Jennifer Vitsaxaki, an up-state New York mother, was involved and informed in her daughter's life at home and – as much as possible – at school. But that didn't stop officials with the Skaneateles Central School District, roughly a half hour from Syracuse, from working to transition her 12-year-old daughter to a male. What's more, Vitsaxaki's lawsuit against the district and the local school board alleges school officials also lied to her on multiple occasions when she inquired about her daughter's well-being at school.
Both parents – Jennifer and her husband Michael – are U.S. citizens, but the family spent almost 10 years in Greece, and Greek was their primary language. They moved to the U.S. hoping to build a better life for the family, The Daily Signal reported.
Jennifer Vitsaxaki even took a job with the school district as a bus driver for the purpose of being more informed about the school, senior counsel Vincent Wagner of Alliance Defending Freedom said on Washington Watch Wednesday.
Vitsaxaki began to notice changes in her daughter at home – depression, anxiety, and on some days refusing to go to school, Wagner told show host Tony Perkins. Mrs. Vitsaxaki on multiple occasions asked school officials if they knew of anything occurring at school that could be leading to the daughter's changing behavior.
"They consistently reassured her, 'No, we haven't noticed anything, nothing's new' … that sort of thing, but this wasn't true. They were concealing from her that they had started treating her daughter as a boy, calling her a masculine name, using incorrect pronouns for her … and without telling Jennifer or seeking her consent," Wagner said.
Eventually, the Vitsaxakis removed their daughter from the district. They enrolled her in a private school where she began to improve emotionally and physically – and no longer wanted to be identified as a male.
School officials, as they deceived parents, were following the district's policy.
"School districts around the country, they seek permission to give kids an aspirin while they're at school during the day, but they have policies like these that keep this critical information from parents," the ADF attorney stated.
"We know kids are going to do better when their parents are involved in these key decisions in their lives. It's just common sense that that would be the case, but the scientific evidence supports it: kids do better when their parents help them through these sorts of difficult issues," Wagner added.
Similar cases 'popping up' around the country
Unfortunately, the Vitsaxakis' case is playing out in other communities around the country. ADF attorneys won a similar case in Wisconsin, and litigation is ongoing in Michigan, Wagner said. This case in New York was filed in late January.
"It's important that parents be bold and be willing to speak out," Wagner concluded. "These are cropping up all over the country. We want to equip parents to know their rights and know that the Constitution is on their side with this."