Public School sign detail on school bus
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Connecticut Attorney General William Tong was among attorneys general in 16 states last week who defended school officials in Ludlow, Massachusetts, who have been sued for not notifying parents that their two children were using new names and personal pronouns at school.

Tong co-authored an amicus brief in a federal court where the parents of two middle school students are appealing a complaint against school officials after a federal judge in the district of Massachusetts dismissed their lawsuit last year.

In the complaint, lawyers for parents Stephen Foote and Marisa Silvestri argued that the school district violated their civil rights when they were not notified that their two children had adopted new names and pronouns. The school district has maintained that its practice is to avoid disclosing such information without the consent of the impacted students.

In a press release Wednesday, Tong said that requiring schools to notify parents in similar cases would undermine trust between students and teachers.

“Outing students against their will is dangerous,” Tong said. “Students – especially LGBTQ+ youth who may lack support at home – need trusted adults to have their backs. I stand with attorneys general across the country in full support of Ludlow’s efforts to protect the privacy and safety of all of their students.”

Tong and the other attorneys general urged the appeals court to uphold the ruling of Judge Mark Mastroianni, who dismissed the complaint in December.

“Here, the individual defendants’ respective decisions not to share information with Plaintiffs about their children’s gender identities complied with a Ludlow Public Schools policy which, though not required by, was consistent with Massachusetts laws that have not been challenged by Plaintiffs,” the judge wrote.

Tong’s brief is not the first time an entity in Connecticut has weighed in on the case. In October, the Family Institute of Connecticut filed a separate amicus brief in support of the parents and argued the outcome of the case would have “significant consequences” for families in Connecticut, where schools have implemented similar policies.

“[The court] should reject the assertion that public officials can conceal from the parents of 11- and 12-year-old minor children ‘information fundamental to a child’s identity, personhood, and mental and emotional well-being’ because those officials think that they know better than the parents,” a lawyer for the institute wrote.