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A Colorado mother says her 12-year-old daughter was invited to an art club at school, only to find out later that it was a covenant on gender and sexuality over identity queer and transgender.
Erin Lee said the day started off like any other – and when her daughter texted home asking her to go to an after-school art club, her parents gave permission .
“When we picked her up from that after-school program, we could see on her face that something was very wrong,” Lee told Fox News Digital.
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“It wasn’t an art club, it was GSA, or Gender and Sexuality [Alliance] that’s what they call it now,” she added.
The Poudre School District in Fort Collins, Colorado, where Lee’s daughter attended school, told Fox News in a statement that GSAs were “created as safe spaces for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. , allies and anyone to come together with the objectives of ensuring inclusiveness, safety and support Discussions in GSAs can be confidential as they can sometimes be of a sensitive nature (i.e. that a student may be “out” with specific friends but not with the community as a whole.)”
Lee said the day her daughter attended, an outside speaker from an advocacy organization, SPLASH Youth of Northern Colorado, was presenting.
Lee said the presenter “told the kids that if they weren’t completely comfortable in their bodies then they were transgender. So basically I told my daughter if she wasn’t not 100% comfortable in her body, that she was transgender.”
Lee said she contacted both the SPLASH presenter and the school, which she said confirmed the meeting was still being held in secret.
Emails obtained by Parents Defending Education show the guest speaker asking the teacher to remind Lee’s daughter “the room is a safe space and she should not share the names of her friends in attendance,” and that the conversations with Lee should be considered “evidence.”
The emails also cite the Equal Access Act as the reason “parents don’t have to approve the clubs and activities their children attend.”
The Equal Access Act states that schools that receive federal funding cannot deny students the right to hold meetings because of the “religious, political, philosophical or other content of speech at those meetings.” .
Lee said the Equal Access Act was “not applicable.”
“There is nothing in the Equal Access Act that prevents parents from being informed about programs,” she said. “It requires schools to have programs, but it doesn’t require secrecy.”
Lee said she didn’t send her daughter back to public school and instead enrolled her in a private Christian school, but she still has a son in public school.
“I was met with a lot of hate for just telling the truth,” she said. “And so I know now that there are a lot of families like me, who don’t have the ability to talk about what’s happening to them.”
SPLASH Youth of Northern Colorado says they “serve LGBTQIA+ youth ages 5-24, their families, schools, and community connections by providing support, resources, referrals, social belonging, and special events. “.
The Poudre School District told Fox News Digital in a statement that a school board principal and several district staff have been in contact with Lee over the past year.
“In PSD, we promise to create and sustain equitable, inclusive, and rigorous educational opportunities, outcomes, and experiences for all students. As a district, we are committed to making our schools safe spaces in which all students can learn,” the statement read.
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“In PSD, a GSA Club can be Student Sponsored, which is started/run/directed by a student and an adult attending the meetings; or School Sponsored, which is started/run/directed by an adult. Wellington Middle School is sponsored by the school. Resources available to guide GSAs include, but are not limited to, those of the GSA Network and One Colorado. Schools generally post information about their respective clubs on school websites, as well as through various means in schools themselves (posters in hallways, etc.),” the statement continued.