A Pennsylvania middle school has become the latest battleground between educators and parents over decisions affecting children attending public schools.
Charles F. Patton Middle School (CFPMS) in Kennet Square, Penn., is the only middle school for roughly 4,000 students in Unionville-Chadds Ford School District.
Until recently, the sleepy borough was known primarily as the Mushroom Capital of the World for supplying roughly half of the mushroom crop produced in the United States. It is arguably becoming more widely known after reports of middle school faculty and staff were allegedly colluding to harbor and promote alternative sexuality and identity.
A report in The Epoch Times claims two CFPMS employees — sixth-grade school counselor Cara Malone and seventh-grade English teacher Colleen O’Neill — aggressively advertised a Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club to students. Perhaps more disturbingly, the pair allegedly solicited children as young as 11 to join without informing parents or gaining their consent — albeit with the approval of the school district.
Patton Middle School Principal Steve Dissinger did not immediately return a call requesting comment.
Parents of children attending Patton became concerned after hearing about attempts to create a “Gender & Sexual Alliance” club for their school to integrate with an existing GSA club in the district’s high school. Their concerns were reportedly gaslighted or ignored by district administrators and the board of education so parents utilized the state’s Right to Know law to gather documents and emails about the sexual alliance efforts aimed at their children.
A December 2020 email thread shared by one parent illustrates efforts to include subterfuge sexuality services by school officials. It begins with a teacher reaching out to Cara Malone about a student who identified as “pansexual” in an assignment.
“I have been talking with Jen Smith who runs the GSA at UHS,” Malone replied. “We would like to start something at Patton or allow students to attend the UHS meetings.” The school counselor added she had discussed it with the school’s principal and intended to ask the high school students for their input. “We are taking it slowly but are committed to finding ways to support our LGBTQ+ students.”
O’Neill, the English teacher, appears to be the final voice on the thread, saying it all sounded great.
“It would be wonderful for administrators to know that middle schoolers are NOT too young to know their sexual orientation and gender identities,” she wrote, “and that LGBTQ-related content is age appropriate for them.”
Middle school counselor Rachel Saletta wrote in February 2021 to English teacher Emily Davis informing her a student revealed to Saletta that her preferred pronouns were “they/them,” and the counselor suggested Davis hide this from the student’s parents.
“If you are emailing home, it may be best to use she/her when referring to [redacted],” Saletta wrote.
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