioned at school without her consent.”
January Littlejohn—a stay-at-home mother of three and mental health professional—appeared on a television morning show on May 2 along with her attorney Vernadette Broyles and discussed the lawsuit and why she feels her parental rights were “violated” by the unnamed school and why parents all over the country need to take note.
“This is happening all over the nation,” Littlejohn warned other parents. “This same protocol is in place in many, many schools across districts everywhere, and even the guides being used to dictate these transgender support plans that cut parents out even have the same language.”
“So this is a very systematic way that parents are being excluded from important decisions occurring with their children.
“Social transition is a medical intervention that schools are grossly unqualified to be taking these steps without parental involvement,” she continued.
Littlejohn said her daughter, who was 13 at the time of the incident, expressed “confusion” over her gender at the height of the pandemic after a few friends in her peer group had transitioned to the opposite sex.
“She had suddenly started identifying as transgender,” she said of her daughter. “Unfortunately, this is becoming a common occurrence among teen girls especially.”
She attended a press conference on March 28 alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis and told the crowd that she “eventually found out” that the school had formed a “transgender support plan” with her daughter without her knowledge or consent.
When Littlejohn confronted the school it declined to allow her involvement as a parent given the child was “protected by a nondiscrimination law.”
“In other words, school officials asked my 13-year-old child her permission as to whether or not my parental rights would be honored,” Littlejohn said during a press conference in Tampa on March 28.
“After many weeks of going back and forth with the district we learned the middle school had created a transgender gender nonconforming support plan with our 13-year-old daughter without our knowledge or consent.”
She said that “eventually” she did see the transgender support plan— a six-page document that had been completed by school officials and her daughter “behind closed doors.”
“They asked her questions that would have absolutely impacted her safety, and her physical and emotional well-being such as which restroom she preferred to use and which sex she preferred to room with on overnight field trips,” Littlejohn said.
Other questions that were asked in the document were what pronouns her daughter wanted to identify with and which locker room she preferred to use.
During the press conference, she said the plan also directed school staff to use her daughter’s birth name when speaking to the parents and to use a “different name in school with teachers, staff, and students.”
“This plan directed school staff to conceal from us that this meeting and plan had ever taken place when parents are excluded from critical decisions affecting their child’s health and well-being at school,” she said.
“It sends the message to children that their parent’s input and authority are no longer important.”
Littlejohn told those attending the press conference that this incident has “created a huge wedge” between them as mother and daughter. “It sent the message that she needed to be protected from us.”
She said that social transition is often the first step toward medical transitions for which schools are “grossly unqualified.”
“Social transition is a medical and mental health intervention that can lead to significant decisions that will impact the child’s mental and physical well-being,” she said.
Unfortunately, she said what happened to her family is not an isolated incident.
“I have been contacted by parents all over our state who [have] had their rights violated in the same manner,” she said.
“Yet schools have been systematically cutting parents out of critical decisions being made with their children, painting them as enemies to their children, with no due process.”
Broyles said the lawsuit was filed at the end of December 2021 only to have the school district file a motion to dismiss.
“We are waiting on a ruling from the judge. This is a national agenda, and parents need to recognize they have the right to direct the upbringing, education, care, medical decisions, mental health decisions of the child and they need to assert that right with their school.”
“For the safety of our children, these parental rights violations must stop and school districts must be held accountable when they break the law,” Broyles said.
Littlejohn added, “Parents know and love their children more than anyone in this world. I have always told my children my No.1 job is to keep them safe. And the school took that away from me.”