Massachusetts is not like Texas….

If the parents of 11-year old B.F. lose their appeal at the 1st Circuit, perhaps they will simply move to Texas.  Here in Texas they will have a robust set of legal protections for parents set out in Chapter 26 of the Education Code.  Moreover, they would not have to deal with a school policy that encourages school staff to keep secrets from parents.    

The dispute started when the school librarian gave the 6th graders an assignment to develop a biographical video. Sounds like a fun and educational project for the TikTok generation. However, the librarian “invited students to include their gender identity and preferred pronouns in their videos.”  A few months later, an 11-year old confided in a teacher, expressing concern over depression, low self-esteem and possible same-sex attraction.  Would the teacher help talk to the parents about this? 

The teacher did. This prompted the mom to send an email to all of the teachers asking them to refrain from any such discussions with her children. 

Two months later the student sent an email to various teachers, identifying as “genderqueer” and announcing a new name and preferred pronouns.  The school counselor sent an email to staff informing them that they should use the new name and pronouns in school but “should not use B.F.’s new name and pronouns when communicating with B.F.’s parents.” In other words, let’s keep this from the parents.

The court noted that the school counselor’s position:

was consistent with a policy sanctioned by the School Committee pursuant to which school personnel would only share information about a student’s expressed gender identity with the student’s parents if the student consented to such communication.

The federal court in Massachusetts did not like this policy:

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.

…it is 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.

But despite those misgivings, the court held that the policy did not violate any parental rights.  In fact, “the alleged policy was consistent with Massachusetts law and the goal of providing transgender and nonconforming students with a safe school environment.”

It’s on appeal to the 1st Circuit. Stay tuned.

The case is Foote v. Town of Ludlow, decided by the federal court in Massachusetts on December 14, 2022. It’s cited at 2022 WL 18356421.  


Got a question or comment for the Dawg?  Let me hear from you at

Tomorrow: he landed face first on the pavement. Ouch!