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School Crisis Line Under Fire for Online Predator Risk

Former School Board Member, teacher, and education activist Brenda Lebsack is sounding the alarm on a widely promoted crisis hotline, run by The Trevor Project, because it links troubled teens to sexualized clubs with adults. Lebsack says she convinced her employer, the Santa Ana Unified School District, to remove The Trevor Project Crisis Hotlines from posters at their K-12 schools, as well as from counselors’ business cards, but the district is still referring students to the organization on its counseling resource page.

Lebsack prompted Santa Ana Unified to remove The Trevor Project Crisis Hotlines from schools last year due to concerns about Trevor Space, a chat site linked to The Trevor Project after highlighting the potential risks from online predators. Trevor Space bills itself as an “affirming international community for LGBTQ young people ages 13-24.” It allows interactions with adults from around the globe, often without the knowledge or approval of a student’s parents.

Lebsack tested how easy it was for adults to get connected to a troubled youth online by contacting The Trevor Project Crisis Hotline she saw advertised in one of Santa Ana’s school restrooms. Pretending to be a child, Lebsack said, “I’m unsure of my gender and scared about puberty; what should I do?” The Trevor Project referred her to Trevor Space and asked for her age, but she did not give it.

“Even though it is supposed to be for 13 to 24-year-olds, The Trevor Project never verified if I was old enough to access the website before referring it to me,” she said. “In order to get into TrevorSpace.org, I gave the date of birth of a 13-year-old. In a matter of seconds, I had full access to their chat clubs and online participants.”

While in Trevor Space, Lebsack saw a Witchcraft club, a Gay Men’s Club, a Furries Club, a Polyamory Club, Nonbinary Pals, and more. An organization called Gays Against Groomers called Trevor Space a “pedophile’s paradise.” 

Lebsack also noticed a prompt inviting users to “Ask Sam Brinton Anything,” presenting Brinton as an expert in LGBT matters. Brinton, who led LGBTQ advocacy efforts for The Trevor Project and “identifies” as gender-fluid, has been a vocal advocate for various sexual kinks such as bondage dominance, sadomasochism, primal play, adult babies, and more. Brinton’s career also included managing nuclear waste in a governmental role, which ended following allegations of stealing. 

Further, The Trevor Project released a Mental Health Survey in 2019, which claimed that there are over 100 sexualities. When Lebsack asked the Trevor Project to list all the sexualities, they refused. She assumes the kinks promoted by Sam Brinton are included in this list. 

Lebsack also notes in her blog that Attorney General Rob Bonta quotes The Trevor Project in a letter he sent to all California school districts arguing that lying to parents about their children’s “gender identity” is necessary to “keep them safe.” However, it’s Bonta’s source that is clearly not safe for children. 

In research done by the California Family Council, The Trevor Project has been listed over 50 times in the past several years as an authoritative source of information by legislators to promote their bills. Even the California Department of Education lists The Trevor Project as a resource for teachers looking for training to support LGBTQ-identified students.  

Fortunately, Lebsack brought the evidence she found in Trevor Space to the Pacific Justice Institute, a non-profit law firm dealing with religious liberty and parental rights cases. The law firm then sent a letter to Santa Ana Unified School District, urging the district to remove these hotlines from schools. 

Prior to Lebsack raising these concerns, all national mental health hotlines that schools promoted for students referred kids to The Trevor Project. Some California schools even posted The Trevor Project Hotline numbers on the walls of classrooms and bathrooms. Schools encouraged students to use the Trevor Space to “explore” their gender or sexuality online without parental knowledge or consent. 

“It is unconscionable for a platform to expose children to harmful, adult-themed content under the guise of supporting mental health,” said CFC Vice President Greg Burt. “Lebsack’s findings serve as a dire reminder of the moral imperative parents and the church have to protect the innocence of children from adults seeking to exploit them for their own sexual gratification.” 


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