Mesa Public Schools Sued For Secretly Transitioning Children’s Genders

February 14, 2024

By Corinne Murdock |

Mesa Public Schools (MPS) faces a lawsuit for policies resulting in the secret transitioning of children’s genders and tracking their gender transition journeys while restricting parental knowledge or consent.

The amended lawsuit, filed on Tuesday by America First Legal (AFL) on behalf of MPS Governing Board member Rachel Walden and the mother of one alleged victim, accused MPS of unlawfully hiding policy and evidence of their transitioning of children from parents. Arizona’s Constitution and Parents’ Bill of Rights acknowledge that it is the fundamental right of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children.

The amended complaint contained new information revealing that at least one MPS school maintained a “parent concealment cheat sheet”: a spreadsheet tracking the gender journeys of over a dozen students as well as information on which of their parents were supportive or needed to be kept in the dark. 

MPS policy of transitioning children without parental knowledge or consent, the Transgender Support Plan (TSP), dates back to 2015, according to the lawsuit. The policy asks the children for permission to notify their parents of their gender transition: should the child decline, MPS requires its employees to keep the transition hidden from parents. 

MPS has long denied the allegations that TSP occurs without parental notification. Last June, MPS Superintendent Andi Fourlis dismissed the allegations in a public letter.

According to a once-public document students were made to fill out to initiate a TSP, the Support Plan for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students, students were given the option to deny permission of disclosure of their gender transitions to their parents. MPS removed that support plan from public view following community outcry in 2022. The district then issued an updated version of the support plan with a loophole to parental disclosure: name and gender changes were to be requested through Synergy — the district’s online database — in order for parents to be notified. Should Synergy not be updated, parents would not be notified.

AFL noted that this loophole contradicted Fourlis’ claim, which ultimately resulted in the gender transition of the eighth-grade girl at the heart of AFL’s lawsuit, Megan Doe, to a male by school staff without the knowledge or consent of Doe’s mother, Jane. 

“[S]chool employees encouraged Megan to lie to her parents and helped her to do so, which harmed the parent-child relationship and delayed Megan from receiving needed mental health counseling,” stated AFL. 

Per the lawsuit, Jane’s attempts to learn of what had happened to her daughter were rebuffed by school staff and leadership in 2022. The principal at her daughter’s school refused to disclose further records or information about the conversations school staff had with her daughter, and refused to comply with Jane’s demand to cease referring to her daughter as a boy and by a boy’s name. 

“The principal admitted that school personnel intentionally had not changed Megan’s name in the [Synergy] system to avoid any notification being sent to Jane and that there were no plans to change Megan’s name in the system,” stated the lawsuit. “The principal told Jane that even if Jane had asked to be notified about any name changes, pronoun changes, or other choices related to a transgender identity by her child, it was official MPS policy not to tell parents and that school personnel would not notify Jane about any further developments related to these issues.”

It was only after this ordeal that Jane discovered Megan’s struggles and, reportedly, was able to resolve them through conversations with her mother and a psychotherapist. The lawsuit stated that this maternal intervention resulted in Megan’s issues being “completely resolved” within a month.

“[Megan] is now very comfortable presenting herself as a female and using her given name and is thriving in high school,” stated AFL. 

AFL claimed to also have discovered, upon information and belief, that MPS employees regularly ignored the requirement to notify parents after students began transitioning genders in school. 

AFL further issued evidence of a school counselor, Emily Wulff at Kino Junior High, instructing school staff in an email last March to not disclose gender transitions to anyone outside those allowed within the support plan. Wulff’s email made no mention of parental notification.

In a follow-up email, Wulff clarified that the purpose of the nondisclosure policy was to “protect outing students who are not ready to come out to peers or family members.” Wulff specified that the support plan was designed to keep gender transitions a secret from certain families.

“The main takeaways would be to make sure when contacting home to use their preferred name home,” wrote Wulff. “For example, if I have a student that goes by Emily and she/her pronouns that I need to call home for, and in their plan it says to use their birth name and biological pronouns home, [be] sure you do not out the student by using their preferred name and pronouns they use at school.”

Last March, Wulff also directed school employees to keep up a spreadsheet tracking the gender transition journeys of 17 students, titled “Pronoun Preference,” with notes declaring whether a student’s parents and family were aware of their transition. 

For three students whose parents were documented as “unaware,” Wulff’s spreadsheet directed school employees to hide their preferred names and pronouns. For another seven students whose parents were documented as somewhat aware or partially supportive, the spreadsheet instructed staff to use the students’ birth names and gender to mask the extent of their transition. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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