A group of parents filed a lawsuit against the Hilliard school district in Ohio alleging that teachers are engaging in “intimate conversations about sexual behaviors” with students without parental consent.
The lawsuit, filed earlier this week with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, refers to teachers as “activists” and claims that they are taking steps to hide their conversations with children as young as six-years-old.
The eight parents are asking for an injunction to end conversations between teachers and employees who are not trained on the topic, and said the current climate is a “recipe for indoctrination and child abuse.”
School Superintendent David Stewart released a statement on Wednesday addressing several facets of the lawsuit and condemned some of the conduct by teachers in the district.
The parents listed in the lawsuit took issue with the use of “surveys” with students, with questions asking students what pronouns they prefer teachers use in class and what pronouns students want used in communication between the school and parents.
“While this was not a practice of the district’s or even a majority of our teachers, when this issue was brought to my attention, I made clear to our administration that Hilliard City Schools does not support surveying students on this topic or in this context of getting to know new students,” Stewart said.
He also said he has since followed up with teachers and administrators who are now aware of the guidance on this issue. Stewart also noted that while not best practice, it is not illegal.
Stewart also commented on the lawsuit’s criticism of the “I’m Here” badges worn by teachers. The badges were meant to show support for students in the LGBTQ community and were handed out by the Hilliard Education Association, a teacher’s union.
The front of the badges read “I’m here” with colored stripes, while the back included a QR code that provided a link to websites with additional resources.
“We learned that by clicking out from some of those support resources, it was possible to arrive at objectionable material inappropriate for students,” Stewart said.
The code links to the “NEA LGBTQ+ Caucus” website and resources from gender activist organizations including Scarleteen, Sex, Etc., Gender Spectrum, The Trevor Project, and Teen Health Source.
One of the linked resources, Teen Health Source’s “Queering Sexual Education,” promises to “empower youth” and includes a how-to guide for performing “anal sex,” “bondage,” “rimming,” “domination,” “sadomasochism,” “muffing,” and “fisting.” One of the materials offers instructions on how to, “[put] a fist or whole hand into a person’s vagina or bum.”
Stewart added that the issue has been discussed with the teachers’ union president and the QR code on the badges will now be covered so it is not visible to students or teachers. No instances of students accessing the QR code materials have been found, according to Stewart.
Hilliard Education Association President Linna Jordan initially defended the badges in a September 2022 statement to Fox News Digital, asserting the badges are symbols of support for students “who may need it” and could serve as a critical lifeline for LGBTQ students.
She also claimed that “extremists” are “amplifying the playbooks of a national network of political radicals” and are manufacturing controversy about the badges to “weaponize” LGBTQ issues and distract Ohioans from real issues.
Parents in other states are sounding off on classroom material they argue is inappropriate for adolescents, including an Oklahoma parent who warned of a teacher directing students how to access “pornographic” books via a QR code. The QR code took students to the Brooklyn Public Library Books Unbanned site, which is designed to give students access to books that are removed from, or otherwise challenged, in libraries and schools.
The statement from the school district superintendent also addressed a part of the lawsuit focused on students’ medical or mental health, and agreed with parents that counselors, not teachers should be called in when mental health consultations are needed.
However, Stewart also said the lawsuit include “misstatements of facts and mischaracterizations” and said “broad-brush accusations” do little to advance the district’s mission.
Speaking with ABC 6, Lisa Chaffee, one of the parents on the lawsuit against the district, said “I am hoping this is going to force the district to bring both sides together. I am willing to sit down across the table from my adversaries, if you will. I think we all truly have the best interest of kids at heart.”
Hilliard did not return Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Fox News’ Cortney O’Brien contributed to this report.