DeSantis repeatedly told a story to defend his 'Don’t say gay' law. It’s not true: CNN

DeSantis repeatedly told a story to defend his 'Don’t say gay' law. It’s not true: CNN
Governor Ron DeSantis Screengrab

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has repeatedly told a story about a student being supported by their school while teachers and administrators hid the child’s choice to identify as non-binary from the mother. It’s not true, according to a CNN fact check.

When signing the possibly unconstitutional bill into law last week DeSantis – in front of young children – denounced the “fake narratives by leftist politicians,” but he’s the one providing the fake narrative.

As recently as Tuesday DeSantis used the false story to defend his decision to support and sign the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law.

“We had a mother from Leon County,” DeSantis said during a news conference yesterday in Jasper, Florida, “and her daughter was going to school and some people in the school had decided that the daughter was really a boy and not a girl. So they changed the girl’s name to a boy’s name, had her dress like a boy and on doing all this stuff, without telling the mother or getting consent from the mother. First of all, they shouldn’t be doing that at all. But to do these things behind the parents’ back and to say that the parents should be shut out. That is wrong.”

The problem: that’s not what happened. It also appears DeSantis tried to mask the players by telling the story very loosely, like saying “some people in the school.”

He did the same thing last week, changing up some of the details while keeping the “some people” part.

“Her daughter was in school up in Leon County, and some of the people at school decided that her daughter was really a boy and wanted to identify as a boy. So they changed her name. They changed her quote pronouns. They did these things without telling the mother, much less getting the mother’s consent,” DeSantis said, which is even more false.

CNN reports it has “obtained emails that show” the mother, January Littlejohn, a registered Republican, “wrote the school in 2020 and notified a teacher that her child wanted to change pronouns. Contrary to the governor’s portrayal of the story, Littlejohn also wrote that she would not stop her child from using preferred pronouns or name of choice at school. Littlejohn references these emails in her lawsuit against the school and they were reported by the Tallahassee Democrat in November.”

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has repeatedly told a story about a student being supported by their school while teachers and administrators hid the child’s choice to identify as non-binary from the mother. It’s not true, according to a CNN fact check.

When signing the possibly unconstitutional bill into law last week DeSantis – in front of young children – denounced the “fake narratives by leftist politicians,” but he’s the one providing the fake narrative.

As recently as Tuesday DeSantis used the false story to defend his decision to support and sign the “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law.

“We had a mother from Leon County,” DeSantis said during a news conference yesterday in Jasper, Florida, “and her daughter was going to school and some people in the school had decided that the daughter was really a boy and not a girl. So they changed the girl’s name to a boy’s name, had her dress like a boy and on doing all this stuff, without telling the mother or getting consent from the mother. First of all, they shouldn’t be doing that at all. But to do these things behind the parents’ back and to say that the parents should be shut out. That is wrong.”

The problem: that’s not what happened. It also appears DeSantis tried to mask the players by telling the story very loosely, like saying “some people in the school.”

He did the same thing last week, changing up some of the details while keeping the “some people” part.

“Her daughter was in school up in Leon County, and some of the people at school decided that her daughter was really a boy and wanted to identify as a boy. So they changed her name. They changed her quote pronouns. They did these things without telling the mother, much less getting the mother’s consent,” DeSantis said, which is even more false.

CNN reports it has “obtained emails that show” the mother, January Littlejohn, a registered Republican, “wrote the school in 2020 and notified a teacher that her child wanted to change pronouns. Contrary to the governor’s portrayal of the story, Littlejohn also wrote that she would not stop her child from using preferred pronouns or name of choice at school. Littlejohn references these emails in her lawsuit against the school and they were reported by the Tallahassee Democrat in November.”

CNN adds:

In an August 27, 2020, email to a teacher, Littlejohn stated, in part, “This has been an incredibly difficult situation for our family and her father and I are trying to be as supportive as we can. She is currently identifying as non-binary. She would like to go by the new name [redacted] and prefers the pronouns they/them. We have not changed her name at home yet, but I told her if she wants to go by the name [redacted] with her teachers, I won’t stop her.”

The teacher thanked Littlejohn and asked if she should share with other teachers.

Littlejohn explained it was difficult and confusing, and went on to write, “Whatever you think is best or [redacted] can handle it herself.”

In another email the same day, Littlejohn told the teacher, “This gender situation has thrown us for a loop. I sincerely appreciate your support. I’m going to let her take the lead on this.”

Littlejohn and her husband are now suing the school district, claiming the school denied her access to meetings and information, CNN reports, after school officials met with the child and created a Transgender/Gender Nonconforming Student Support Plan.

Read the full CNN fact check here.

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