Connecticut School Nurse Suspended over Facebook Comments Claiming District Hides Children’s Gender Issues from Parents

A Connecticut school nurse was suspended Monday over Facebook comments on a personal account, called “inappropriate” by the district superintendent, that warned parents school staff is hiding children’s supposed expressed gender identity issues from their parents.

Kathleen Cataford, 77, was suspended by Hartford Public Schools (HPS) after posting comments to her personal Facebook account, reportedly containing information about the number of pre-teen children who are claiming to have gender identity issues, including an 11-year-old “on puberty blockers,” and other children “identifying as non-binary.”

“Investigate the school system curriculum … CT is a very socially liberal, gender confused state,” Cataford, who has worked at the Richard J. Kinsella Magnet School in Hartford, urged on the Facebook account of a local mom’s group that had requested local school recommendations.

“Teachers and SSW [school social workers] are spending 37.5 hours a week influencing our children, not necessarily teaching our children what YOU think is being taught,” she wrote, according to the Daily Mail, which obtained the Facebook comments.

“As a public school nurse, I have an 11yo female student on puberty blockers and a dozen identifying as non-binary, all but two keeping this as a secret from their parents,’ she continued.

“Children are introduced to this confusion in kindergarten by the school SW who ‘teaches’ social and emotional regulation and school expectations,” Cataford added.

According to the report, Hartford school district officials became aware of Cataford’s Facebook comments after the mother of the 11-year-old mentioned saw it and brought it to the district’s attention.

The Daily Mail published the statement by Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Hartford’s superintendent of schools, who acknowledged Cataford “used a personal social media account.”

“[H]owever, the manner in which the comments were shared, and the values they express are totally inconsistent with what we stand for,” Torres-Rodriguez added.

The superintendent added Cataford’s comments were “inappropriate” and targeted LGBTQ+ students in Hartford.

“HPS does not tolerate any language that could be harmful to our community,” Torres-Rodriguez stated, stating the district “took immediate action to remove this individual” from the schools.

The superintendent said Cataford is on administrative leave while the district conducts an investigation to determine if she will be fired.

Torres-Rodriguez continued:

Hartford Public Schools strives to provide an inclusive environment where all students feel seen, valued, respected, and heard. We uphold all of our staff to a high standard, entrusting them to be caretakers and leaders in the community. We as a school district are responsible for the health, well-being, social and emotional development, and safety of ALL of the children entrusted to our care. It is our responsibility to support our students’ growth, personal experiences, and social-emotional development. It is unacceptable for any member of our community to make any student feel unwelcome, especially someone that has a responsibility to serve as a trusted confidant and obligation to preserve their personal health and well-being.

“While at times the most hateful rhetoric is the loudest, it certainly doesn’t reflect the care, commitment, and acceptance that the vast majority of our teachers and staff practice every day,” the superintendent said. “We not only support the differences and individuality of every member of our school community, but we celebrate them and recognize their value in making our school system enriching, diverse, welcoming, and inclusive.”

The Connecticut Star reached out to Torres-Rodriguez for responses to the following questions, and is still awaiting a response.

  • Could you state specifically what language the nurse used that you consider “harmful” to the community?
  • Are you supportive of minors receiving medical treatments that could potentially be harmful to them without their parents’ consent?
  • Is any staff member at HPS keeping such treatments or concerns minors might have regarding gender dysphoria, a psychological condition, from those minors’ parents?
  • Are any staff members at HPS initiating the topic of gender identity to students when no concerns about the issue have been raised by the students themselves?

More government school superintendents have been open about keeping children’s psychological or sexual information private from parents.

Chalkboard Review tweeted the case Tuesday of Eau Claire, Wisconsin Superintendent Mike Johnson, who said when a child shares their “gender preference or sexual orientation with a staff member, and the staff member informed the parent without the child’s consent, this potentially violates the privacy rights of the student.”

In January, Attorney Harmeet K. Dhillon, founder of the Center for American Liberty, took legal action against the Spreckels Union School District in California, claiming two LGBTQ activist teachers “secretly manipulated” Jessica Konen’s 11-year-old daughter “into believing she was a transgender boy,” including tips on “how to bind her breasts.”

‘Parents are supposed to have access to all the educational records of their children,’ Dhillon told the Daily Mail. ‘The concept that the schools have a right to be running secret, don’t-tell-your-parents clubs and don’t-tell-your-parents programs and actively coaching children how to mutilate themselves, which is, you know, not growing your breasts, is certainly not consistent with California law.”

Dhillon tweeted further about the case:

In August 2021, Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) and other medical professionals against the Biden administration’s decision to require physicians to perform transgender procedures on any individual, including children, regardless of religious or conscience objections.

Dr. Quentin L. Van Meter, president of ACPeds and a pediatric endocrinologist, warned of the potential harms of gender transition drugs:

Puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones combined will sterilize many youth and cause them to develop serious chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancers that they otherwise would have never experienced.

On Sunday, the Guardian published an Observer editorial regarding an interim report by Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health former president Dr. Hilary Cass.

The report suggests taking a child’s “expressed gender identity as the starting point for treatment,” i.e., the “affirmative approach,” blocks the ability of mental health professionals to investigate causes for gender dysphoria – such as childhood trauma, family dysfunction, or other neuropsychological disorders.

Immediately “affirming” a child’s expressed discomfort with biological sex prevents “space for exploration of the potential relationship between their dysphoria and neurodiversity or psychosocial needs, including those arising from childhood trauma or internalized hostility to same-sex attraction,” the editorial notes.

“There has been a deplorable tendency by some to mislabel clinical concerns about the affirmative model as transphobia,” the editorial continues, condemning the continued insertion of ideology in medicine.

“Even in the wake of the Cass report’s hard-hitting findings, some clinicians and charities continue in their efforts to shut down legitimate debate about the affirmative model,” it adds. “These adults must examine their consciences, because it is children whose care is compromised as a result of their ideology.”

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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Kathleen Cataford” by Kathleen Cataford. 




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