Outraged Parents' Lawsuit Alleges Gender Dysphoria Lessons Given to Kids

Transgender Elementary School Lessons Lawsuit Pittsburgh Parents
Three parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have filed a lawsuit alleging a first-grade teacher gave lessons on gender dysphoria. Above, a pink and blue transgender symbol is pictured on a blackboard in this undated file photo. itakdalee/Getty

Three outraged parents in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have filed a lawsuit alleging a first-grade teacher gave lessons on gender dysphoria.

The federal suit from Jefferson Elementary School parents Carmilla Tatel, Stacy Dunn and Gretchen Melton argues that their civil rights were violated when lessons from teacher Megan Williams exposed their children to transgender issues, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A spokesperson for the Mt. Lebanon School District told Newsweek that the lawsuit was unfounded and said that the parents were mischaracterizing events "for sensational effect."

Williams, who has a transgender child, allegedly instructed students on issues of gender identity on March 31, which is International Transgender Day of Visibility. The lawsuit reportedly argued that Williams' "unique perspectives and views" on transgender issues did "not give her the right to impose those views on a captive audience of six- and seven-year-old children."

The lawsuit alleges that Williams used materials including a video called "Jacob's New Dress" and transgender-themed books titled When Aiden Became a Brother and Introducing Teddy, according to The National Desk. The suit also accuses the teacher of informing students that her child wore an "Elsa dress" on Halloween and telling them that sometimes "parents are wrong" about gender.

Williams, the school district and school officials are accused of violating the parents' constitutional 14th Amendment due process rights and First Amendment religious rights, with the suit arguing the parents "have sincerely held religious and moral beliefs including that human beings are created male or female and that the natural created order regarding human sexuality cannot be changed."

Last year, multiple experts told Newsweek that the scientific evidence on sex and gender did not support a strictly binary view, with University of Manchester bioethics professor Simona Giordano saying that "we do not fully understand how sex develops, but it is clear that the Y and X do not mark the development of a person's sex, at least not on their own."

Mt. Lebanon School District Communications Director Kristen James told Newsweek that the lawsuit included "allegations that are untrue or based on partial truths that mischaracterize events for sensational effect" and that the district "looks forward to the opportunity to set the record straight" in court.

"Although we will not comment further on pending litigation, we refer the community to our Equity Statement: "The Mt. Lebanon School District is committed to providing a safe, inclusive, and welcoming school environment that recognizes and celebrates the diverse identities of all members of our school community, including students, their families, faculty, and staff," said James.

"All students, regardless of background, identity, or ability will be supported to reach their full potential and pursue their unique talents," she added. "The District will provide resources in a just and equitable manner and remove barriers to allow students to thrive academically, socially, and emotionally."

Although transgender issues have recently been heavily focused on by many on the political right, with GOP lawmakers in multiple states attempting to ban gender-affirming care for children and punish parents with transgender children, the Pittsburgh parents maintained that the lawsuit was not related to "politics."

The suit also reportedly contains complaints with no connection to transgender issues, including Williams allegedly not requiring students to recite the Pledge of Allegiance for the first 52 days of the school year and playing a cartoon on Valentine's Day that was not pre-approved by all of the students' parents.

Newsweek has reached out to Williams and The National Center for Transgender Equality for comment.