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A Colorado mom said her 12-year-old daughter was invited to an art club at school, only later to find it was a Gender and Sexualities Alliance about queer and transgender identity.
Erin Lee said the day started like any other – and when her daughter text home asking to go to an after-school art club, her parents gave their permission.
“When we picked her up from that program after school, we could see on her face that something was incredibly wrong,” Lee told Fox News Digital.
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“It wasn’t art club, it was GSA, or Gender and Sexuality [Alliance] is what they’re calling 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 “established as safe spaces for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, allies, and any individual to come together with the goals of ensuring inclusivity, safety, and support. Discussions in GSAs may be confidential given that they can sometimes be sensitive in nature (i.e. a student may be “out” with specific friends but not with the community at large.)”
Lee said on 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’re not fully comfortable in their body, then they are transgender. So essentially told my daughter if she’s not 100% comfortable in her body, that she is transgender.”
Lee said she contacted both the SPLASH presenter and the school, which she said confirmed the meeting is always held in secret.
Emails obtained by Parents Defending Education show the guest speaker asking the teacher to remind the Lee’s daughter “the room is a safe space and that she should not share the names of her friends in attendance,” and that conversations with Lee should be thought of as “evidence.”
The emails also cite the Equal Access Act as a reason “parents don’t have to approve which clubs and activities their children participate in.”
The Equal Access Act says schools who receive federal funding cannot deny students the right to conduct meetings because of the “religious, political, philosophical, or other content of the speech at such meetings.”
Lee said the Equal Access Act is “not applicable.”
“There’s nothing in the Equal Access Act that prevents parents from being informed about programming,” she said. “It requires schools to have programming, but it does not require secrecy.”
Lee said she did not send her daughter back to the public school, and instead enrolled her in a private Christian school, but still has a son in the public school.
“I’ve been met with a lot of hate for just telling the truth,” she said. “And so I know now that there’s a lot of families just like me, who don’t have the ability to speak up about what happens 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 belongingness, and special events.”
The Poudre School District told Fox News Digital in a statement that a Board of Education director and several district staff members have been in contact with Lee over the last year.
“In PSD, we promise to create and uphold 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 could be student-sponsored, which is started/run/led by a student and has an adult present at meetings; or school-sponsored, which is started/run/led by an adult. The GSA at Wellington Middle School is school-sponsored. Resources available to guide GSAs include but aren’t limited to those from The GSA Network and One Colorado. Schools generally post information about their respective clubs on school websites, as well as through various means in the schools themselves (posters in hallways, etc.),” the statement continued.