CITIZEN: KY guidance counselor, who identifies as “cheerleader of the gays,” targets Christian family.

Last year, she played a role in implementing guidelines pressuring staff to keep parents in the dark while using students' preferred pronouns.

A Kentucky guidance counselor who is a self-proclaimed “cheerleader of the gays” is facing allegations of violating state law, violating the Code of Ethics, filing a false claim of emotional abuse against a student’s parents, and otherwise causing harm to an Anderson County student and her family – all because of the family’s orthodox Christian understanding of human sexuality.

Making matters worse, the superintendent’s “investigation” appeared to focus more on shielding the guidance counselor from discipline than accurately determining the facts, following the law, or ensuring the best interests of students. The seriousness of the allegations and apparent misconduct ignited a firestorm, with hundreds of alarmed parents and citizens filling the November 13 Anderson County School Board meeting to demand that the Board take corrective action with regard to the alleged misconduct, including making reports to the entities that govern teacher licensing.

During the spring Semester of the 2022-2023 school year, Anderson County High School Guidance Counselor Jerilynn Hanks allegedly encouraged the student to seek a legal consultation regarding emancipation without her parents’ knowledge or consent; orchestrated a scheme based on patently false allegations of emotional abuse against the student’s parents; directed the student to surreptitiously record discussions at home for the purpose of provoking her parents to make statements that could be framed as “emotional abuse,” and consistently failed to advise the student’s parents about her concerns for about the student.

The numerous allegations of misconduct by the Guidance Counselor are supported by multiple screenshots of what appear to be text messages between Hanks and the student. One such screenshot reveals an occasion where Hanks even called the student for a 10-minute conversation with the stated intent of preventing a record of the conversation’s content.

It is worth taking note of a few important facts:

First, the student’s parents were cleared of wrongdoing when a licensed psychologist determined that the student was not in danger in her family environment and again when the Cabinet for Health and Family Services determined that the abuse allegations by Hanks were unsubstantiated.

Second, the Guidance Counselor involved in this case apparently met with the student for 5 weeks and never informed the student’s parents about any purported concerns. Just days after the student’s parents learned of this, KRS 158.191 (passed as Senate Bill 150) became effective – stating in part that: “School districts and district personnel shall respect the rights of parents to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of the student through procedures encouraging students to discuss mental or physical health or life issues with their parents or through facilitating the discussion with their parents.”

Third, the Guidance Counselor alleged to have engaged in this misconduct was involved in another controversy and violation of parental trust in October 2022. At that time, Hanks helped set up the guidelines pressuring school staff to use students’ preferred pronouns at school, helping them to socially transition from their biological sex, and hide it from parents. Randy Adams, who was the principal of Anderson County’s alternative school and a pastor, raised concerns that fell on deaf ears. So, he wrote a Facebook post letting parents and other community members know about the guidelines. He was suspended as a result. Senate Bill 150, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly in March 2023 also addressed this parental rights issue.

The news out of Anderson County reveals that Christians in public education and parents who adhere to the biblical teaching on human sexuality can face some real challenges and discrimination, even in Kentucky. The Kentucky General Assembly likely has more work to do to ensure that Kentucky’s values of religious liberty, parental rights, and nondiscrimination are upheld.

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