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Once again, parental rights in Wisconsin are being challenged.

“The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), on behalf of a group of Madison parents, filed a lawsuit in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) for adopting and implementing policies that violate the rights of district parents. The challenged MMSD policies enable children, of any age, to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent, and instruct district employees to conceal and even deceive parents about the gender identity their son or daughter has adopted at school. These policies violate critical constitutionally recognized parental rights.

WILL represents 14 individual parents from 8 families with students in MMSD.” Read more about this case from Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty HERE.

WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg said, “Madison schools have adopted policies that violate constitutionally recognized parental rights. A public school district should not, and cannot, make decisions reserved for parents.”

The first hearing in this case took place this past Tuesday, May 26, in Branch 8 of Dane County Circuit Court.  During the hearing, the judge ordered that the parents’ names must be revealed to the court and to any and all attorneys involved. The case had been filed with all parents’ names kept anonymous. The WILL attorneys representing the parents will now need to either appeal the judge’s decision on anonymity to the appellate court or check with the parents to see who is willing to remain on the case under this order of limited disclosure. WILL Attorney Luke Berg, representing the parents, repeatedly told the court that the more people who know who the parents are increases the likelihood of those names being leaked, which could have very negative consequences for the parents and their children. The judge responded saying he was confident the attorneys would respect the confidentiality. (WFA will refrain from editorial comment here.)

Also in the Tuesday hearing, the court denied the school district’s motion to dismiss the case entirely, which is definitely a win for the parents and their children. They and the unconstitutional policy will have their day in court.

A decided twist in the case is that the judge also allowed ACLU of Wisconsin to have “intervener” status in this case, which basically makes the ACLU and the groups it represents another party to the case. The ACLU is representing three LGBTQ student groups at three (3) different Madison schools- the Gender Equity Association at Memorial High School, the Gender Sexuality Alliance at West High School and the Gender Sexuality Alliance at La Follette High School. The judge agreed that the “rights” and “interests” of these students were not adequately represented by the school district and thus permitted them to participate fully, just like another defendant, in the case.

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