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GOP candidate Karoline Leavitt blasts school transgender policy and defends parental rights

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New Hampshire congressional candidate Karoline Leavitt blasted Manchester School District transgender policies Thursday morning, vowing to protect parental rights if elected to Congress.

The 25-year-old Republican candidate for New Hampshire's First Congressional District held a press conference Thursday morning to "call attention to the radical school policy in the City of Manchester that prevents teachers from informing parents of their child’s transgender status," Leavitt said.

"I believe that bureaucrats and politicians are absolutely misguiding children," she told reporters while standing outside the Manchester School District offices.

Leavitt took issue with a Manchester School Board policy that prohibits school personnel from disclosing "information that may reveal a student's transgender status or gender nonconforming presentation to others unless legally required to do so or unless the student has authorized such disclosure."

Earlier this year, a Manchester mother sued the school district claiming that withholding her child's "transgender status" at school violated her rights as a parent. The school district said in legal filings that it has no "duty" to inform parents if their children identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming at school without their knowledge. A judge last week sided with the school district and dismissed the lawsuit, though the parent may still appeal.

Manchester school officials would not comment on Leavitt's press conference due to pending litigation.

Leavitt said the school transgender privacy policy "is pitting good teachers against good parents, and that should not be the role of government."

“We should not be allowing bureaucrats and politicians to stand in the way of the family unit,” she added. “It is the bedrock of our society.”

The candidate said voters should elect Republicans "up and down the ballot" because the GOP supports school choice, raising academic standards, and making sure parents "have a voice and a say in their child's education."

She slammed Democrats for representing teachers unions and criticized COVID-19 lockdown policies that closed schools and required masking and social distancing.

Leavitt is running against two-term incumbent Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) in a district that Democrats have held since 2016. She emerged victorious from a contentious Republican primary earlier this month and was endorsed by New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) on Wednesday.

Pappas has served in Congress since 2019 and most recently defeated Republican Matt Mowers 51%-46% to win reelection in 2020.

If she wins, Leavitt would be among the youngest people ever elected to Congress, having just turned 25 in August. New Hampshire conservative commentator Howie Carr has favorably compared her to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who took office at age 29 after the 2018 midterm election.

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