Missouri state Rep. Gragg confirms Springfield Public Schools student ‘kidnapping’ allegations

(The Lion) — Missouri state Rep. Jamie Gragg confirmed to The Lion the allegation by a Springfield Public Schools (SPS) whistleblower of a “kidnapping” of a gender-dysphoric student by two teachers was substantially correct.

The Lion recently reported that a whistleblower alleged two teachers from SPS were recently terminated for assisting the teen with a gender transition, including removing the teen to one of the teachers’ homes without parental permission.

When contacted by The Lion regarding the confirmation by Rep. Gragg, the whistleblower reiterated concern for the student.

“I just hope the student is okay,” said the administrator, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case.

In repeated exchanges with The Lion, Stephen D. Hall, Chief Communications Officer of the district, denied the allegations by the whistleblower and demanded the names of the teachers who had been terminated.

“The situation you have described regarding ‘staff helping a student begin to transition does not match any scenario we have investigated,” said Hall in an email to The Lion.

But Gragg, a Republican from Christian County, said that through independent means he has confirmed the allegations to be true and also discovered the names of the teachers who had been terminated.

Because the district has not cooperated with his inquiries into the allegation, Gragg said he is being forced to file a Missouri Sunshine Act request with SPS for any pertinent information about the alleged events.

SPS, when asked directly if it could confirm that teachers were terminated for allegedly taking a student into one of their homes without parental permission, was again non-responsive to the question in its reply, simply saying it was unaware of any contact with Gragg.

“We are not aware of any communication between Rep. Gragg and the district’s administration, nor are we aware of the investigation you reference in your email. At this time, we do not have any additional information to provide,” said SPS’s Hall.

Gragg said his office will be aggressively pursuing an investigation with the Missouri Attorney General and with the local police to see if any violations of the law occurred.

Gragg is the author of a proposed bill, HB 2885, which would prohibit school employees from contributing to the social gender transition of students, “which a person commits if he or she, acting in his or her official capacity as a teacher or school counselor, provides support to a child regarding social transition.”

Gragg’s bill, introduced in February, would make a violation of the new law a Class E felony.

The offender would also be required to register on Tier I of the Sex Offender Registry.

The anonymous whistleblower, who is a high-ranking administrator at SPS, said the allegations involve two teachers and one teen at SPS’s Central High School.

The teen allegedly told one teacher at Central High of the student’s gender dysphoria, and the teacher consulted with a colleague, deciding to remove the teen from the school to retrieve some clothes.

The Lion contacted SPS Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan and the Missouri Attorney General’s Office for comment, but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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