Florida father sues school after daughter’s suicide attempts, says gender counseling hidden from parents

[Editor’s note: This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)]

A Florida father said Thursday his daughter attempted suicide twice after her school encouraged others to call her a boy and gave her a new name, while not notifying the parents about meetings discussing her gender identity. 

During an appearance on “The Ingraham Angle,” Wendell Perez said he took legal action after the elementary school counselor told him his 12-year-old daughter had attempted suicide over issues with her gender identity. Perez said the counselor told him he was not been informed about his daughter’s situation because of his “Catholic beliefs.” 

“The counselor had secret meetings with our daughter about gender. She was groomed to something that she’s not, and she was encouraged,” Perez told Laura Ingraham, adding his daughter is home with the family. 

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Perez said the counselor precipitated a pattern of bullying by calling his daughter by a different name and pronouns in front of other students. He added that the school has accused him of lying and has taken an “arrogant attitude” in their correspondence with him and the public. 

“No one is prepared to deal with her other than us, the parents—not the school. The school messed it up,” said Perez.

Perez’s lawyer, Vernadette Broyles, echoed her client’s statement, arguing that the case is about “understanding” and “upholding” the rights of parents to be able to raise their children in accordance with their faith, even if that faith is “disfavored” in the eyes of school officials.

“It’s about understanding that children are not the mere creatures of the state,” added Broyles. 

In a statement, Clay County District Schools said they had not been served with a legal process and could not comment on the content of any pleading filed with the court. 

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“The district has performed a thorough and complete investigation into this matter as it was presented to us and has determined that the allegations made by this out-of-state organization are completely false, fabricated, and appear to be intended solely for the purpose of inciting the public,” read the statement from Clay County District Schools. 

When pressed further, the school district said they remained firm that the actions by school officials “did not happen in the manner in which they are portrayed.”

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