Groundbreaking Win For Parents: WI State Court Rules Against School’s Secret Gender Transitioning Policy
Parents’ Lawyers: “This is the first case where a court has ruled on the merits in favor of parents over a school district.”
In a groundbreaking win for parents’ rights, Wisconsin’s Waukesha County Circuit Court blocked the Kettle Moraine School District’s gender transitioning policy. The court held the school could not “refer to students using a name or pronouns at odds with the student’s biological sex, while at school, without express parental consent.”
The school’s policy “violates parents’ constitutional right to determine the appropriate medical and healthcare for their children,” the court ruled.
Unlike parents in other cases we’ve covered, the Wisconsin plaintiffs had advance notice of the policy excluding parents from minor students’ gender transitioning at school. When their then 12-year-old daughter first started questioning whether she was a boy or a girl, the parents took her out of school for treatment at a mental health center that “affirmed” her transition to the opposite gender. Eventually, however, they rejected that approach. And so, after she returned to school, the parents told the district that they wanted staff to refer to their daughter by her legal name and pronouns.
The school said no. They would “follow the guidance” of the student, even if her parents objected.
Understandably, the parents then withdrew their daughter from the school district. It’s a good thing, because shortly thereafter, she decided she didn’t want to be a boy anymore. As the parents’ lawyers point out, she realized her parents were right and that the “affirmation” that she was a boy “really messed her up.”
The parents sued the district over the policy, arguing that it violated their parental rights.
The court agreed, acknowledging the plaintiffs’ uncontested expert medical testimony that “living a ‘double life’ where a child’s gender roles are different at home and school, is ‘inherently psychologically unhealthy.'”
In the court’s view:
this [was] undisputedly a medical and healthcare issue[.] … [T]he School District went against the parents’ wishes on how to medically treat their child. [Its policy] directly implicates an infringement against the parental autonomy right to direct the care for their child.
The School District could not administer medicine to a student without parental consent. The School District could not require or allow a student to participate in a sport without parental consent. Likewise, the School District cannot change the pronoun of a student without parental consent without impinging on a fundamental liberty interest of the parents.
The parents’ lawsuit was brought by both the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). In its statement announcing the win, WILL explained that “although there are numerous school districts with similar policies and other cases challenging those policies, this is the first case where a court has ruled on the merits in favor of parents over a school district. Thus, this case sets an important precedent that will help other parents defend their rights, both in Wisconsin and across the country.”DONATE
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