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Lawsuit: Manchester School District is Violating Constitution

The Manchester School District’s transgender student policy violates the state constitution which protects the right of parents to raise their children, according to a new filing in the lawsuit brought by a Manchester mother. 

The woman, who is known as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, is responding to the district’s motion to have the case dismissed on the grounds that the district has no legal obligations when it comes to telling parents about their child’s activities at school regarding sexual and gender identity.

The response, filed in Hillsborough Superior Court-North in Manchester and written by attorney Richard Lehmann, hits back at the district accusing school officials of interfering with Jane Doe’s rights as a mother by forcing staff to keep secrets from parents. 

“Knowledge that the school is actively supporting a child’s decision to transition to a different gender identity when a parent would believe a different response is in the child’s best interests is precisely the kind of information that a parent would be likely to consider in deciding ‘whether’ to send a child to public school or to choose some other option,” Lehmann writes. “However, the policy purposefully and intentionally interferes with the ability of a parent to obtain this information. The defendant argues that it has no duty to advise parents of a student’s transgender expression in schools. This too serves to burden a parent’s right to direct the education and upbringing of children.”

Lehmann also argues that Manchester’s policy, which requires school employees to withhold information from parents and to actively mislead parents at the child’s request, is a violation of New Hampshire’s Constitution’s Part 1, Article 2, which states all people “have certain natural, essential, and inherent rights among which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty . . . and . . . seeking and obtaining happiness.”

Lehmann notes the right of parents to raise their children has been recognized by the New Hampshire Supreme Court as a constitutional right.

“Our Supreme Court has recognized that: [t]he family and the rights of parents over it are natural, essential, and inherent rights within the meaning of the New Hampshire Constitution. Because of their fundamental importance, great judicial deference has been accorded parental rights,” Lehmann wrote.

Jane Doe learned in 2021 that her child, known in the filing as M.C., was using a different gender identity at school than M.C.’s biological sex, according to court records.

When Jane Doe confronted the school staff, M.C. ‘s teachers agreed that she had the right to step in as M.C. ‘s mother and direct staff to use M.C.’s natural identity and gender.

“I do think that a parent should be giving permission for their child to be called by any other name,” one of M.C.’s teachers wrote to Jane Doe.

However, soon after the teachers agreed to use M.C.’s biological identity, the school principal wrote to tell Jane Doe that the district’s policy makes that impossible.

“Good Morning [Jane Doe]. While I respect and understand your concern, we are held by the District policy as a staff. I have quoted our district policy below, which outlines the fact that we cannot disclose a student’s choice to parents if asked not to. If [M.C.] insists on being called [M.C.’s desired name] as a staff we have to respect that according to the policy or unfortunately we can be held accountable despite parents’ wishes,” the principal wrote.

No one in Manchester’s School Administrative Unit would talk to NH Journal in support of the policy. Mayor Joyce Craig, chair of the school board, also declined to defend it. No one on the school board’s policy committee agreed to speak about it, either.

The district claims in its motion seeking to have the case dismissed that the policy does not interfere with Jane Doe’s rights as a parent because she can use M.C.’s biological sex and birth name in the home. But in school, Jane Does has no right to say how her child is to be treated, according to the district’s motion.

“Whatever the scope of a parent’s rights vis-a-vis their transgender or gender-nonconforming children, they do not include the right to force a school district to act as a conduit for the parent exercise of those rights in this fashion,” the district’s motion states.

Lehmann argues the district’s position is akin to a Jewish family asking that their child receive kosher food or a Hindu family asking that her child be given vegetarian food, only to have the school staff keep secrets and lie to parents about what they are feeding the children.

“But when a school affirmatively acts in ways that hide these kinds of facts from parents, they violate the parent’s rights to direct the upbringing of their children, to become engaged in the child’s development, and to exercise their right to provide guidance,” Lehmann wrote.

FISHER: Welcome to Parenthood, NH! Your Life is Over

Well, well, well, look who finally figured out how to have babies. 

Granite Staters have been gettin’ busy, with the highest birth rate increase in the entire nation according to new data from the Pew Trusts. The Granite State saw a seven percent increase in babies born in 2021 compared to 2019.

Lockdowns, amirite?

Let me be the first to say to all you new parents out there, from the bottom of my heart: Ha. Ha.

Your life is over. Kaput.

Some starry-eyed optimists might see all those little rug rats as good news. Take Gov. Chris Sununu, for example.

“We’ve long known New Hampshire is the best state in the country to live, work, and raise a family,” said Sununu. “This latest study reinforces that, highlighting that people are moving to New Hampshire to start a family because of our low taxes, high quality of life, and safe communities.”

So says the amateur with three kids.

As a father of 10 (Yes, I’m Catholic. Why do you ask?), let me tell you that being a new parent in 2022 is gonna be terrible.

I don’t feel bad for any of you. I’ve been doing my part for years to keep up the state’s population while the rest of you slacked off. You were all getting dogs and going hiking and starting microbreweries and binge-watching Bridgerton, blah, blah, blah. We were the schmoes changing diapers and pushing double strollers and driving vans with four car seats crammed in them.

Then, because you ran out of shows on Netflix, you decide to have a kid.

Suckers.

The pandemic/inflation/Ukraine/supply chain/BigFoot issues have made regular life hard enough, but parenting? I mean, I can buy dog food. Maybe not my guy’s regular brand all the time, but he eats. You poor saps with infants have to stand in the Costco parking lot in the middle of the night to meet your black-market baby formula dealers.

And it’s not like it gets easier when they get older. They keep eating! Their whole lives! And you’re supposed to pay for it for some reason!

Get to a grocery store and see. You’re paying $8 bucks a pound for bologna — and not the good kind. Milk might as well be diesel. And bananas are what? $10?

Forget the visions you might have of being a soccer mom or a Little League dad. Gas is $5 a gallon now. Imagine how much you’ll be paying in seven or eight years. How are you going to get to all of those practices? Hopes and dreams? Heck, by then you’ll be willing to sell the kid just to afford to get to work.

Maybe you can shell out $80,000 for an imaginary electric minivan. You know, one of those green cars that magically reduces carbon by getting all its energy from the electric grid that runs off coal and oil. Hope it’s not one of the exploding models.

New Hampshire does have lots of affordable housing options for young families, though. Just head to the nearest state liquor store and you can pick up all the cardboard you’ll need for the night.

But what about schools when your little tyke is ready? The good news is New Hampshire has some of the best public schools in the country. When they’re open. Otherwise, you can get free Wi-Fi at your public library with the Chromebook your teacher will hand out for remote learning. You’ll need it for the next monkeypox outbreak.

I bet you thought you were done doing fractions, huh. Think again. You’re the teacher now, and it somehow pays worse than a real teacher’s salary.

Maybe you’re ok doing all the educating of the kids while simultaneously paying property tax on your cardboard shack. Maybe you’ve heard how politically radical our teachers have become. Well, relax. No more than half of the members of the NH NEA are Marxists.

The rest are committed Trotskyites.

But don’t worry, the good folks in the House Freedom Caucus have a plan to fix education. They are going to secede everything in New Hampshire from the Union except for the public schools. Those will become part of Massachusetts. I don’t know what that will fix, but then again I never read Ayn Rand, so what do I know?

All kidding aside, New Hampshire’s baby boom is great news for every new parent, and it’s pretty good news for the rest of the Granite State, too. Choosing to have children is a bet on the future, a sign of your belief that living here is pretty good and it can get even better.

Which may explain why the birth rate in New York fell by 5.5 percent.

Live free or die!

Democrats and Teachers Want Edelblut Ousted Over ‘Activist’ Complaint

Democrats and the state’s biggest teachers union say Department of Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut needs to be stopped after he called out “activist” teachers who he says undermine New Hampshire family values. 

Edelblut set off a firestorm when he drew attention to classroom materials and teacher assignments he says show there is a problem between teachers and families. Many families in New Hampshire feel their values are being undermined in the classroom, he told NH Journal.

“The actions of some educators, which have become increasingly apparent through social media as a result of the pandemic, are undermining the sacred trust that educators hold. Our education system needs that trust to exist,” he said.

Edelblut called out schools that are teaching woke ideology in New Hampshire classrooms. Edelblut published a 74-page document that shows teachers using materials from critical race theory activist Ibram X. Kendi, an article teaching students how to protest police, one asking students in middle school for their preferred pronouns as part of a math class orientation, and another teaching 4th graders there are multiple genders.

“Some people identify as a gender that is not male or female, some identify as more than one gender, and some people don’t identify as any gender,” states one lesson for 8- and 9-year-olds.

Concerned parents have been contacting Edelblut about the classes that he says are running against the long-held trust the parents have in teachers and schools.

“To be fair, most educators do not engage in such practices,” he said. “When you send children to school you are trusting the teachers not to undermine your values, and educators who do that run the risk of eroding that trust in all teachers.”

The teachers unions and their allies in the New Hampshire Democratic Party reacted by blasting Edelblut, saying he is targeting public education with the goal of undermining the system.

“Our commissioner has turned his clearly visible disdain for public education into a crusade not to remodel our schools, but to close them,” said Megan Tuttle, president of the NEA-NH, the state’s largest teacher’s union. “By continually destabilizing what was once a model for public education in America, he is hoping more and more parents will opt out of New Hampshire public schools and choose the private and religious ones he favors and funds so generously with our tax dollars”

House Minority Leader David Cote (D-Nashua) and Senate Minority Leader Donna Soucy, D-Manchester released a letter calling for Edelbut to be removed. They accused Edelblut of being more interested in furthering his political career than in educating New Hampshire’s children.

“Frank Edelblut does not put the best interests of New Hampshire children first. His goal is purely to enact an extreme, far-right agenda to further his own personal political ambitions, whatever they may be. He is playing games with the very futures of our children and it is simply unacceptable,” they wrote.

Florida’s Department of Education got headlines last week when it rejected 41 percent of math textbooks because they included lessons allegedly inspired by critical race theory or other controversial educational theories like “social-emotional learning.”

One math problem in a book rejected by Florida begins with the phrase “What? Me? Racist?” In another, a fifth-grade math textbook featured standard math problems with the phrase “How can you understand your feelings?”

“Math is about getting the right answer. It’s not about how you feel about the problem,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said last week.

Edelblut said he does not have the authority to stop schools from using any specific text.

“In New Hampshire, that’s a school board issue,” he said. “What happened in Florida would need to be done by a school board in New Hampshire.”

Instead, Edelblut is focusing on supporting most teachers who stick to teaching students free from ideology.

“We want to make sure the teachers have the training and skills to be effective in the classroom and not be undermined by educators who undermine the value systems of children and hurt parental trust of the system as a whole,” he said.

Tuttle has lashed out at Edelblut since he first published the document, saying she and the other NEA-NH members are happy to be considered activists. 

“If it’s ‘activist’ to believe we all deserve the right to live, learn, work, and thrive no matter our color, immigration status or sexual orientation and gender identities—no exceptions, then every one of our members is an activist teacher,” Tuttle said in a statement directed at Edelblut. “Politicians like you push rules that restrict our freedoms and do your best to try to divide us. You are very mistaken If you believe calling us activists is an insult.”

 

 

 

Sununu Rejects Calls to Close Schools Amid Latest COVID Surge

As COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise amid the cold-weather surge, Gov. Chris Sununu said Tuesday there are no plans to close schools due to the worsening pandemic.

“Kids really need to be in school. They want to be in school, and that’s the best place for their education,” Sununu said during his weekly COVID-19 press conference.

Many schools in the Granite State went to remote learning models around Thanksgiving because of the pandemic last year. The state announced Tuesday an average of 900 to 1,000 new cases of COVID-19, a 43 percent increase, and 21 deaths reported in the last week, stretching back to the Thanksgiving holiday. Sununu noted cases are also up in Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts as well.

“Like the rest of New England, we’re seeing the winter surge that we had always predicted, and it’s very severe,” Sununu said.

New Hampshire schools will also have the funds available for masks and cleaning supplies to keep students safe, Sununu said. In extreme cases, schools might need to opt for remote learning, but that will not be the rule as New Hampshire heads into the holidays and beyond, he said. 

Remote learning hurts kids when it comes to mental health and educational outcomes, data show. According to the CDC, nearly 25 percent of parents whose children received virtual instruction or combined instruction reported worsened mental or emotional health in their children, compared to 16 percent of parents whose children received in-person instruction. 

“Going remote can be so detrimental,” Sununu said. “We really want kids to be in schools.”

So far, no Granite Stater under the age of 19 has died from COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Sununu touted the recent court-ordered halt to President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in facilities that receive Medicaid and Medicare funds. New Hampshire was already experiencing a healthcare employee shortage before the pandemic, and he said many facilities in the Granite State faced forced closures if the mandate went into effect.

New Hampshire is involved in multiple lawsuits opposing Biden-backed mandates, and the current order is temporary pending more court action. Sununu has pledged to fight the mandates, though he continues promoting vaccination as a choice.

“We want everyone to get vaccinated. But if the vaccine mandate risks closing our nursing homes, it is a bad idea,” he said.

When asked about nursing home residents being cared for by unvaccinated nurses and staff, Sununu said he’d rather have an unvaccinated nurse than no nurse at all. Opponents of the mandate note medical professionals cared for COVID-19 patients for a year before the vaccines were available.

And a recent survey of 1,200 senior care providers by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) reported 99 percent of nursing homes and 96 percent of assisted living facilities said they didn’t have enough workers.

Sununu stressed the need for people to get vaccinated if they are able and for people eligible for a booster to get one. He plans to get his booster shot at the state’s Dec. 11 Booster Blitz, where vaccination sites will be operating at locations throughout the state.