Anti-Christian hostility to blame for allegations against three Christian guidance counselors in Massachusetts, attorney says

Anonymous allegations against three public school guidance counselors in Massachusetts stem from anti-Christian animus, their attorney says.

The anonymous allegations against Hector Santos,…

Anonymous allegations against three public school guidance counselors in Massachusetts stem from anti-Christian animus, their attorney says.

The anonymous allegations against Hector Santos, Delinda Dykes and Tania Cabrera were first made in the school’s student newspaper, then picked up by other media outlets. The alleged violations include not using students’ preferred pronouns, misgendering and “deadnaming” students, engaging in “conversion therapy,” and frequently expressing their religious views.

Ryan McClain, the attorney representing the trio, denies the allegations and says the anonymously sourced stories have created an unsafe environment for the counselors to express their religious beliefs freely, in accordance with the First Amendment, the Christian Post reports.

In fact, at the April 25 school committee meeting, a self-identified member of the LGBTQ community, Gazit Chaya Nkosi, publicly called out the counselors’ “Christian ideology,” as a threat to LGBTQ students’ ability to be “authentic.”

“[There are concerns] about staff at the middle school who were talking with queer students,” Nkosi said. “About praying to make sure that they’re not queer anymore, using the Bible, using Christian ideology to discourage them from being authentic.” 

At the same meeting, Claire Coco and Ruth Killough-Hill read a statement on behalf of the Amherst Pelham Education Association (APEA), the local teachers’ union. The statement called for the committee to “stop” the alleged anti-LGBT comments at the school and to update the district’s mission statement to include, ironically, a “commitment to multiculturalism.” 

The union’s position is unsurprising since the APEA is dedicated to moving away from the “Christian paradigm of the U.S.’s history and present day,” its website states. The union has also publicly called for action against anything deemed threatening to the “safe, supportive and [LGBT-]inclusive PreK-12 education and schooling experience.” The APEA further believes that banning “transgender” health treatments and drag shows for minors is “extremely harmful and dangerous attacks on public education.” 

At the committee meeting, schoolboard member Peter Demling suggested religion was repeatedly under attack at the school, citing difficulty in hiring a middle school principal due to “false rumors” against one finalist. The rumor, he said, accused the candidate of being anti-LGBT “because she belongs to a church.” 

He also said the APEA has made false statements in the past and demanded it produce “any evidence” for its claims. 

At the same meeting, Superintendent Michael Morris said he had not “received anything related to the public comments [allegations] that have come in,” and asked for information or evidence in support of the claims against the counselors. 

As a result of the claims against them, Santos and Dykes are reportedly under investigation for alleged Title IX violations and Cabrera was placed on leave due to safety concerns. Morris has reportedly taken a leave of absence over health concerns since the allegations were made. 

Prior to taking his leave, Morris called the allegations against the counselors “serious” and “harmful” in an email. 

“We want to explicitly state to the ARPS community that we are committed to providing a safe, supportive and respectful environment in which every student and faculty member can learn, work and thrive,” he also wrote.. 

The Christian Post reports Morris also “sent out an email to the entire school staff, taking the side of the anonymous students prior to any investigation being completed.” 

McLane says his clients are “devastated” and haven’t done anything wrong, describing them as “faithful, Bible-believing Christians.” 

“Hector, Delinda and Tania are devastated that they are being kept from their life’s work and from helping the children that they care so much about,” he said. “None of the accusations are true, besides the fact that they are Christians. It is a testament to their strength to remain silent during an investigation as their good names are being tarnished while they wait for vindication.”