Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Parents Bill of Rights Act by a vote of 213-208 “to ensure the rights of parents are honored and protected in the Nation’s public schools,” according to the bill’s text. Wisconsin’s six Republican representatives (Bryan Steil, Derrick Van Orden, Scott Fitzgerald, Glenn Grothman, Tom Tiffany, Mike Gallagher) voted in favor of the bill, while the two Democrats (Mark Pocan, Gwen Moore) voted against it.
Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) urged his colleagues to vote for the bill, saying that it would empower parents to always remain aware of what their children are learning in school and how their taxpayer money is being spent.
“Once you are a parent, you will give your life for your child,” said McCarthy. “You have a right to get the basic information about your children’s education….the Parents Bill of Rights is an important step towards protecting children and dramatically strengthening the rights of parents.”
The Parents Bill of Rights outlines five key rights that all parents nationwide should have, including the right to know what’s being taught in schools and to see reading material, the right to be heard, the right to see a school’s budget and spending, the right to protect their child’s privacy, and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school.
This is common sense legislation that would help protect children from activist teaching by empowering parents to be involved.
This bill comes in response to the many school districts across the country, including a numbere in Wisconsin, that have been caught hiding or withholding pertinent information about students from their parents.
For example, last year the Eau Claire Area School District was sued for directing teachers and school staff to allow students to change their preferred pronouns, name, and “gender identity” without parental involvement.
Similarly, in November of 2021, the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) was sued for a policy that allows minor students to “transition genders” at school, even despite the parents’ objection. A hearing for this case is scheduled for April 19th, and a ruling is expected in the late spring or summer.
In a third case, the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) was sued for its policies that allow children to change their “gender identity” at school without parental notice or consent. The policy also instructs district staff to hide information about students’ “gender identity” from parents. This case is ongoing after the Wisconsin Supreme Court sent it back to the Dane County Circuit Court for further action.
Across the nation, there are at least 6,000 schools that allow or require teachers to hide students’ “gender identity” from parents. Clearly, a parental bill of rights is urgently needed.
While the Wisconsin Constitution protects the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control,” it’s clear that parental rights need more protection. A relatively strong Parents’ Rights Bill passed in the Wisconsin legislature last session, but Governor Evers vetoed it. The Assembly author, Rep. Rick Gundrum (R-Slinger), has indicated an interest in introducing the bill again this session.
While legislation can certainly help, parents should never rely on it alone to keep their children safe from harmful ideologies. Parents should always remain deeply involved and keenly aware of what is going on in the classroom and during any meetings with school staff. For the sake of children’s safety and well-being, parents must be the primary decision-makers when it comes to their children’s upbringing, education, and mental health.
It’s also crucial that parents make their voices heard during this year’s Supreme Court election on April 4th. The balance of our State Supreme Court is on the line, which is our last chance and our strongest defense against liberal policies that have resulted in gross violations of parental rights and put our children at great risk in public schools.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a taxpayer-funded federal agency, is promoting a tool for “school and district staff who are interested in facilitating a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ students” on social media.
The “LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool” provides a general assessment for anyone to use and specific assessments for school staff. The purpose of the tool is to quickly gauge supposed inclusivity at one’s school and “enhance future work to support LGTBQ youth in schools.”
Some of the items from the assessment tool read as follows:
- “I cannot assume a student’s gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
- “I use students’ chosen name(s) in all school environments, including abbreviations and pronouns.”
- “I participate in my schools’ Gay Straight Alliance/Genders and Sexualities Alliance.
- “The policy(s) in place allows students to use the bathroom/locker room which aligns to their chosen gender.”
- “The technology policies allow student access to age-appropriate LGBTQ content and information (e.g., LGBTQ-specific media, public health and education organizations, and entertainment sites).”
- “My classroom or learning space includes visual labels (e.g., rainbow flags, pink triangles, unisex bathroom signs) marking it as a safe space for LGBTQ students.”
- “I attend training and professional development focused on creating safe and supportive environments for LGBTQ students.”
- “During sexual health education lessons, I present information on all types of sex, not centering on penis/vagina penetrative sex.”
- During sexual health education lessons, I describe anatomy and physiology separate from gender (e.g., “a body with a penis,” “a body with a vagina”).
Once they respond to each of these statements, users can score themselves and their school with an “A,” “B,” or “C.” If they receive a “C,” the tool says they should “commit to change.”
The tool also offers a “collection of curated resources and tools to help schools enhance LGBTQ inclusive policies, programs, and practices.”
The CDC is meant to protect Americans from health, safety, and security threats; yet here it is promoting an unscientific political ideology that leads individuals—mostly minors—to believe lies about themselves and even seek harmful gender “transition” procedures that cause permanent damage. The agenda that the CDC is trying to advance causes serious physical, emotional and spiritual harm.
While indoctrination runs rampant in our schools, Congress needs to pass legislation to stop state governments from violating parents’ rights to protect their kids from radical gender theory. Thankfully, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) has introduced the Parental Right to Protect Act. This bill would protect parental rights by ensuring that parents are not penalized for protecting their children from gender ideology and “transition” procedures.
Last session, the Wisconsin legislature passed a parental rights bill that included this type of protection for parents and their children. Unfortunately, Governor Evers promptly vetoed the bill. Legislators are talking about bringing the bill back this session.
Regardless of whether or not Congress or Governor Evers steps up to protect children, parents must become aware of what their children are being taught in school, take action, and have difficult conversations with their children about these topics.
Here are a few resources parents can use to help guide conversations with their children:
Responding to the Transgender Issue: Parent Resource Guide by Minnesota Family Council, Family Policy Alliance, The Heritage Foundation, WOLF, and others
Talking To Your Kids About Transgender Issues by Focus on the Family
Transgender Movement, Understanding and Responding by Family Research Council
How to Talk to Your Kids About Gender by Gospel Coalition
When Harry Became Sally by Ryan T. Anderson
God and the Transgender Debate by Andrew T. Walker
Transgender: Christian Compassion, Convictions and Wisdom for Today’s Big Questions by Vaughan Roberts
Messy Grace by Caleb Kaltenbach
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith by Rosaria Butterfield
Thanks to online trends and social contagion, rates of transgender affiliation are soaring while a growing number of clinics are harming children with dangerous, experimental procedures. However, several conservative activists are speaking out and demonstrating that sharing the truth can make a real difference.
Last month, Daily Wire host Matt Walsh posted a twitter thread revealing Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s (VUMC) dangerous so-called “gender-affirming” practices. “My team and I have been investigating the transgender clinic at Vanderbilt here in Nashville. Vanderbilt drugs, chemically castrates, and performs double mastectomies on minors. But it gets worse…” wrote Walsh.
A Daily Wire report stated that Walsh uncovered video and archived webpages from VUMC describing a doctor’s promotion of transgender therapies and surgeries in addition to threats against medical professionals who have moral objections to these procedures. In videos shared by Walsh, a VUMC doctor is seen bragging about how lucrative cross-sex hormones, puberty blocking therapies, and mutilation surgeries are because they require “a lot of follow-ups.” Particular surgeries were described in dollar signs.
Shortly after the report was published, the University put a pause on its child mutilation procedures. “HUGE NEWS: following our report, Vanderbilt has agreed to pause all gender transition surgeries on minors. The fight is far from over but this will save children from mutilation and abuse. An incredibly important victory. Praise God,” tweeted Walsh.
The left wants to keep their radical practices in the dark, and they are threatened when the truth is exposed. Like Walsh, Chris Rufo, Libs of Tiktok and other conservative activists, we must continue to speak out against the child abuse being committed by a growing number of clinics to save children from permanent damage. With enough public backlash, these clinics will be forced to stop their “gender affirming” procedures as Vanderbilt has.
While alarming stories of gender affirmative clinics are emerging from other states, Wisconsin children are also at risk of succumbing to the lies and consequences of gender ideology. Here in Wisconsin, the Pediatric Adolescent Transgender Health Clinic (PATH Clinic) at the University of Wisconsin Health “work[s] with gender expansive children and teens.” We don’t know exactly what the clinic’s “gender affirmative” approach entails, but we do know that these programs act as a gateway to mutilation and sterilization. Our job is to call them out for abusing children and demand that they provide those suffering from gender dysphoria with real help, not harm.
We should also focus on highlighting the stories of detransitioners who are speaking out against the abuse they endured and detailing the irreversible physical and emotional damage they now live with.
A new film from the Center for Bioethics and Culture shares the testimonies of three women who received different forms of “gender-affirming” services and procedures only to find that the “treatments” that were supposed to alleviate their confusion only caused them more harm.
“I wasn’t functioning at all. I wasn’t holding down a job. I wasn’t going to school. I just felt like a monster. Once I stopped the testosterone, the symptoms all went away and I started feeling like myself again,” said one detransitioner named Helena.
The three girls, and many others like them, are addressing other children who are suffering from gender dysphoria and urging them to avoid puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and any kind of “gender affirming” care. Their transparency acts as a beacon of hope in a culture that’s become obsessed with placing children in charge of their gender.
Mangling healthy bodies should never be the solution to a mental health crisis. In fact, it’s only exacerbating the crisis. By sharing the truth about the danger that many clinics are subjecting children to and sharing the hopeful stories of detransitioners, we can make a real difference and put an end to child abuse disguised as healthcare.
President Joe Biden’s Department of Education is attempting to radically re-define “sex” in Title IX to expand the law’s protections to “transgender” individuals. Thankfully, many voices are putting up a fight.
Under Title IX, schools cannot receive federal funding if they discriminate against any student on the basis of sex. According to a press release, the DOE wants to amend Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments so that “sex” includes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.”
As a result, any space, program, building, bathroom, locker room, or sports team that is separated by sex would be forced to accommodate biological men who believe they are, or “identify” as, women. Schools that rightfully refuse to allow biological males into women’s bathrooms could lose their federal funding.
However, there is hope. The proposed changes have not yet taken effect, and parents, the attorneys general of several states, and organizations like Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) are working to ensure that they never do.
The DOE received over 184,000 public comments from parents concerned about their children’s safety and the erasure of women. This is a record number of parents and other concerned citizens taking a stand for the rights of their families. It shows that parents are paying attention and are willing to take action to protect their children, which is excellent news ahead of a crucial election.
Similarly, WILL submitted a comment to the Department of Education detailing three significant concerns about the proposed changes.
“First, the reinterpretation of the definition of sex within Title IX is an illegal action by an executive agency because the proposed regulations are antithetical to the intent of the law – namely, to protect and support women and girls. Second, the proposed regulations will have a chilling effect on speech, including speech motivated by sincere religious beliefs, and academic freedom. Third, the proposed regulations undermine parental rights. WILL has requested that the Department respond to each of these concerns and reject the proposed rules,” reads WILL’s comment.
Wisconsin Family Action president Julaine Appling also submitted a comment on behalf of the organization. Our comments were along the same line as WILL’s.
WILL also has model policies available to school districts, including a model policy on student pronouns that the Education Department should take a note from. “Parents have the right to determine the names and pronouns that staff use to refer to their children while at school. Staff shall not refer to or address minor students by a different name or pronouns that differ from their biological sex, during school hours, without written authorization from a parent,” begins the model policy on student pronouns.
Another model policy establishes parents’ right to review instructional materials and related documents: “Parents shall have the right to access, upon request, the instructional materials used in the education of their children. In this policy, “instructional materials” means instructional content that is provided to a student, regardless of its format, including printed or representational materials, audio-visual materials, and materials in electronic or digital formats.”
We need leaders on school boards and legislators who will enact policies like these to protect children and parents’ rights—not undermine them. We have an opportunity to do just that this fall; let’s not waste it!
In the meantime, please pray that the efforts to block the DOE’s radical proposal are effective. Women’s rights, parental rights, free speech, religious liberty, and academic freedom are on the line; but we should remain hopeful because of the many voices that are fighting back and offering a better way forward.
Wisconsin schools have been undermining parents’ rights in an attempt to indoctrinate students with radical LGBTQ+ ideology. Thankfully, three similar lawsuits against Wisconsin school districts have emerged in recent months.
Most recently, the Eau Claire Area School District (ECASD) was sued for hosting gender identity trainings that instruct teachers and school staff to hide students’ gender transitions from parents.
America First Legal (AFL) and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (WILL) filed the lawsuit on behalf of several parents, arguing that the district’s policies violate their freedom of religion and parental rights.
AFL released a questionnaire used in the district’s training, revealing some of the concerning instructions given to staff. One slide used in the training states that “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities. That knowledge must be earned.” Teachers are told to prioritize the desires of the student over the rights of the parent.
During another training for the district’s teachers, the host, Christopher Jorgenson, told staff, “We understand and acknowledge that teachers are often put in terrible positions caught between parents and their students. But much like we wouldn’t act as stand-ins for abuse in other circumstances, we cannot let parents’ rejection of their children guide teachers’ reactions and actions and advocacy for our students.”
Eau Claire’s policies clearly violate parents’ right to raise their children. Teachers do not replace parents at school. A child’s “gender identity” is pertinent and important information that must always be discussed with parents.
“Policies like Eau Claire’s blatantly violate parents’ constitutional rights to raise their children. School staff do not replace parents while their children are at school. A gender identity transition is a major event in a child’s life; schools must defer to parents about this,” WILL Deputy Counsel Luke Berg said in a statement.
Further, AFL President Stephen Miller has accused the district of using children to advance a dangerous progressive agenda. “Eau Claire schools have adopted a monstrous plan to secretly ‘change’ the genders of children as young as 5—without parental consent—effectively subjecting them to unnatural ideological experiments contrary to their health and biology,” he said. “This includes forcing boys and girls to share bathrooms and other private spaces without their consent, a further invasion and desecration of childhood innocence and fundamental childhood wellbeing.”
Similarly, in November of last year, a group of Wisconsin parents sued the Kettle Moraine School District (KMSD) for a policy that allows minor students to “transition genders” at school, even despite the parents’ objection. Like Eau Claire, the Kettle Moraine School District is violating parents’ constitutional rights by taking a life-altering decision out of parents’ hands.
In June, the judge denied the school district’s request to dismiss the case. A hearing on the case is scheduled for April 19, 2023.
In a third case, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed a lawsuit in 2020 in Dane County Circuit Court against the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) for its policies that allow children to change their gender identity at school without parental notice or consent. The policy also instructs district staff to hide information about students’ gender identity from parents.
In May, the Wisconsin Supreme Court heard the case, and in July, the Court ordered that the case go back to circuit court after some of the technicalities were decided. As a result, the case is back in Dane County Circuit Court where it will essentially start over.
Hopefully, these lawsuits will help parents take back their rights and protect their children. Children are safer and better off when parents are in control, and parents have the natural, God-given right to be the primary decision-makers in their children’s lives.
Schools across the country seem to be hyper-focused on race and sexuality. Most recently, a Rhode Island private school told its students not to send Valentine’s Day cards that showed only white people or perpetuated gender “stereotypes.”
Parents received guidelines from Moses Brown Lower School stating, “Please coach your child if purchasing commercially produced cards to select something that does not feel ‘gender normative’ (with separate ‘boy cards’ vs. ‘girl cards,’ for instance.) Also, consider talking to your child about avoiding cards that portray only White human characters.”
Parents have understandably expressed their frustration with these guidelines and with the school’s culture as a whole. “Why does my four year old tell me the teacher said that someday she might want to marry another girl?” said one parent. Moses Brown often promotes progressive ideology about transgenderism and sexual identity. The school even hosts a Gender Sexuality Alliance club.
Stories like this one are becoming extremely common around the country, and even in Wisconsin. Children are inundated with harmful lies about race and gender. They are taught to view one another based on these immutable characteristics, rather than as individual children lovingly created by God. Many public schools, and sadly even some private schools, cannot be trusted to educate our children and act in their best interest.
This is why Wisconsin Family Action is working to pass vital legislation and combat the evil ideas that children are learning in school.
We are actively working to support the “Help Not Harm Act,” which is essential for children who are suffering from gender dysphoria in Wisconsin. The bill protects children who are confused about their biological sex by protecting them from harmful drugs and mutilation surgeries, which the left affirm are part of “tolerance.” This couldn’t be further from the truth.
What these children need is the exact opposite of what their schools are teaching them. They need the truth about God’s design, not affirmation of the lies they believe about themselves.
Schools here in Wisconsin are not only feeding children harmful lies about their sexuality, but are even hiding information from parents.
The Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) published a policy stating that children are allowed to “transition” to a different gender at school and teachers are prohibited from telling parents. It even indicates that school staff should lie to parents about how their children are presenting in school.
Similarly, Kettle Moraine School District’s gender identity policy allows children to “change” their gender identity at school without parental consent. Again, employees are prohibited from sharing this important information with parents and even instructed to override parents’ objections.
Thankfully, our good friends at Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and the Alliance Defending Freedom filed lawsuits challenging both of these policies, and they are now before the Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Just this week, we testified in support of the newly introduced “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” Assembly Bill 963, a bill that lays out 15 specific parents’ rights when it comes to their children. Several of these rights are specific to education and schools. One says parents have “[t]he right to determine the names and pronouns used for the child while at school.” A number of parents spoke at the hearing as well, supporting the bill and noting that too often their voice and their rights are either ignored or infringed.
Please pray for the success of the “Help Not Harm Act,” the “Parents’ Bill of Rights,” and favorable outcomes in these two Supreme Court cases.
Parental rights and the well-being of our children are under attack. We must be diligent in overseeing our children’s education and demand and be part of necessary change when our schools espouse dangerous ideas. Few things are more important than the education of the next generation, and it’s up to us to hold our school officials accountable.
Of course, the very best situation for children is to be brought up in the homes of their married biological or adopted fathers and mothers. Marriage is good for kids! So, as we near the end of National Marriage Week, it’s important we promote marriage and family as God designed it, as well asGod’s design for human sexuality and raise our children to believe and know that they were created in His image.