US

Oregon Parents Sue School District, Allege Teacher Asked Son If He Was Transgender

By Zachary Stieber

An Oregon family has sued a school district over allegations that a teacher repeatedly met with their 8-year-old son during recess and asked him if he was transgender.

Transgender is when someone believes they are one gender despite being born the other. It was until last year classified as a mental illness by the World Health Organization and is still widely considered to be a mental illness.

The Oregon parents are suing the Woodburn School District for nearly $1 million, saying the teacher’s conversations with their son has led to him being confused.

“He feels different now, he feels confused. To hear your son say that … on a couch talking to a therapist, holding back tears—it’s very heartbreaking,” the mother told KPTV.

The parents, who declined to be identified, said that the teacher at Nellie Muir Elementary School conducted the conversations without their permission and they are seeking to publicize the secret discussions.

They said that the second-grade teacher, who has also not been identified, asked their son multiple times if he believed he was transgender. While other students were out at recess, the boy and the teacher watched videos and books about the topic that the parents said the teacher obtained from one of her friends, who is transgender.

Meanwhile, the parents didn’t know the discussions were taking place. They only found out when their son brought home one of the books.

The parents told KPTV that the ordeal started when their son asked to use the staff bathroom because of a stomach problem. The condition made him uncomfortable to use the regular bathroom. However, staff members thought that the boy didn’t want to use the boy’s bathroom because he thought he was a girl.

The discussions have left the 8-year-old confused, his mother said.

“Still today, a year later, if he plays with my niece, he’s a girl in that moment … if he plays with my nephew, he’s a boy,” said the mother.

“He can be whatever he wants, I don’t care what he is. I just want him to be my happy son and I feel like she messed that up. It frustrates me that my son can be influenced that drastically, and nothing be done about it they just wanted to sweep it under the rug,” added the father.

The school said in a May 2018 letter that it found the teacher discussed gender issues with the boy in a one-on-one setting without notifying his parents.

The lawsuit was filed in Marion County Circuit Court, reported the Salem Statesman-Journal, alleging the school committed false imprisonment, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

District Superintendent Chuck Ransom declined to comment to the outlet, citing the pending lawsuit.

The family’s attorney, Edgar Diaz, described in the suit the shock the parents experienced when they found out what materials their son was exposed to, including the book “Who are You? The Kid’s Guide to Gender Identity.”

“(They) were extremely shocked to find out that she would expose (their son) to various sexual concepts, such as the difference between male and female body parts,”  he wrote.

When the parents filed a complaint with the school, they said officials told them, “If this happened in Portland, it would not be a big deal.”