A California mom is taking legal action against a school district, claiming that two teachers manipulated her 11-year-old daughter into believing she was transgender.
Last Wednesday, Jessica Konen filed a legal complaint against Spreckels Union School District.
In the claim, she alleges that Buena Vista Middle School teachers Lori Caldeira and Kelly Baraki “planted a seed” in her daughter’s mind that she was bisexual. She then asserts that they convinced her daughter that she was a transgender boy.
Konen also claims that the teachers provided information for her daughter on how to bind her breasts to stop them from developing. She says the school hid all of this from her until a December 2019 meeting.
After schools closed and went remote during COVID in March 2020, Konen says her daughter was happy to identify as a girl again.
Caldeira and Baraki are also alleged to have “stalked” social media for children they thought may have been transgender.
The claim states that the Spreckels Union School District is responsible for “extreme and outrageous conduct” leading a student to transition to a boy.
Konen is accompanied in her claim by the free speech group The Center for American Liberty.
Since filing the case, Attorney Harmeet Dhillon said she’s heard from parents across multiple states who describe “secretive trans grooming” by school officials.
One of Konen’s chief complaints was that the school hid her daughter’s participation in the Equality Club, literature teachers provided, and a “gender support plan” created by school administrators.
“Parents are supposed to have access to all the educational records of their children,” said Dhillon. “The concept that the schools have a right to be running secret, don’t-tell-your-parents clubs and don’t-tell-your-parents programs and actively coaching children how to mutilate themselves, which is you know, not growing your breasts, is certainly not consistent with California law.”
While Konen said her daughter had disclosed she was bisexual, the mother was unaware she identified as a boy until being called to a meeting at the Buena Vista School in December 2019.
Konen wasn’t told the intent of the meeting until she and her daughter were both present, and teacher Lori Caldeira disclosed the information.
The mother says her daughter was also surprised. She had told teachers she wanted to tell her mom, but didn’t know they had set a meeting.
Konen said she gave the school permission to use a boy’s name for attendance and tried to be supportive.
When schools went to remote learning in March 2020, Konen said her daughter began returning to her “old self” and now uses her given name.
In a leaked recording from a California Teachers Association conference, Caldeira and Baraki discuss how they kept meetings private and “stalked” students online for recruiting.
“When we were doing our virtual learning — we totally stalked what they were doing on Google when they weren’t doing school work,” Baraki said. “One of them was googling ‘Trans Day of Visibility.’ And we’re like, ‘Check.’ We’re going to invite that kid when we get back on campus.”
The teachers have been placed on administrative leave. The school district said, “many of the comments and themes stated in the article are alarming, concerning, disappointing” and didn’t reflect their policies.