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Judge throws out parents’ lawsuit over schools hiding underage children’s gender transitions

Policy fails to meet constitutional conscience standard, judge claims

Published: December 24, 2022 11:54am

Updated: December 24, 2022 12:29pm

A Massachusetts judge this week threw out a parental lawsuit against a school district’s policy of hiding the gender transitions of two underage children, claiming the rule—while flawed—did not rise to the level of a necessary constitutional standard.

U.S. District Court Judge Mark Mastroianni professed himself “apprehensive” about the reported transgender policies of Ludlow County Schools, but that the suit brought by two parents against the district regarding those policies failed to meet a longstanding “shock-the-conscience” constitutional test. 

The parents claimed in the suit that school officials hid the intended gender “transitions” of their respective children, ages 11 and 12 at the time. The students had reportedly asked to be identified by new names and pronouns while in school and to have these practices kept from their parents. 

Mastroianni in his ruling claimed that “addressing a person using their preferred name and pronouns” is a matter of “the basic level of respect expected in a civil society generally.”

Though he tossed the lawsuit, the judge did acknowledge it “disconcerting that school administrators or a school committee adopted and implemented a policy requiring school staff to actively hide information from parents about something of importance regarding their child.”

“Students and parents would almost certainly be better served by a more thoughtful policy that facilitated a supportive and safe disclosure by the student, with support and education available for students and parents, as needed and when accepted,” he said.

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