Jessica Konen and her daughter Alicia will receive a $100,000 settlement in the landmark secret gender transition case against Buena Vista Middle School.
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An 11-year-old girl and her mother reached a $100,000 settlement with the California school district that was sued over claims that instructors and staff at Buena Vista Middle School in Salinas, Calif., encouraged the girl to transition to a male gender identification socially.
The Spreckels Union School District, the school’s principal, and two instructors were named as defendants in the case, which was filed on June 14 of the previous year.
At a California Teachers Association weekend conference in Palm Springs in October 2021, Jessica Konen, the child’s mother, stepped forward in response to a leaked audio tape that showed the two teachers discussing their covert recruitment of kids into the school’s LGBT club with other educators. The conference hosted by the CTA was dubbed “2021 LGBTQ+ Issues Conference, Beyond the Binary: Identity & Imagining Possibilities.”
The two instructors were later suspended, and they are no longer employed by the district.
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It was informed by Ms. Konen that she is relieved that a settlement has finally been reached.
“It’s a massive victory across America for myself, for my daughter, and for other parents experiencing similar situations,” she said. “Our voices made a difference.”
Although she is appreciative that the Center for American Liberty took on the case on a pro gratis basis, she asserted that the fight for parental rights has just begun.
“I just feel social transitioning done in secrecy is the real evil. We need to get rid of it, period. So, the fight must continue,” she said.
Her now-16-year-old daughter, Alicia Konen, mirrored her mother’s feelings by declaring that she is prepared to put the experience, which she characterized as “evil” and “horrible,” behind her.
According to the Center for American Liberty and claims made in the lawsuit, when Alicia was in the sixth grade, she was persuaded to join an “Equality Club,” where she was instructed on topics including bisexuality, transgender identities, and other LGBT ideas.
As well as adopting a male name and pronouns, Alicia started dressing like a boy and wearing a chest binder.
During Alicia’s seventh grade year, the school administration ultimately held a conference and insisted that Ms. Konen refers to her daughter by a male name and male pronouns, according to Ms. Konen.
“I was definitely intimidated,” she said.
Ms. Konen remembers being uncomfortable and anxious when labeling Alicia’s Christmas presents.
She wrote “Baby” and “Sweetheart” instead because she wanted to be her daughter’s supporter but wasn’t ready to refer to her by a male name and pronouns.
“I was an emotional wreck trying to process everything. I was scared to mess up or to use the wrong pronouns,” she said. “I never used the male pronouns, and I never used the name.”
Parents should “be vigilant,” communicate with their children’s teachers, and attend local school board meetings, Ms. Konen advised.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to show your values and your opinions,” she said.
She also asked parents to become more involved in the lives of their kids.
“We need to fight for our kids because if we don’t fight for our kids, they’ll fight for our kids,” she said. “Be close to your child, because somebody wants to get closer.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill into law that prohibits sex reassignment surgeries.
‘I Wanted to Tell My Mom’
According to Alicia, her social gender transition started when she visited a school counselor because she was despondent.
“I was told by the counselor—it was brought up that I was sad because I wasn’t who I was supposed to be, and that’s kind of where it all started,” the girl recalled.
Alicia’s attention was “pulled away” from her studies by the counselor, who she claimed was helping the school “socially transition kids,” and she was placed on a Gender Support Plan (GSP), which required school personnel to refer to her by a male name and male pronouns and to let her use the teachers’ restroom instead of the girls’ facilities.
“I was advised by the school not to tell my mom, and I was given articles on how to hide a social transition from my mom,” she said. “I was extremely confused, and honestly very scared. I wanted to tell my mom, and continually said I wanted to tell her, but I was encouraged to keep it a secret. … The school said that my mother wouldn’t support me.”
But Alicia remained confident that her mother would stand by her during the difficult time, which lasted for more than a year.
“She loves me. She went through this whole fight for me, and that just shows really how much she supports me, how much she loves me,” Alicia said. “It was horrible what I went through, and not a lot of people know how it feels to have to hide stuff from your mom, especially when you have as close of a bond as we do.”
Since leaving middle school and enrolling in high school, where she is “actually able to focus on my academics,” Alicia claimed she has felt better about herself.
She also feels at ease with her gender.
“I am 1,000 percent a girl. I am Alicia. That is who I am, and no one can ever change that,” she said. “I feel free finally. I feel like I’m not under control by anybody. I can finally move forward with my life and be happy.”
The Konens hope that by bringing their high-profile case to light, more families may be inspired to speak out against state and local school board regulations that keep parents out of their children’s lives.