The parents of a 13-year-old girl in England have alleged that their daughter was “brainwashed” by her school into thinking she is transgender, according to a report.
Ashleigh and Ged Barnett on Friday accused Hoe Valley School, just outside of London, of secretly allowing their daughter to attend “radicalizing” one-on-one “LGBT+awareness sessions.” The mentoring sessions started last September, and by November, their daughter was sporting a short haircut and talking about feeling that she was really a boy, they said.
“Our daughter was egged on to feel that she’s a boy in a girl’s body,” said Ashleigh Barnett, 50. “Last August she had lovely long hair, wore a dress and make-up, and looked like a pretty teenage girl. By November, she didn’t look like the same child.”
“It’s no coincidence that she showed no signs of gender dysphoria immediately prior to the ‘mentoring,’ but presented with classic signs afterwards,” said Ged Barnett.
The Barnetts said they were confused by their daughter’s transformation. They said the school had never requested their consent for the mentoring, which took place weekly, and they only learned of it during a meeting with the head teacher about an unrelated matter.
‘The school didn’t think it was fit to tell us. We are her parents, but responsibility to care for our child has been taken away. The attitude is that it’s the child’s choice and it’s got nothing to do with us,” Ashleigh Barnett said.
Ashleigh and Ged Barnett never agreed to LGBT mentoring
Hoe Valley School denied the parents’ claims but would not comment on specifics.
“We strongly dispute these allegations,” Jane Davies, the head teacher, said in a statement to the Mail. “The parents are in the process of a formal complaint and therefore we are unable to comment further. However, safeguarding will always be the priority of the school.”
According to Barnett, the mentoring sessions were run by a teaching assistant who had no formal educational qualifications and had only received training from a local charity Eikon, which provides “LGBT+ awareness sessions” for schools.
However, Chris Hickford, Eikon’s chief executive, denied his organization was responsible for the school’s mentor.
“The suggestion any Eikon member of staff would train others to radicalize young people is not at all accurate,” he said. “The training assistant may well have been at professional networking events that Eikon also attended or helped facilitate, but Eikon has not provided LBGT+ training to him.”
The girl has started seeing a psychologist, who anonymously told the Mail that it was “appalling” that schools have “unqualified people mentoring young students.”
Barnett also said the teaching assistant encouraged her daughter to use a boy’s changing area and that staff began referring to her by a male name.
In a recent email exchanges with the Barnetts, Davies suggested the Barnetts should let their daughter use the changing area of her choice, the Mail reported.
“We will continue to provide a safe environment for [the girl], but it is not our place to alert you to how she feels,” Davies wrote. “It is important that you understand that she is old enough to make her own decisions.”
Time to grow up?
A number of parents, activists and experts worldwide — including in a June 2018 Atlantic cover story — have in recent years raised concerns about growing cultural pressure to accommodate or even encourage transgender identity in children.
LGBT activists, for their part, have largely rejected such pushback. They have argued “gender affirmation” is a matter of social justice and mistaken gender transitions are exceedingly rare. In many cases, they have sought to paint skeptics with the broad brush of “transphobia.”
Last month, the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, or WILL, sued the Madison Metropolitan School District for a policy it adopted restricting staff from alerting parents if their son or daughter has identified with the opposite sex. The lawsuit, brought on behalf of 14 parents, accused the district of usurping the parental role.