The Wyoming school district sued last week for allegedly helping socially gender-transition a high school student without her parents’ knowledge says the lawsuit’s complaints are “false” and “fabricated.”
“The allegations made by this out-of-state organization are completely false, fabricated and appear to be intended solely for the purpose of inciting the public,” said Nicole Bolton, human resources director for Sweetwater County School District No. 1 in a Tuesday email to Cowboy State Daily.
Bolton referenced a federal lawsuit filed Thursday by Sean and Ashley Willey, parents of a Black Butte High School student.
The Willeys allege that the district and its administrators actively hid from the Willeys their daughter’s transgender social transition into using a boy name and pronouns, despite the girl having a history of mental health issues.
They also accuse the district of violating Ashley Willey’s freedom of religion and free speech rights as a teacher in a different school within the district, by requiring her and other teachers to refer to transgender students by non-natal pronouns and hide that from some parents.
The Child & Parental Rights Campaign of Johns Creek, Georgia, is representing the Willeys in their lawsuit. The nonprofit law firm was founded “to defend parents’ rights to shield their children from the impacts of gender identity ideology,” according to its website.
The school district has performed a “thorough and complete investigation” of the lawsuit’s claims, says the email, adding that the district was served Monday with the complaint.
“All employees of the district consistently work to ensure that the best interests of all students are served,” reads Bolton’s email. “The District will have no further comment on the matter at this time.”
Bolton is herself a defendant in the Willeys’ civil suit, along with the district’s board of trustees, Superintendent Kelly McGovern, Director of Student Services Kayci Arnoldi and Black Butte High School Principal Bryant Blake.
The Willeys’ lawsuit says their 15-year-old daughter, while still recovering from a childhood trauma in 2021, started having flashback nightmares. Soon after, and encouraged by peers at school, the girl decided to identify as a boy.
For the 2021-2022 school year, staffers at the high school called the girl by he/him pronouns and a boy’s name, while keeping that a secret from her parents, the lawsuit alleges.
Sean Willey confronted the board at a public meeting Sept. 12, saying the school caused more problems than it solved.
“Not all students that go through … these situations are OK,” said Sean Willey at the meeting. “They’re having issues mentally, and it’s a constant battle internally for them.”
He also challenged the district’s statements that it will hide students’ transgender identities if it fears for their safety at home.
“Nothing was filed. Nothing – no (abuse) claims were made,” said Sean Willey. “But they flew under the flag that they were doing it for my child’s safety and protection.”