Parents speak out after daughter assigned to share bed with trans student on school trip: 'Told to hide it'

Joe and Serena Wailes are being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom

The parents of an 11-year-old girl who was reportedly assigned to share a bed with a transgender student while on an overnight school trip are speaking out about the incident, saying they were not informed of the decision.

Serena and Joe Wailes spoke exclusively with "The Ingraham Angle" on Tuesday to discuss the action they are taking against Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), commonly referred to as Jeffco, in Colorado after chaperones on the June trip allegedly told their daughter to "lie" about the reason why she wanted to switch rooms.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian legal organization representing the family, said in a Dec. 5 press release that the Wailes’ daughter went on an overnight JCPS school-sponsored trip to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. and was supposed to be assigned to a room with three girls. 

alliance defending freedom jefferson county public school

Alliance Defending Freedom sent a demand letter to Jefferson County Public Schools alleging their transgender policies were 'unconstitutional.' (Alliance Defending Freedom)


"They [the Wailes’] were assured in multiple parent meetings leading up to the trip that male and female students would be staying not only in different hotel rooms but also on completely different floors," the ADF claimed. 

The Wailes’ daughter, who is identified as "D.W." in the press release, said she found out one of the students she was assigned to share a room with, "K.E.M.," was transgender – a biological male who identifies as a female – because the student told her.


"D.W. was understandably uncomfortable with the idea of sharing a bed with a male student, so she snuck into the bathroom and quietly called her father and then her mother, who met her in the lobby of the hotel. Serena contacted a chaperone on the trip, who then contacted a trip leader," the ADF explained. 

"The chaperones asked D.W. if she could simply move to another bed rather than a new room, and while she was still uncomfortable, she agreed to try it for one night so that she could get some sleep. But the chaperones, consistent with district policy, told D.W. to lie about the reason and say she needed to switch beds to be closer to the air conditioner. Once the chaperone and D.W. were back in the hotel room, however, another roommate suggested that K.E.M. also switch to the bed closer to the air conditioner. D.W. was afraid to speak up in front of the other roommates on the contentious topic of gender identity, so she went into the hall and again told Serena she was uncomfortable." 

Jeffco Public Schools gender support plan

Fox News Digital previously reported on Jeffco Public Schools' gender support plan (Jeffco Public Schools)

The ADF also alleged that the school chaperones again told "D.W." to "lie" about the reason for rearranging the rooms after the fifth grader was put in a room with only one other girl.


"We love our school, we love our teachers but what we don't love is this district policy that doesn't allow all students to feel comfortable and secure and protected," said Mrs. Wailes. "And it doesn't allow all parents to protect their children and guide them the best way they see fit and that's what we felt we were lacking on this trip." 

Mrs. Wailes claimed she and her daughter weren’t able to discuss what happened with anyone else on the trip and were "told to hide it" to "protect all of the students that were on the trip."

The ADF sent a demand letter on the Wailes’ behalf asking JCPS to clarify by Dec. 18 whether it will "inform all parents about the policy and their children’s room assignments and allow them to make informed decisions for their children."

The legal organization contends the school’s policy is that students who identify as transgender should be "‘assigned to share overnight accommodations with other students that share the student’s gender identity consistently asserted at school’" and that "‘under no circumstance’" should a student who identifies as the opposite sex be required to share a room with students of the same sex.

"By applying the policy the way it did here, JCPS put an 11-year-old girl in an uncomfortable and entirely avoidable situation. And it robbed her parents of the opportunity to exercise their parental rights to make the best decision for their daughter ahead of the trip," the ADF asserted. 

JCPS working to ‘learn more’ about the incident

Jeffco Public Schools told FOX News Digital in an emailed statement that "student safety is paramount and partnership with families is a priority."

"We take this situation seriously. Because the district was only recently informed, and the trip occurred outside of the school year and through a private travel organization, we are still determining facts," the school said. "However, it appears that the student’s transgender status was not known when room assignments were made and our understanding is that as soon as their transgender identity was known, room assignments were adjusted. We are working with the private travel organization to learn more and we anticipate a more detailed response by December 18 as ADF requests."

Mr. Wailes told "The Ingraham Angle" he considered pulling his daughter from the trip after the incident unfolded but decided not to take the trip away from her because "she didn’t do anything wrong."

"We didn't do anything wrong, so we didn't want to take [the] trip from her. She looked forward to the trip for quite some time," he said. "So we wanted to make sure she was able to enjoy her trip."

"We think all kids deserve respect and privacy, but it needs to be applied equally to all children," Mr. Wailes continued. "And this policy, the way it is right now, is very one-sided."

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